THE AMAZING SPIDERMAN
In the 1970s, Spider-Man was one of a package of Marvel characters, including The Incredible Hulk, Dr Strange, The Human Torch, Captain America and Submariner, that were purchased for development for tv. This was the era of The Six Million Dollar Man (1973-8), The New Original Wonder Woman (1976-9) and just before the huge success of the Christopher Reeve Superman (1978) when the superhero was at a height of popularity. The Hulk was made into The Incredible Hulk (1977-82), a bland but popular combination of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and The Fugitive (1963-7), starring Bill Bixby and with its pilot released cinematically as The Incredible Hulk (1977). The was a tv pilot made of Dr. Strange (1978) but this never went to series; there were two terrible Captain America pilots made Captain America (1979) and Captain America II (1979) but neither were picked up; Submariner was dumped because the character was too close to tvs The Man from Atlantis (1976-8); and the Human Torch was canned when some executive decided that it might inspire children to set themselves alight and jump out of windows.
Out of these, Spider-Man became the basis of a short-lived tv series The Amazing Spiderman (1977-9), which only lasted for thirteen episodes that were never given any regular network scheduling. The Amazing Spiderman must be one of the dreariest tv series ever made. There was a complete lack of super-villains the series merely involved Spider-Man taking on run of the mill criminals. Other than the costumed title character, it was no different from the average cop show of the time such as Kojak (1973-8) or Starsky and Hutch (1975-9). The episodes were directed in the dullest way imaginable and Nicholas Hammond made a completely blank Spider-Man.
This was the pilot for the tv series, which was released cinematically outside of the USA. Deservedly, the comic-book fans hated Spider-Man. It is too bland a film to ever be interesting and a silliness overrides most of the proceedings. Occasionally it has its small successes. It does get some of the characters right, albeit watered-down like Peter Parkers nervousness and edgy double-identity dilemma, although this is badly overplayed and without subtlety by Nicholas Hammond. (As an actor, Nicholas Hammond astounds with the incredible lack of expressiveness he presents. His Spider-Man is bizarrely played as a Marcel Marceau-like mime). Better are the characters of Captain Barbera and J. Jonah Jameson, which are played with some of the crustiness of their comic-book originals, although these were watered down in the subsequent tv series.
The disco muzak score and weirdly atonal sound effects accompanying the action is often outlandishly inappropriate. The special effects are reasonable, with the swinging between and falls down the side of buildings being often breathtaking.
There were two further Spider-Man cinematic releases, both edited from episodes of the tv series Spider-Man Strikes Back (1979), which was re-edited from the tv episodes The Deadly Dust) and Spiderman and the Dragons Challenge (1980), which was re-edited from tv episodes The Dragons Challenge). The character of Spider-Man was later recreated in four highly successful big-budget, big-screen adaptations Spider-Man (2002), Spider-Man 2 (2004), Spider-Man 3 (2007), The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014) and the upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), featuring Tom Holland, while Hollands Spider-Man also appears in Captain America: Civil War (2016)..
Full film available online here:-