Back in the more innocent and carefree days of my early childhood life as a right young lad, I was properly into comic book-based superheroes (despite me never having read a single one of them). From the '60s Batman (Adam West & Burt Ward) to the '70s Incredible Hulk (Bill Bixby & Lou Ferrigno), I'd watch just about everything that had anything to do with these colourful, costume-wearing icons of pop-culture history. At roughly around the same time as when Sam Raimi's first Spider-Man film began to grow into a viable franchise juggernaut during the early 2000s, I remember having this old video tape of another Spider-Man movie that actually predated the more famous Tobey Maguire incarnation we all came to know and love (but little had I known it was from many, many years prior to when I was born). Yep, well before the immensely-beloved live-action Spider-Men of today's world (including Maguire, Andrew Garfield and Tom Holland), there was the less-than-popular version played by Nicholas Hammond (of Sound of Music fame).
So now that I've had a chance to unearth and revisit this relic from my youth, was it actually worth rewatching after all these years? Well, yes and no. To my naive juvenile self, this was one of the coolest things ever. But to my now adult mindset, this is quite possibly one of the most laughable things ever. We always tend to take certain things a little more seriously as kids, so I'd say it's probably best-viewed through the eyes of a child (it suffers from what I like to call "Power Rangers syndrome" in that respect, where as a youngster it was really awesome but now as a grown-up it's kind of embarrassing). Seeing as though it was only a made-for-TV movie after all (not to mention, one from the 1970s), I'll cut it some slack on the special-effects side of things (such as with his web-slinging and the compositing shots) as I suppose they really weren't that awful when taking into account the decade in which this came out and the very minimal budget it must've had at the time of its production (you've honestly got to take these factors into consideration when judging a product such as this fairly). The stunt-work is truly enjoyable to watch as every bit of the choreographed fight sequences left me in hysterics, and I'm guessing this was most likely due to the heavier type of bulky TV cameras they were using in the late '70s (which I'm sure had a limited range of motion back then). And to top it all off with the technical details, there's always loads of unintentionally cheesy-sounding music cues which make the dramatic scenes seem more hilarious than anything else (no further comment on that one).
Although he's nothing like the full-fledged Peter Parker from the Raimi trilogy, Nicholas Hammond still does a semi-decent job in the role (Hammond's interpretation of Parker manages to capture that intellectual aspect of his nerdy character fairly well, and he even goes through the typical phase of wishing he'd never become the wall-crawling web-head). The spandex suit they designed is kind of a joke (I don't mean to be too picky here and maybe I've been spoilt by all the newer suit designs, but this one's aesthetic choices just make it look so funny in comparison to those others). Not only does it's very appearance come-off as if to say it was originally a cheaply-made, store-bought Halloween costume, but the mask's eyes are also pretty goofy-looking. And as for Spider-Man's movements, let's just say they're a little odd at best and downright bizarre at worst. Whenever he's lightly-running across a rooftop or crawling up and down the side of a building, it just looks incredibly awkward. Oh yeah, and the "Spider Sense" sequences are a spectacular sight to behold (it's just a dazzling display of strobing colour-effects layered over a choppily-edited scene of whatever the baddies are up to).
I'm very much aware of the fact that I haven't talked about the plot at all, but that's mostly because it doesn't really matter a whole lot, seeing as how it's not very memorable and feels so generically bland (there's something to do with Spider-Man having to stop a bomb from going off during a world peace conference, or at least something to that extent?). Quite frankly, it's just your mediocre '70s self-contained TV plot-line of the week (a pretty forgettable story, all-round). But even after all my harsh criticisms, I still find there's somewhat of an amusement factor to it (I suppose that's just my nostalgic memory doing the talking for me, now). It's a small-screen adaptation that's bound to go down in superhero history as an ironically-entertaining anomaly in the wider Spidey franchise (only for the morbidly-curious of dedicated Marvel Comics fans to seek out).