Spider-Man 3 is an utter and complete pile of shit, and the fact that I spent $20 on it then proceeded to spend two hours vainly hoping that something enjoyable might come out of it really pisses me off.
Ok, that’s the short version of my review.
I had serious doubts about this movie from the get-go. It’s the main reason why I did not go see it in the theaters (as opposed to catching opening weekend on the first two movies). When I found out that they were going to have three villains in the movie I had flashbacks to the Batman movies of the 80’s and 90’s (with the exception of the first Tim Burton film). There is not enough time in a 120 minute film to properly introduce, flesh out, and conclude a story arc with multiple bad guys. There just isn’t. When you try, you end up having watered down stories that just don’t have an impact – unless those bad guys actually have a background that logically ties them together.
But above and beyond having three different villains, all three of them were pretty crappy in some way or other.
The Green Goblin II
No longer looking like a reject from the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, young Harry has made the Goblin into a lean, mean….skater? Seriously, his new hover glider looks like a lethal version of the hover boards from Back to the Future II. I half expected him to yell “You’ve got to have POWAH, Peter!” Son of the original Green Goblin, he vows revenge on Spider-Man for murdering his father. Unfortunately, they kind of went overboard with the whole amnesia thing. I mean, generally speaking, I don’t think getting amnesia makes you into a goofy, sensitive artist. Harry, in the movies, was kind of a prick long before Daddy went off the deep end. This is the guy who tried to date the woman his best friend had been in love with since high school, remember? Who refused to defend Mary Jane to his father when he accused her of being a whore (and instead turned around and got angry with her for daring to be critical of pop). This was night a guy with a big goofy smile who lounged around in his penthouse creating art. The worst part about this whole storyline, though, was the doddering old butler who just happened to not only know about the whole Goblin thing but who, apparently, is so savvy with medical knowledge that he could state beyond a shadow of a doubt that Norman Osborne killed himself with his glider?
This guy looks like he’s got a hard time remembering his name, but he’s suddenly able to diagnose the source of deep stabbing wounds on a cadaver? Oh, and beyond that…Do you think, maybe, Harry might have liked to know that before nearly getting killed replicating the experiment that made his father into the green goblin, taking a header during a fight with Spider-Man, then having half his face melted off by a pumpkin bomb??
“Thanks for that little tidbit of info, oh faithful butler. Think I’m gonna go get myself killed dramatically now. Really, thanks. Great legacy you’ve given me there.”
Admittedly, the ONLY actual laugh out loud moment I had during this movie was when Spider-Man and Harry were bantering back and forth during the final fight against….two other lame bad guys.
Hooray, Retcon! It was really Flint Marko who killed Uncle Ben, but for some reason Captain Stacy never bothered to reveal this fact to the Parker’s until AFTER Marko had escaped from prison and ended up in the middle of a particle acceleration device with a bunch of sand (securely guarded by a FENCE and open to the world outside from the top). Never mind the fact that Marko went on trial and eventually to prison for said murder. Even as I sit here writing about it I can’t believe they really tried to pass this one off as being even remotely feasible. If you can get past all that, though, the character himself wasn’t all that bad. The actor did a fine job portraying his sadness and reluctance to be a bad guy, but they really didn’t explain how or why it made sense for him to get involved with…
Holy shit they dropped the ball on this. I heard rumors that Sam Raimi hated the Venom character and that he was basically forced by Sony Pictures to include him for merchandising purposes, and boy does it show. First of all, they screwed the whole alien symbiote story to begin with. While I understand that the original story would never have worked as it was written in the comics (no Secret Wars), it was obviously mutated just so they could rapidly get the costume off of Peter and on to Eddie Brock. So instead of just taking over Peter when he’s asleep and slowly trying to merge with him the costume somehow makes him…Discoemo? Yes, folks. Peter parker, when under the influence of an alien, gets the looks of an emo kid and the moves of John Travolta (and, apparently, the ability to play the piano…that suit is handy!). It’s bad enough that he changed his hair style and his clothing because he was feeling “bad,” but eyeliner as well? Come fucking on. Ok, well thankfully that pain didn’t last too long and Spider-Man decides to ditch the costume. Of course, for some reason, he decides to do it in a bell tower. We never even saw him try to take it off first or got any indication that the suit was resisting before he’s suddenly in some epic struggle.
Let me explain for those who haven’t read the comics – Spidey originally ditched the costume after Reed Richards revealed it was alive and susceptible to sonic waves. The costume escaped and snuck into Peter’s apartment – taking the form of the Red and Blue costume. When Peter put it on the costume attempted to merge with him, and Peter went to the bell tower specifically to use the sound to drive the costume off. He almost died in the process, and the costume actually saved his life. He didn’t just decide “Hey, I’m in a church…might as well get naked here.”
As in the comics, Brock was in the church when Spidey and the costume split apart. Unlike the comics, Brock was there to ASK GOD TO KILL PETER PARKER. In the comics, Brock was in the church praying for forgiveness over the fact that he was about to commit suicide. Pretty big difference there, kids. So, ok….he gets covered in goo and jumps at the camera, then the next thing you see he’s telling Sandman that he wants to kill Spider-Man as well and that they should work together? Umm..WTF?
No explanation as to how Brock knew so much about Spider-Man, no explanation as to how he knows so much about the Sandman, and no real explanation as to what the fuck he is. It’s just “Hi, I’m Venom and I wanna kill Spidey!” The DVD I bought came with a mini-comic that actually filled in the additional backstory on Venom that was needed in the movie, which really leaves those of you who aren’t geeks like me hanging out to dry.
On top of all that? He looked STUPID. They never should have brought the character to screen if they couldn’t make him look better than a sleestack with webbing. I’ve seen better Venom costumes at Dragon*Con. It’s just more proof that Venom was a reluctant addition to the movie and that Raimi intentionally put as little effort into the character as possible. There’s no WAY he should have looked that ridiculous with his “mask” on, but that’s ok because he really didn’t wear his mask all that much…which leads me to…
Sam Raimi Hates Super Heroes and Villains
Ok, this might not be an entirely fair statement, but a disturbing trend I noticed in the first few movies was shored up in the third. Sam has his comic book characters spend as little time in costume as he possibly can. Don’
t get me wrong – I fully understand that an important aspect of the Spider-Man mythos relies on the person behind the mask, but he wears the fucking mask for a reason, Sam. By the end of this movie there is no reason to believe the Spider-Man has a viable secret identity anymore. While fighting two bad guys surrounded by tons of reporters with high powered cameras his mask is ripped off…again. Mind you, this is after the incident in Spider-Man 2 where he was unmasked in front of a whole train full of people and not one person snapped of a picture. When his mask isn’t off it’s shredded, or he just fights bad guys without it. Same thing goes for Venom and the Green Goblin. They don’t have to pull their masks off, because they both have the convenient ability to just have their masks retract so they can deliver some exposition.
It’s a super hero movie, Sam. Let’s leave the heroes in their costumes please? Thanks. I think Spider-Man was fully masked all of maybe 10 minutes in this movie.
Additional quick gripes
Gwen Stacy was a major character who died in the original Green Goblin story line. Bringing her in at this point as an additional lame reason for Brock to hate Peter and to add tension with Mary Jane was pointless. She should have been in the first movie, and she should have died. There’s no reason for her to be there otherwise.
Even without the costume influencing him, Petey was way too much with the water works in this movie. Peter is a very emotional man, and that is part of what makes him who he is…But that doesn’t mean he tears up every time something bad happens to him. I don’t think Tobey Maguire bought it, either, because most of the time it totally looked like he had the onion under his eye right before Sam yelled “action.”
Somewhere in the writing of this movie they forgot that Spider-Man has a Spider-Sense, because every single one of the bad guys in this flick managed to get the drop on him. Of the three, only Venom was able to actually slip past the Spider-Sense radar without the use of some external device plot. I’d have to watch it again (and I don’t plan on doing that any time soon), but I’m pretty sure they didn’t give anyindicators that Spider-Man had that power at all in Spider-Man 3.
I hated this movie. A lot. In case you couldn’t tell. I can handle the fact that the movie isn’t going to be totally true to the comic, but that wasn’t really my big beef here. It was just a BAD movie. The story was contrived and didn’t make any real sense, the script was extremely hokey at parts, and the whole super hero aspect of it really seemed to be a side bar as opposed to the actual focus of the film. Which is great if I WANTED to see a character driven story, but I went in to this expecting a super hero movie and what I got was a big pile of spider-shit.
If you love the character, don’t see this movie. You’ll hate what they did with it.
If you don’t love the character, don’t see this movie. It won’t make any sense.
Just don’t see this movie.
I’m really sorry to say I did.