Methinks EG is gonna become all about Spidey today. I wrote this review in the COMMENT section of Cybergosh’s review, but got carried away and it did not fit the form. So here it is, folks…
I’ve been sitting on a review since I saw this with MDHuff a few weeks ago. I’m not going to go into a long-winded tale. Basically, these were my thoughts:
On the positive side, this is the first comic book movie I HAVE EVER SEEN that lives up to the spectacle of the kind of action seen only in the pages of comic books.
Action-wise, this is the movie Superman Returns was supposed to be. An artfully dodging hero, going up against monsters from outer space, giant behemoths and other visually conceptual villains. Battles with Sandman and Venom definitely deliver.
Story-wise, the third act in the Harry Osbourne story can finally be told, and truly it’s the most interesting of the story-lines. I was glad to see this story play out and find its resolution.
All the leads are good except that they are not given charming material this time around. Except for Harry, who has a lot going on.
The basic ideas for the plot and the arcs of the characters all made sense and are great in theory. But in practice I thought it all fell apart.
THE BAD STUFF:
Let me say this is the first movie of the three that felt rushed to me. There were standout scenes that seem to have been shot at the last minute to spackle in plot holes (WE NEED AN OMELET SCENE! WE NEED YET ANOTHER SCENE OF PETER TALKING TO SOMEONE ON THE PHONE!)
You can tell they were editing the movie, realizing they had huge gaps and needed to run to the studio and quickly shoot something forced to try and patch the holes. It explains a lot, actually.
This movie suffers from the same trappings as other Lethal Threes —
Batman Forever (quantity over quality when it comes to a muddled jumble of plots/villains)
Lethal Weapon III (characters seemingly forced together for the sake of plot, plus an action climax that takes place in a CONSTRUCTION SITE of all the lame ideas.)
Superman III (ripping off the core plot (hero turns evil) just as they did with Superman II / Spiderman II, not to mention way too much broad humor in the tone.)
Now while this movie delivers on the popcorn munchn’ front (kids will piss themselves) the first two films had character plots that were charming enough to make you forgive any plot holes. You saw some strings, but you enjoyed th e puppet show.
Whereas Spider-Man III was ALL plot holes, and worse, many moments of ridiculous convenience, and still even worse — characters acting in ways contradictory to what we’ve seen before, merely for the sake of plot.
Right off the bat the characters of MJ and Peter are annoying and undeserving of ours or each other’s respect. MJ is whiny, insecure, and self-centered to the point of annoyance. EVERY LINE she has is “tell me you love me,” or “tell me I’m a good actor.” Just creepy-needy.
Peter is unsympathetic and quite careless with her feelings. So wrapped up in the success of Spider-Man that he forgets to prioritize the ones he loves. (THIS IS BEFORE HE PUTS ON THE BLACK SUIT, BTW) That’s the crazy part.
And getting MJ to kiss Harry could have been done with a lot more finesse. They waste the use of his amnesia (which I would find a lame device to begin with, but it’s from the comics…) when it would have been SO COOL to have him wake up and look at MJ and say, “Hi honey…”
So not only does he think he and Peter are still best buds, but he also thinks MJ is still his girlfriend. That would have made it so much more believable, as she tries to let him down carefully by telling him the truth, that she want to give him one kiss for old times’ sake (and also because she was having some trouble with Peter).
No. Instead she kisses him because he makes eggs. Even the worst Nora Ephron movie wouldn’t stoop to this crap. Okay, it would.
Perhaps Peter being a snarky little shit was to show that Peter was corruptable BEFORE he put on the suit. All I know is that I spent two movies coming to love these characters and in the first ten minutes of Spider-Man III you find them both to be annoying pricks.
Which brings me to Topher.
And they only make WORSE decisions as the movie goes on. Neither of them seem to deserve each other. They simply don’t behave like protagonists that DESERVE a happy ending.
CONVENIENT MOMENTS —
As far as convenience, the moment of the symbiote crashing to earth just six feet away from Peter Parker is ridiculous. Especially when, as a friend pointed out, it could have easily crashed into a building or something, causing a situation that Spidey would have swung in to deal with. OR ANYTHING.
Similarly, Topher going to church at all, much less the SAME church at the SAME moment that Peter is wrestling with venom in the bell tower is so friggin stupid. Worse is him wandering to the base of the bell tower and somehow calling out, “Parker?” (Cuz it makes perfect sense that his photographer nemesis would be the one knocking into bells on the roof of his church.)
I mean, Jesus — it makes you feel that both Parker and Topher just dumb luck their way in and out of the venom plot. Beyond lame.
Lamer — seeing Venom approach Sandman and convince him to go get “the bat” …er, “the spider” is not only forced (how the hell did they hook up?) puts you in mind of Tommy Lee Jones scheming with Jim Carrey — it was just manipulative, over-the-top and stupid.
The humor is so silly I felt like we needed a CGI Richard Pryor to seal the deal. Hey, I loved the cute little “Stayin Alive strut” in the previous films. A few seconds of cute won’t kill me. But when we devote an ENTIRE SEQUENCE to Peter walkin around like he’s one of Queer Eye’s fab five, and then doing a tango dance made me want to wretch. THIS IS WHAT THE BLACK SUIT TURNS YOU INTO? A DISCO QUEEN?
And finally, I’m glad Cybergosh was entertained by it, but the flashbacks were awful. BTTF 2 was about time travel, so going back and seeing things play out differently, or from a different viewpoint made sense.
But here, I don’t want you telling me that the scene I saw in the first film was bullshit. Don’t pull your jedi mind tricks on me, Raimi. Worse, they did it TWICE. They show you one flashback and then toward the end of the film they show you ANOTHER one. It makes you feel like this can keep changing.
It turns the death of Ben Parker into the “Who Shot Mr. Burns” episode of The Simpsons.
Hey, always glad to see Bruce Campbell and the little russian waif. But when we’re devoting five minutes of important screen time to gags with peripheral characters I’m fucking pissed. The gags with the landlord are terrible. Bruce’s cameo is a bad sketch from MAD TV.
And speaking of supporting characters — did you notice that EVERY PERSON IN THIS MOVIE who is not part of the main cast — SUCKS?
Seriously, every reporter, street kid or onlooker who has a line sounds like an actor from a video you made in the High School parking lot. I assume these are all friends/family of the producers and cast. And it shows.
Best/worst of all is the inclusion of HAL FISHMAN, a local anchor here in LA who I’ve been making fun of for 5 years because he literally looks like a fish-man.
To me, the FISH MAN is the fourth villain in Spider-Man III. He’s the oldest working anchor in news history, apparently. And he has a face like Admiral Ackbar. I was shocked at HOW MUCH SCREEN TIME they gave his giant face. I gotta go see him in IMAX.
Folks, Spider-Man III just isn’t a very good movie, and I feel it was a poor way to end the trilogy. BUT — I bet you anything it’s the best spidey video game of all time…
Getting my copy today for xbox 360
As Fat ass says, YIH BOUGHL!