Spider-Man reboots are not as much movies as they are virtual portals into the world of men who have been bitten by radioactive spiders, or otherwise acquired Spidey-like powers and abilities. This has never been more apparent than in James Cameron’s I, Spider-Man. Though Cameron has exclusively referred to the project as a film, I, Spider-Man is really more of an augmented reality experience.
When you enter one of the nearly 4,000 theaters playing I, Spider-Man this weekend, the first thing you will notice is the Lenovo headset placed on your seat. You will be instructed to strap the device onto your face in much the same way Spider-Man himself wears a mask to conceal his secret identity.
The Lenovo headset uses a single pair of cameras for tracking movement as well as a remote control. You will also need a compatible mobile device (e.g. iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, etc.) which you will insert beneath some reflective lenses in order to see the images properly superimposed on the surrounding environment
Once you’re set up, it’s off to webslinging around midtown Manhattan with Spidey senses a-tingling! You will actually experience haptic tingling sensations via the vibrations of your mobile device.
Even better, when you look in the mirror sans Spider-Man mask within the seamlessly integrated, Cameron-approved Spidey reality, you will be able to see your face merged with a Tobey-type actor. And I, Spider-Man is the only Spider-Man reboot in which YOU get to choose the villain from among three different choices: Venom (Zoe Saldana), Kraven the Hunter (Giovanni Ribisi), and Kingpin (Vincent D’Onofrio).
Thankfully, the highly intrusive references to the Marvel Cinematic Universe that have plagued most of the recent Spider-Man reboots are deftly limited in I, Spider-Man to D’Onofrio’s reprisal of his role as Kingpin. Credit the notoriously exacting Cameron for his most tasteful approach to worldbuilding.
And while we’re on the subject of James Cameron, it looks like we finally know what caused the recent delays of the several Avatar sequels promised by that genius explorer of the deep seas. The secretive filmmaker seems to have taken an extended break from the Pandora Cinematic Universe so he can make a brief visit the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Throughout the film-like experience, Cameron is clearly having fun experimenting with Lenovo’s technology. This is most astonishingly apparent when Gwen Stacy speaks actual words scraped from emails, texts and social media of your IRL lovers, exes, and objects of desire. Innovation is no surprise coming from Cameron, but I was taken aback by his dramatic use of the social possibilities of mobile device integration.
Of course, the ‘film’ also fulfills the wizardly auteur’s long-held ambitions to bring Spider-Man to life in a way only he knows how. Now he can turn his full attention back to the Avatar sequels, which may one day outnumber Spider-Man reboots depending on whether the predictions of climate scientists hold true.
The only complaint I will share is that once I, Spider-Man had ended and the credits had rolled, the Lenovo headset proved terribly difficult to remove from my face. Though I pulled with all my might, I found it impossible to break the machine’s force of suction. An usher had to pry the headset off of me and many other patrons suffering the same problem using an imposing set of forceps provided by Lenovo to deal with such incidents.
I don’t mind telling you the operation to remove the I, Spider-Man experience from my face was extremely painful, and I cried for a very long time just as the sensitive Peter Parker would have if he were in my shoes.
TL;DR – Despite the occasional need to remove it from your face using a pair of forceps, I, Spider-Man succeeds by offering audiences a once in a lifetime chance to experience what it’s like to actually be Spider-Man as conceived by the visionary mind of James Cameron.
What the rest of the critics are saying:
“Get this fucking stupid piece of shit off my goddamned face!!” – Corban Goble, Vanity Fair
“I finally fulfilled my lifelong dream of fighting Vincent D’Onofrio, making this one of the best films of the year.” – Bunlak Hergrobe, Flick Filosopher
“I can’t wait to get my hands on the rumored expansion pack, which will unlock Gwen Stacy and all three villains as playable characters.” – Frank Swietek, One Guy’s Opinion
“Spider-Man endures in all of our eyes because he is surgically locked to them via Lenovo headset.” Belvis Bunjamin-Pennebaker, ScreenAnarchy
“You can definitely file this one under https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Spider-Man_reboots.” – Dusty Benry, Dark Horizons
“I had to go to the urgent care clinic to get the Lenovo headset removed and I know I’m not the only one. This film is class action lawsuit waiting to happen.” – Alissa Wilkinson, Vox
“Spider-Man is back, baby and you are Spider-Man, so you are back, baby, and I love you just as much as I love Spider-Man! Wow!” – Eric D. Snider, EricDSnider.com
“If there’s one Spider-Man reboot to rule them all, it’s definitely James Cameron’s I, Spider-Man, which will go down in history as the only film in history to cause me to need repeated medical treatments to restore sight to my left eye.” – Griffin Riddle, Radio Times
“Zoe Saldana delivers a haunting performance as Venom. When I went back to play against Giovanni Ribisi, I found the movie suffered dearly for it.” – MacEagon Voyce, The Playlist
“After I received the news from my doctors that the Lenovo headset would never come off of my face without causing fatal damage to my nervous system, I made a decision to live out the rest of my life as best I can as Peter Parker and his alter ego Spider-Man. And as Peter Parker works in journalism, it’s only fitting that I sign this review with his byline.” – Peter Parker (formerly known as Dominique Vivant), Vulture
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