I’ll be honest, I approached Ultimate Spider-man with a bit of a bias. Taking into consideration the insanity of the Ultimate Marvel universe and previous Spider-man tv series.
Turns out it’s great!
Okay, I’ll start by taking a look at the art style, plot, fight-scenes and overall experience.
The first thing I notice when I look at Spider-man is the color, he’s red, he’s blue, the city is bright and somewhat cheery in the day, and dark, almost harsh and unforgiving at night. It’s been my experience visiting Manhattan in several occasions and it’s one of the most memorable things about it. Spidey himself is a bright and charismatic-looking teen (yes, teen, as in high-school) and this shows up during the entirety of the first few episodes. Everything is bright, colorful, almost as if there was never any intention of the series being serious and dark. This is good, it’s a different envisioning of one of my favorite heroes and given the setting it’s actually fitting, though I wish it would express more dark and broodyness; I digress, the style is very apt with little deformity and though the series is a little slap-stick it only adds rather than takes away from it.
About 9 episodes in and there’s still not much of a plot to speak of. Sure there stuff brewing in the background, but it doesn’t have much to do with the heroes yet, other than knowing that Spidey is being targeted for something. The team still doesn’t seem to have it together and this is okay, but the constant bickering should have died down a little by now. The team aspect of having Spidey with a bunch of other like-teens is interesting, though Nova is portrayed as a raving idiot and White Tiger is nothing short of an egotistical bitch, everyone else seems well balanced and adjusted to being a super-powered crimefighter in training. I’m not so sure the whole Shield thing is anything short of a plot-device and the constant random appearances of other famous Marvel heroes, particularly Avengers seems to be a gimmick. As always Spidey is full of bad puns and tends to run at the mouth, which is enjoyable and funny; but the cut-aways to speak to the audience are a little strange and makes it seem like more of a kids show than anything for fans.
The fights are great, both heroes and villains fight taking their environment into account, the background isn’t simply painted on like in old cartoons. The moves are sometimes complex and benefit from an HD viewing. Each hero has a distinct style which is maintained and used efficiently and in an entertaining fashion.
Overall, it’s a fun series with a demographic that spans from pre-teens to adults, though its gimmicky screenplay and slapstick comedy might not appeal to the more hard-core fans.