Can Judge David Johnson escape the relentless assault of Spider-man merchandise or will he become just another fly in the web?
Okay boys, let's cash in!
With the insane popularity of Spider-man 2 infecting most everyone's blood (judging by the box office), all manner of Spidey paraphernalia has been unleashed onto the public. Spider-man vs. Doc Ock is a packaging of some old Spider-man cartoons that feature—for the most part—the webslinger's multi-limbed nemesis and the dorkiest Peter Parker you'll ever see.
Facts of the Case
Four episodes from the mid '90s cartoon incarnation of Spider-man have been sewn together and submitted for your perusal, with Dr. Octopus anchoring the set (hmmm, why this villain? Why now?).
"Doctor Octopus: Armed and Dangerous"
Doc Ock is pissed at Hardy's father, whose foundation has cut off Octavius' funding for his research. But his plan for revenge is thwarted by you-know-who.
But to get this info out of him, the mega-villains need to spring him out of Nick Fury's S.H.I.E.L.D. fortress. Spider-man must stop him. Some weird guys fly around in jetpacks and shoot lasers at each other, a' la Moonraker.
"The Black Cat"
Paging Doc Ock. Where are you? Hello? Hello?
This is really scraping bottom-of-the-barrel for a quick buck. I think that studio execs look to prey upon the naïve old grandmas who don't know any better. Perhaps by packaging these discs deceptively they can fool Grammy Wanda's inner voice:
Now I know Billy loves Spider-man and wants to see that new movie that's out. Hey, look here is a Spider-man movie and it has that odd man with tentacles! Like the movie posters and commercials I saw. Therefore, this must be the movie! I think I'll surprise him and buy it for him and he won't have to pay to go see it and all of his friends will be so jealous! I'm such a great grandmother! I'm so with the times! Now where was that nice salesman?
Execs may have suckered a few, but I hope that you in the know will be savvier. I mean, the set is probably decent enough for the little kids who will absorb anything Spider-man related, but as something remotely interesting for sentient beings out of grade school, this is merely dredging the past to make money.
For starters, the episodes are out of order. The last three are part of a series, minus one episode, so the continuity is off. And the other headliner, Doctor Octopus, exponentially vanishes on each subsequent episode. If you look at it as a whole, Doc Ock is rarely in it, and Spider-man vs. Doc Ock comes off as a random compendium of old, poorly animated episodes.
Included are a couple of 1960s Spider-man cartoons. These are hilariously dated, entertaining as nostalgic and object-of-laughter diversions, but little else. Other extras include some musings by Stan Lee, which are nifty I have to admit, but not cool enough to validate this set's existence.
Sound and picture are equally blah. The episodes come in their original full-frame transfer sporting below-average picture quality. The stereo mix under-performs.
All in all, a set whose motivation for release is transparent: you can almost see the dollar signs in the studio bigshots' eyes.
Is it true that anything with Spider-man plastered all over it sells? Lord, I hope not. If this set flies off the shelf, expect an influx of lots of other sub-average webslinger crap (Spidey-Cola-With-Half-the-Carbs, Spidey-Nicotine-Gum, and The Spidey-Rectal-Thermometer.)
Go spin your web in Siberia. Court adjourned.
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