Friday, October 31, 2014

Recap: Ultimate Spider-Man "Halloween Night at the Museum"

It's time to skip ahead a bit in my coverage of Ultimate Spider-Man. Time to do my first "official" look at an episode of Season 3: Web Warriors.

Should be just... just a knockabout of fun.
I know I basically told you in my Recap of "Blood Feud" that I'd be going over the "Blade and the Howling Commandos" two-parter. But instead, I'll be going over a more recent episode of Ultimate Spider-Man that I think we'll all... enjoy. Today... no, screw it. I quit. I'm done.

Hope y'all enjoyed the NewtCave while it lasted.

"Who's quitting what now?"
Unshaved Mouse? What are you doing here?

"I sensed that there was an animal-themed reviewer doing a Disney-related review.
Knowing that it wasn't me, I got a bit confused. So what's the haps?"
Well, I'm just quitting my blog over the latest Halloween episode of Ultimate Spider-Man.

"Really? Newt, it's just a half-hour cartoon.
I mean, yeah, it's not the best, but I think I can safely say this episode can't be as bad as, say, Home on the Range."
It's a crossover with a live-action Disney sitcom.

"...what the close up mouth whore f...?"
Exactly.

"And you're giving up? Just like that?
You're gonna lie down and let yourself be Disney's bitch?"
Well....

"No. You can do this. There will be a day when the strength of men fails. But it is not this day.
Great moments are born from great opportunity.
You're gonna get back in there and review this one for the Gipper!"
For the Gipper!

"Attaboy."

"Hey, Mouse, I hear someone's reviewing the Ultimate Spider-Man/Jessie crossover?"

"Yep."

"There goes a stupid, stupid man."

"Poor dumb bastard."

"Want to watch his impending mental breakdown?"

"Are you kidding? I made popcorn."
What was that, guys?

"Nothing."

"Nuffing."
(Munch, munch....)
So, yeah. A crossover between Marvel and a Disney sitcom. Can you imagine what awaits us?

"Bertram, I'd like to talk to you about the Avengers Initiative."
But I'ma break before the Recap real quick to say something important.

I will give this episode a chance. I may think that this crossover is an absolutely stupid idea, but I am going to absolutely be fair to this episode. As such, I will not criticize this episode just for being a pointless crossover. Yet. I will recap this episode. I will give this episode a fair review. Then, and only then, I will re-review this episode in context as a crossover between these two shows. And then, Ultimate Spider-Man, you have my permission to die.

So, yeah. George Gipp better dang well appreciate this. Let us begin.

Halloween hasn't been this horrifying in years.
The episode opens up on Spider-Man swinging through New York while fighting the Shocker, talking about how he's been fighting villains every day for thirteen days. Shocker gets taken out disappointingly easily, for those fans of Shocker. Including myself. Thanks for making the character almost as useless as the Shocker from the actual Ultimate Spider-Man comics. And by "thanks," I mean "go soak your head."

Spider-Man transitions over to that night, which also happens to be Halloween night. All the civilians are out rockin' in their costumes (including a lawsuit-friendly ninja turtle costume) while Spidey's content to go as himself, like non-superheroes like to do "ironically." Can we all agree that "I'm going as myself" is even lamer than that guy who just shows up in a body sock?

So what does Spidey do while dressed up as his own dang self on this All Hallows' Evening? He goes to a museum. This might sound like a waste of a Halloween, but he's wanted to go all week, and it's the final night of the Camelot exhibit. As in, the actual Camelot. Apparently, in the Marvel Animated Universe, Camelot is just a known historical location that they treat like any other archaeological site, like Tenochtitlan or Cahokia. I could nitpick this point, but I won't. Mainly because Thor walks around New York City in this universe eating shawarma. The discovery of Camelot is a plausible event for the Marvel Universe, all things considered.

Anyway, because it's Halloween, there's only one group of people in the museum with Spider-Man. And yes, if my comments earlier haven't made it abundantly clear, they are the main characters of Jessie. For those of you who don't know (and I'm willing to bet most of you don't), they are as follows:
  • Jessie Prescott (Debby Ryan)- 18-year-old Texas girl-turned nanny for...  
  • Emma Ross (Peyton List)- The oldest, and the ditz. the only not-adopted kid. Dressed like a fairy.
  • Luke Ross (Cameron Boyce)- The crafty one. Dressed like a pirate.
  • Ravi Ross (Karan Brar)- The Indian social outcast. Dressed like Gandalf.
  • Zuri Ross (Skai Jackson)- The sassy little black girl who gets the best lines in the show. Dressed like Doctor Octopus.
Get it? Got it? Good. The Ross kids will do little-to-nothing individually. They're actually kind of pointless.

So how are we introduced to these characters? Ravi pets his pet monitor lizard, Mrs. Kipling. I choose to comment on this only by saying that pets probably aren't allowed in the museum, because that's probably the most relevant problem here.

Anyway, Zuri whines about losing precious time for trick-or-treating, so Jessie decides to explain the situation to the audience. And by that, I mean she tells the kids what they already know. (I forgot for a moment that Spider-Man literally talks to the audience; hence, the clarification.)

Jessie: "Well, if someone, Emma, hadn't left her homework assignment to the last day, we wouldn't have to be here."

"So everybody can blame Emma for this crossover."
They go to see the exhibit, but the guard informs them that they're closed. After all, it's Halloween night.

Emma: "Aw, we missed it. Too bad." 
Luke: "What kind of geek likes this stuff?" 
Spider-Man: "I love this stuff!"

As he says this, he literally hops over the velvet rope like a hoodlum. Way to uphold law and order, Spidey.

As the guard grabs him and leads him away from the exhibition room, Jessie and the kids sneak in. After Spidey demands that he should be let in purely on the merit of being Spider-Man, Zuri blows a raspberry at him.

Spider-Man: "Did I just get dissed by baby Doc Ock?"

Over in the Camelot room, the first thing I notice is a trebuchet, which would not have existed at the same time as any sort of Camelot. I will give this a pass, though, because we'll later see that this museum has cavemen and dinosaurs in the same exhibit. So let's assume the museum owners are terrible historians, and move on to Jessie reading a plaque.

Jessie: "This exhibit contains treasures unearthed from ancient Camelot. And, get this, legends tell of magical forces in some of the artifacts."

I think we all know where this is going. Luke, however, doesn't. He comes across a suit of armor holding a ginormous sword and decides that it would be a barrelful of laughs to touch the green, evil-looking gem embedded in it. Jessie manages to keep the whole suit of armor from falling over, but the sword falls out of the armor's grasp.

After a magic swirly, wibbly, energy thingy shoots purple lightning everywhere, Spider-Man sneaks into the exhibit and gets knocked down by a purple whoosh of energy. Meanwhile, the armor begins to get all zappy. Jessie picks up the sword to defend herself and the kids, but they all get engulfed by swirling energy. Yellow, this time. The kids' costumes are all changed into armor plated outfits. This will become neither explained nor important. Also, Zuri's fake Doc Ock arms can now move around. They will do little more than wobble.

From out of a swirly portal in front of them emerges a lady in a dress.

Careful with your evil aura, lady. Too much pink energy is dangerous.
Lady: "Mae plant! Fi jyst cariad plant! Fy enw i yw Morgan le Fay. Rwyf wedi bod yn carcharu yn y peth am ganrifoedd! A'r peth cyntaf i mi ei gweld pan dwi ddim yn blant!"

No, that's neither Klingon nor my cat walking across the keyboard. That's Welsh. As in, the language she should be speaking. I mean, "Arthur" is a Welsh name, for crying out loud. But let's just assume that, being part fairy, she's got the gift of tongues and no wings. Like Holly Short.

What she really says is....

Morgan le Fay: "Children! I just love children! My name is Morgan le Fay. I've been imprisoned in that thing for centuries! And the first thing I see when I'm free is kids!"

Look, you can act like Mary-friggin'-Poppins all you want. Anyone with any sense should be hitting you with that sword as soon as they hear "My name is Morgan le Fay."

Emma: "Morgan? She has the same name as dad." 
Ravi: "I do not see the resemblance. Okay, well, maybe the teeth."

What, two people have the same name, so you're looking for a resemblance? You think I must therefore look like Newt Gingrich, then? ...I don't, by the way.

Anyway, I have a few more relevant points.
  • That joke is lost on anyone who hasn't seen Jessie. I wish that group of people still included me....
  • I think it's making fun of the fact that Chip Esten has a big smile?  
  • Either way, it's kind of a stretch for a stupid joke.  
  • Luke has the name first name as Power Man. Just thought I'd throw that out there.  
Anyway, Morgan gloats that she can now bring darkness to the whole Earth, which is an even bigger red flag than the name "Morgan le Fay." She politely asks for the sword, and Spider-Man finally decides to show up. Morgan readies her magic hand blasts, but some quick webbing from Spidey shuts her down for a bit.

Zuri: "How do we know you're for real? It is Halloween after all."

But before she can do an ID check, Morgan starts a-blastin' again. Spidey starts a-dodgin', and the kids start a-runnin'. They head for the main exit, but Morgan's magic soon shuts it with chains. After more magic voodoo swirls around the museum, changes happen. The fake torches light up, the skeleton props start walking around, the T-Rex skeleton roars, and oh, you've GOT to be kidding me.

I just realized... It's called "Halloween Night at the Museum" because it's just Night at the Museum. On Halloween. With Spider-Man. And Jessie.

But amidst the shameless ripoff "homage," a decorative jack o'lantern falls on the guard's head. On the floor, we see his shadow as he transforms into... something.

Morgan le Fay politely proceeds to outline her plan, because she's just so gosh-darn excited about it. No, really. That's actually why she starts monologuing. I guess Morgan didn't get the memo that she was showing up in Ultimate Spider-Man, not Jessie.

The kids respond by running, and they all end up in what appears to be the giant earthworm room, what with the presence of a giant earthworm replica. Spidey starts webbing up the door, when Jessie walks in front of him, squirting web all over her.

Jessie: "Did you just slime me?"

Jeez, Spidey, not on the first date.

...okay, I'm apologizing for that joke. Sorry. I'm calling a do-over on that one.

On second thought, I think this picture makes my previous joke even worse.
Spider-Man quickly changes the subject by pointing out that she shouldn't have snuck into the exhibit. Like he did. Jameson's right, Spidey is a bad influence.

Jessie: "All I did was fix the exhibit, and this sword came out." 
Spider-Man: "Fix the- no! Never touch the exhibits!"

To be fair, Spider-Man is absolutely right here. This whole episode is Jessie's fault for sneaking the kids into the exhibit. But the episode chooses to gloss over the issue by having the giant earthworm replica become a monster worm.

And once again, this picture of a gigantic, dripping worm rising up is made worse by my aforementioned joke.
Spidey and Jessie take turns saving each other.

Spider-Man: "Thanks for the save!" 
Jessie: "Ditto! Guess we're even."

See, Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.? That's how you make your female character look just as capable as the male heroes without turning them into jerks. I guess this episode did at least something right.

Spider-Man ends up baiting the worm until it ties itself in a knot. Yes, he beats it by using a tactic that The Super Hero Squad Show made fun of as being stupid and unlikely to work. And that show would insult the intelligence of a bag of hammers!

Anyway, before the worm untangles itself, they escape into the museum's air-and-space section. Jessie demands an explanation for all this weirdness at sword point, and Spidey tells her that she freed Morgan le Fay from the sword, and she's gonna do evil stuff. ...Which Jessie was there for, so you'd think she'd know that. Jessie and the kids take a second to realize that magic is real, which is understandable. After all, Jessie is a slice-of-life sitcom aimed at tweens. No magic in sight. But if this episode is canon with both shows, then Jessie now exists in a world with magic, radioactive spider-bites, Gamma mutants, and Avengers. Bit of a hard pill to swallow, for these characters and for viewers.

But I'll save that for for when I review. For now, let's get to the best part of the episode! I don't know what the reason was for this, but there's another villain in this episode. Remember the guard who got absorbed by a jack o'lantern? He's back, kids.

Welcome to the best part of the episode.
He's a fireball-throwing, levitating, flame-headed monster of madness. And he. Is. Awesome sauce.  Unfortunately, this amazing fight scene with an amazing villain is absolutely irrelevant to the plot. So... I'm skipping it.

Long story short, Luke and Ravi accidentally help defeat him by meddling with an exhibit. Because if it got the into this mess.... no, it's still a bad idea. It's at this point that Jessie gets abducted by some cavemen, who plan to eat her. Because I guess cavemen are cannibals now? Spidey saves her, and they get chased by a Triceratops skeleton.

So that's what happened to the Triceratops Steven Spielberg shot.
Jessie: "Whose idea was it to put dinosaurs and cavemen in the same exhibit?" 
Luke: "What difference does it make?!" 
Jessie: "Cavemen lived during the Paleolithic Era! And dinosaurs were in the Mesozoic. So about sixty-million years' difference! Do you even pay attention in science?" 
Luke: "I think it's obvious that I don't!"

I don't know why, but I found that exchange pretty funny. Is it just me?

Another long story short, they end up riding the dinosaur like they were on a spaceship. Spidey's momentarily taken aback at the fact that these civilians aren't freaking out at everything.

Jessie: "When you've wrangled these kids like I have, a dinosaur's easy."

After dismounting the triceratops (welcome to my blog, people Googling for their very specific fetish), Jessie tries to give up the sword to Spidey. But after having seen her handle herself, he tells her to keep it for now. Morgan le Fay shows up, having been absent for the second act of the episode or so, and starts causing havoc.

Morgan le Fay: "...and my magic is.... Well, I don't like to brag..."

Lies.

Morgan le Fay: "...but it's nearly all powerful! Now all I need is the sword...." 
Jessie: "Nope. Sorry. Not gonna happen. Noooo way. Not over my..." 
Morgan le Fay: "Dead body? Hm. A bit cliche, but fine by me!"

I doubt it. One of their number is a servant of the Secret Fire.
So she turns Mrs. Kipling (Ravi's monitor lizard, in case you forgot that particular bit of weirdness) into a fire-breathing dragon that starts attacking them. Spidey tries to web it up gently, but is having trouble. Jessie, meanwhile, faces off with Morgan le Fay. She swings the sword around like a baseball bat deflecting Morgan's magic blasts before apparently deciding to start doing a sword twirl straight out of Power Rangers. Also, no. I'm not believing her sudden sword skills. But she gets an idea and surrenders, sticking the sword in the floor.

Morgan le Fay: "That was easier than I'd thought."

When Morgan comes over to retrieve it, she pulls it out again and attacks the witch.

Jessie: "I had the exact same thought."

Meanwhile, Ravi manages to use the power of love or whatever to get Mrs. Kipling to stop attacking. Because Ravi is apparently secretly Ma-Ti.

Over with Jessie, she's jumping around, doing more Power Rangers twirls and slashes. Sorry, I can accept a bug-man fighting a dragon. A nanny spontaneously becoming a ninja? Too far. But in the scuffle, Jessie drops the sword, which quickly gets grabbed up by Morgan. She villianously gloats for a bit, but then Spidey has Mrs. Kipling step on her. Jessie puts the sword back in the armor's grasp, and Morgan gets sucked back into Hell, or wherever. Because Morgan was a load-bearing boss, the museum exhibits, Mrs. Kipling, and the guard go back to normal. Spidey compliments Jessie for holding up well under, you know, the end of the world.

Jessie: "I did okay, didn't I? I guess not all heroes are super."

But alas, the sun rises, and it's November first. The kids may not have gone trick-or-treating, but they still declare it the best Halloween ever. Yeah, but Bertram's going to be mighty disappointed when he can't sneak any of your candy, kids.

...He's... he's a character from Jessie. Dear Thor in Asgard, what have I become!?

Anyway, as a favor to the kids, he takes them up to the S.H.I.E.L.D. Tri-Carrier for a tour/ride, and the episode ends.

And now that the nightmare is over, the Review...s.

Part 1: Is this a good episode?
Part 2: Is this a good crossover?

(Confused by Disney and the Unshaved Mouse? Here's a link. Start with Snow White.)

5 comments:

  1. "Over with Jessie, she's jumping around, doing more Power Rangers twirls and slashes. Sorry, I can accept a bug-man fighting a dragon. A nanny spontaneously becoming a ninja? Too far."

    I'm prepared to guess the magic sword has something to do with it. 'cos magic sword.

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  2. So, about this episode...

    SWEET MERCIFUL ETERNITY WHYYYYYY?!?!?!?


    ... Okay, I'm done.

    - That One Anon

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  3. It's a sign I've been watching too much anime that I expected Saber to pop up to fight Morgan or the sword to turn into a penguin that annoys everyone while calling them FOOLS... congratulations to the five people that know what I mean

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  4. wait, did the Indian kid name his lizard after the Colonialism-apologist and Jungle Book author Rudyard Kipling?

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    Replies
    1. Why, yes, I believe he did. In the two episodes of Jessie I watched as research, it was apparently named "Mister Kipling" before the discovery that "he" was female. At the very least, I hope these kids' parents didn't adopt these kids as part of "the White Man's burden"....

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