When you're yearning for more superhero shenanigans while waiting for the next star-studded Hollywood comic book spectacle, your best bet for instant relief is the incredible corner of the fan film community.
We at SYFY WIRE are ravenous about these amateur productions and are always amazed at the ingenuity, resourcefulness, and creativity often associated with inexpensive, not-for profit shorts celebrating valuable franchises like Star Wars, Batman, Transformers, Superman, Alien, Harry Potter, X-Men, and Tomb Raider.
This month we're giving a huge hug to fan films featuring that dynamic web-slinging wonder, Spider-Man. Since Peter Parker's momentous debut in Marvel's Amazing Fantasy #15 in 1962, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko's mirthful meta-human has remained one of the most popular superheroes in the storied House of Ideas' mighty stable.
Check out these 10 Spider-Man fan films below, then tell us which ones you're the most stuck on.
The Marvelous Spider-Man 2015
One of our longer entries into the Spidey fan film game spotlights Peter Parker, Norman Osborn, Kingpin and the Weapons Plus Program that produced Captain America, Wolverine, and Deadpool. Spider-Man is kidnapped by Kingpin to extract Super Serum from his body and reverse engineer the exotic substance. Shooting in black and white was a risky choice but it adds a stark level of detail to the no-budget project. Nothing fancy from director Michael Innamorato, just an inspired reflection of the filmmakers’ respect for the all-time Marvel favorite.
Spider-Man: Vengeance 2016
Spider-Man is back in black! This hour-long entry from Cameron Dodd was featured on Machinima and showcases a sharp screenplay and highly-effective use of music. Diving back into the Osborn legacy and Green Goblin again, the superhero short does inject a true fan’s affection for the arachnid-infected vigilante by allowing Peter Parker to also be a teen at Midtown high and bond with both fans and friends. Lots of Spider vs Green Goblin combat ending in an unexpected death that might make you a bit misty. Pass the tissues!
Spider-Man: Enter The Shocker 2017
After a mission to a nearby asteroid, the Space Shuttle crash lands at Kennedy Airport and Spider-Man is on hand to keep the potentially-disastrous Promethium-X element out of the hands of The Shocker. The Star-Spangled Avenger, Captain America, assists Spidey in obtaining the mysterious substance under orders from Nick Fury. Introduces the ominous black costume after a nightmare starring flashes of Venom and Blade. Written and directed by Eric Green and showing a lot of love for the Spider-Man franchise in all its shades and shadows.
Intractable: A Spider-Man Story 2014
Heath Gleeson directs and stars in an effective 30-minute tribute short inside the Spider-Man Universe with ease and competence. Being Rick-rolled out of bed with the ‘80s dance classic starts things out on an amusing note that descends into a more somber, reflective tone. Here, Peter investigates the death of his parents, learns a horrible secret about his dad, and slips into the slick black suit once again. Concentrates on the bloodline of the Parker clan and the lonely burden of being different in a harsh and accusatory world.
Spider-Man Commencement 2017
After Ben Parker passes away, Peter Parker (Mark Ricci) ponders his future and his role as a fledgling superhero. Clad in his home-made hoodie costume and practicing his Spidey skills in a suburban neighborhood, Peter tries to track down his uncle’s killer. Displays some fun Homecoming-type humor and the familiar dynamics between Norman Osborn and his ambitious son Harry. Contains an excellent Green Goblin and solid fight choreography, making this enjoyable second entry by director Cameron Dodd a respectable effort.
Spider-Man: The Lost Avenger 2015
Short but sweet, Spider-Man; Before Dawn has some snappy dialogue and a zippy sensibility that feels perfectly at home in the Spidey Universe. This short finds its rhythm with a flurry of funny jokes showing the pros and cons of being a web-swinging crimefighter in his local NYC neighborhood. Written and directed by Randall Maynard with his finger on the true pulse of the character. Perfectly demonstrates the effective use of short-form storytelling on a shoestring budget.
Spider-Man Before Dawn 2017
Here’s one of our top favorites, directed by David Christian Vera and Matt Davies-Morris. From he opening credits, viewers are keenly aware that these guys know camera placement and editing and the sharp cinematography meshes nicely with a taut story centered around an urban Spider-Man vigilante in his early years of testing out his Spidey powers. A cameo by The Man Without Fear elevates this above the rest and makes us hope to see this intriguing team-up on the big screen sometime! Kudos to Ryan Fogal for the riveting music as well.
Spider-Man Lives: A Miles Morales Story 2015
An outstanding amateur achievement by director Ivan Kander! In the wake of Peter Parker’s death, Miles Morales (Demetrius Stephens) takes up the mantle to fill the void. Superior acting top to bottom distinguishes this absorbing short that carries a profound pathos in its 9-minute run time. Surprisingly good special effects sprinkled through the story display some true talent behind the camera. The black and red costume reveal at the end will tingle your spider senses. One element often forgotten in fan films is the proper use of the end credits to further deepen your tone and themes but this gem nails them! Plus, The Kangaroo!!!
Miles Morales: Final Day 2016
Miles becomes your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man in this impressive offering courtesy of director Joshua Williams, who also occupies the starring role. Understanding the importance of color gives this little flick a sharp sheen and the inclusion of a sexy Spider-Gwen and the black-tressed villain, Morlun, add to the professional polish. Outstanding fight choreography, excellent costuming, and reserved use of special effects make this a certified crowdpleaser that easily cracks our Top 3!
Marvel Knights: Spider-Man 2016
Though part of an ambitious web series, we had to include this fantastic effort by delivering the entire hour-long compilation of the first five episodes. Produced by Made Legit Media and directed by Jesse Scimeca, our grand prize winner delivers a satisfying Spider-Man experience with a heart-felt, rock solid story infused with all the usual suspects and supporting cast like Gwen Stacy, the Osborns, Doc Ock, Venom, The Lizard, M.J., and Green Goblin. Outstanding across the board and an accomplished achievement worthy of our top honor. Spare an hour out of your day and be swept away into the colorful Spidey-verse!