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Spider-Man: The Dragon's Challenge

Spider-Man: The Dragon's Challenge (1981)

May. 09,1981
| Adventure Fantasy Action Crime

Spider-Man goes to China to help an official accused of World War II treachery. Two episodes of the TV series "Spider Man" edited together and released as a feature.


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Although the live action series came before my time, I do remember watching reruns as a child on both the USA network and the Sci-Fi Channel with their "Spider-Mania" and "Mighty Marvel Marathon" respectively. The latter was hosted by none other than Stan "The Man" Lee himself! I loved this show then, and although I haven't seen it in years, I am glad to say nothing has changed, I still love it! Nicholas Hammond was brilliantly cast as Peter Parker/Spider-Man. I think he is definitely the best actor to have played the part, and that includes Tobey Maguire! He is very likable, and looks and acts just the way the character should. It is quite obvious to me that he was the inspiration for the look of Peter Parker on the "Spider-Man" animated series from the 1990s (which I also grew up on).I just watched this movie, and so many great memories of running around dressed in my very own Spider-Man costume, on my own make believe adventures came flooding back.It was great to see actual fight scenes that didn't involve CGI, same with the moments where Spider-Man is wall-crawling, or web slinging. They had it right, keep it real! The stunts were amazing, considering someone had to be hoisted high above the city streets while simulating Spidey's ability to climb walls! I highly recommend both this movie and "The Amazing Spider-Man" series to any Spider-Man fan, or comic book fans in general. It's just a lot of fun!

Big Movie Fan

This is a brilliant Spider-Man movie almost on par with Spider-Man Strikes Back (which wasn't actually a movie but two episodes given a theatrical release years back).(POSSIBLE SPOILERS) The story is about some unscrupulous businessman trying to bump off an important Chinese official in order to get himself a lucrative contract to build a steel mill. The Chinese official is in New York and it is arranged for some villains to kill him. But they hadn't counted on Spider-Man.There were no super villains in this series which was a good thing because it made the whole thing more believable. Parker (played very well by Nicholas Hammond)changes into Spider-Man loads of times in this movie and really goes into action. Spider-Man suffers quite a bit in this film (he is shot twice) and it's also great to see Parker doing his detective routine in this film.If that's not enough there's plenty of action, a beautiful lady to accompany Parker and some quite nice scenery throughout. This film makes a great gift for any fan of Spider-Man. If you've watched the 2002 film then watch this as well because you won't be disappointed.

The Spectacular Spider-Man

The Dragon's Challenge cuts back on the wallcrawling, webswinging action of our hero and concentrates on Japanese WWII-inspired political intrigue. How anti-exciting. Don't hire this for your kids because they'll be bored immedietly. Drama and spectacle is few and far between.It's a boring story poorly told, which shifts to Japan half way through to allow for 20 minutes of sight-seeing (!) obviously funded by the Japanese tourist board.Ultimately, Spidey simply captures the bad guys and rescues the hostage, who are at the top of a skyscraper, naturally. The political intrigue angle is nicely handled but for a superhero movie, we want supervillains! Evil schemes! Ultimately, the Japanese stuff in the plot is an excuse for kung fu antics that were so much in fashion at the time. A bunch of easily defeated martial artists are no substitute for a good supervillain though, especially ones who can't get within spitting distance of Spidey before he webs them up.The special affects are fine, and the stunt work is excellent. The wallcrawling sequence with Spidey climbing a huge Japanese skyscraper is the best in the entire series; not only is it an enormous building, but when Spidey gets near the top he turns 90 degrees to check his Spider Tracer device, allowing for some vertigo-inducing P.O.V shots from a stuntman hanging upside down hundreds of feet in the air. Truly impressive stuff.Unfortunately, considering so much kung fu is promised, Dragon's Challenge lacks action - there is only one proper fight scene - and just a lot of running around. The saving grace, really, is the awesome music, some of the funkiest jazz known to man. Spider-Man Strikes Back (1978) and Spider-Man (1977) are far better, so catch them instead.


While not as good as Spider-Man Strikes Back (1978), this is amusing stuff, with some extremely cool fight scenes and painful sound effects. Nicolas Hammond finally gets a decent(ish) haircut, and he goes to Japan to battle a couple of low-rent kung fu types. the theme tune is great, and Spidey himself is ridiculously funky. Go on, watch it - you know you want to!