A quick perusal of the internet proves audiences are awash in nostalgia for the Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy. With Tobey Maguire trending on all forms of social media—despite not appearing in the Spider-Man: No Way Home trailer—and the return of Alfred Molina as Doc Ock leading to that sizzle reel becoming the most viewed trailer in a 24-hour period ever, the Spidey hype is reel. And for good reason: To many audiences, Maguire is Spider-Man, and Molina is Ock. Yet that doesn’t mean those films were everyone’s first introduction to the wallcrawler.
For a specific section of older millennials, our first swing with your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man was Spider-Man: The Animated Series, which to this day might still have the best vocal performance of Peter Parker in a cartoon or otherwise (courtesy of Christopher Daniel Barnes). This writer can even remember running home from school at the age of seven to see just what happens when Peter Parker tangles with the Insidious Six (the word “sinister” was apparently too, uh, sinister for ‘90s censors at Fox Kids).
So of course it was only a matter of time before the internet combined the Spider-Man: No Way Home trailer with the mid-‘90s cartoon. Yep it’s all here: Peter Parker and MJ getting flirty in superhero downtime; Peter being arrested by the cops; and even cameos from Doctor Strange and a lawyer presumed to be Matt Murdock.
In the below video, it’s remarkable how easy it is to find footage to interlay with Pete and Stephen Strange’s banter, or the rise of Doctor Octopus from the seeming abyss. There’s even the implied multiverse with multiple Spider-Mans from the Spider-Man: The Animated Series finale which, believe it or not, did the whole “Spider-Verse” thing before the comics or 2018’s terrific Miles Morales movie.
It’s also interesting to watch the juxtaposition of this classic cartoon touchstone with the quippy dialogue of the Spider-Man: No Way Home trailer. In the cartoon, as well as most media before the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Peter was always a wiseacre, but one who went his own way. Despite teaming up relatively frequently with other superheroes, including in the ‘90s toon, he never really played well with them, nor exactly loved trying to do so. So to hear this classic version of the Web-Head refer to Doctor Strange as “sir” and spaz out while Strange is doing a spell reveals the subtle ways Tom Holland’s Parker departs from the character’s more classic personality traits.
Be that as it may, this is just a fun video that you can get lost in nostalgia for all on your own—and that includes nostalgia for The Animated Series, for the Raimi movies, and for the MCU, which appears to be firing on all cylinders with this entry.