Review: Spider-Man XXX 2

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DVD. Vivid

Axel Braun’s latest superhero movie is both a sequel to his Spider-Man XXX from a couple of years back and a continuation of his Avengers series. As such, it has less narrative cohesion than his stand alone efforts like Man of Steel XXX, but is part of a probably more interesting whole.

The film opens with a lengthy and grubby scene of Leya Falcon giving a blow job to a hood in an alleyway before Daredevil turns up to… well, I’m not exactly sure what he’s arrived for. She certainly doesn’t seem in need of rescue, and this brief moment is the entirety of Daredevil’s involvement in the film.

The story proper kicks in with Spider-man – or more accurately Peter Parker (Xander Corvus) – on assignment for SHIELD in Las Vegas with Power Woman / Jessica Jones (Casey Calvert), when he runs into Betty Brant (Sarah Shevon), who is on assignment to investigate Mysterio (Giovanni Francesco), masked stage magician. As our heroes see off a couple of AIM agents in order to retrieve the Cosmic Cube that we saw stolen in Captain America XXX (and then screw under its influence), Betty checks out Mysterio’s show and confronts him about his dealings with the Kingpin. He casts a spell on her, which leads to another sex scene and includes the bizarre sight of Shevon licking Mysterio’s fishbowl head at one point.

spidermanxxx202Spidey hooks up with Arachne (Dani Daniels) – who has been working undercover as Mysterio’s assistant, and the pair confront the villain, only to be brainwashed into have sex with each other while he escapes (as distraction techniques go, this is certainly novel!). But it turns out that Mysterio is just a hired hand, working for Sasha Kravenoff (Veruca James), who has kidnapped Madame Web (a strangely uncredited Nicki Hunter) and is intent on reviving Kraven from the dead. For some reason, this involves a threeway between the women. Soon, Spider-man is captive to and Sasha plans to use the blood of the spiders to revive her dead lover…

This film shares most of the strengths and weaknesses of all Braun’s superhero parodies. Braun’s knowledge of the original comic books is clearly extensive, but that’s not necessarily a good thing for the casual viewer, as characters and situations are introduced and referenced that will have little meaning to anyone not equally versed in the Marvel Universe. In terms of narrative, the film is also a bit of a mess if taken on its own – but Braun’s movies, even more than the official Marvel films, are all connected and exist as single chapters of a greater whole. So aspects left up in the air in Captain America XXX are referenced and expanded upon here, for instance. It’s intriguingly ambitious, and I’d love someone to sit down and structure a viewing order for the whole series.

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I’ve never been taken with Corvus as Spider-man – his graspy voice sounds far too well lived-in to be a Peter Parker I can recognise, frankly, and his delivery of dialogue leaves a lot to be desired. The rest of the cast are a mixed bag – Daniels is cute and appealing as Arachne, and gives a decent performance, as does James, but Sarah Shevon is one of the worst actresses I’ve ever seen in a porn film! Okay, I know she wasn’t hired for her ability to deliver dialogue – and her sex scene is fine – but really, she’s cringeworthy.

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Of course, in common with all Braun’s films, Spider-man XXX 2 has fantastic costumes. The female character outfits seem especially impressive and figure hugging here, while Mysterio looks great – and Daredevil is, interestingly, presented in his original yellow and red 1960s incarnation. And the sex scenes are all raunchy and explicit, as you’d expect. There are no stand-out moments of sexual extravagance, but concerned newspaper columnists worried about the aesthetic influence of adult entertainment will doubtless be glad to hear that a few female cast members are sporting full pubic bushes.

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So, while not Braun’s finest, this is probably a step up from his first Spider-man movie, and should be more than satisfactory for fans of the series.

DAVID FLINT

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