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Ride Review: The Amazing Adventures of Spider-ManSplashMoun10 Well, now that it's Thanksgiving Break, I have more time to work on producing content! I intended to keep these reviews a weekly thing, but sometimes you just can't fit everything into your schedule. That being said, you can expect to see more posts from me in the coming weeks now that it's getting close to the end of the semester. Lastly, I want to mention that I plan to alternate between Disney and Universal rides when I'm doing this just to kind of mix everything up I guess. Without further ado, here's my review of one of the most acclaimed dark rides in history!
The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man is a motion-based 3D dark ride that opened with Universal's Islands of Adventure park in 1999. At the time of its opening, it was one of the most technologically complex rides ever made and still (IMO) remains the best of its kind. Before Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, it was the star attraction at the resort, and even though it's not the most popular anymore, it's still considered one of the best dark rides out there, one that leaves riders in awe. In 2011, the ride was given a major refurbishment, which included set upgrades, new film projectors, a new audio system, and most notably, upgraded animation scenes that were re-animated from scratch. The ride reopened in 2012 and has been a huge hit with audiences ever since.
Queue and Setting:
Located right in the center of Marvel Super Hero Island, which in itself takes on a nineties comic-book style, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man carries that same sort of vibe. The queue goes through the Daily Bugle, where we see a bunch of empty workspaces as well as TV screens that set up the story. The TV's feature news coverage of New York in which a gang of super-villains led by Doctor Octopus (or the Sinister Syndicate) steal the Statue of Liberty and threaten to destroy it if the public doesn't surrender. Because the news reporters have fled, editor-in-chief J. Jonah Jameson sends the riders to cover the story. As far as queues go, it's pretty average, there's nothing spectacular about it, but that's no problem at all. As I've said before, the quality of the queue shouldn't surpass the quality of the ride, and I think the simplicity of this queue goes along well with the ride. Not something I'd want to wait 40 minutes in though.
The ride starts off in a back alley where we see the Spider signal, in which Jameson tells us that can only mean trouble is nearby, implying headlines and national coverage. We then see Spider-Man himself as he jumps on the vehicle and warns us that it's dangerous out there, as well as complementing our shades. Soon, we come across a warehouse in which the villains are holding the Statue of Liberty hostage, and Doctor Octopus boasts that with his Anti-Gravity Cannon, Spider-Man won't be able to stop him. It's here where I must mention how amazing the set design for this ride is. Throughout the entire ride, the 3D projections and physical sets blend together so seamlessly, and this is really one of the only rides I can honestly say that about. Even though it's a humorous comic-book setting, the technology makes it all feel real. Anyway, after seeing the villains try to catch the Statue, we try to make our way out of there but are stopped by Electro, who electrocutes our vehicle. Then we see Scream and Doctor Octopus with the anti-gravity cannon in which they try to attack, but we quickly spin away into a tunnel, where at the end is a giant underground sewer. Spider-Man reappears and advises us to go back to the Bugle, but before he can even finish his sentence, Hydro-Man pops up behind him, sprays us with water, and punches the vehicle. We then come across a brick wall, in which Doc's metallic arms break through it until he fully appears and emits fire at us from one of his arms. Soon, we arrive at the harbor and are greeted by the Hobgoblin, in which he greets us with "Trick or treat, smell my feet; time to blow you off the street!" He then tries to throw a flaming jack-o-lantern at us, but Spidey catches it, to which the Hobgoblin throws another one and leads to one of the best effects in the ride. The jack-o-lantern goes off the screen and ends up bursting out of a building, where we see real fire. Next is the finale, in which we're in the streets of New York and see Doctor Octopus blasting objects with the Anti-Gravity Cannon. Eventually, he blasts us with the cannon and it's up to Spider-Man to save us. In the midst of Spider-Man's fight with the super villains, Doc disengages the cannon and brings us plummeting off the side of the building to our doom. Thankfully, Spidey was able to capture us at the last second, and we see that he managed to capture the villains as well by tying them up with webs, to which he makes the pun "Guess that wraps things up." As we make our way back to the Bugle, we see the glowing Anti-Gravity Cannon which Spidey gave to J. J. Jameson as a gift, or as he puts it "Here's the raise you deserve." To which we see a floating silhouette of Jameson right above us. This marks the end of the ride.
The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man is an absolutely phenomenal ride in every sense of the word. The technology and overall design is fantastic, from the seamless blend of screens and physical sets to the elaborate movements of the vehicle that make everything feel like it's really happening to you. With other simulator-type attractions, it's pretty easy to tell what is a screen and what's not, and some simulators are severely lacking in terms of physical sets, making it essentially just like watching a movie. This ride however provides the perfect balance between screens and physical sets and effects. Speaking of which, the special effects are incredible, particularly the flaming jack-o-lantern effect I mentioned previously, but even some of the more basic ones such as the squirting water are very well done. The ride has got the cheesy, humorous tone that you expect from Spider-Man, complete with lots of puns from the villains and Spidey himself. Overall, the characters and story are fun, the set design and technology are amazing, the tone is perfect, and it's a fun and thrilling adventure from beginning to end. It may be nearly two decades old, but it's still got it!
There is nothing I would change about this attraction at all. Maybe the queue could use a little sprucing up, but that's pretty much it. It's essentially a perfect ride that is well-deserving of all the acclaim it's received over the years, and even though similar rides such as Transformers have been made since then, this one is still considered the best of its type. As for me, I can honestly say that this is not only one of Universal's best but one of the best rides of any type out there. It is, as the name says, amazing.
One of my favorite rides at the park. Though I find the Harry Potter ride in Hogwarts to be much better. - DCfnaf