Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Spiderhead (2022)

Streaming Service: Netflix
Movie Name/Year: Spiderhead (2022)
Genre: Action, Crime, Drama
Length: 1h 46min
Rating: R
Production/Distribution: Conde Nast Entertainment, Grand Electric, Reese Wernick Productions, Screen Arcade, The New Yorker, The Rebel Fleet, Netflix
Director: Joseph Kosinski
Writers: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick, George Saunders
Actors: Miles Teller, Chris Hemsworth, Charles Parnell, Jurnee Smollett
IMDb Blurb: In the near future, convicts are offered the chance to volunteer as medical subjects to shorten their sentence. One such subject for a new drug capable of generating feelings of love begins questioning the reality of his emotions.

Selina’s Point of View:
The trailer for Spiderhead really had me. It seemed like such a unique action flick. I couldn’t wait.
Imagine my disappointment when it turned out to not be an action at all.
Every single heart-pumping moment is in the trailer. There’s nothing else that could even remotely be considered action anywhere else in the film. I kept expecting the story to amp up and turn into something that would get me on the edge of my seat, but it stopped just short every single time.
It’s like Spiderhead couldn’t figure out what it wanted to be. It was advertised as something it wasn’t. Then there was this awful font used in the title screen and credits that belonged more in a teen film. The soundtrack, while fun, felt more like it belonged in a parody – or caricature – film. Anything not from the coming attractions was all drama, but not in any kind of absorbing way.
Chris Hemsworth (Avengers: Endgame, Extraction, Interceptor), Miles Teller (The Offer, Too Old to Die Young, Bleed for This), and Jurnee Smollett (Birds of Prey, Lovecraft Country, Underground) did what they could with what they had, but they didn’t have much. There was almost nothing for them to really do.
Spiderhead is not a flick anyone needs to concern themselves with. 

Cat’s Point of View:
When I’ve looked back at director Joseph Kosinski’s (TRON: Legacy, Oblivion, Top Gun: Maverick) body of work; I’ve found that I’ve become quite the fan of his storytelling. I was really excited to get a double shot with back-to-back projects releasing in May and June of this year. After I satisfied my need for speed last month, I was really looking forward to something a little more in-depth and psychological with Spiderhead.
Of course, the cast was a large part of what got my initial attention when I first heard of Spiderhead. I was intrigued to see Chris Hemsworth (12 Strong, Extraction, What If...?) in a role with questionable morals. I do enjoy seeing other facets of actors beyond what they generally get type-cast as – and Hemsworth tends to get the hero label a lot. In addition to that, this is also his 3rd film to produce with Netflix.

I also adore Jurnee Smollett (Underground, Birds of Prey, Lovecraft Country) and was really pleased with her performance here. I’ve tended to, historically, stay more on the fence where Miles Teller (War Dogs, Top Gun: Maverick, The Offer) is concerned, however. It was interesting to see a different side of him that wasn’t traveling faster than the speed of sound with afterburners blazing. This role called for something more reserved and emotionally internalized because of the heavy burden of his character’s past.
Let me cut to the chase. I enjoyed Spiderhead, but I think it had a marketing problem.
The way the trailer was put together, some viewers might be anticipating the story to lean more heavily into the action aspect. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. The majority of Spiderhead took place inside the facility. There was a taste of the faster-paced genre towards the end, but you have to get through the slower stuff first. Anyone watching Spiderhead to see boat chases and explosions isn’t going to have the right mindset to appreciate the story about humanity, ethics, and redemption. This is a tale that, at its core, was exploring that murky grey area of science and pharmaceutical innovation. Just because you can do a thing, doesn’t always mean you should.

I should reel myself in before I start quoting Ian Malcolm from the Jurassic franchise. I digress…
With all that being said, I can see why Spiderhead hasn’t been scoring well on reviews. If I was hoping for a fast-paced action blockbuster for my movie night and got this, instead, I’d be a bit disappointed, too.
The story really isn’t that bad. It’s a solid production. I may not remember the details of Spiderhead over time, but I certainly wouldn’t say that my time was wasted. My recommendation is to manage expectations leaning more into the dramatic with a touch of sci-fi rather than action and crime. If that sounds like something you would enjoy, definitely give Spiderhead a shot. 

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 41%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score –33%
Metascore – 54%
Metacritic User Score – 4.6/10
IMDB Score – 5.4/10
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating –2/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 3/5
Movie Trailer:

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