Fans of Spider-Man were no doubt excited by the launch of Disney+, which is the latest streaming service to hit the market. Disney+ features the combined properties of Marvel Studios, Star Wars, Disney Animation, and more. This includes quite a few Spider-Man animated series, though one of the best is tragically not yet available on the streaming service.
The Spectacular Spider-Man debuted in 2008 and featured an extremely catchy intro that is probably playing in your head right now if you're familiar with the series. Spectacular managed to update many of the characters while also staying true to classic storylines across two insanely fun seasons. Today we are going to take a look at the best episodes of The Spectacular Spider-Man that made this one of the best Spidey series ever made.
10 S1E03 - "NATURAL SELECTION"
Most of The Spectacular Spider-Man's first season focused on the creation of most of his iconic villains, as Peter had only become Spider-Man the previous school year prior to the series. "Natural Selection" featured the inevitable transformation of Dr. Curt Connors into the Lizard, who had become a big part of young Peter's life in the series.
Not only was he one of his deadliest villains, but their relationship made it personal to Peter, which showcased his drive to help keep his friends and family safe. It also featured some important moments in the development of Eddie Brock's character, who was reimagined as Peter's childhood friend to again reinforce the personal connection between Pete and his villains.
9 S2E07 - "IDENTITY CRISIS"
One of the best relationships explored on Spectacular was the evolution or Eugene "Flash" Thompson, whose two-season evolution from Peter's bully to his best friend is further showcased in this episode with another comic homage in "Identity Crisis," when Peter's identity is revealed to the public by Brock/Venom.
While the Bugle investigates Peter's closest friends to try and prove Venom's claims, Flash takes it upon himself to dress as Spidey to prove that Peter couldn't possibly be Spidey, unknowingly keeping Pete's identity safe while also assisting during the battle. Flash is truly Spider-Man's number one fan, and Spectacular recognized that.
8 S1E07 - "CATALYSTS"
The episode kicks off with a bang and another scene ripped straight from the comics, as Spider-Man deals with the Green Goblin for the first time. Green Goblin's true identity remained a mystery until the series finale, but he made his presence known early by forcing crime boss Tombstone (used wonderfully throughout this series) into a final battle with Spidey.
Spectacular's Green Goblin avoids the usual adaptation issues and updates the character while maintaining the menace of his classic appearance, making him one of Spidey's, and this series, best villains. This episode also features one of MJ's first appearances on the series, further building Peter's huge supporting cast of characters that appear on the series.
7 S2E04 - "SHEAR STRENGTH"
The second season continued the series trend of adapting classic Spidey storylines, with the mysterious Master Planner featuring in the first few episodes before being revealed as Doctor Octopus. Spidey is forced to confront Ock and his allies in his underwater base to save the life of Gwen Stacy.
When the base is destroyed, Spider-Man is trapped by the leaking debris in an all-too-familiar position that forces Peter to again dive deep into what powers him as a hero in order to overcome, which is something the series managed to frequently do without overdoing while also delivering this iconic comic scene.
6 S2E10 - "GANGLAND"
Spectacular's unique focus on Peter's high school classmates and their various relationships were perfectly showcased in "Gangland," though it was interrupted by an erupting gang war. While Spidey's super-powered villains dominated most of his crime-fighting time in the series, New York's criminal underground also featured heavily.
Characters like Tombstone, Silvermane, Silver Sable, Hammerhead, and Doc Ock's crew all fought for control, which culminated in a conveniently timed meeting on Valentine's Day that reached a dramatic and action-packed conclusion that was beautifully set to the sounds of the opera.
5 S2E12 - "OPENING NIGHT"
The Spectacular Spider-Man was afraid to take a few narrative chances when telling its story, as we saw with "Opening Night." As Peter's classmates run through their Spidey-themed rendition of "A Midsummer Night's Dream," Spider-Man and Black Cat deal with a prison riot at the Vault, while the Goblin manipulates things from above while delightfully narrating in rhyme.
Spidey is forced to either work against some of the escaped villains like Mysterio, Silvermane, the Enforcers and Molten Man, or protect them from the Green Goblin's creepy goblin robots. The episode also introduces a huge twist to Spidey's origin when it revealed that Black Cat's father was actually the burger who murdered his Uncle Ben.
4 S2E13 - "FINAL CURTAIN"
The final showdown between Spider-Man and the Green Goblin reveals that Norman Osborn was the Green Goblin all along and that he had used and framed his son Harry to take the fall for his earlier crimes. The battle between Goblin's army of thugs and Spider-Man raged across the city as they mystery unraveled.
Norman and Spider-Man's final battle would wrap everything up explosively before the series was canceled, though it would leave a few open-ended options for continuation. Peter's personal life was left in turmoil at the climax of the series, so chalk that up to the classic "Parker Luck," yet another example of Spectacular's understanding of the character.
3 S1E11 - "GROUP THERAPY"
Fans were rewarded with the formation of the Sinister Six in the "Group Therapy" episode, which finally united Doctor Octopus, Vulture, Shocker, Rhino, Sandman, and Electro into a force that proved too much for Peter Parker to face on his own, though he wasn't quite alone anymore.
Peter had recently encountered the alien symbiote, though it would use his unconscious body to take out the Sinister Six with quiet and ruthless efficiency. This would be one of the first indicators that Spidey's new black suit was trouble, which was further emphasized by the suit's slow design change to more resemble the iconic Venom look.
2 S1E13 - "NATURE VS. NATURE"
The first season finale delivered the long-awaited showdown between Peter's ex-friend Eddie Brock, who recently joined with the spurned symbiote to create Venom, and Spider-Man. Venom was a hulking, drooling threat that perfectly captured the character, even better than the fan-favorite 90s animated series version that rewrote the character's origins.
However, the greatest part of this episode is the cold open, which featured Spider-Man back in his red-and-blue costume after his struggle with the symbiote. Spider-Man proves he's still got it as he takes on armed thieves escaping with a helicopter in an amazing display of Spidey skills that still impresses us every time we watch it.
1 S1E12 - "INTERVENTION"
Most of "Intervention" would deal with Peter's understanding of his suit's sentience and the fact that it was beginning to alter his personality after his friends confronted him about his recent change in attitude. As Aunt May was also recently rushed to the hospital, Pete was dealing with quite a bit in this episode.
The series delivered a heartfelt tribute to the entire Spider-Man mythology, presented in one of the best-directed scenes of animation ever seen from Spidey on the small screen when Peter and the symbiote were locked in a mental battle that forced Pete to rely on his family, his allies, and his responsibility for the strength to find victory.