A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Ultimate Spider-Man is meant to entertain rather than to educate, but the story offers kid-friendly themes about friendship, teamwork, and using your unique talents.
Ultimate Spider-Man's main theme is teamwork, reflected in Spider-Man's evolution from a "lone ranger" type of crime fighter into one who works within a group and under a leader's direction. It's not an easy change for the snarky teen, but it shows strength of character that he's willing to try it for the sake of being a more effective hero. Other positive messages relate to friendship, integrity, respect for authority, and courage.
Positive Role Models
As teens and heroes go, Peter's a very likable guy. He values his friendships and respects the parental figure in his life. Spider-Man is always the first to put himself in harm's way to protect both friends and strangers, and he's willing to acknowledge his weaknesses so he can work to improve them. He also relies on the guidance of his aunt and his mentor to help keep him on the right track.
Violence & Scariness
Comic book-style fighting, with bodies hurled into walls, cars crashing, and buildings tumbling. Villains and superheroes use less-traditional weapons like sound waves and webs to take down their enemies, but guns play a role in many of the exchanges, too.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
There's some chemistry between Peter and Mary Jane (and at least one shared kiss), but they keep their relationship on a friendly level.
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No cursing, but there's marginal language like "butt" and "shut up," and teens often call each other names like "jerk" and "dork."
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Products & Purchases
Spider-Man is a heavily marketed character/brand, thanks to the multiple TV shows, movies, and comic books on the market.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Ultimate Spider-Man follows Spider-Man (and his alter-ego, Peter Parker) as a rookie crime fighter who joins forces with a team of other teen heroes to more effectively battle villains. This incarnation of the legendary webbed hero's story offers high-flying action, colorful heroes and villains, and snarky humor that kids will love, plus some positive messages about teamwork, accepting change, and fitting in with a new group of peers. As with all superhero cartoons, clashes between good and evil do turn violent, but the cartoonish style of the exchanges and the lack of injuries lessen the impact on kids.
Is It Any Good?
This action-adventure cartoon adds a fresh chapter to the familiar story of the beloved teen hero, using Marvel Comcis legend Nick Fury as a mentor figure for the cocky amateur Spider-Man. Bringing Peter into the fold of the S.H.I.E.L.D. training program isn't an easy process, and the young apprentice has a lot to learn about accepting criticism and being part of a team. And all of this goes down while he's working to keep his identity a secret and trying to survive the pitfalls of high school, which means there's no shortage of action or humor.
Naturally, violence is the biggest concern in Ultimate Spider-Man, but the fact that the players are masked villains and wall-scaling heroes takes the edge off the fighting. There's no blood, minimal weapon use, and few injuries. What will stick with kids are the lessons Peter learns about growing up and taking on responsibility under the guidance of his mentor and with the help of his new friends.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.