Hello Capeless Crusaders, it is an honor to be writing here on this illustrious site. I am Cory C. Lim, hopefully you’ll be reading more of my writings as time goes on. Now that introductions are done, I’d like to get into it.
Marvel Knights: Spider-man is a fan film by produced by Made Legit Media. The film’s YouTube description proclaims it to be a “no budget fan film” and it shows, but more on that later.
If you haven’t seen the video yet, I’d suggest taking 5 minutes out of your day to watch it. although not the most technically proficient fan film around, it is entertaining during the brief time you spend with it. Whether you are enjoying it ironically or not is up to you.
Also, spoilers abound so watch the short film before reading the remainder of this review if your spider-senses are tingling.
The film opens on a grainy, black-and-white, old-time, scratched-up film with narration about “aspiring to be something greater and accepting responsibility.” The visual aesthetic doesn’t really work but, once again, I’ll get to that later. During this we see one scaly hand reach up over the counter. Oh bless you, scaly hand if only you could clue me in to what was coming in a few short minutes.
We get our opening credits and then get a glimpse at the main story. A group of criminals is robbing a bank while the getaway driver chit chats with a busboy. Honestly, for my money, these were far and away the best actors in the movie. They seemed natural and I kind of wish that that actor playing the bus boy had gotten a crack at Peter instead.
Next we get our first look at Peter Parker and Gwen Stacey, both are age appropriate and look enough like their comic book counter parts so passing grade there. Even if Gwen Stacey appears to not be so much acting as someone who is discovering how words work. I kid, I’m sure she’s a lovely girl when she’s awake for filming.
What doesn’t pass is the sound design. There are major, sound issues in this movie. I’m not sure if they didn’t have the time to dub over lines but everybody is a mumble bum. Okay not everybody mostly Peter and Cigar-man.
Peter’s lines are intelligible but definitely confused and not well-spoken. I’m not sure if he’s trying to play up the introverted nerd angle, is just incredibly nervous, or quite possibly stoned. Thia is confusing, as there was clearly a lot of effort put into this short film even with it’s myriad problems. How could they have gotten the casting of Peter so bizarrely wrong? After about five minutes of research it turns out that the actor playing Peter is also the director. The joys of being internet famous I guess.
Cigar-man or as I shall now refer to him, Possibly J.J., is the opposite. Possibly J.J. delivers his lines with gusto, through the side of his mouth while chewing on a cigar. Needless to say he doesn’t fare much better, he just emotes more. Now it may seem like I’m harping on casting but that isn’t the case here. The actor has a cigar in his mouth through 90% of his scene. Imagine going on a date and your date keeps shoving napkins into their mouth while you’re trying to have a conversation, that’s more or less what you get here.
The reason I harp on this is because of all of the characters who are easy to dub over, Spider-man may be the easiest ever. Slidey doesn’t have a visible mouth, unless you’re talking about the final fight of Spider-man 3. Considering there were certain scenes which were certainly dubbed, you think they’d take another pass in the booth.
That being said, I could nitpick this thing to death, like the Spider-man poster in Miles room with clearly visible Marvel logo in the corner, and Spidey in full gear on it. Also, the fact that Miles is in this at all as a Spider-Man fan even though no time table has been established. I could complain about the fact that Possibly J.J. gets shocked by Spider-Man even though he’s quietly standing in an alleyway without his spider mask visible to Possibly J.J, (Spidey wears a hoodie and jeans in this film). I could also complain about the fight choreography being a touch too slow, and that one of the robbers kills a bus boy instead of just knocking him out since the busboy hadn’t seen anything.
I could complain about that (I actually just did) but I won’t continue to do so for one very simple reason: this movie is genuine. It was made by people who honestly love Spider-man. Is it good? Oh, lord no. Is it competent? It’s close but falls a bit short. What isn’t debatable is that it’s short length helps it, that it’s fun enough to get me interested, and short enough to keep me here. The best thing about it is that the film has a quality that strongly reminds me Arnold movies of old, or the wink to the camera hi-jinx of something Van Damme would star in. There is an honest emotion and passion to this film, to that I say bravo to the film makers.
Oh, you’re wondering about the scaly hand. Oh boy, is this is where the film shines. Do you remember when I said the “no budget fan film” description showed. Once Peter dispatches the criminals he meets up with Gwen at Oscorp, where they apparently do Doc Ock experiments in a lobby with one computer terminal. However, before they can get a proper demonstration The Lizard appears, and by The Lizard I mean someone in a lab coat and a Jurassic Park raptor mask. The only thing I can say is that it is glorious. I dare you not to at least crack a smile when you look at this bad boy. Behold as an actor uncomfortably skulks forward three feet and turns without the ability to see. Also, yes it is more accurate to the books, and yes I certainly prefer this to the Amazing Spider-man movie’s version.
As it turns out, the the hand we saw at the beginning is in fact Lizard’s hand. Which leads me to ask why the opening scene is old-time film grain? Did The Lizard just wait 50 years before he decided to strike, or has he found some amazing new Instagram filter? The possibilities are endless and may be discussed in much the same vein of Donnie Darko or Vesper’s intentions in Casino Royale.
I’d say give this a watch. It’s short and it’s fun. It’s got a lot of problems but those kind of just make it more enjoyable.
I’m rating this three rubber raptor masks out of five.