Monday, June 11, 2007

Spider Man 3

Dear Sam Raimi-
6 years ago, you made the first Spider-Man film. Despite being a dreaded origin story film, it was pretty good, and made boatloads of money. Several years after that, you followed that up with Spider Man 2, one of the definitive films of the superhero/comic book genre. SM2 perfectly captured the pain in Peter Parker's life that he refuses to take the easy way out of, that which makes Spider-Man arguably the greatest comic hero ever. So what the hell happened with Spider-Man 3?
I've gotta say, I didn't think you would screw this one up as badly as you did. The trailers looked good, and the casting was good.....except you, Kirsten Dunst and Tobey Maguire. But more on that later. The premise wasn't too bad: Peter Parker, riding high and ready to pop the question to Mary Jane, takes one blow after the other. First, Harry Osborn (James Franco, who OWNS this movie) assumes the Goblin mantle, and attacks Peter. Then, painful wounds are reopened when Captain Stacy (a completely wasted James Cromwell) tells Peter and his Aunt May (Rosemary Harris, rising way above the material) that his Uncle Ben wasn't killed by a nameless burglar, but by career loser Flint Marko (Thomas Haden Church), who just happens to gain.....sandy powers through a comic-book BS science nuclear accident. Also adding pressure to poor Peter's life are rival Daily Bugle photog Eddie Brock (a surprisingly impressive Topher Grace), and Mary Jane's career problems, which cause her to act like something that rhymes with "briny switch." Oh, and there's this outer space goo that responds to aggression, and wackiness ensues. Lots of it.
Whew. That's a whole lotta plot. Too much, actually. The two (two? three? three and a half?) villains could have EASILY been split into two separate movies, and benefited from more deeper character depth ala Doctor Octopus in SM2, instead of being given the barest characterization screen-time allowed here. Which is a shame, because both Topher Grace and Thomas Haden Church acquitted themselves nicely here. They look like their characters, clearly understood them, and turned in very good performances. There are also some very, very, very poor choices regarding Peter and Mary Jane's characters, namely that they're selfish pricks for all but 5 minutes of the movie. And regarding Tobey? He can't act. When he cries (which is a LOT in this movie, people laugh, and that ain't good. I almost think the movie should have been called Cried-er Man 3. Face it, Sam: You only have the barest understanding of Spider-Man. I can count the number of smart remarks he makes on one hand in three movies, and I'm not convinced after this last outing that Tobey can hack it anymore. I have two words for you: Jake Gyllenhall. Think about it, if they don't fire your sorry ass after this installation. That goes double for Kirsten Dunst, who doesn't look or act like Mary Jane.
There are entertaining bits to SM3, to be sure. The action is kickass, the villains are all great. There is that awesome super-secret hero team-up at the end. But.......

-Peter Parker with Fall Out Boy hair? THAT'S how you demonstrate his dark side coming out? That, and making disco hands at girls? Are you off your (*&%^(*ing rocker?

-The jazz club sequence? You were supposed to be directing Spider-Man, not Plastic Man..........

-5 minutes of screen time for Venom???

This film is worth seeing in the theaters, but.....only just for the spectacle. It's time for you to move on and give this project to somebody who knows what the hell they're doing. Your incredible botch-job on this movie, in my eyes, has taken away any indie cred the Evil Dead movies gave you. Spider-Man 3 gets a 10.......but that score is artifically inflated by the comic-bookiness. Had this been something else, it could have been a 3.


Particle Man said...

alright, let me get this straight... from what can be assumed by your rhetoric, you really didn't like this movie. so then, shouldn't it have gotten a much, MUCH lower rating than a 10? by reading your review, and the vitriol contained therein, i would expect the movie to garner at most a -5, more like a -9. i understand that you have a lot of affection for the Spider-Man franchise, both in movies and comic books, but that doesn't seem nearly enough to balance out a bad movie. if anything, it should make you judge a bad comic book even MORE harshly, especially one based on a franchise you like as much as Spider-Man. please explain your reasoning.

Your Racist Friend said...

The reason for the venom is because I had high expectations (and not unrealistically, based on Spider Man 2) for this film. There's no way Raimi should have screwed up the story this bad. However, it's still a passable summer film, with lots of great action and eye candy. If you think about it on a scale of one to 10, a 10 is like a high 6/low 7. And I did like it more than Ghost Rider, so I think it fits. Any opinions from anybody who saw it?

Jennifer said...

On the surface it was a good film -loved the action, LOVED the goblin/spiderman team at the end. I didn't really care for the emotional aspect of the film - Peter and MJ's relationship. MJ was a pain in the ass most of the time and Peter's "dark side" was pretty pathetic (his "dark side" reminded me of of an adolescent teenager more than anything else)... he looked more like he belonged in a Grease movie for crying out loud. Also, I don't think there was enough action and, as I have never read the comic books, I had no clue that the black gooey blob thing was Venom until after the movie.. it's like they just threw that one in there. They could have done a lot more with Venom and Peter's dark side but instead they made it out to be a random blob of black jello from outer space that happened to take over SpiderMan (of course, as I said before, I've never read the comic books so maybe thats how it happened in the books?)
And, as YRF said, I think there was just way too much material for them to cover..

CmdLuke said...

I agree with alot of things said in the original review and i can see jennifers point about venom. I still loved this movie though. Comic book movies are really a crap shoot these days. the film makers have to try and balance the film for the hard core book fans and the general public who have never read the books. Sometimes this works out great like spiderman 2 and sometimes it doesn't like spiderman 3. these days, I just kind of separate the movie from the book and look at them as 2 entirely separate entities. There are deffinately some unlikeable traits to the film but I agree with the YRF's rating.