“The cool thing about transferring to a school like Horizon High is that it’s not only a great place to invent things, it's also a great place to reinvent things.”

After Marvel dropped the single best Spidey film ever in theaters this summer with Spider-Man: Homecoming, it would be impossible for anyone not to compare its successes with the franchise’s new adaptation, Marvel’s Spider-Man, which swung into homes this past Saturday morning on Disney XD. And while part one of the hour-long premiere seemed to fall into the same pitfalls of its predecessors, like when Peter elementarily reflects on his learned lessons, part two is sure to settle any Web Head-aficionado’s “spidey sense,” because it follows in the footsteps of its live action-counterpart’s approach: simply, returning to the core of Peter Parker.

As with any Spidey story, various subplots suffocate Peter’s life with metaphorical plates that he must attempt to keep spinning at the same time. But here, our hero’s passion for science finally serves as the framework for the story, even to the extent in which Peter’s main objective in part one is to be accepted into Horizon High, a high school for teen geniuses, despite his Aunt May’s current financial situation. Though the stilted Hayao Miyazaki-styled animation usually causes a hurdle for me, the “science” angle of the series provides a fresh lens on the beloved characters, opening up an exciting and unseen world, where Pete and his friends are able to develop their innovations and stimulate competitions between one another— for better or worse. (There’s even a brilliant twist on the Doctor Octopus character.)

The series really catches fire when it allows Pete to learn from the naive mistakes of his innovations during his confrontations with evil-doers, which tests the limits of the “great power, great responsibility” adage, bequeathed from the late Uncle Ben (wisely shown here only in inspirational flashbacks). Let’s face it: trial-by-fire has always been one of Spidey’s charms.

In the final moments of part two, Peter reveals to his humble Aunt May that he has earned a scholarship to Horizon High, relieving her of the stress of finding money for his schooling. Aunt May insists they celebrate with some cake once she returns from taking out the trash. But Peter once again intervenes and does that for her, too. Outside, his good deed is interrupted by the sound of the roaring sirens. It’s then that he decides to swing off into the night and save the city, leaving his Aunt waiting in the lurch. If Peter is forced to deal with these ramifications in the next episode and the series can continue to keep the right balance between the battle of “Should I be a normal kid? or “Should I be Spider-Man?”, then I can’t wait to watch as both recent incarnations of Spidey continue to grow up over the coming years.

After all, it is— and has always been— a coming-of-age story. That’s the fundamental charm in the DNA of this legendary character and, unfortunately, it is a period that almost every previous adaptation has rushed passed. Bottom line, Hollywood? There is no need for further reinvention. Just stay in school, for Pete’s sake.

Rest assured, your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man is back and better than ever… Ever, ever.


Charlie Zicari
After high school, Charlie moved from Middle-of-Nowhere, Kentucky to the bright lights of New York City in order to pursue a career in storytelling and has been fortunate to work on a number of high-profile projects ever since, including companies such as Disney Theatricals, “Live! With Kelly and Michael,” Second Stage Theatre, Lincoln Center for the Arts, and more. More recently, he worked as the Executive Assistant and Resident Dramaturg to Tony Award-nominated Broadway Director, Jeff Calhoun. Together, they’ve collaborated on numerous Broadway, International, and Regional productions, including “Disney’s Newsies,” Jodi Picoult’s “Between the Lines,” Stephen King and John Mellencamp’s “Ghost Brothers of Darkland County,” and Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” — just to name a few. Charlie currently resides in Orlando, Florida with his wife, Briana, where he is developing “Hedges” and other screenwriting projects with Joey Tuccio at Roadmap Writers, as well as contributing articles and blogs to various (Disney-related) online platforms, including LaughingPlace.com.