' ' Cinema Romantico: Spiderman 3

Monday, May 07, 2007

Spiderman 3

I greatly enjoyed the first two films of the "Spiderman" franchise. In fact, I would go so far as to say the first "Spiderman" is my second favorite superhero movie, right behind the superb "Batman Begins". I liked them because they felt to me like a comic book, or a cartoon, brought to life on the big screen. The action scenes were exciting but clearly not real. There were actual characters, and they changed, but with more of a storybook-feel than something deep and profound.

I felt the third installment was the same way, sort of. There are quite a few more problems this time around than in director Sam Raimi's first two outings. But we'll get to those.

There's a lot going on here. Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) seems to have everything going his way. He's doing well in school, he's about to propose to Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst) and, oh yeah, his certain alter ego has become a sort of folk hero in New York City. But what's that saying? Ah, yes. Into every life a little rain must fall. And then this strange, black alien "goo" shows up and it causes Spiderman to wear a black suit that makes him a sort of evil version of Spiderman.

What is this "goo"? Where does it come from? Who the hell knows.

Mary Jane has some rain fall into her life as well. She's just opened a play on Broadway but it turns out that perhaps she can't sing quite as well as she hoped and meanwhile her potential fiance seems more interested in his infamous alter ego and in this other little vixen from his science class named Gwen (Bryce Dallas Howard).

Not to mention the fact Harry Osborn (James Franco) is still seeking vengeance for his dad dying (so Harry thinks) at the hands of Spiderman in the initial movie.

Not to also mention the fact Flint Marko (Thomas Haden Church) has busted out of prison and is trying to score some money for his sick little daughter only to wind up falling into some sort of contraption that's barely explained which, of course, turns him into The Sandman.

Not to also mention the fact Eddie Brock (Topher Grace) is trying to outdo Peter Parker in the getting-good-photos-of-Spiderman department at the Daily Bugle only to wind up transforming to yet another villain named Venom via that crawling black "stuff" I mentioned.


Okay, so there you go. There's your synopsis. Sort of. There's some other stuff (like the Russian girl from across the hallway - remember her? - turning up to bake cookies) but I'm tired of re-printing plot already.

The whole enterprise falls victim to the old Every Sequel's Gotta' Have More problem. There's far too many characters. I liked this Flint Marko fellow. There seemed to be a lot of something bubbling under the surface with him but it's never explored. They give him a set-up without any real payoff. Like I said, his daughter's sick (and that's not giving anything away that hasn't already been given away in previews and every single magazine article about the film) and so he's trying to help her but this angle seems to be abandoned as soon as its mentioned. They needed to make Marko more desperate.

And as for Topher Grace as Eddie Brock as Venom? Well........look, I like Topher Grace. I think he's made really good choices in his roles. I think he really desires to be a serious actor. And I really, really respect that. But the guy's just not evil. Not at all. Topher Grace trying to be a movie villain is like me trying to be a movie villain. Would any of you buy me as a movie villain? Would I scare you? Didn't think so. Quite frankly, I thought the entire Eddie Brock/Venom deal should have been scrapped to devote more time to Flint Marko/Sandman.

I also must mention that there comes a point midway through where the movie suddenly veers off into an odd, almost 70's-movie direction. I don't want to give this plot deviation away because it's so out of left field that to say anything would be to ruin it but it's something of the you'll know it the precise moment you see it variety. I get the feeling a lot of movie-goers ain't gonna' like it. It was met with a lot of puzzled laughter at the screening I attended and the gentleman sitting behind me made the comment, "What the f---?"

Again, I'll be honest. I enjoyed this plot deviation. It was my favorite part of the whole two-and-a-half hours. Then again, I'm not your typical movie-goer and so I could very well be the only one. But so be it. I liked it because it was not exactly what I expected.

I liked the action scenes, particularly the first and last ones. They thrilled me. I loved the scene with the Daily Bugle Editor (J.K. Simmons) and his secretary reminding him to take his pills. And I liked that it felt as if Sam Raimi was really trying to make a good movie - with good characters - without his eyes fixated solely on the "numbers". But there's just too much. Too, too, too much.

I liked the ending, too. I did. And I truly hope it's the last ending I see in a "Spiderman" movie. If there's another one, I get the feeling I won't like it as much.


Wretched Genius said...

Sony just signed a contract for 3 more. I hated "Spider-Man," hated "Spider-Man 2" only slightly less, and will wait until I can illegally download a copy of "Spider-Man 3" before watching it, to prevent any money being made by the creators. And with Sony saying that it wants 3 more movies, at least I can take comfort in knowing that I will get to witness the slow death of a franchise I despise. It will be just like 90's "Batman" run all over again.

Rory Larry said...

Superman...I mean spiderman...a retrospective

Superman: The Movie - must decide between saving a gob full of people or Lois Lane, manages to do both (nuclear missles)

Spiderman - must decide between saving a gob full of people or Mary Jane, manages to do both (cable car on bridge)

Superman II - Supes gives up his superhero life for love

Spiderman II - Spidey gives up his superhero life for love

Superman III - Supes is exposed to a material and becomes evil, forcing him to fight his inner demons to return to good

Spiderman III - Spidey is exposed to a material and becomes evil, forcing him to fight his inner deomons to return to good.

Seriously people, that wasn't that hard to find the parallels

What can we expect in Spiderman IV? Spidey proposing to rid the world of wmds only to be forced to fight a generic rip off of himself?

Horrible, horrible, horrible movie.

Anonymous said...

But Rory, you forgot something -

Superman 2 - Good movie.

Spiderman 2 - Crap.

Superman 3 - Richard Prior!

Spiderman 3 - Guys from That 70's Show and Wings.