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L’Uomo Ragno Changed My Life

Spiderman: No Way Home prompted a lot of debate as to who the best Spiderman was (it’s Andrew Garfield, by the way). There’s always that one greasy haired comic book knob who at 2am in Sandy’s will swear it’s the Japanese Spiderman from the 1970s before offering to take you home for VCR and chill. A hot take is rare in this university. However, I came across one in Lupo’s the other day, when I looked up to see a poster for an Italian Spiderman that no pretentious comic book nerds had ever brought up. Why? Was it lost? Was it hideously outdated and offensive? Or was it just plain awful?

In fact, it’s all three. When we saw No Way Home at the NPH there was whooping, cheering, and applause. When we watched Italian Spiderman there was laughter, drinking, and an ever-increasing air of bewilderment.

Italian Spiderman’s budget could not stretch to spiderwebs and swing- ing about Manhattan, so instead Italian Spiderman (whose name bizarrely is the only bit of the dialogue not in mangled Italian) mows down his enemies with guns and on occasion the power of his moustache. Furthermore, your friendly neighbourhood Italian Spiderman is not charming seven- teen-year-old Peter Parker but a balding, chain-smoking womaniser who wears spandex in bed. Nonetheless, the film pushes a feminist message; Italian Spiderman never fails to remind viewers to ‘respetti le donne’ before he punches nefarious misogynists and instructs the newly liberated women of Italy to go make him a macchiato.

Your author is a Uni Haller, and thus compelled to recommend turning the film into a drinking game. I would add that it is only with the liberal application of alcohol that this film makes any semblance of sense. With this in mind, I hope you will forgive that my recollection of the plot is inexact. I think it involves an asteroid heading for Earth and the only researcher able to stop it being kidnapped by a man in a gimp mask who can turn people into snakes. Then there was some sex and a bit with a crocodile, then they were in a secret lair, and the army was involved somehow. Also surfing? After that it all goes a bit blurry...

I do remember that Italian Spiderman also features a Godzilla parody, which I seriously hope is a reference to the aforementioned Japanese Spiderman who summons a giant robot to fight monsters for him. Apparently, this inspired Super Sentai which eventually became Power Rangers – which I now respect as a comparative masterpiece of plot-weaving. Unfortunately, Italian Spiderman cannot summon a giant robot. He can, however, summon penguins. You must down your drink whenever this happens.

There is, thankfully, more to Italian Spiderman than the plot and shaky special effects. Sound plays a massive role. Dune had an incredible soundscape. Zimmer ’s score sublimely shifts between tension and calm, desolate beauty and pounding excitement, leaving the viewer with an uncomfortable sense of impending dread in every beat. Italian Spiderman has an indescribable soundscape. It consists almost entirely of cougar screams, inappropriate stock sounds, random static, and porn background music. Hans Zimmer eat your heart out! We were on the edge of our seats the whole time.

I will never get back the 50 minutes of my life I gave to Italian Spiderman; every shot-worthy moment will be etched into my mind for years to come. I fully believe that when finals get too much for me and I am reduced into a gibbering wreck huddled in the corner of my darkened room, when student services break down the door and Sally Mapstone rushes in to dry my tears on her funny purple gown and usher me towards a councillor, my only learnt response will be to turn to camera, scream ‘io chiamo pinguini’ and then pass out in a pool of cheap whisky and IR notes. I cannot do justice to the insanity of this film; you deserve to experience it yourself.

Italian Spiderman can, unfortunately, be found in full on YouTube

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