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For me, the 70s Spiderman live action movies were great fun. I look back
it with a lot of fondness and nostalgia. Someone unfamiliar with the
may not like it, but then again, you might if you know what to
This is a low-budget made for TV film. The villains are regular villains in the form of a millionaire and his henchmen. If you know that, than I think your chances of enjoying this are better.
Despite its low-budget and lack of supervillains, I think the film still felt like an "epic" adventure. I really liked the musical score in the film. The acting was solid all the way around even if the 70s clothing styles may make you laugh.
Even today, I think Nicholas Hammond was a great choice to play Peter Parker/Spiderman. He was very convincing in the role, and fun to watch. I'd place his casting up there with Christopher Reeve as Superman and Linda Carter as Wonder Woman.
The rest of the cast is very good. JoAnna Cameron made an excellent companion for Peter Parker. Robert Simon was solid as J.Jonah Jameson, especially when threw a tantrum. Chip Fields was great as Rita. And Michael Pataki was great as Capt. Barbera.
I understand that this particular film was shot entirely in LA, which I wish I never read, because I always felt that the New York scenes FELT like New York.
As far as I'm concerned, the creators of this series made the very best they could with their small budget. I imagine with a Hollywood movie budget, the same people involved here would've made a Spiderman movie franchise equally enjoyable, but with special effects and super-villains to match.
That's not to say that the effects are bad. Just limited. The wall-crawling, web-slinging and fight scenes are solid.
I hope these Spiderman adventures will be available on DVD someday because I would definitely buy them.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
If you've read my review on the 1978 Spider-Man TV series you'll know that I
hold it in high regard. Spider-Man Strikes Back (not a film but actually two
TV episodes) was remarkable.
(POSSIBLE SPOILERS) There's a great cast here. Nicholas Hammond plays Peter Parker/Spider-Man really well whilst Robert F. Simon is really good as the grumpy Jonah Jameson. Joanna Cameron makes an interesting female in the film.
The plot is really good. Some students steal some plutonium in order to make an atomic bomb. They don't plan to explode it, they stole the material in order to prove how easy it was. However, a villain by the name of Mr White gets his henchmen together and makes his way to New York to steal the bomb...which they actually succeed in doing.
There's some great action scenes in here. Spider-Man battles Mr White's thugs atop a tall building and is thrown off. He infiltrates Mr White's house in California and battles the bad guys (one is a strong brute whilst the other is some sort of Martial Arts expert).
The comic book Spider-Man was a bit of a detective at times and in this film he is the same. Parker does his detective work in this episode trying to figure out where the atomic bomb is located and how to catch the bad guys.
I originally saw these episodes many years ago but I watched them the other night and enjoyed them again. The special effects may not have been as good as they are now but Spider-Man Strikes Back was good for it's time.
YOU can criticise this movie in every department - if you compare it to
films like Superman and Batman. But if you look at it as a movie of its
time - the late 70's - and just let it wash over you, it's great stuff.
The fight scenes are funky rather than violent, the stunts are still impressive even today - man, is that guy really being pulled up a skyscraper by a rope? - and the whole thing is just so entertaining, if not thrilling. The bad guys are lousy, and the whole thing didn't cost much, but just seeing Spidey running around makes you smile.
Spider-Man Strikes Back never really captures the feel of the Marvel
based on. Only two characters - Peter Parker and J. Jonah Jameson - make
transition and although both give likeable performances, neither are
to their comicbook counterparts. Nicolas Hammond is too old for Peter,
Spidey, lacks the wallcrawler's sense of humour, although his intelligence
scientific knowledge is essential to the plot. Robert F. Simon is grouchy,
have pompousness or anger of Daily Bugle editor JJJ. Secretary Rita was
originally Betty Brant, but she has very little in common with her.
Spidey himself is done quite well, his costume is almost exactly the same as the original, and he climbs up and down buildings slowly but effectively. He even swings on a webline in one absolutely perfect (but very short) sequence, which will have fans in raptures. The fight scenes are cool, if short, with some intresting techniques thrown in, including jump cutting and P.O.V shots during the combat. There is also an exciting car chase and a genuinely dramatic climax with Spidey racing to defuse a nuclear bomb. The stunts are extremely impressive considering the budget.
The biggest fault is the lack of any supervillains. Instead of the Green Goblin, Kraven the Hunter or Mysterio, the arch enemy is Mr. White, a greedy millionaire who is after the bomb. His two henchmen are a kung fu guy and a huge, Jaws-like thug. They are all acceptable for 1970's TV shows, but for a movie released theatrically, insufficient.
There is some great music, however, and Peter's trademark day-to-day problems are all present and correct and occasionally amusing. A lot of the action takes place on top of skyscrapers as well, as in the comics. Compared to other comic based TV movies, it's one of the best, far superior to the recent Justice League of America (1997) and only surpassed by The Incredible Hulk (1977).
Overall, a pleasantly enjoyable movie and the best Spider-Man film so far, but nothing to get too excited about. Get excited about Sam Raimi's 2001 Spider-Man, with Tobey Maguire as Spidey fighting Doctor Octopus and the Green Goblin.
Although this isn't terrible for a low-budget TV movie, it doesn't really work. This is mainly for one reason: Spider-Man hardly gets to do anything! Most of the movie is Peter Parker stumbling into an incident involving a nuclear bomb, and stuttering to people when they ask him about Spider-Man. A good effort was made here, but it just doesn't have a Spidey feel to it. They should have gotten one of the comics' writers to come up with a story for this one. Oh, well.
Well you've read the comics, seen the various cartoon's and then you
this. "Sweet jesus what is going on" was my first thought when viewing
nugget of 70's nostalgia. The first shock came when I saw good old Peter
Parker, not only was he sporting a very fetching donkey jacket (I could
almost smell the tramp urine) he also had the most ridiculous haircut,
well its only seventies fashion" I thought to my self, but no, not only
PP taken up the substitute school teachers wardrobe, he had somehow lost
his classic wit (probably all them nasty drugs). No longer was Peter
the nerd who became cool, he was just a nerd. Then he donned the
Gone was the athletic wall crawler who swung his way round the city with ease, only to be replaced by a positively lethargic "2cm per hour wall crawling speed" imposter, instead of gracefully traversing the city roof tops via his web shooters, he seemed to prefer to run about in a very foppish manner indeed (usually sticking to the one roof top)although on one occasion in the film he does swing from one building to another (although it is the exact same footage that was used in the first film and his webs are now inch thick white rope that can self tie knots around poles and other protruding objects). Then there's the fight scenes, In the comics he goes head to head with people such as Rhino and other massive super strong villians, In this he gets smacked by skinny "Jeff Capes" lookalikes, (so much for spider strength). On the villian front there is Mr. White who's about as threatening as your mum. Ah well for all its faults it is part of the Spiderman legacy, even if it does reflect the cheese of the seventies far too well. Watch it if your a die hard Spider-fan (call it spiderman the wilderness years) but if your new to the world of spider-man, read the comics and wait for Sam Raimi's film.
I am sorry, but this movie was worst the then first one. How can you have a superhero movie without a super-Villain? Where is the web slinging! Why do he need transportation to get around?(helicopter to go the the roof of a building????). With a low budget and boring storyline, this movie is not even worth a rental! Hammond is too old to play Peter Parker, and where is Mary Jane, and Betty Brant? How is it that the Spiderman in the comics can take on Doctor Octopus, but in this made-for-TV movie, he gets his A*S kicked by TWO thugs? My children of 15, 11 an 8 saw this movie and threaten to call Child Protective Services for being cruel for making them watch this joke of a movie...Please, and I do mean please....I am asking all network media bosses only for one thing....If you going to make a Superhero movie for TV make sure that you stick to the original ideal of the comic and make sure that the Superhero has a Super-Villain to fight with.
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