When I first experienced Ultimate Spider-Man with Venom Bomb, my most positive thoughts on it were the way it used Spider-Man as a protagonist to show the audience various aspects of the Marvel universe. If the Cinematic Universe has shown anything, it’s that, of those aspects, the best is the Guardians of the Galaxy. So it seemed logical to put them together at some point.
What Ultimate Spider-Man: Guardians of the Galaxy gives us is as close to a crossover as we’ve ever wanted. While the best would be live-action, and in cinemas, for now I’m more than happy settling for this. Because at no point does this episode forget what makes the Guardians of the Galaxy so fun.
We’re introduced to them through Rocket Racoon, who certainly looks more intense here than he did cinematically. His sense of humour is tangibly absent, but none of this is really all that apparent when we see Rocket Racoon and Spider-Man sharing an adventure.
The next one we meet is Peter Quill. When you’re making an animated version of the Guardians of the Galaxy, separate from cinema continuity, you inevitably will end-up with a version of Quill less impressive than you’d get with actor Chris Pratt. But then casting Pratt in any role will become a disadvantage when adapting it to another medium. And, well… his outfit is kinda stupid and difficult to take seriously. But I shouldn’t hold that against it because this is an animated series that regularly uses gags to fill gaps in action. Though that’s not something with-which I have a problem.
Of course, we get Gamora, who honestly didn’t really do anything for me. That was the same in her sole cinematic appearance, and it’s here also that she feels like a spare part who’s only there to add more muscle.
A similar criticism could be given to Drax, who also only seems to be present in order to throw a few punches, but this is slightly worse in the case of his character because, unlike for Gamora, Guardians of the Galaxy proved that he’s more than just a heavyweight, and can be an amusing character. But, in such a limited timeslot, big, ensemble pieces will always suffer, especially if other releases have proven their potential. Personally, I was able to put these feelings to one-side based on the fact that Drax and Parker were sharing the screen together.
At one point, I was worried we weren’t going to see Groot, but he is revealed eventually. From the way he was executed, I’m going to say that we were supposed to worry about that, since he’s apparently the most popular member of the team. To say that in Guardians of the Galaxy, he was reduced from a tree to a twig, it was interesting to see the other side of his character as having the ability to be thrown in the air and grow to the size of a tree. Because I saw it here, and it was so awesome, it’s now become something I’ll need to see in Guardians of the Galaxy 2, because why not. In fact, given Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.: Planet Hulk featured a Kree, and that Groot is a Kree (I think – is he?), and that Avengers: Age of Ultron features the Hulkbuster, it excites me to think that Guardians of the Galaxy 2 could have the subtitle Planet Hulk.
I’m rambling, but that shows the power of the Disney XD UK HD’s Marvel Universe programming block – it creates a sandbox of ideas for writers to test possible storylines for the big screen. And since Ultimate Spider-Man: Guardians of the Galaxy proved this can work, Phase Four needs to see this happen. Assuming that rumours are true and Spider-Man will make an appearance in Avengers: Infinity War, thus returning to him to Marvel Studios. As soon as that happens, this team-up needs to be a thing, pronto.
Ultimate Spider-Man: Guardians of the Galaxy – successfully tests a fun idea 7/10.