Let me take you back to 2002. I’m a skinny 7th grader with Allen Iverson I3 basketball shoes and a love of cereal and Star Wars. For those of us who spent the majority of our free time traveling to The Galaxy Far, Far Away (the other parts being spent watching “And 1” on ESPN2 and playing Xbox) it’s a summer unlike any other. Episode II, the long-awaited prequel, is released in theatres, and like any nerdy kid visiting his best friend in another state, I see EpisodeII on the big scream in a packed Friday night movie theatre. I also make my mom by me the General Mills Episode II cereal, which, aside from sporting a box adorned by all my favorite Jedis, also features Clone Wars marshmallow pieces and more sugar than a grandmother’s kiss.
I still have two boxes of that cereal, although their contents have long since been incorporated into my bodily tissue. Keeping them alongside boxes of Canadian cereal and a vintage box of Flutie Flakes, I recall their sugary, marshmallow taste with fond memories. If only, I sometimes think, they could be brought back. A decade later I’m no longer the kind to get caught up in summer blockbusters, but that doesn’t mean my zeal for cereal hasn’t decreased. Quite the contrary. Armed with money that I’d be wise to spend on something more worthwhile, I now feed that interest exponentially. So when I spotted a box of the new limited edition Spider Man Spidey Berry” cereal, I couldn’t help but cast a web towards the Kellogg’s offering, despite having absolutely no interest in yet another Spider Man movie.
I was never that into the Spider Man movies and never read the Marvel comics, although like any 23-year old cartoon fan I admit to watching Spider Man each week on Fox Kids. Mostly, what attracted me to this cereal was the looks. With red web shapes that looked like Quaker’s Crunchtime cereal and lizard marshmallows, it looked like the kind of fun-loving sugar rush I could buy into. That being said, a few things struck me before digging in. The first, and perhaps most disappointing, is that it comes in a very small box. Only eight 30-gram servings are offered, and marshmallows play second fiddle to the red spider webs. I’m also struck by the first two ingredients, which DO NOT contain sugar. When Kellogg’s says it has Whole Grains, they’re not kidding. I know a number of adults will be happy to hear this, but c’mon, you don’t think the greatness of Episode II cereal was born from minimalist ingredients and only nine grams of sugar per 30 grams, do you?
My first bowl is in milk. The berry flavored spider webs do a pretty good job at capturing milk, and are sturdy enough to resist sogginess. They remain crunchy, but they don’t taste sweet enough. There’s a mild and ambiguous berry flavor (like Trix) but it seems a notch down from what I’m used to and instinctively like. The ;mallows are your standard cereal’ mallows in taste. Crunchy in milk, they have a smooth mouthfeel and taste purely of dextrose. This, I must say, is a good thing.
The texture is a lot like Waffle Crisp. It’s puffed and aerated on the inside, but it lacks an oily finish from cooking with added fat like my favorite has. I’m not liking the distinctive corn taste of the webs. The berry flavor clashes with the multigrain corn taste, and unlike cereals like Corn Pops, the base lacks a glaze or distinctive sweetener as its primary flavor. The end milk is just o.k. It’s clear the marshmallows have bequeathed some sugar into the mix, but the berry flavor is too weak to have been transferred.
You’d think that if the goal of a summer blockbuster is to make a hit, a company like Kellogg’s would put some effort into making the Spider Man cereal a hit. Not true. Not only does it lack any kind of cool toy offering or memorabilia, but it comes in an economically deceiving small package, and contains neither the appropriate sweetness nor distinctive fake berry flavor to make it a real winner. I’m deeming this web of impulsive buying intrigue a lackluster release, and only something worth forking your cash over if you’re into the novelty of collecting cereal boxes. Now, here’s to hoping Tim Zahn gets George Lucas to sell him the rights to make some more Star Wars movies. Grand Admiral Thrawn marshmallows? Now that I can get behind.
FYI: Marvo reviewed the original Spider Man cereal all the way back in 2004 and wasn’t a huge fan.
The Amazing Spider Man Cereal
- Price: $2.50
- Rating: 5/10
- Chances I’d Buy Again: 0%