Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Review: Ultimate Spider-Man "Freaky"

Before I begin, I'd like to quote an interview with Brian Michael Bendis, the original writer of Ultimate Spider-Man for the comics, consultant for this show, and writer for this episode. You can find the original article here, but there's a specific part I want to focus on.

"I've had a couple of these people coming up to me on Facebook," Bendis said. "I don't know what to say — 'You know, you're watching Disney XD.' It's not on Showtime. I want you to like it too, but like it in the context of what it's for. It's for kids. We're thinking of them while we write it."

Mr. Bendis, if I may politely give my rebuttal.

We know it's for kids. The fact that it airs on Disney XD was a bit of a tip-off.

I don't mind that there are some subtleties, nuances, and themes that get removed when you focus on writing a show for kids. All I'm asking for is that you write something good. I'm a firm believer in shows like Gravity Falls, which are obviously for kids but are still clever enough to be legitimately enjoyed by adults.

You're a good writer, Mr. Bendis. But just because something's for kids, that doesn't automatically mean you get to stop trying.

Anyway, let's start reviewing an episode based on an original story that even the writer hated.

A good sign, right?
It's your standard Freaky Friday plot, where two people walk a mile in each other's bodies. There's really nothing to differentiate it from other examples of the genre. The Freaky Friday plot was done much better in Justice League Unlimited. "The Great Brain Robbery." Lex Luthor/Flash. It's hilarious. Watch it.

Pre-Agents of S.M.A.S.H. Importance
Almost nil, but this episode does set up Mesmero's shtick, which will become very important for our final step on the Road to Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.

While this episode is entirely based on two characters learning a little more about each other by literally walking in each other's shoes, very little is learned. Sure, Wolverine starts respecting Spider-Man's willingness to put up with high school bullcrap, despite being able to beat up anyone who gives him problems if he so chose. What does Peter learn about Wolverine by walking in his shoes? Only that Wolverine lives in constant fear of random attacks by Sabretooth.

I will compliment the animation. Peter and Wolverine still move like themselves, even when each other's bodies. And that works as a reminder of what's going on, seeing as how they actually had the voices match the bodies and not the minds, like some bodyswaps.

When all is said and done, this isn't necessarily a bad episode, but it really depends on your general enjoyment of this show's particular brand of humor. There's not much in the way of plot, so humor is all that remains. If you dislike this show's humor, you're gonna have a bad time.

So there, Mr. Bendis. You turned a premise you hated into something that you could have some fun with. I'm going to chalk that up as a win all around.

We'll see if that streak can stay alive. See you next time.

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