Spider-Man: The Ultimate Villain Showdown
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
I'm sure you all know the story of Spider-Man by now, but beyond that, this is a collection (and blatant attempt to cash-in on Spidey's recent success) of four episodes from the animated series that ran on Fox around 1993. The compilation follows the "Sins of the Father" storyline that deals with Harry and Norman Osborn, Doc Ock and other ne'er-do-wells.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Don't be suckered in by the SPIDER-MAN movie hype. I remember being excited when the series first debuted on TV (being a fan of the 80s series) but being completely let down when I saw it. The animation is awful, the stories are blah and did I mention the crappy animation? Die-hard fans might enjoy it but I'm as die-hard as they come and I couldn't stand to sit through this. In all, there are the four episodes, as well as one additional episode from the 1967 series which isn't included in the main block of episodes, which run for about 80 minutes total.
Normally I say that if you didn't like the film, you won't like the extras. That's not the case here. While I didn't like the "film," I am still a big Spidey fan so I appreciated an extra nuggets. First off, this DVD would be nothing without the participation of Stan "The Man" Lee. He provides a video introduction to each episode that you have the option of viewing. Stan also gives us Stan's Soapbox which is basically a twenty-minute or so talk with the man and how/why he created Spider-Man and so on. It's probably nothing you haven't heard before but still interesting to hear coming straight from the man himself.
Next up is the coolest feature, in my eyes, which is the pilot episode for 1967 "Spider-Man" series. Now this is good stuff! While the animation and dialogue is a tad cheesy (think "Superfriends") it's a nostalgic blast of fun that should've been the entire DVD.
Finally, you get what they refer to as a Villain Dossier. It's similar to the bio pages on Marvel.com where you find out all about a certain villain's powers, origins and such. Except here you get more insight from Stan Lee and a few video clips to accompany the baddie.
I would normally suggest that only Spider-Man buffs get this DVD, but in this case, I'd suggest the opposite. Buffs will likely be annoyed with the quality of the sub-par series and bored by the generic extras. This disc is for people relatively new to Spider-Man looking to get some background on the character. My advice? Wait until SPIDER-MAN leaves theaters and pick this one up in your local Blockbuster value bin...