Saturday, May 26, 2007
Well, I finally got around to seeing SPIDER-MAN 3 and, I'm sorry to say, the rumors are true. What a jumbled up mess of a movie. Like the first film, this one beats you over the head with its theme (forgiveness) at every opportunity. And this time, there's not just one, not two but THREE villains. Hollywood never learns. Raimi made a game effort in trying to tie all the storylines together and that may have been the problem. There were so many unbelievable coincidences in the plot that my suspension of disbelief crumbled by the second reel, not the least of which is the revelation that Flint Marko is the real killer of Peter Parker's uncle Ben within minutes of becoming endowed with superpowers as the villain Sandman. This plot "twist" (read: retcon) completely changes Spider-Man's origin and invalidates his entire motivation for becoming a superhero in the first film. This is the same kind of jackassery that tied the Joker into Batman's origin in Tim Burton's original BATMAN film. It's unnecessary and distracting.
And, what the hell was up with Spidey losing his mask every ten seconds? I know they're paying Tobey MaGuire a lot of money to appear in these films, but nobody goes to a SPIDER-MAN movie to see his cherubic puss. (Or Kirsten Dunst's, for that matter, despite her moronic, egotistical claims.) A word of warning. Take a good look at the picture at the top of this posting. That's what Spidey looks like with his mask on. Remember it well, because you won't see much of it in SPIDER-MAN 3.
Now, lest I leave you with the impression that the movie was all bad, allow me to give a shout out to the F/X team. Venom was amazing looking. I was never a fan of the comic character but I really enjoyed seeing him come to life on film. He was suitably menacing. (Unfortunately, they must have been paying Topher Grace a lot of money too because he kept losing his mask as well.) The Sandman effects were terrific. I wish he wasn't the size of King Kong through most of the movie, but at least the visuals were good. The fight scene in the armored bank car was right out of the comics. And, best of all, Bryce Dallas Howard was enchanting as Gwen Stacy. She really looked the part (though, why they cast a redhead as blonde Gwen and a blonde as the red-haired MJ, I'll never understand) and she excelled in what was actually an underwritten role. The filmmakers played Gwen up as a bit of a ditz but Bryce at least managed to give the part some heart. And, did I mention, she looked great? She made Dunst look, well, skanky by comparison.
Anyway, I'll have to give this one 2.5 stars out of 5. It's too violent and scary for the kiddies, too silly for adults and it plays too fast and loose with the mythology for the comic geeks like yours truly. I'm just not sure at whom they were aiming this one.
Posted by Matt Wieringo at 9:56 PM