1. The Plot
Forget teen pathos. This Peter Parker is played by Nicholas Hammond (The Sound of Music‘s Friedrich!) as a grad student who adapts to his new powers with a shrug and a smile. When a New Age guru uses a mind-control device to turn citizens into criminals, Spidey swings (sloooowly, on what appears to be a white rope) into action.
2. The Costumes
These days, you can eBay a better Spidey getup than this saggy body stocking. The street clothes are worse: Is Peter going to save the day or head to Studio 54?
3. The Villain
Thayer David (Dark Shadows) plays the campy guru. He attacks by typing “Peter Parker — DESTROY!” into a computer.
4. The Effects
[Imagined conversation] F/X guy: “What if we shoot him crawling on the ground and then put a photo of a house behind him so it looks like he’s climbing up it?” Director: “Sounds great!”
5. The Acting
David White (Bewitched‘s Larry Tate) is a charmingly gruff J. Jonah Jameson, but Hammond would’ve needed superhuman acting chops to make the cheesy dialogue work. To a gang of deprogrammed lackeys: “I’ve reversed the microwaves. So let’s be buddies, all right?” No thanks.
6. The Climax
To defeat the bad guy, Spider-Man spritzes some sad-looking webbing at the mind-control antenna and…yeah, that’s about it. No breakneck hand-to-hand combat. No mega-explosions. And those martial-arts henchmen? They just give up and walk away.