The big day for Peter and MJ is finally here! To celebrate, the show invites several special guests including Black Cat, Kingpin, Smythe, Scorpion, Liz Allen, Flash Thompson and Ashley Kafka! But can they survive Harry’s insanity after he escapes Ravencroft? All signs point to possibly!
Story By: John Semper
Written By: John Semper and Meg McLaughlin
Music Composed By: Shuki Levy and Kussa Mahchi
Animation Services By: Toyko Movie Shinsha (TMS)
THE PLOT: In anticipation for Peter and Mary Jane’s wedding, all heck breaks loose! Harry Osborn escapes from Ravencroft, Scorpion kidnaps Aunt May and Kingpin begins a business rivalry with J. Jonah Jameson! It all comes to a head right on the day of the ceremony just as Peter and MJ are about to be wed.
LONG STORY SHORT: Thank God for Liz Allen, as she shows up at the last minute and confesses her love for Harry which prevents him from marrying/blowing up Mary Jane. Her and Peter finally get married, and ride off in Jameson’s wedding gift which is a Spider-Man imaged news van.
After a very disjointed fourth season, and a few episodes of build-up which ranged from mediocre to bad we are given the wedding of Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson, and what a wedding it is. Nearly every major character since the third season re-appears to join the festivities in one way or another and in spectacular fashion, this episode holds almost nothing back in order to make it the biggest event since the Symbiote Costume. Though some people will and have disparaged this one for having too many characters and being overall ridiculous, I hold it to “Battle of the Insidious Six” in terms of effectiveness and overall entertainment. And if you’ve read that review then you’ll probably figure my thoughts on the episode.
My thoughts are that this episode is awesome.
It’s not perfect, by any stretch of the imagination. For that matter neither was “Battle of the Insidious” Six”. Right up front the animation takes a hit as not being as good as the last few episodes, which was their saving grace in some cases. A lot of badly re-used animation, lip synching and overall cruddy designs bring this one down a bit. But the story is very solid. Everything revolves around Peter and MJ’s wedding, to the point that it’s news in the paper, which puts certain hey players into action. Kingpin and Jameson get my vote for the funniest and best duo for the fact of Fisk just being a likable jerk throughout. He’s always been likable, but in this episode I don’t think he legitimately does anything wrong or illegal. I question slightly why exactly he did buy out a rival paper, whether it was just to screw around with Jonah or not. There’s little reason otherwise, which is what makes it so entertaining. The contest between the to the make Peter and MJ’s wedding the biggest party in the world is great fun with each of them constantly one-upping each other, and while some may find it jarring for the series to take this kind of comedic tone, it’s one of my favorite parts in the series for the sheer hilarity of it.
It’s easy to see why this might be one the “SUCKS” list of people who are fans of the show, simply for the overall zaniness of it. So many things happen around the same time and you don’t really care about Smythe or the Scorpion, as well you shouldn’t. That was my biggest con, the fact that Smythe appeared again as a villain after “The Ultimate Slayer” and mainly for the fact that he’s being a villain for no particular reason. Silvermaine’s name is bandied about here a lot but thankfully he’s nowhere to be seen. The Scorpion returns, annoying as ever but I’d take him over the Vulture any day. I think much like the movie Spider-Man 3, if you cut the fat that was the villains who served the most extraneous purpose towards the hero it would be a much better overall product. Harry didn’t need to team up with Smythe and Scorpion, he could have terrorized the wedding all by himself. It would have made the fight sequence more personal and less busy. It didn’t need silly robots on Goblin Gliders…and yet, that’s the fun of this episode. Much like “Battle of the Insidious Six”, you really question how much of the episode the writers took seriously. Robots on Goblin Gliders in and of themselves is ridiculous, but so 90s and so funny at the same time. That’s something this series has over every other cartoon in the decade, winning, subverted and unintentional humor. I mean…the Kingpin yanked off the Scorpion’s tail and flung him completely away from the area. That is fantastic, and it shows that the series knows when to stop with all pretenses and just have fun with itself and its crazy characters.
That’s not to say that this episode doesn’t have it’s truly good moments or can’t be taken seriously. Case in point, we see the return/final appearance from Harry Osborn as the Green Goblin. A lot of people criticize Gary Imhoff’s performance as Harry and using that to say that Harry was badly portrayed in this series. I feel he’s as good as he could have been given the time this came out, and that’s decent in itself. Harry is a character with a lot of conviction and a lot of conflict that always leads to great moments when going up against Spider-Man, and personally I thought he was well done for the most part.
He’s completely full of crap though.
Credit goes to everyone’s favorite Beatles fan Josh Bertone in reaching this conclusion, as Harry is an absolute hypocrite. He says in this episode that he dreams of Spider-Man taking away his father and Mary Jane, and then revealing himself to be Peter. Obviously the dreams represent his angst towards Peter taking MJ back from him. But if we think about it, Harry hooked up with MJ the same night she broke up with Peter back in season two. In that episode “The Immortal Vampire”, Harry says that he’s been trying to get MJ to date him for months. By that logic, he went behind Peter’s back when Peter was dating MJ before since they had to be dating in order for them to break up. So all that time Harry had a stick up his butt and gave Peter grief about “friendship” and everything, Harry did the exact same thing but just never was found out about it. What a twerp.
What’s kind of cool about Harry in this though is that this episode basically calls out the concept of him truly being a villain. I’ve kind of waffled on that myself, not really deciding either way if he can be a good or bad guy. This episode goes through the motions of him doing really terrible things like threatening to kill Mary Jane and the Priest if they don’t get married (Harry and MJ, not MJ and the Priest) but the day is saved by Liz Ex Machina coming through in the eleventh hour to fufill what was apparently her character’s purpose the entire time. It’s so funny because Liz has been the most marginalized supporting cast member in this series, taking a backseat to Deb Whitman. She never had any scenes with Flash aside from a flashback to high school in season three, and she was basically Mary Jane’s Gal Friday for talking about guys. It’s so funny because the closest it gets in the comics is the two of them being wife neighbors in J.M. DeMatties’ Spectacular run before Harry goes crazy again. What happens here? The two are BBFs and Harry goes crazy again. Another case of the show trying to match then-current continuity but I was never bothered by it. Admittedly, the Liz thing comes out of nowhere and is badly written because until this episode the two had no scenes together at all. But the show does try to foreshadow it in the beginning, especially in the Ravencroft scene with Liz in the mirror when Harry’s talking to Mary Jane. It’s not great, but it’s nice for what it is.
Some characters were nice in their cameo bits. This is the most we’ve gotten from Aunt May in a very long time, and I thought the bits with her giving Peter hers and Uncle Ben’s wedding bands was a nice touch. It was also very reminiscent of Spider-Man 2 where Doc Ock kidnaps Aunt May from the bank. Ashley Kafka had a nice role as Harry’s shrink, proving me dead wrong when I said that the Venom Returns/Carnage two-parter was her only appearance. It was weird though how utterly clueless she was to everything Harry was telling her. Harry had told her that Peter was Spider-Man and that Norman Osborn was the Green Goblin and Kafka doesn’t buy it for a second. Wait, why? What about it makes no sense whatsoever? It’s different from Brock who kept that bit of information from her, and the fact that there was little evidence to the symbiote left over. (And plus she was proven wrong in that regard anyway.) It’s just like her depiction in The Spectacular Spider-Man cartoon when she was proven wrong at every turn, but this was a bit much. What Harry said wasn’t totally insane, and Kafka came off as condescending in that scene.
Black Cat’s return in this episode did come off as forced unfortunately. I don’t think she and Peter were so close that she would show up for his wedding coming from Europe. I’d question how she found out about it, but as we all know from the Blade return episode, Eastern Europe prints the Daily Bugle in English. It was still nice seeing her again, and the scene with her and Fisk was a good one. I would think that Spidey seeing her again would mess with his head, and it’s one element of the show I think seriously missed a trick on in terms of possible tension between Peter, MJ and Felicia.
In terms of ranking this episode, it’s interesting because it would be so easy to rip this to shreds. There’s way too many characters, the animation’s lacking, Liz Ex Machina at the end, and this is also the last time IIRC that we see Norman Osborn Green Goblin. At the same time, it’s an open and shut story idea. “Peter and Mary Jane get married, hijinks ensue in between.” None of the bad stuff really impacts the episode overall in a bad way, and if fixed I think the ending would remain the same. Silly as though Liz’s sudden proclamation is it’s a perfect way to save Harry from being the Goblin once and for all. After being shunted by his father, by his friends Peter and Harry and by Mary Jane, he’s found someone who has always loved him for who he is. It doesn’t matter why, nor is it even explained. But it’s a happy ending for the guy that he didn’t get in the comics when this episode first aired. That I think is nice symmetry juxtaposed with Peter and Mary Jane’s wedding.
4.5/5 “MARY JAAANE!!!”s
Best Quote Contender-
Kingpin: “It was so nice to partner with you my dear. If ever you need a job…”
Black Cat: “Can it Fisk. Next time I’m going to do a job…ON YOU.”
All images taken from Marvel.toonzone.net and drg4.wariocompany.com respectively.