Monday, June 8, 2015

Review: Ultimate Spider-Man "Field Trip"

I'll tell you right now that this episode wasn't what I'd call "memorable." In fact, I'd say the only thing the average viewer will remember... that this happened.
Frost Giants attack, Thor becomes a frog, and Loki conquers Asgard offscreen.

I'm still confused as to whether or not Danny reading the stone led to the Frost Giant appearing or not. Because the Frost Giant was specifically supposed to appear on Thor's beloved Earth in order to distract him from the fact that Loki was taking over Asgard during the Odinsleep.

Did Danny just happen to be reading the words as Loki sent the giant through a magic portal? Because that's a pretty huge coincidence.

But apart from a few logical hiccups in Loki's plan, the actual story was a good one. Spider-Man used to have his own entire series where he would team up with different heroes every month. A romp through Asgard to take down Loki would be exactly like what one would expect from that series.

In fact, I would argue that this episode represents what this entire series should have been. a series where Spider-Man teams up with a new guest hero every week or two would be something new and different that I think people would have been more open about accepting after the loss of The Spectacular Spider-Man.

This series is more along the lines of the old Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends series anyway, what with the inclusion of the rest of the Sandwich Club, so I think embracing the character's more obscure history could have been a brilliant move.

But instead, Marvel decided to play it relatively safe by giving us another "teenage-Spider-Man-with-high-school-problems" series, either to appeal to the fans of Spectacular Spider-Man, a younger audience, or more likely both. The plot for this episode gives us a glimpse down a different path.

"Everybody sucks" seems to be the theme. Or rather, "everybody has flaws, but they can be overcome."

As far as morals go, it's not beaten down into our heads every five seconds, but the lengths the writers went in order to make it work... well, let's talk about that next.

Spider-Man and the Sandwich Club
They have basically been reduced to parodies of themselves in order to make the lesson work. And they're really annoying and hypocritical.

ThorBecause this show aired before Avengers Assemble, this was Travis Willingham's first outing as the God of Thunder. His voice is a nice fit, and it's easy to see why he was kept on. Although it gets a bit silly when Thor outright says "ribbit" instead of making frog noises.

The character himself is a bit too vain for my tastes. I know that he has to be in order to make the moral work, but Thor's whole deal, in both the comics and film, is that he had to overcome his pride in order to even be able to lift his hammer.

After all, "Whosoever wields this hammer, if he be worthy, shall have the power of Thor."

While I'm against having to alter characters to fit a story instead of the other way around, the character wasn't altered too much. Thor's vanity problem is a part of his character arc, after all.

I mean, look at that hair. Clearly, he conditions. With Th'Oréal.
Troy Baker, the eventual voice of both Hawkeye and Loki in Avengers Assemble, also gives a fairly good performance, even if he is basically being asked to do a Tom Hiddleston impression.

The problem is with Loki's rampant idiocy. Sure, Loki has always had ego issues, but you would think he would stop short of bringing his nigh-unbeatable nemesis back to normal because some puny human was making fun of him.

And as for his master plan of ruling Asgard by killing Odin... well, at the very least, it's a bit bland. At the very most, it's out of character. His evil plot in this episode seems to be aping his evil plot in the Thor film. Which, if you'll remember, involved staging an assassination of Odin and playing the rescuer in order to get Odin's respect.

You could argue that this is a different version of the character, and you'd be right, but this version of the character seems so... two-dimensional. He's evil and vain. That's all there is to it.

And I know that Spider-Man tricking him into losing is supposed to come across as a great moment for Spider-Man, but it seems more like Loki's worst moment. We're not cheering for the hero, we're facpalming at the villain.

Pretty standard stuff for the series, though I should bring up the confusing wardrobe choice. Thor is decked out in his then-current comic duds, but Loki is wearing his film costume.

All things considered, it's a minor nitpick, but I'd be very interested to know why that decision was made. Just as someone interested in the design process, not necessarily as a critic.

Final Thoughts
S'alright. I mean, it's watchable.

I can't say that I'd ever go back and watch it just for funsies, but it wasn't a chore to sit through.

As Ultimate Spider-Man goes, I'd say that this is a baseline "average" episode.

But next time, we're going back to the overarching Venom plotline. All I'm going to say about it now... well, do you remember how apathetic everybody was about fighting Venom last time? Just keep that in mind. See you then!


  1. Hey Newbie Newt, it's Wade Wilson... or as I'm more commonly called... DEADPOOOOOL, yeah! Just a little heads up, I might be stopping by next year when my movie gets on the silver screen... so see yas!

    1. Dang it, Deadpool, I just had my fourth wall painted.