Christopher Daniel Barnes as Spider-Man/Peter Parker (voice)
Edward Asner as J. Jonah Jameson (voice)
Sara Ballantine as Mary Jane Watson (voice)
Roscoe Lee Browne as Kingpin/Wilson Fisk (voice)
Joseph Campanella as Lizard/Dr. Curt Connors (voice)
Linda Gary as Aunt May Parker (voice)
Jennifer Hale as Black Cat/Felicia Hardy (voice)
Mark Hamill as Hobgoblin/Jason Phillips Marcendale (voice)
Gary Imhoff as Green Goblin/Haold ‘Harry’ Osborn (voice)
Dawnn Lewis as Detective Terri Lee (voice)
Oliver Muirhead as Spot/Jonathan Ohn (voice)
Rodney Saulsberry as Joseph ‘Robbie’ Robertson (voice)
Bonus Episodes Featuring The Green Goblin And Doctor Octopus
The Rogue’s Challenge Trivia Game
Stan Lee’s Soapbox
English and Spanish Languages
Running Time: 79 Mins.
This DVD features five episodes of the Spider-Man animated series from the 90’s. It is the second such DVD to offer episodes of the cartoon. The episodes on this disc include the following:
– The Spot – A scientist employed by the Kingpin develops technology to open interdimensional portals. When an accident occurs, a number of portals attach themselves to the scientist’s body. He soon realizes that he can control them and use them to transport himself and other objects through space. He calls himself “The Spot”. He uses his new powers to commit crimes all over the city. It’s up to Spider-Man to stop him. However, the Kingpin has other ideas for him.
– Goblin War! – The Hobgoblin has stolen Kingpin’s interdimensional portal technology, but he lacks the ability to keep it running. Realizing that his only option to keep his crime spree going is to return to the Kingpin, he forms a partnership with the master of crime. But when the original Green Goblin hears about this, he decides to steal the portal device for himself. It’s again up to Spider-Man to stop them.
– Turning Point – Realizing that Spider-Man is the only thing standing in his way, The Green Goblin sets out to learn Spider-Man’s secret identity. When he learns that Spidey is none other than his son’s friend Peter Parker, he sets out to ruin his life. In a final confrontation, the Goblin kidnaps Mary Jane Watson and takes her to the top of a bridge. After a fierce battle with Spidey, Goblin and Mary Jane both fall through an interdimensional portal and are trapped.
– Guilty – The Daily Bugle’s Robbie Robertson is set up for a crime he didn’t commit. The police believe that he’s a mastermind behind a large criminal syndicate. In order to prove Robbie’s innocence, J. Jonah Jameson and Spider-Man begin an investigation to clear his name. They soon learn that both the Kingpin and Tombstone are behind the plot.
Finally, in a fifth bonus episode of the TV series titled “The Return of the Green Goblin”, we see Harry Osborn learn about his father’s past and take up the identity of The Green Goblin. As Harry takes up the dark legacy, The Punisher becomes involved in an effort to find the missing Mary Jane Watson.
This DVD is not rated.
It’s fairly obvious that the makers of this DVD are (wisely) cashing in on the current Spider-Man movie hype, but that’s good news for fans. This DVD is going to be loved by fans, enjoyed by children, and generate interest among casual Spidey fans.
The animation is about is good as you can ask for on a TV series. Almost all the characters look exactly like their comic book incarnations. The animation occasionally features computer animation that is a mixed bag. It looks decent when Spidey is swinging through the city, but looks particularly horrible in once scene with a computer animated boat. It probably would have been better to stick with the hand drawn stuff throughout.
The stories are good, but occasionally seem a bit hurried. It’s like they are trying to fit too much into one episode. The action is pretty cool with the “Turning Point” episode featuring some of the most intense and interesting battles that I remember in the series. Many secondary characters even get special attention. We learn about J. Jonah Jameson’s past as a reporter nicknamed “Jigsaw”. Robbie Robertson has a whole episode devoted to him. Mary Jane’s aunt gets more attention than she ever did in the comics. The essence of the comic book stories is here which should be good news to fans. They’re not exactly the same, but there’s enough to make it still identifiable. For example, Felicia Hardy is a meek groupie of Spider-Man throughout these episodes. (Later on she becomes the Black Cat.) The Green Goblin is never killed. The Punisher fights with laser guns rather than bullets. They’re not direct copies of the comic books, but the heart of the stories are there.
After having seen the Spider-Man film, it’s fun to go back and see how the cartoons and the movie have common elements. Of course there will be similarities because they are both based on the comics, but it’s interesting to see how the writers interpret the original comics in similar and differing ways. There’s a scene in the cartoon where Norman Osborn has a conversation with his alter ego in a mirror. In another scene, Norman hints that he knows Peter’s secret identity while sitting at dinner. We also see the Goblin kidnap Mary Jane and have a final confrontation with Spider-Man over a bridge. In another scene, the Goblin bursts into Aunt May’s bedroom in an effort to terrorize Parker. Pretty close to the film, eh? This cartoon also gives us a hint of what it will be like when Harry Osborn finds out Peter Parker’s secret identity in one of the movie sequels.
The Spider-Man cartoons had pretty good voice talents behind them. Christopher Daniel Barnes (The Brady Bunch Movie) is a great Peter Parker. Mark Hamill (Star Wars) adds The Hobgoblin to his long list of cartoon credits. Also featured are Ed Asner as J. Jonah Jameson, Alfonso Ribero as Robbie Robertson’s son, Nell Carter as Betty Brandt, and others. They all do fine jobs.
Fans of the comics will also be glad to see numerous cameos. The Punisher makes an appearance in the bonus episode. The obscure, yet pivotal villain Tombstone cameos in the “Guilty” episode. Comic fans may also remember the Grade-C villain The Spot who stars in the first episode on this DVD.
First up in the extras is the fifth TV series episode “The Return of the Green Goblin”. I have no idea why they included this as a “bonus” episode. After all, not only is the whole DVD named after this particular episode, but it resolves the disappearance of Mary Jane Watson which was set up in the main feature episodes (though in an extremely unsatisfactory way). This one also features the Punisher who is a big fan favorite. Anyway, this episode is good, but should have been included with the main four.
Next up is an episode of the classic 1967 Spider-Man animated series. I watched this show as a kid and haven’t seen one episode since, so this was a particular treat for me. With the classic theme song and cheesy 60’s plots, this is a great piece of nostalgia. Each episode has two stories. The first in this one features Doctor Octopus in “The Triumph of Dr. Octopus”. In this story he steals an SDI type missile that can blow rockets out of the sky. It’s up to Spidey to stop him from using it for evil, of course. The second episode features the Green Goblin and is entitled “Magic Malice”. This episode is both horrific and amusing at the same time. The Goblin steals the cape and magic wand from a magician. He then begins using the magic tricks from them to steal things and defeat Spider-Man. This episode has to be seen to be believed. These old cartoons also emphasize Spidey’s old habit of writing notes signed “Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man” and leaving them at the scene of the crime. It’s worth checking out the DVD just to see this.
Comic fans will be thrilled to see Stan Lee heavily featured on this DVD. While children may have no clue who he is, comic fans will know him as the main mastermind behind the Marvel Superheroes. You have the option to have Stan Lee open each episode with some commentary. While he doesn’t always talk about the particular episode, he always has something of interest to say. Lee talks about how he created the characters, why they act the way they do, and more. Older fans will find it worth listening to. The disc also features “Stan Lee’s Soapbox”. This is 15 minutes of nothing but Stan Lee talking. He discusses how the public’s perception of comics have changed over the years, why he never retired, how to get into comics, and more. Kids will be bored, but adult fans will find this interesting commentary.
Finally, there’s a game titled “The Rogue’s Challenge”. You have to answer questions about The Green Goblin, Kingpin, and other villains in order to save Mary Jane. Along the way, if you need help, you can hit the hint button and Stan Lee will give you a clue as to which answer you should NOT pick. The main problem with this feature is that the questions aren’t all about the episodes on the DVD. Some are about other episodes, so if you haven’t seen them, you’re screwed. Knowledge of the comics isn’t necessarily help, either, since the cartoons frequently depart from them on the details.
The DVD has some spiffy little menus, too, which make playing around the DVD entertaining.
The Bottom Line:
If you’re a Spider-Man fan, this is one to add to your collection.