Saturday, June 16, 2012

Marvel Media Mania: Spider-Man: The New Animated Series

Spider-Man: The New Animated Series originally aired on MTV for one season of 13 episodes in 2003.
All 13 episodes were sold in one disc  collection.

This show represents the first all-CGI attempt at a Spider-Man show. The end result is fairly good. Sure, the CGI is stiff and some of the background characters move a bit robotically. Sure, the budget is reflected in the  small amount of background details (such as city streets with no cars on them, or a very sparse crowd of protesters).  But Spider-Man looked and moved really well. In particular his wallcrawling reflected the speed at which Spider-Man should move. The series really uses lighting to great effect including one sequence in which we see Peter change into Spider-Man in the strobe flashes of emergency lights.

The rest of the supporting cast was trimmed down significantly. J. Jonah Jameson, Mary Jane, and Harry Osborn are the only supporting characters from the comics or movie. Mary Jane, Harry, and Pete are given makeovers so they look cooler. Pete is very tech savvy, totting around a laptop and video taping himself with a digital camcorder.

Villains also got makeovers including Electro, Kingpin, Silver Sable, and Kraven the Hunter. The series introduced a few new villains such as Turbo Jet and Talon as well as supporting cast member Indria.

The series tries to capitalize on the success of the first Sam Raimi Spider-Man movie although the two share no official continuity link. So the writers made sure to line up the two versions. When the series starts Parker already has his powers and is a freshmen in college... right where the movie left off. In the first episode Mary Jane references, "That kiss," with Spider-Man and also comments that Spider-Man has saved her life before.  And an ongoing sub-plot in the series is Harry Osborn's hatred for Spider-Man because he blames him for murdering his father. And Peter and Harry's apartment is obviously laid out to reflect the one they have in the movie.

Although there are a few subplots that stretch from one episode to another, each episode is primarily self contained. The episodes move at a quick pace, giving the series the feeling of racing ahead.

Overall, the series is highly enjoyable despite the limited CGI success.

1LR REVIEW - 16 out of 20! It's a Hit!

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