On paper, Spiderhead looks like a ”must see” science fiction futuristic feature having Top Gun: Maverick director Joseph Kosinski taking the rein and Miles Teller (“Rooster” from Top Gun: Maverick) sharing the lead with superstar Chris Hemsworth. Well watch I did with eager anticipation especially since I am still fresh from the awe of how great Top Gun: Maverick was. However, as with so many movies, with great expectations (and the Netflix original feature branding) comes great disappointment. Spiderhead is a mess in many ways. It cannot decide whether it is a comedy, or a science fiction futurist thriller. At the end, it ends up looking poorly either way. Not funny and not thrilling.
Right from the very beginning in its opening scene which has a person subjected to some sort of silly mentality test, we can see how bad the movie is going to be. The acting was terrible and the utter nonsense uttered by the characters indicated what we are in for. That includes a wide eyed grinning Chris Hemsworth playing the cartoonish role of a mad scientist with dubious motivations experimenting with new drugs that can control the mind. Only Miles Teller came across as the most “normal” person and he at least gave a reasonably decent performance given the junk he has to work with. He definitely shows promise and is fast becoming an actor to look out for in future. Chris Hemsworth on the other hand, was a huge disappointment. He acts like he is so great, as if his mere presence would be enough to carry the movie. Instead he only ended up coming across as a really bad actor. I am most disappointed with director Joseph Kosinski. Firstly for his bad choice of film, and secondly for directing this like he was on auto pilot. None of the brilliance we saw in Top Gun: Maverick is evident here making it hard to believe the same person directed both Top Gun Maverick and Spiderhead.
At one stage Chris’s assistant commented “I can’t watch” to which Chris replied “We are here by choice”. Funnily this short exchange briefly sums up how one could approach this movie. It is difficult to watch simply because of its stupidity and the terrible acting. But ultimately being a Netflix offering, we have the choice to turn off and move on to other things more worthy of our attention.