Ultimate Spider-Man "Me Time" Review

Posted by Spiderfan001 04 July 2012

Spidey finally meets Doc Ock.


The Story

The episode opens with Spider-Man fighting Whirlwind while Doctor Octopus observes the battle in his lab.  After a dizzying battle, Spider-Man captures Whirlwind and... pukes in his helmet (yep, they went there).  Nick Fury arrives and expresses his dismay at the amount of property damage Spidey's battle with Whirlwhind caused and asks him to report back to S.H.I.E.L.D. for training.  Spidey refuses, saying that he's earned a little "me time."


At home, Peter finds a note from his Aunt May saying that she'll be out for the weekend.  Peter uses this opportunity to walk around the house in his underwear and play videogames all day, but his fun is spoiled when he discovers that Fury has planted cameras all over his house.  When Spider-Man confronts Fury about this, Fury explains that the cameras are to make sure his Aunt is safe when he's not around.  Annoyed about the privacy violation, Spider-Man hands Fury his communicator and tells him to get the cameras out of his house.

Meanwhile, Doctor Octopus gets a call from Norman Osborn, who scolds him for making no progress with regards to Spider-Man.  He threatens to detonate Octavius' lab if he does not get results soon.  Ock decides to try and capture Spider-Man himself.

Doctor Octopus attacks Spider-Man at an amusement park (while Spidey rides a roller coaster... in costume... weird).  Their battle (during which Spidey coins the name "Doctor Octopus") takes them into the hall of mirrors where Doc Ock is able to knock Spidey unconcious.

At his lab, Ock informs Norman that he's captured Spider-Man and that he'll deliver more information when it suits him.  Spider-Man wakes up just as Ock is about to cut him open and escapes, resuming their battle.  Spider-Man is eventually able to put Ock down by webbing the breathing apparatus on his chest.  Watching all this, Norman decides to cut his losses and detonate Octavius' lab, which as it turns out is under water.  As water starts to flood the lab, Spider-Man contacts Fury via one of Ock's computers and asks for help, apologizing for what happened earlier.  He's cut off as Doc Ock resumes his attack.  Octavius eventually passes out, allowing Spider-Man to take him and swim towards the surface.  Sadly, Spidey passes out before he can reach the top.


Peter awakens on the Helicarrier, where Fury informs him that they found no trace of Doc Ock when they found him.  Peter again apologizes for handing over his communicator and agrees to allow Fury to place a camera outside of the Parker household as a compromise.  Peter also requests that Fury delete the footage he had taken of him in the house.  Fury does this, but not before showing some of Peter's more embarassing moments to the team.

Thoughts

Doctor Octopus has so far been this show's best villain.  The character's hermit-like design combined with Tom Kenny's creepy portrayal has made him the most successful reimagining of a Spider-Man character this show has done.  Needless to say, I was looking forward to an episode where the good doctor would take centre stage and "Me Time" looked to be the one to scratch that itch.  Sadly this episode was pretty disappointing.  It got off to a bad start when Spider-Man threw up in Whirlwind's helmet.  Things got worse as we were then forced to witness a montage of what Peter does when he's home alone.  It brought up that awkward feeling I got when first watching Spider-Man 3, seeing Peter strut down Manhattan with an emo haircut as James Brown music played in the background.  It was one of those moments where things get so silly you start to question why you're watching in the first place.  Then there was the bizarre scene with Peter as Spider-Man riding a rollercoaster with a bunch of little kids.  This is how he spends his time as Spider-Man?  What happened to "with great power comes great responsibility?"

Then we have this show's version of Aunt May, who seems to be defined by her absence.  There's not much to her and Peter's relationship; she's never around, she can take care of herself, and she doesn't seem to worry about money (yet another classic aspect of Spider-Man this show jettisons).  Hopefully we can get an episode that fleshes her out a bit more.  I don't know about you, but I think this show is the perfect place for an animated adaption of the Doc Ock/Aunt May wedding!  If you're going to go over the top, you might as well go all the way!

Do we need an "Ultimate" version of this?  Yes, yes we do.

Despite my ranting the episode wasn't all bad.  Doc Ock's design was great; the way the character moves, with his body hanging lifeless while his arms do all the work, is pretty cool and suitably creepy.  Ock's relationship with Osborn is fun to watch, and some of the jokes were actually funny.  Unfortunately a lot of these aspects get lost in a sea of lame jokes and odd characterization. 

It's probably a coincidence, but this is the second Spider-Man series in a row to feature Spider-Man fighting Doc Ock at an amusement park.  The Spectacular Spider-Man version was better. 

"Me Time" was probably my least favourite episode of this show yet.  Hopefully it can get back on track next week.       

Ninth on our list of the best Spider-Man stories is 2004's Spider-Man 2.

Creative Team: Sam Raimi (Director), Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Alfred Molina, James Franco, JK Simmons (Cast), Michael Chabon, Alfred Gough, Miles Millar (Writers)

What Happened: Peter Parker still struggles to balance his private life with his duties as Spider-Man, who his best friend blames for the suspicious death of his father. The girl he loves is engaged to someone else. And his mentor has gained super powers, and gone insane. But a solution seems to present itself, as Peter Parker loses his powers. So what about his responsibility?

Why It's In The Top 50: Mister Mets explains his response to the film.
This was a perfect continuation of the first Spider-Man movie, and may have more great moments than any of the other stories (although to be fair it's going to take a larger chunk of your time to watch this than to read Kraven's Last Hunt.) Tobey Maguire's performance as Peter Parker, and Spider-Man is excellent. Alfred Molina's Doctor Octopus is a compelling villain, and his battles with Spider-Man have only been topped once in the comics (more on that later). Harry Osborn's story has never been handled better, and left you disappointed that it was going to be another three years until the sequel (and that left you disappointed for other reasons). Rosemary Harris delivers an extraordinary performance as Aunt May, especially when Peter tells her of his connection to Uncle Ben's death. JK Simmons is again excellent as J. Jonah Jameson. My crush on Kirsten Dunst continues, and Peter's infatuation with Mary Jane came to it's perfect conclusion. There are a lot of great Parker luck moments like his landlord taking his twenty bucks, his ineffective search for hors d'oeuvres and his meeting with Bruce Campbell. The subplot with him losing his powers was lifted directly from Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1, but worked superbly. Given another five minutes, I'd come up with a lot of other great things about this movie. 
I left the first Spider-Man movie wondering how I would have done that movie. I left Spider-Man 2 thinking about what I'd do for Spider-Man 3, because I couldn't top the sequel.
This is still Spiderfan001's favourite superhero movie:

With Spider-Man 2, Sam Raimi took nearly everything that makes Spider-Man such a compelling character and distilled it into one movie. Tobey Maguire was briliant as the nerdy, down-on-his-luck Peter Parker, and Raimi had no bones about making life more difficult for Peter every chance he got. Little touches like Peter's broken apartment door, accidentally washing his Spider-Man costume with his whites, not being able to get a drink at a party; this film is chalk full of great, humbling Spider-Man moments. The film also balances Peter's relationship with his supporting cast perfectly; whether it's his strained relationship with Harry Osborn, his love for Mary Jane or his Aunt May's money problems. Alfred Molina made Doctor Octopus a compelling, sympathetic character in addition to being a great visual (those tentacles looked awesome). Spidey's battles with Doc Ock are still some of the best superhero fight scenes ever put on film, and help make Spider-Man 2 the best looking film of the trilogy. This movie was a rare case where everything came together perfectly to create not only a great Spider-Man movie, but a great Spider-Man story in general.

What the pros say: Writer Michael Chabon explained in a Q&A how he came to work in the film, and the main difference between Spider-Man 2 and the much less successful (artistically speaking) Spider-Man 3.


John Byrne hated it.

In his Spider-Man Manifesto, Tom Brevoort praised the film as a model for the writers.

The second SPIDER-MAN film hits all of the right essential notes: Peter is a struggling, young guy, has a tough time making ends meet, and his romantic life is complicated by the pull he feels to go out and take action as Spidey. Being Spider-Man is a release, but it's also a sacrifice. If you're not always putting Spidey in a situation where he has to choose between his everyday responsibilities and those of being a superhero, then you're doing something wrong.

What others say: Roger Ebert said it was one of the ten best films of 2004.
Here's the best superhero movie ever made. The genre does not lend itself to greatness, although the first "Superman" movie had considerable artistry and "Blade II" and "The Hulk" had their qualities. DirectorSam Raimi's first Spider-Man movie was thin and the special effects too cartoony, but the sequel is a transformation. Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunstbring unusual emotional complexity to comic book characters, Alfred Molina's Doc Ock is one of the great movie villains, and the special effects, while understandably not "realistic," bring a presence and a sense of (literal) gravity to the film; Spider-Man now seems like a human and not a drawing as he swings from the skyscrapers, and his personal problems -- always the strong point of the Marvel comics -- are given full weight and importance. A great entertainment.
Johanna of Comics Worth Reading reviewed the Blu-Ray.

Spider-Man 2 is immensely faithful to the comics. It captures Parker’s struggles to balance friends, family, secrets, school, and a job in such a way many can relate. That’s one of the many reasons Spider-Man was truly something new when he was created — he was distinctly working-class with money struggles that none of the others had, most of whom were playboy millionaires or alien royalty.
Related Stories: The film adapted elements of Amazing Spider-Man #50, as well as the first Amazing Spider-Man Annual, and Harry Osborn's arc from Amazing Spider-Man #123-135.

Scene Analysis: After what remains the most impressive fight scene in any supehero film, Spider-Man has to save a train full of people. This is essentially the movie's version of the impossible task scene that's been a staple of the series since Amazing Spider-Man #33. Raimi and Maguire balance the immensity of the deed with the unlikeness of the hero.



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