The Spectacular Spider-Man TV Poster Image

The Spectacular Spider-Man

(i)

 

Web-slinger is great role model, with some cartoon action.
Popular with kids

What parents need to know

Educational value

Intended to entertain, not educate, but the show offers lots of positive social lessons.

Positive messages

There's a strong undertone about the importance of family connections, ranging from Peter's very loving connection with his Aunt May to Peter's pal Harry, who's clearly bothered by his strained relationship with a cold, domineering father. Peter is the victim of some bullying at the hands of the school's "cool" kids, but the experience further motivates his heroics on behalf of the innocent public.

Positive role models

Peter is motivated to help the innocent public and protect them from bad guys. He gets frustrated, at times, by the need to maintain his secret identity. He's also respectful, responsible, and a good student. 

Violence & scariness

Plenty of cartoon fighting, though there's no blood or gore, and nobody seems to get seriously injured. Spidey keeps a running patter going as he takes down the bad guys, which make the fights feel even less serious. Spider-Man uses fists and webs, supervillains use other unusual weapons, and some of the bad guys use guns.

Sexy stuff

No sex or nudity, though Peter does have a major crush on one of his classmates.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

There are lots of Spidey products out there.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Peter Parker (aka Spider-Man) may be the teenage son that every parent wishes for. He's loving, family oriented, respectful, responsible (though he sometimes gets home after curfew), and does well in school. Even when he's beating up bad guys -- which happens pretty frequently, this being a superhero cartoon -- his constant quips make it seem more like a game than a dangerous battle. All of this makes him a pretty good role model for young kids. That said, the show may seem a bit one-dimensional to older Spidey fans.

What's the story?

Just getting through high school is hard enough for most teenagers, but in addition to homework, a part-time job, avoiding school bullies, and building up the nerve to ask a girl out on date, Peter Parker (voiced by Josh Keaton) also has to battle supervillains and protect his secret identity as the city's newest protector, THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN. This version of the Spidey saga focuses on his early years, picking up at the start of his junior year, shortly after he's developed his amazing powers. The city and its resident bad guys are still getting used to having the web-slinger around, and he's still getting used to his new role.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

One of the show's executive producers is comic legend/Spidey creator Stan Lee, so the story stays pretty close to the Spider-Man legend. All of Peter's pals, as well as Spidey's supervillain foes, make appearances. That said, the series is clearly aimed at a young crowd, and it glosses over many of the more complicated -- and more mature -- themes that have made Spider-Man so popular. Even during fight scenes, Spidey keeps up such a running patter of quips and one-liners that the cartoon seems more like a comedy than a drama.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. Many of the most successful comic adaptations in recent years have played up the dark side of these often-tormented heroes, notably Batman Begins, which focused on the Caped Crusader's anguish and need for revenge after seeing his parents murdered, and the X-Men films, which center on the brooding Wolverine character. But comics are also for kids, and this entry in the Spidey franchise will offer plenty of fun for young people until they're old enough to learn more about Peter Parker's inner demons.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about responsibility. Between school, work, helping Aunt May, and his secret Spidey duties, Peter has a busy life -- but he never seems to even consider shirking any of his tasks. Why do Spider-Man, and so many other superheroes, seem to instinctively realize that they have a duty to use their abilities to protect society? Do you believe that with power comes responsibility? 

  • If you had a secret power, what would it be, and what would you do with it? 

  • What does this version of Spider-Man have in common with other shows and movies? How is it different?

TV details

Premiere date:March 8, 2008
Cast:Daran Norris, Josh Keaton, Lacey Chabert
Networks:CW, Disney XD
Genre:Kids' Animation
Topics:Superheroes, Adventures, Great boy role models
Character strengths:Communication, Self-control
TV rating:TV-Y7-FV
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of The Spectacular Spider-Man was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Parent of a 2 and 4 year old Written byMartinC August 25, 2009

Alot of Action

My 4 year old loves spider-man. He loves this show, but I find it quite violent... Yes of course, there is no blood of anything like that, but my son really get waaaaaay to much exited after watching this...
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much consumerism
Great role models
Adult Written byrockmonster April 10, 2010

Medicine for hyperactive little brothers :)

A great show, I have seen every episode. It is has a decent plotline, good characters, so-so fight scenes, etc... Bad? Not much; a couple of weird comments.......
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written bysDSa June 29, 2009

Perfect for all ages.

This show is an amazing family favorite.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?