90 min., 2001
Written by Mark ‘Crash’ McCreery/Cary Solomon/Chuck Konzelman/Max Enscoe/Annie DeYoung
Directed by Scott Ziehl
My rating: ★★★★
A superhero story gone wrong.
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The movie begins with Quentin Kemmer (Devon Gummersall) waking up and getting ready for work. As he leaves he sees the woman of his dreams Stephanie Lewis (Amelia Heinle). They walk down together and do some talking. Once outside she is picked on by two local “punks” and there is very little Quentin can do, but she ends up telling them off. Before going to work Quentin stops at is favorite place, a local comic book store that is run by his friend Han (John Cho) and while there he sees a new statue of his favorite comic character, the Arachnid Avenger, who is really wants to be like. After that he goes to work and does his normal rounds. In one of the rooms there are new experiments that are going on with spiders. It seems that they are extracting blood from one of the spiders and injecting it into other spiders. He comes back from his rounds and his partner, Nick Bezis (Mario Roccuzzo), has left to check on some trouble. A shoot out ensues and Nick is killed. Quentin takes it really hard because he wants to be a hero like the Arachnid Avenger, but he is just a normal human with no powers. After he is questioned by Inspector Jack Grillo (Dan Aykroyd) he sees the blood from the “super spider” and decides to inject himself with it. Will Quentin become a superhero like the Arachnid Avenger or will he change into something completely different?
One of the biggest surprises of the movie is how good the acting actually is. Devon Gummersall does a great job with his role. He is able to show a very happy guy with no problem, but he is able to show the sadness of a loser that is stuck in his own fantasy world. Then when he starts turning, he is really good a first showing excitement for the change and then the terror of what he is actually becoming. Truly a great performance. Amelia Heinle does a good job with her role. She is a tough girl that can handle herself, but when she is attacked she shows her vulnerable side that she likes to keep hidden. Now Dan Aykroyd plays a detective that has been through some shit on the job, he lost his partner and because of that he has gone soft, and to top off those problems, his wife runs around in front of him. Dan Aykroyd plays his part very well but you do question why his character does what he does, but then you realize that he is a good and honorable man. There is one scene where his character is looking at his wife that is at his feet and the sadness in his eyes is quite powerful. He can do comedy and serious with great effectiveness.
The effects are pretty good overall. The use of CG wasn’t as painful I was expecting it to be and the use of prosthetics was great. The small changes that are done throughout the movie are really good and by the time we get to his final state it just look really great. Believable and cool at the same time. Now there is one scene that really did bug me though. Quentin is in the hallway and he sprouts his extra legs. It looks pretty neat but then he turns towards the camera and has a smirk on his face like he is saying look at how cool this looks. It’s like the director was overly impressed with the effects and had to specifically point it out. It just felt out of place.
This was a fun movie overall but what really sold me about the movie was the ending. Actually it was more the overall tone of the movie itself. Most of the time you see the loser character finally overcome his problems and become a superhero in the end. With this movie they take him turning into a spider with a more realistic view. Spiders need to eat “fresh” food and having Quentin consistently fighting that urge is really nice to see. When he finally does crack and eat you can really feel for him. Another thing that was really great was that he finally did get the girl, but only for a few seconds because of his transformation. In mid-transformation he finally asks her if she would have ever dated him. She responds with a yes but he never asked. The reality of him not having to be a hero to be happy finally sinks in and it really crushes him. Then we get the ending. No walking into the sunset with the girl of his dreams and no cures for the problem here, just plain and simple harsh reality.Have You Read...?