Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Recap: Ultimate Spider-Man "Rise of the Goblin"

Alright, it's the final episode of Season 1.

When we left off, Norman Osborn became a Green Goblin (to the surprise of nobody in the audience), and Spider-Man ended up quitting S.H.I.E.L.D.

"I'm gonna make my own team! With blackjack! And hookers! You know what? Forget the team."
Naturally, this will set up the gigantic climax at the end where Spider-Man and his S.H.I.E.L.D. team reunite to defeat the Green Goblin through teamwork and friendship, right? I mean, it's not like they would ignore this perfect opportunity to show how integral these young heroes are to both Peter Parker's life and the show itself, right?

...Oh boy.
The episode opens with a limousine speeding through the nearly-empty streets of New York. I've got an aunt who can attest that "the nearly-empty streets of New York" is not a thing that actually happens, but it costs time and money to animate crowds and cars. So whatever, I've got better things to criticize.

Spider-Man: "Man, I'm late for class. And by 'I,' I mean 'we.' I'm Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man."


It. Is.

The twenty-sixth.


We know who Spider-Man is. I know who Spider-Man is. The kids in the audience know who Spider-Man is. Your grandmother knows who Spider-Man is.

Why can't... Okay, no. I'm less than a minute unto this episode, and I've harped on that for a long time. I'll save my full analysis for my Review of Season 1 as a whole.

Spider-Man explains that his BFF Harry Osborn is inside that limo, having slept through his alarm again, despite Spider-Man banging on his window to try and wake him up.

They're climing on your windows, wakin' your people up.
So now they're both late for class. And to top it all off, Spidey hasn't gotten much sleep lately, since he's been watching over Harry in case his goblinized dad comes around.

Spider-Man: "I should've trusted my gut from the beginning. Everyone's better off with me being a solo act. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. My power, my responsibility."

Which is really unintentionally funny considering what happens next.

The Green Goblin falls out of the sky onto the hood of the limo as Spider-Man watches from the rooftop of Midtown High. And he continues to sit there and watch as the Goblin smashes the hood, rips the hood off, and flips the car around to try and reach Harry.

"I wish some kind of hero would save Harry from his dad."
In fact, Spidey sits there and watches for so long that the Sandwich Club has enough time to show up in costume to deal with the threat. Nova actually lands the first hit with his energy blasts before Spider-Man decides to jump down and deal with the situation.

"I need to put a stop to this!"
"Guys! Get out of here!"
"Give me a second, green bean, I'll be with you in a bit.
Beat up the limo driver all you like, just don't touch Harry until I'm ready."
No, really. Spider-Man jumps down right in front of the Sandwich Club to tell them to GTFO while the Goblin roars offscreen.

You know what? Spider-Man is shirking that great responsibility he just mentioned by focusing on refusing the Sandwich Club's help rather than focusing on the problem he doesn't want help with.

Great Irresponsibility Count: 1

The Goblin rips open the door to the limo, coming face to face with his son

Harry Osborn: "Who are you?"
Green Goblin: "Haarrry...."

"Wow, that's just like my name."
Spider-Man launches the car door at the big guy before trying to get Harry to safety. But before Harry can get out of the car, Spidey finds himself needing to web the not-so-jolly green giant up in a makeshift straitjacket. It doesn't last long, so the Sandwich Club rushes in to keep the Goblin busy while Spider-Man gets Harry to safety.

Harry Osborn: "What does that thing want? How does it know me?"

You know, the last thing Harry needs right now is the truth. After all, finding out that his dad's a monster might make him do something stupid. After all, Norman Osborn is now a monster with unknown motivations. For example, if Norman's goal is to kill Harry, then the last thing Harry needs is to go up to his dad and say "Dad, it's me! It's your son! It's okay, I'm here! Everything's going to be okay!"

Spider-Man should just answer with an "I'm not sure" for now. Plenty of time to fill Harry in when the Goblin's in custody and S.H.I.E.L.D. is working on a cure.

Spider-Man: "Harry, I'm sorry to be the one to tell you... but that thing... is your father!"

...You're an idiot, Spider-Man.

Harry Osborn: "What? That can't be my dad."

"Search your feelings, you know it to be true."
Harry Osborn: "He's not a freak. He's normal!"

Delivered with the same emotion as if Harry had said "I'm not a brony. I don't even watch cartoons!"

Not that there's anything wrong with that, of course.

Anyway, as the fight continues, the school bell rings.

Spider-Man: "Yay! Someone called a half day!"
Harry Osborn: "Do you always make jokes while other people's lives are falling apart?

That's kind of his schtick, yeah.

Inside the school, Principal Coulson, decked out in his S.H.I.E.L.D. armor, makes an announcement that all the kids should get inside the gym immediately. Spider-Man reminds the audience that the gym is full of "S.H.I.E.L.D.-y security stuff," and then attempts to explain to Harry why his dad woke up all Gobliny.

Spider-Man: "Your father was injected with a toxic compound by some nutjob employee."

Technically, it was mutagenic, not toxic. It's probably both, to be honest, but it's the whole "mutagenic" thing that caused Norman's little problem.

Spider-Man: "He's not himself right now. He's a mindless, dangerous creature."
Harry Osborn: "That's not possible..."
Spider-Man: "Possible? Three words: You were Venom."

"Right. 'Were'...."
Coulson makes the announcement again, probably because, as we can see, students are just kind of loitering in the hall. Which is actually pretty true-to-life. Back at my first high-school, the fire alarm went off so often that we all just started ignoring it. It makes sense that the students are pretty blasé about a supervillain attack.

I mean, the show began with three of the Frightful Four attacking the school. And since then they've endured Frost Giants on a Field Trip, Peter Parker's Pilfered Science Project, an Asgardian Animal Attack, and possibly some stuff I've forgotten about.

Heck, they got over the Frightful Four incident so quickly that nobody minded it when Mary Jane wrote a play about it. and the Trapster attacked during said play. The kids just do not care by this point.

"Ugh. If it's anything less than Doctor Doom, I'm just going to hang out in the hall."
Luckily, Coulson still cares, so he grabs his favorite CGI weapons and puts his his helmet on.

Agent Coulson: "Not on my watch."

Outside, the Goblin and the Sandwich Club simply look at each other while standing as still as possible. Mostly because the animators are assuming we'd be paying more attention to Spider-Man and Harry in the foreground. Spider-Man tells Harry that he needs to get to safety with the other students, but Agent Coulson comes up to say that Harry will need to be taken into S.H.I.E.L.D. custody.

Agent "C" gets put in charge of Harry while Spider-Man prepares to kick Goblin butt. But before he does, Harry makes Spidey promise that he won't hurt his dad. As Spider-Man promises, his spider-sense goes off. This time, Spider-Man actually yells "Get down," which manages to save Harry from getting hit by Nova. Although Spider-Man wasn't so lucky, I'm still going to give the writers props for actually having Spidey's spider-sense make a small difference.

Agent C: "Let's go, Mr. Osborn."
Harry Osborn: "I'm not 'Mr. Osborn.'"

"Mr. Osborn is my father! ...Right over there. The green guy."
Spider-Man heads back into the fray, taking some time out to yell at Nova first.

Iron Fist: "Two are stronger than one."
Power Man: "And three is even better."

Power Man tosses a fire hydrant at the Goblin in revenge for breaking his arm when they fought in the last episode, and Spider-Man follows it up by KO-ing the big guy with a Peggy Punch before telling Power Man to get lost.

So, I get that Spider-Man feels responsible for this mess and wants to deal with it himself. That's why he left S.H.I.E.L.D. But... what does Spider-Man expect to do after defeating the Goblin? The Goblin will probably need to be taken into S.H.I.E.L.D. custody... which the Sandwich Club is helping with. Unless... Nah, it'd be silly to assume that Spider-Man would tell S.H.I.E.L.D. to get lost and let him take care of the now-unconscious Goblin.

White Tiger: "Tiger to Fury. Mean Green is down. Awaiting extraction at Midtown High."
Spider-Man: "I told you guys to stay out of it."

"Now put Harry back in the limo and let me take it from the top when the Goblin wakes up."
Oh, for the love of Galactus, Spider-Man.

Okay, you know what? Let's say that S.H.I.E.L.D. decided to let you handle this one.

Pop quiz, hotshot. What do you do with an unconscious behemoth that will try to kill you as soon as he wakes up?

That is the wrong answer and you know it.
Nick Fury (communicator): "With all due respect, Spider-Man, it's not your call to make. Your selflessness is noted, but S.H.I.E.L.D. has a job to do."

Holy crap, Nick Fury's being the rational one. Everything I know is wrong.

Nick Fury (communicator): "Strategic Homeland Intervention, enforcement, and Logistics Division. That's what S.H.I.E.L.D. stands for."

And that's why he sent in the Strategic Anonymous NYC-Division for Warding, Investigation, Combat, and Handling's Centrally-Led Unified Battalion. That's what S.A.N.D.W.I.C.H.C.L.U.B. stands for.

But before more agents can arrive to take the Goblin into custody, he wakes up and electrifies the water from the broken hydrant, zapping the Sandwich Club. But Spidey's spider-sense goes of for the second time this episode, leading him to jump into the air and remain unaffected. Man, the writers are finally getting the hang of writing that spider-sense, aren't they?

Spider-Man takes a second to attack the Goblin in retaliation...

Spider-Man: "Nobody, and I mean nobody... hurts my friends!"

...before regrouping with the Sandwich Club and telling them to get inside to help Harry. Once inside, Harry yells at them for hurting his dad, and even makes his eyes turn black when the fight resumes inside the school.

Harry Osborn: "Don't hurt him! Or you'll soon regret it."

Spider-Man brushes this odd behavior off and blindfolds Harry before carrying him off to the detention room while actually letting the others fight the Goblin. Once the others fall back and regroup, they activate the detention room's secret chute to the helicarrier while S.H.I.E.L.D. troops arrive by tank and aircraft to infiltrate the school.

...I really hope there's some kind of super-heavy-duty underground bunker in the gym. Those students are going to need it if S.H.I.E.L.D.'s going to be firing a tank around.

Once on board the helicarrier, Spider-Man takes off Harry's blindfold as the helicarrier takes off from the depths of the Hudson. Agent C congratulates Spider-Man on a job well done as a report comes in from the agents at the school.

S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent: "We got him, Director Fury. Goblin down, I repeat, goblin down!"

But Spider-Man's spider-sense hints otherwise. It doesn't manage to warn him that there's a S.H.I.E.L.D. jet incoming until it's too late, but to be fair, even with his spider-sense going off, it's very unlikely he could have figured out that the Green Goblin stole a jet and was about to crash into the helicarrier. And that voice from earlier?

Green Goblin: "We got him, Director Fury. Goblin down, I repeat, goblin down!"

Voice mimicry. Or at least, the ability to sound like Steven Weber's normal voice. Since we never see this ability again, I can only assume that Green Goblin put it back up his butt after pulling it out of there for this one scene.

And yes, the Green Goblin speaks coherent sentences now. In fact, he's very well-spoken, and immediately accuses Spider-Man of being a liar before beckoning toward his son.

Green Goblin: "Come to papa."
Harry Osborn: "Uhhh..."
Spider-Man: "So creeped out... I don't even have a clever comeback."

Green Goblin threatens to tear the helicarrier apart unless they hand his son over, but Fury refuses. Though he is impressed with how quickly the guy seems to have gotten his deranged mind back. Fury offers to have his scientists work on a cure, but the Goblin insists that he's better than ever, the next stage of human evolution, that sort of thing.

Harry walks toward his dad, but Iron Fist and Power Man gently put their hands on his shoulders to try and dissuade him. And those gentle hands are the last straw as Harry knocks them back with a little Venom-enhanced strength. Harry begs his dad to listen to Fury. Maybe get some help from that poison he was injected with.

Green Goblin: "Is that what your friend told you? Did he mention that this poison has his DNA all over it?"

Which... means nothing.

Harry Osborn: "You did this to him? You told me he was attacked."

Here's how Spider-Man should reply.

"Dr. Octavius kidnapped me, stole my blood, mixed it with Venom, then he injected your dad with the result before I could stop him."

Instead, his mind whips up a cutaway to the "Wheel of Explanations," a call back to the Wheel of Excuses from an earlier episode.

Spin 1: "Your dad's an evil mastermind!"

Spin 2: "Your dad's mind go bye-bye!"

Spin 3: "You dad's a liar-liar, pants on fire!"

Well.... no. Osborn only said that the serum had Spider-Man's DNA in it, which is 100% true.

The Green Goblin roars so hard that the show snaps back to reality as Spider-Man stammers. Before he can spit it out, Fury activates a forcefield between them and the Goblin and tells his agents to get Harry to safety. But luckily, Spidey manages to spit the truth out to his best friend.

Spider-Man: "Your dad's an evil mastermind go bye-bye and a liar-liar pants on fire!"

...I'm not even commenting on that.

As Harry gets taken away, Spider-Man's opinion does a sudden 180.

Spider-Man: "Me going it alone? Stupid. Me with you guys? Genius. Let's do this as a team!"

I guess fighting the Goblin together at school made him change his opinion. I get that there's a monster that wants them all dead, so maybe taking some time to speechify isn't a good idea... but his "Me going it alone? Stupid." spiel is in no way a satisfying resolution to his defection from S.H.I.E.L.D.

Anyway, they drop the forcefield and prepare to attack... but the Goblin isn't there. Turns out, he's smarter than he looks. He broke out and raided the S.H.I.E.L.D. armory, badly injuring Dr. Connors's right arm in the process.

"Argh! What an ironic twist of fate after I pretended to only have one arm in the second episode!"
The Goblin returns in full force with improved gauntlets as well as a glider, completing the look. And if he starts throwing around pumpkin bombs, he'll have the full set! ...And I'll have to wonder why S.H.I.E.L.D. was making bombs that look like pumpkins.

Green Goblin: "Such wonderful toys, Connors. This new glove fits like a glove."

Who thought that was a good line? 

Also, why was S.H.I.E.L.D. making super-powerful electro-gauntlets big enough to fit the Hulk's super-sized mitts?
"Special order. I am a General, after all."
Iron Fist: "A glove is only as strong as the fist within it."

Except for Iron Man's gloves. Or the Infinity Gauntlet.

Fighting ensues, and the Green Goblin begins to truly respect his nemesis. He even refers to Spider-Man as one of his greatest achievements, what with last episode's reveal that his spider-powers come from Oscorp tech.

Spider-Man: "You wanna know who's responsible for who I am?"

Steve Ditko?

Spider-Man: "My mentors!"

Yeah! Like Uncle Ben! Whose advice you keep ignoring! And Nick Fury! Who's been lying to you and manipulating you from day one!

Spider-Man: "My friends!"

Yeah! Like the ones you don't trust with your secret identity, Mary Jane and Harry! Or the ones who treat you like crap, the Sandwich Club!

Spider-Man: "My team!"

Yeah! The aforementioned people who treat you like crap!

Spider-Man punctuates each of those with a punch, and even tries a little teamwork for the finishing blow. But Nova accidentally blasts a hole in the side of the helicarrier, which the Goblin uses to escape. And after summoning his glider, he resumes the search for Harry.

Speaking of Harry, he's Venoming out, since the events of the day are starting to take their toll on him. As he runs through the halls, the damage to the helicarriers engines becomes too much to handle and the whole thing starts falling out of the sky.

Well, it was inevitable that the helicarrier was going to go down at some point this season. That's what they do.
Fury orders a full evacuation, so all the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and the Sandwich Club get the heck out of Dodge. Because why would we want to see the characters that the show has been insisting are important to this show in the epic final showdown?

Spider-Man refuses to go with his team, but Fury insists. If the Green Goblin survives, Fury's going to need Spider-Man on the ground, ready to fight. Unfortunately, Harry shows up to hear that last part.

Harry Osborn: "'If' he survives? You said you would help him."

On cue, the Green Goblin shows up, ready to use Fury's words to convince his son to join his side. After Spidey starts webbing the Green Goblin up, the helicarrier hits the Hudson and slowly fills with water.

The Green Goblin has Harry by the shirt and gives him "a little push to evolve" by way of an electrical zapping, fueling Harry's full transformation into Venom.

Venom: "Father no want Harry.... Wants Venom. Only Venom!"

Okay... wasn't Harry still carrying the symbiote a secret? I'm pretty sure that nobody but Harry knew about his continued bond with Venom.

Maybe Norman realized that Harry only wears the black shirt when he's bonded with the symbiote?
Another fight ensues as Venom and the Goblin gang up on Spidey. White Tiger calls in to check if he's okay, and he responds by telling his team to stay away. So much for learning the value of teamwork. And then Spidey seemingly contradicts his treatment by his team by calling them a family.

Spider-Man: "Family that cares about me faults and all."

What show have you been watching?

Spider-Man: "One that doesn't try to make into something I'm not!"

Except for Fury attempting to mold you into a leader against your will. And then they forced their way into your social life, making you their "friend" despite your wishes to have a separate life from them.

I think the Stockholm Syndrome is doing all of Spider-Man's speechifying.

Spider-Man: "And if either one of you so much as touches them, you'll rue the day we met."
Spider-Man (cutaway): "Yeah, I said rue. And some day, if I live past this, I'm gonna look up what it means in a dictionary!"

"...The French word for 'street'? That doesn't make any sense."
Long story short, fighting, fighting, more fighting, Nick Fury gets injured, water-based quips are made...

Spider-Man: "Marco!"

...and Spider-Man manages to pep-talk Harry into fighting the Venom symbiote, telling Harry not to let his monstrous dad define who he is.

Harry makes Venom grab a live power cable, freeing himself from the gooey mess once and for all. Disappointed, Green Goblin collects a sample of the black ooze for later use, vowing to find a worthy host for it. He then escapes, vowing revenge as Spider-Man's web-shooters run out.

As water rushes in through the Goblin's escape hole, Spider-Man saves a frowning Harry Osborn in a daring rescue, shoving him into an escape pod before doing the same to Nick Fury, who was stuck under an I-beam underwater. Next up, he does the same to some S.H.I.E.L.D. agents while Fury emerges onshore next to the Sandwich Club.

More escape pods hit the beach, but not a single one of them has Spider-Man in it.

Suddenly, the helicarrier is rocked by a huge explosion before sinking even faster into the Hudson. Nobody could have survived that.

Power Man: "Brother was a hero."
White Tiger: "Who's gonna tell his Aunt May?"

"Tell him that her nephew horribly burned to death in a watery grave while working black ops? Not it."
"I, uh, thought we could emphasize all the people he saved."
"Not. It."
But before the rest can all rush to say "Not it," a familiar voice behind them speaks.

Spider-Man: "Tell her what?"

The Sandwich Club rushes over to their leader as Nick Fury commends him for risking his life to save all the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents aboard the helicarrier.

Nick Fury: "That's pretty ultimate in my book."

But Harry disagrees, and he shows his displeasure by pushing Spider-Man over.

Harry Osborn: "I had a dad! A dad I knew and loved for all my life and now he's gone! And it's your fault."

Harry vows revenge against the webhead and storms off on his own. Spider-Man wants to follow after him and set things right, but Iron Fist has an alternative to futilely trying to change Harry's mind.

Iron Fist: "Spider-Man may his enemy in battle. But Peter is still his friend at home."
Power Man: "Speaking of homes... think ours just sank."
Spider-Man: "Wait-wait-wait. You guys lived on the helicarrier?"

Thus retroactively making their arguments for S.H.I.E.L.D.'s surveillance cameras look worse, but I've already gone over that. Point is, they need a place to stay.

So we cut to later that night, where Peter lies to Aunt May about his friend's homes all burning down. And she's more than willing to accept them into her own home for as long as they need. So Aunt May gets to meet each member of the Sandwich Club in turn while Peter sums each one up by describing what makes each one of them a stock character.

Peter Parker: "This is Ava. Get a good look now because that face'll most likely be buried in a book the rest of the time she's here."

She's the smart one.

Peter Parker: "And this is Luke. Big biceps, bigger heart."

He's the strong guy with a heart of gold.

Luke Cage: "Place is off the chain, Mrs. P."

And the black one.

Peter Parker: "This is Danny. He's... chill."

He's the stoner.

Peter Parker: "And last, but will never consider himself least, this is Sam. Let me apologize in advance for whatever he..."
Sam: "Thank you again, Mrs. Parker. I... we really appreciate it."

He's the two-faced one.

Look at the other Sandwich Club members. They're not buying it either.
Sam: "And let me know the chore schedule. I'm a mean dishwasher."
Aunt May: "Thank you so much, Sam. How very thoughtful of you. And how can I turn down dishwashing?"
Sam: "Oh, the simple answer is... you can't!"
Both: [laughter]
Aunt May: "Oh, you're cute."

...Are these two flirting? I don't know if Nova/Aunt May shipping is a thing, and I don't want to know. But Aunt May having a thing for Nova does explain why she won't be seen dating Agent Coulson ever again....

Or maybe Paul Dini's pet character just gets along swimmingly with Jeph Loeb's pet character. Who knows?

Spider-Man (voiceover): "So that's my life now. A new family. Everything changes on my road to becoming the ultimate Spider-Man."

And with Sam already getting into Peter's stuff...

Peter Parker: "No one touches my comics! They're in order!"

...the episode ends. As does the season. But before I review the latter, it's time to review the former.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you! Someone else who thought Spidey was making WAAAY too much of deal as to what to say to Harry when Gobbie blamed it on him.