The Spectacular Spider-Man Is Available on Netflix and Worth Watching


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Promotional art for The Spectacular Spider-Man, featuring Spider-Man fighting Doc Ock and Electro.

Image: Marvel Entertainment

Spider-Man is at this point a constant force for nature, who will outlive us all, and may even become our savior. Heat death in the universe. While he’s plenty popular across Films, Comics?, and Video games, it’s animation—and more specifically, TV animation—where some of his most enduring work lies. Of the many shows to bear his name, it’s Spectacular Spider-Man If not, it is one of the best. The absolute best. And it’s recently made its way over to Netflix, so it’s as good a time as any to discuss why it’s so good.

Spectacular It was first broadcast on KidsWB! Back in 2008, before moving to DisneyXD for the second season in 2009. Instead of focusing on one aspect of the character, I will try to inspire you with other aspects. Spectacular was a blend of all aspects of the character’s comic and film history up to that point, from the early days when he had webs under his arms to the Ultimate Marvel version of the character where he and Eddie Brock (Ben Diskin) Before Eddie, Eddie was a childhood friend. He eventually hated Peter enough to be Venom.. As with other Spidey media, the Peter Parker of this universe (as voiced by Josh Keaton) is a high schooler who’s got some experience as Spider-Man, but still getting into the swing of things. All those average crimes he foiled over the summer break soon make way for super criminals looking to take him down, and near all of them in some way connected to either Norman Osborn (Alan Rachins) or the “Big Man,” aka Tombstone (Keith David, later Kevin Michael Richardson).

Image for article titled Spider-Man's Best Cartoon is Now on Netflix

Image: Marvel Entertainment

What’s made Spectacular The reason it has stood the test of time throughout its two-season run is how trusting it is. Instead of frontloading itself with backstory or plot developments, it’s got leisurely pacing and gives itself plenty time to breathe as Peter juggles being a rising superhero with his more mundane life as a high schooler with his friends Harry (James Arnold Taylor) and Gwen Stacy (Lacey Chabert). Spider-Man stories are at their best when Peter’s dual lives are on some kind of collision course, and Spectacular This tension is created without ever feeling repetitive or predictable. And it doesn’t hurt that the supporting cast—even Flash Thompson (Joshua LeBar), who outside of comics, just doesn’t get a chance to be a person—are all winners across the board.

Victor Cook and Greg Weisman were the original creators of this recipe, which they would later go on make. Young Justice with Brandon Vietti over at Warner Bros, you can see the bones of what that show’s storytelling would become in Spectacular. This series is serialized and interconnected, with multiple plot lines appearing throughout. You can feel the importance of the concept time to this series, as some episodes occur just a few days after the previous one. It’s nothing quite as hyperspecific as Justice’s timestamps, but Peter and company growing up and heading towards genuine milestones in their lives gives the show some extra “oomph” that otherwise would’ve been lacking had it existed in some nebulous point in time.

Image for article titled Spider-Man's Best Cartoon is Now on Netflix

Image: Marvel Entertainment

The Spider-Man shows would be an example of what would happen next Spectacular, this Peter isn’t booked to be great or some sort of figurehead in the show’s version of the Marvel universe. He’s Just Some Kid, who simultaneously has nothing going for him beyond his intellect and photography skills while also brushing shoulders with enough people that he’s got a more than solid support system. Voice acting for Spider-Man across the character’s media history can be hit or miss, but Keaton really does stand up as one of the best. He makes his Peter just incredibly endearing from the start, and that the show’s more emotional beats work at all can be owed to him and the rest of the pretty strong voice cast. The same goes for the rest of the cast. The Batman’s Richardson made Richardson a Joker, which is a rare and underrated talent. Spectacular has two hidden gems in the form of Steve Blum’s Green Goblin and Clancy Brown’s Rhino.

There’s a lot of other reasons to watch Spectacular Spider-Man, Be it the still Very catchy theme songThe show’s ability to make every villain memorable by introducing them as people, before they eventually go bad. But the point is, the show’s Fucking amazingYou should watch it right now.

More io9 news You can find out when the latest news is coming. MarvelAnd Star Wars releases, what’s next for the DC Universe TV and FilmEverything you need to know about. House of the DragonAnd Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.


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