Friday, May 11, 2007

Movie Review: Spider-Man 3

This is the movie I was expecting the first Spider-Man to be.

Back in the days when I wasn't nearly as movie-aware as I am now, I had no idea they were even making a Spider-Man movie until I saw the trailer for it. I was not excited, despite the fact that I was a little bit of a Spider-Man fan as a kid. I thought it looked far too cheesy, and I figured it would be an enormous flop. I didn't end up seeing it until it was available for rent. By then it was obviously not a flop, and I kept hearing what a good movie it was. I decided to check it out for myself, and I agreed. Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2 were both awesome.

Spider-Man 3? Not so much.

It wasn't terrible. It was just disappointing, after the first two were so good, that this one didn't quite live up to the hype. What made the first two was the interesting and complex characters, both heroes and villains. That's missing from this one, which is unfortunate because the storyline of Peter Parker exploring a dark side to his personality had a lot of potential. Apparently, though, he's such a nerd that dancing down the streets of New York City and ordering his landlord's daughter to make cookies is about as dark as it gets for him. Okay, there's the scene in the jazz club where he gets in a fight and ends up belting MJ. Good stuff, but all too brief, and there's no exploration--MJ seemingly forgets about it as soon as it happens.

Also, for novelty's sake, I'd eventually be interested to see Spider-Man engage in a climactic battle that was precipitated by something other than MJ's capture. I'm just sayin'.

As for the villains, having three of them in one movie is a classic case of overkill, especially when each of them presents a compelling conflict for Peter. Venom represents his own dark side, and Eddie Brock is a professional rival and all-around jerk; I think Sandman is a stupid villain, but Flint Marko as the kind-hearted, hard-luck criminal who really killed Uncle Ben (and his rice products, I would imagine) is pretty interesting even without that particular power; and as for Harry Osborn, well, what could be a more devastating conflict than doing battle with your childhood best friend? All good stories, all wasted because these bad guys all had to share screen time with each other and with Tobey Maguire's pelvic thrusts. Ugh.

A couple of good things:

  • The scene with the runaway crane tearing up the building where Gwen Stacy is modeling was very cool.

  • Any scene with J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson is absolutely hilarious. But why does his desk vibrate when Miss Brant pages him? I understand the humor, but that's just dumb.
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