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MTV's Spider-Man: The End of Season One

On July 11th of this year MTV debuted it's much hyped Spider-Man computer animated series. It was supposed to be hip, edgy and deliver Spider-Man to a whole new legion of fans that were left wanting after seeing the Spider-Man movie.

We gave fans an early review of the show and said that MTV did live up to their promise…that Spider-Man is in the show. That was about it. The plots were fairly simple and the computer generated animation looked unfinished and unrealistic.

Last Friday MTV aired the 2nd part of Mind Games, the season finale. For the fans that haven't been following the show, we thought it might be nice to check in again with MTV's Spider-Man and let you know if it was worth watching yet.

I've watched all of the episodes this season and I stand by my review from July. The majority of the episodes have just been the generic, out of the box type of storylines that plagued the Spider-Man comics for most of the late 90s. They are not as bad as "The Clone Saga" but not as interesting as Ultimate Spider-Man

(Dear Brian Michael Bendis, I love you. Will you have my baby? Your biggest fan, M.)

But MTV did manage to take the show up a level, at least story wise, for the season finale. Mind Games begins with that old plot device, the prison transfer. The Gaines twins have been captured and are on their way to jail for…um…some kind of crime (don't look directly at the plot or it may shatter!)

The twins possess mental powers that allow them to control people and create false realities. With the help of some generic henchmen they are soon breathing the sweet air of freedom. Too bad for them their escape route happens to take them into the path of Spider-Man. After a brief struggle, Spider-Man apprehends the twins and turns them over to the police.

Later Spider-Man and MJ stand on top of a skyscraper looking out over the city. Over the course of the season, the writers have developed that MJ has a crush on Spider-Man and has fallen out of love with Peter because he's never around. Meanwhile Peter has a crush on Indy, a girl that works at a local news station, but still harbors feelings for MJ. It's all very Dawson's Creek.

After his romantic moment with MJ, Peter hooks up with Indy and Harry. She provides some exposition and lets us know that the Gaines twins managed to break Pterodax and Silver Sable (two villains from earlier in the season) out of jail after their fight with Spider-Man. Where do they find the time?

So, off Spider-Man goes to have a quick and pointless battle with Pterodax. He mops them up in a matter of minutes and then moves right back to his love triangle with MJ and Indy. The fight scene had no point or repercussions, but we later learn that's all part of the plot.

After a brief conversation with J.Jonah Jameson at the Daily Bugle, Spider-Man ends up in a back alley brawl with Silver Sable and Kraven the Hunter (voiced by Michael Dorn.)

Kraven mentions that he's looking for revenge against Spider-Man for putting him in prison after their last fight "years ago." Guess that happened between the movie and the start of the TV show. Silver Sable gets nabbed by the cops when they show up, but Kraven escapes. As Sable is taken in to custody, she screams that there are other ways to get revenge against Spider-Man.

Off Spider-Man rushes to protect Mary Jane. After a brisk, heartfelt conversation Peter reveals his identity to Mary Jane. She goes gaga for him and thanks him for trusting her. Just as they are about to live happily ever after, Kraven shows up kills her. Ain't that a bitch!?

Kraven escapes and Peter is left with feelings of rage and anger towards him. Enter the mysterious stranger (voiced by Stan Lee) who convinces Peter to join the dark side and murder Kraven.

(dream sequence noise)

Cut to an abandoned warehouse where the Gaines twins, the stranger, and the henchmen are all standing around an unconscious Spider-Man. Turns out none of the above plot happened and Spider-Man has been brainwashed into believing that Kraven killed MJ. The twins have programmed Spider-Man to murder Kraven as revenge for experiments Kraven committed against their parents. Spider-Man wakes up looking for Kraven's blood and that's just the end of part one.

There is no doubt this plot is far more complex than the ones MTV has given us in the past. Maybe it is the fact that they had an hour to work with rather than just 30 minutes but the difference is really noticeable. MTV may want to consider taking the Justice League route and making every plotline a two-parter.

Unfortunately a lot of the things that bothered me at the beginning of the season still do. The graphics, for instance, still look as hollow and fake as they did in the first episode. Some argue that it is a stylistic choice, but it lacks realism. Look at Cartoon Network's very stylized Teen Titans. The show caters to a younger audience with its Matrix effects and over-animated facial expressions, but at least it plays by the rules it sets up. You buy into the Teen Titan's reality because it is consistent and thorough throughout the show.

All of the details that make Spider-Man's world realistic are still missing: there is very little ambient noise in the thriving metropolis, the streets are devoid of any dirt or trash and objects have no real feel of weight to them. Spider-Man moves realistically while swinging and fighting but Peter's hands look like he's wearing giant foam fingers.

The good news, if you're a fan of the show or really want to start watching it, is that Spider-Man pulled in decent ratings on Friday and MTV has already renewed it for a second season. Hopefully they will have time over the summer to work on the finishing touches of the show. If they can pull the graphics and storylines together in time to coincide with the Spider-Man 2 release, MTV's Spider-Man could be worth being a smash hit.

Michael Goodson

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