Spider-Man 3 at 12:01 am… my review!

I love, love, love Spider-Man. Until 2002, I have every comic book he was ever in. I can rattle off issue numbers, covers and guest apperances for Amazing Spider-Man #1-300, at least. And I liked the first movie (first hour was awesome, second hour not so much, hated the Goblin costume) and loved the second movie (except for the half hour in the middle when he inexplicably lost his powers).

So here’s my take on Spider-Man 3. Spoilers abound.

Dan and Matthew set it up as being a lot worse than it actually was, so instead of being tremendously disappointed in regard to the first two films, I was actually pleasantly surprised. Here’s what worked:

The new score. By a mile, the best score of the three films. Who would have thought someone would come in and out-do Elfman? But this guy really, really was phenomenal. And his work was best when it was on…

Sandman. The scene when he’s reforming for the first time is somehow one of the most touching in the trilogy. Thanks to the music and some great, deliberate filmmaking. The scene with his family in the beginning was absolutely excellent and his final scene was great too. Thanks to…

The themes. Wow, you actually have to be pretty impressed by the way the themes tied together and the plot folded into them. It was a pretty complicated web (pun!) of revenge, bitterness and internal struggle going on there between a fuckload of characters. That, folks, is not easy to do.

Unfortunately, however…

The first half of the filim is way, way better than the second, and the second is inexcusably bad. Here’s why…

Characters stopped acting in character. Why would MJ break up with Peter under the duress of Harry, instead of telling him that his friend is seeking revenge? Why not just cut the scene where Harry comes back as the Goblin and threatens MJ? They had established a bond there that you’d believe MJ would do that without the threat anyway. But that didn’t even matter at that point because…

They made MJ a whiney bitch, who spent the entire two hours complaining. Sad thing is, she had a point. Sadder thing is, we just don’t want to hear our girlfriends/wives voices in our ears when we’re fucking watching Spider-Man. I don’t care what time you have to get up tomorrow, woman, I’m going to see Spider-Man at midnight. Sorry, what? Anyway, so after MJ breaks up with Peter, how could Peter have a calm lunch with Harry when he’s gone Goblin again, unless….

They forgot he has Spider-Sense. From Venom grabbing him when he’s not looking, to sand creeping up on him, to Harry tricking him into lunch (and then disappearing when a truck passes–what a CLICHE MOMENT!!!), Spider-Man does not have Spider-Sense in this movie. Why??

And then, the most important part…

They squandered everything. By packing too much into the movie, they didn’t fully exploit anything. Anyone remember Spectacular Spider-Man magazine #2? Ha ha… maybe you bitches don’t….

Click here for a summary

Now THAT was the one of the most pulse-pounding Spider-Man comics ever, as Norman Osborn slowly started to recover from his amnesia in a scenario that left Peter trapped and his loved ones in jeopardy. But Spider-Man 3 had way too much else to handle to fully exploit the Goblin’s psychosis. The crap with his butler was out-of-nowhere.

Speaking of out-of-nowhere… how about every scene with Venom? From the meteorite falling to the “team-up” scene between Venom and Sandman to the bizarre meeting at the church (as Dan pointed out, how does Brock even know it’s Parker up there) to the final conflict, Venom is absolutely meaningless to everything. Plus, he looks like the Geico lizard. Anybody?

Yeah, the dance scene in the middle was goofy and stupid, but it didn’t bother me that much. Gwen Stacy was goofy and stupid, didn’t bother me much either. In a better movie that had settled on a smaller story and exploited its emotions and themes fully (like, say, Spider-Man 2), I would have forgiven that stuff, much in the same way I (mostly) forgave the “Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head” scene. They had a great first scene for Sandman and a great last scene– and that’s ALL the hard work. But they were too busy doing other shit to give him his great meaty middle.

Very sad, very disappointing.

I give the movie a C.

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  1. Cybergosh says:

    All valid points.  My one disagreement is that i love the Raindrops sequence from 2 and the Disco Strut in 3.  For more than the visual comedy of it.  For what it is getting across in an entertaining way.  This is where Tobey is at his best.

    Venom.  It’s as though Sam intentionally made it this way so he could tell Avi Arad, “See, i told you we shouldn’t have had him in this!”

  2. Eros Welker says:

    Yeah, the movie seems unfairly billed as a Venom flick, even though yeah, he’s in it for 15 minutes.  There is one brief moment when a Venom/Spidey showdown looks like it would have been awesome if Sam really cared where (and forgive me for not knowing the “fastball special” terminology here) Spidey’s shooting web balls at Venom, and it looks like Venom creates this web-shield, and then slings out some nasty web in Spidey’s face… and it’s exactly what you want to see.  This attack / counter / attack sequence.  That glimpse was cool.

    I did think Venom as Venom looked cool – you jest if comparing him to Geico!  But I agree with Chris’ assessment that the Topher head should have been restrained.  Once, maybe twice I could have lived with, but it’s almost as if it were contractual.

  3. Junky says:

    I concur with the C rating and all the details of the review.  I wish I could see Venom fight Fletch.

  4. Cybergosh says:

    Topher’s face.  It’s like a little dog penis popping out of the sheath.

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