Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Miles Teller, Jurnee Smollett, and Mark Paguio
Director: Joseph Kosinski
Spiderhead is a nice surprise. Chris Hemsworth steals every scene he’s in, bringing a maniacal glee to the role. It also is a testament to just how good of a performer Hemsworth is. From a story perspective, Spiderhead has its hits and misses. Sometimes it feels like its moving a little too slowly, and while the finale is exciting, the overall resolution leaves something to be desired. Still, I think the high concept and solid performances are enough to make Spiderhead a worthwhile watch.
Story wise, Spiderhead conjures up memories of The Island and Ex Machina, and although it’s more predictable than those films, the performance of Chris Hemsworth makes it work. Hemsworth has a blast every minute he’s on screen, and when he’s absent, the film takes a noticeable hit. That’s not to say anything of the performances from Miles Teller and especially Jurnee Smollett, but this is The Chris Hemsworth Show. Spiderhead also makes for another solid outing from director Joseph Kosinski following the success of Top Gun: Maverick. It may not reach the heights of that film, but Spiderhead is still a fun ride.
Joseph Kosinski’s Spiderhead isn’t a total bore, but it feels as if the story being told was meant to be in a miniseries format at first, then squeezed down to about two hours. Almost none of the characters actually receive the development they need to carry this narrative, and the idea of the location itself never really gets any traction beyond it simply being the setting. The film does attempt to grapple with some interesting concepts, but never actually explores them; without Chris Hemsworth and Miles Teller to keep its poorly-structured weight afloat, it likely would have sunk entirely.
With its strong Ex Machina vibes, a charismatic performance from Chris Hemsworth, and a terrific yacht rock soundtrack, Spiderhead is a fun little slice of thrilling intrigue, even if it’s never quite as good as the sum of its parts. Truthfully, my only real complaint is that a lot of the movie, both characters and plotlines, is underdeveloped. Revelations are made without much build up, so they don’t quite resonate the way director Joseph Kosinski probably wants them to. That said, this lone flaw never makes the movie less than engrossing, but it does drop Spiderhead from potentially great to merely pretty good.
Spiderhead has an intriguing premise and a great cast, but overall, it is not a winning bingo card. This sci-fi thriller is a bland pill to swallow, honestly. Despite the success director Joseph Kosinski just had with Top Gun: Maverick, this film unfortunately comes with side effects of nausea, headaches, and disappointment. The concept needed more meat to its bones, and it left me feeling like it was missing a whole other layer. Still though, it’s enjoyable enough due to the performances of Chris Hemsworth and Miles Teller.