Review: The serial-killer thriller ‘Holy Spider’ gets stuck in its own morally murky web
What it’s about: When four out of five viewers will agree, “Spider-Man does something cool every now and then,” as Joss Whedon once put it, it’s clear there’s a need for more hero vs. villain stories. Such a story would be the perfect thing to launch a new genre, The Last Stand, but there are too many superheroes already and not enough villains. The only thing that matters is if the audience is bored and wants something new.
While the idea of a serial killer as the protagonist might strike a note of sadness (and while there have been enough murder films, there’s been enough death), what’s interesting about Holy Spider is that it’s not a story about a serial killer but a story about a serial killer’s journey with a young man he takes under his wing. In other words, it’s a story about how we relate to killers.
So, in case you’ve missed the news that Tom Hanks plays a serial killer, here’s where it all began: In 1991, the murder of a 14-year-old girl in a small town in northern Wisconsin was captured on camera by the local police. The video was an iconic moment with Hanks playing an over-the-top detective named Jim Brass. That video, of all things, is now available on Blu-ray. That’s how movies get made.
This is also the point in the story when Hanks begins to show his reluctance with the genre: “I couldn’t do this, I can’t do this,” he says near the end. “So I put on a suit, went to New York, and did this,” he says to the young man he’s taken under his wing, Peter Parker. This is because despite being the star of The Da Vinci Code and Spider-Man: Homecoming, Hanks is also playing a cop.
Not that Hanks is a cop — he’d be hard-pressed to prove his identity as a cop given who he is in the movie — but instead this is a relationship between Hanks and one of the two leads in the film, Parker. He’s played by high school student, Hailee Steinfeld, who is 13 years old for the first half of the movie. She is one of the biggest teen stars of this generation.
Of course, there