Italian Spiderman (2007)
Film review #517
Director: Dario Russo
SYNOPSIS: When an asteroid that falls to earth turns out to have the power to clone people, it is stolen from Professor Bernardi by Captain Maximum, who wants to use it to create his own personal army. The world’s only hope, Italian Spiderman, sets out to stop Captain Maximum and save the world before it’s too late…
THOUGHTS/ANALYSIS: Italian Spiderman is a 2007 short film, which is a parody of the various knock-offs and copyright-infringing films were made in non-English speaking countries (where the owners of the characters would probably never know the films were made in the pre-internet days). Italian Spiderman is unsurprisingly a parody of Spiderman, and in the opening we see Spiderman playing a poker game and blowing his opponents away with a shotgun, which should give you an idea of how accurate the representation of Spiderman is. The plot of the film concerns an asteroid that falls to Earth and has the power to clone people when exposed to it. This obviously attracts the attention of the evil Captain Maximum, who steals it in order to create an army to take over the world, leaving Italian Spiderman to stop him. The plot would be pretty standard for the type of films it is trying to parody, and leaves scope for all manner of ridiculous setups to occur as Italian Spiderman battles all sorts of traps and villains. Parodying films which are already absurd and ridiculous certainly presents the problem of how you add anything to the original or present it in a different way. Italian Spiderman actually handles this pretty well: it is able to throw in plenty of surprises by adding really ridiculous things out of nowhere, and also throwing just the right amount of self-awareness in to add something new with the parody. With a runtime of just thirty seven minutes, it doesn’t overstay it’s welcome, and accomplishes all it can probably do in that time.
Italian Spiderman (he is never just called “spiderman,” as an example of the aforementioned self-awareness the film has), in keeping with the type of film it is parodying, doesn’t look like the typical spider-man nor does he have any of his powers. The rest of the characters fill typical inconsequential roles that nevertheless keep some semblance of structure in the film. The use of practical effects, combined with the obviously misplaced stock footage, make for some humourous setups. I imagine when this was released online in 2007 it would have been quite popular, at a time where these sort of films were just being discovered by English speaking countries. Nowadays it might have less of an impact because the original films are so easily available and just as silly, but still, Italian Spiderman is a smart parody that balances self-awareness with the original absurdity which makes the films it is parodying so infamous.