Sony Pictures
MSRP: $17.49
Not rated
RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes

The Pitch

The show that’s just in case you missed the other couple of thousand of incarnations of Spider-Man.

The Humans

Spider-Man crowd circa high school (Peter, Flash, Mary Jane, Liz, Gwen, Osborn and Spidey’s rogues gallery).

The Nutshell

This is the most recent animated incarnation of Spider-Man, this time taking the Webhead back to his awkward high school days with a few twists thrown in.  The usual cast of characters are all back as a young (Olsen Twin-thin) Spidey goes up against his old foes such as Kraven, The Vulture, Doc Ock and Electro, while trying to maintain as normal a high school existence as possible.

Although it looked like Hydro-Man had won, Parker took small comfort by having relieved himself in him first.

The Lowdown

I’ve been around long enough to catch most of the animated versions of Spider-Man, and I saw the ’60s version in reruns back when they weren’t too decrepit.  Plus, I also collected Spidey comics for over ten years, so I feel I have a pretty good handle on the Webhead.  My personal preference for Spidey toons was Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends back in the ’80s.  The ’90s version had a lot of good things going for it in terms of the number of episodes they produced and sheer volume of stories they told, although they bitched Spidey out in almost every fight he had.  generally, I passed on the computer animated version.  But this new version is a surprisingly likable vehicle that gets back to the genesis of Spidey with a modern twist and manages to liven up the previously downer atmosphere of those old ’60s comics (Parker was damn near never happy). 

“Okay, Kraven, you got me.  I…wait, why are you unzipping your pants…?!”

Spectacular Spider-Man is a light, airy depiction of Spidey with plenty of good action and some stories that stick to canon, while taking liberties with other elements.  For instance, Liz Allen and Debra Whitman, who is introduced in these four episodes, get a racial update to girls of color.  I figure this is because Gwen is already depicted to essentially be Debra Whitman already: brainy with glasses.  Also Kraven gets a DNA makeover to end up looking like a Thundercat.  Meanwhile, Parker has the same old issues about being a high school geek with girl issues and Aunt May having health concerns.  But when he’s Spider-Man, he has some surprisingly good fights with his foes.  So the show is easy to get into and manages to toss in a few alterations to keep it fresh. 

Be that as it may, while the show is worth your time, this set isn’t.  There’s only four episodes and no special features.  Either wait for the entire season or catch them on cable or online somewhere.

The Package

Video is 1.78:1 and Audio is English Dolby 5.1.  Pretty standard.  Look elsewhere for special features.

4.1 out of 10