Thursday, May 10, 2007

Spiderman 3

I went and saw Spiderman 3 this weekend and it was a bit of a disappointment. It didn't resonate emotionally with me like the first two. Three really just felt like a reshash the second movie with more stuff thrown in that made it clunky. It's too bad because I really wanted to like this movie because I loved the first two.

The problems:

1) Too many villians. A Green Goblin, the Sandman and the evil black suit?

2) The black suit. I think the Peter Parker struggling with his role as Spiderman in the last movie went over so well that they tried to do something similar with the exploration of his dark side. With the other plots in this movie it just didn't work because they couldn't give the plot time to develop. It was used mostly for comic relief. There was even a montage similar to the montage in the second movie when Peter gives up the Spiderman role. Here we see him reveling in being a bad boy because he is under the influence of a symbiotic alien species that landed next to him in a meteorite.

3) The Sandman character was used in a fashion similar to the Doctor Octopus character in #2. He is supposed to be someone we can empathize with. He is stealing money to help get medical care for his daughter. He's a simple yet good person. The criminal with the heart of gold. The bad guy who is not really bad but has had a life of crime thrust upon him. I was supposed to care but I didn't. I am sure the big guy from Wings could have fleshed this character out but he wasn't given the screen time that traitorous hireling from Raiders of the Lost Ark got.

4) Mary Jane becoming jealous of Spiderman's popularity. Another nice idea that just didn't have time to develop. Mary Jane Watson was a major character in the first two movies and in this one she had the range of Johnny Cash's first wife in Walk the Line. She was either jealous and angry or supportive and joyous or getting tossed around by super villains and screaming a lot. How many times can she be put into the middle of superhero battles before her psyche cracks like a library's roofing?

5) Harry Osborn/Green Goblin. I was anticipating that this would be the basic overall plot of this third movie. Harry would be struggling with the voice in his head (which sounds and looks like his father) and he and Peter would battle it out while Mary Jane was tied up somewhere screaming. Instead we get an early action scene, amnesia(!) and Goblin ass whuppin' courtesy of a Mr. Hyde-ish Peter followed by a remorseful Harry saving Peter's life. Yeesh. I haven't seen such an obvious and good story botched this badly since the Americans got their hands on the Godzilla franchise. His death while saving Peter was about as predictable and emotionally void as a death could possibly be in a movie.

6) J. Jonah Jameson. When watching the first Spiderman movie and seeing Schillinger from Oz playing J.J.J. my jaw hit my stomach. The brilliant and obvious casting of Schillinger as Jameson was one of the myriad reasons I loved the first movie. This time around his tirades in his office are so expected that they don't hit with the same power as before. Tired and been done are the few scenes he appears in.

7) The fights. Remember that fight on the elevated train in Spiderman 2? It was set up so perfectly. The audience knew just exactly what was going on and what was at stake. None of the battles in the third movie even approach the intensity and narrative smoothness of the battle on the elevated train. The first fight with Harry Osborn in his Goblin get up is just fast and confusing. The final scene where Harry flies in to save his friend is just a rehash of the grand finale in the first movie with an extra villian and hero.

The end) I know, it's a comic book movie but I loved the first two and this one is not a great movie so it disappoints. At least Hot Fuzz was funny. My movie going weekend wasn't a total wash.

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