Spider-Man (1977)

aka The Amazing Spider-Man
Article 2984 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 7-9-2009
Posting Date: 10-15-1009
Directed by E.W. Swackhamer
Featuring Nicholas Hammond, David White, Michael Pataki
Country: USA

After being bitten by a radioactive spider, a college student / photographer develops super powers. He uses them to do battle with an evil man who has developed a method of mind control.

I think some TV-series were launched with the hope that they would eventually kick in and find a home with the TV viewing audience even if the pilot wasn’t promising, and I suspect that was the hope when they decided to make “The Amazing Spider-Man”. I don’t think it was on the strength of this rather weak pilot. About the best thing I can say about this one is that the special effects are quite passable for a TV-series, and I do like the fact that Spider-Man here actually does seem like an spider at times as he scurries up and down the walls. What it lacks is compelling characters; Nicholas Hammond is quite bland as Peter Parker / Spider-Man, and David White never really gets into the spirit of J. Jonah Jameson, a role that could potentially have been a lot of fun. In fact, Michael Pataki’s Captain Barbera character seems to have more of a J. Jonah Jameson feel than Jameson himself; unfortunately, he chews the scenery overmuch, is given the worst dialogue of the movie, and is saddled with a comic relief sidekick. Like most super-hero TV shows of the era, it dispensed with the super-villains they faced in the comics in favor of more conventional action-adventure-TV-type villains, which I suspect was due to the fact that super-villains would have blown out the special effects budget. It’s watchable, I suppose, but hardly encouraging. Nonetheless, it did make it to a series, though not one that lasted very long.


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