Complex, sophisticated action for older kids.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Characters are often faced with moral quandaries -- they could act to save themselves but in doing so might endanger others. Revenge is a powerful motivator for most of the heroes portrayed, including Spidey himself.

Violence & scariness

Lots of cartoon violence and weaponry, all with a fantasy element -- the guns are futuristic laser guns, the bombs mainly smoke and fire. Death is never shown and rarely mentioned, although it's implied. Characters are in constant peril.

Sexy stuff

Female characters are depicted with typical comic book-style breasts and waists; some female superheroes wear revealing outfits and pursue Spiderman in mildly suggestive ways.

Not applicable

There's plenty of Spider-Man stuff you can buy (and kids will want to).

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this mid-'90s animated Spidey series looks more like the movies than the earlier cartoons. It's dark: Villains aren't neatly trounced at the end of each episode -- in fact, nearly every episode continues into other episodes (which can be a problem, since they're not always aired in order). The action, while "comic book" in nature, is quick and explosive (sometimes literally). Characters often find themselves in moral quandaries, and their back stories -- which often involve the deaths of beloved figures like uncles and fathers -- are both described and shown. On the other hand, the difficulties of being a superhero (loneliness, fear) are also made clear, as are the characters' dilemmas ("I could save myself, but I might endanger others").

What's the story?

SPIDER-MAN -- which originally aired on Fox from 1994-1998 -- follows Peter Parker/Spidey (voiced by Christopher Daniel Barnes) from college through his early career and encounters with villains like the Green Goblin and Chameleon. Because each episode is part of a multi-part storyline, the action can be a little hard to follow (the episodes aren't always aired in order during reruns), and there's no expository catch-up -- familiarity with the Spider-Man back story and characters is assumed.

Is it any good?


Spider-Man looks and feels more like a movie than a classic action cartoon. The plots are complicated, the scenes are cut in movie style, characters narrate their histories over flashbacks, and action interrupts conversations and prevents people from revealing or discovering things. It's interesting and complex -- a good introduction to the live-action movies that are more suitable for older tweens and teens.

It's also worth noting that this Spider-Man, like the one in the comic books and movies, isn't always clearly the good guy; he struggles with his identity. And other superhero characters in the series can be even more ambiguous. All of that complexity makes Spider-Man a fun world to enter into -- nearly everyone seems to have an alter-ego and a personal mission that drives them. In that way, it also serves both as a reminder that everyone has his or her own story and as an invitation to create your own.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about whether this show more accurately reflects the original comic book Spider-Man than earlier series did. If so, what makes that the case? In what ways is it different from other versions of Spidey's story? Also, what messages do Spider-Man and his dilemmas send to kids? And how is Spider-Man different from other superheroes?

TV details

Cast:Christopher Daniel Barnes, Ed Asner, Roscoe Lee Browne
Network:Toon Disney
Genre:Kids' Animation
Topics:Superheroes, Adventures
TV rating:TV-Y7
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of Spider-Man was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 12 years old April 11, 2011

Spidey stars in an exciting series with interesting characters and plots

Action packed Spidey toon involves many other Marvel characters.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great role models
Teen, 14 years old Written bymkalv February 5, 2009

Best Spider-Man cartoon.

This is the best Spider-Man cartoon! Nice animation, okay theme-song, and the voice actors are mostly perfect. Recomended.
Teen, 13 years old Written byrebma97 July 10, 2010

Really good

I love Spider-Man. The complex story lines are good but may be too complicated for kids under 10. There's plenty of violence such as physical fights and guns (they're no bullets, though; just lasers). Sex consist of flirting and kissing. Some women wear mildly revealing outfits.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much sex


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