Sunday, March 11, 2012

Spider-Man 3 (2007) DVD

Rating: 1 out 5 pumpkin bombs

Plot Synopsis:  Peter Parker is at the highest point in his Spidey career when way too much shit happens in the course of 2+ hours.  Things such as proposing to Mary Jane, breaking up with Mary Jane, fighting Harry Osborn, being best friends with Harry, fighting Harry again, finding out that he killed an innocent man in the form of the person who he thought killed his uncle, killing the actual person who killed his uncle only to find out that that person killed his uncle by accident, turning emo, dancing in the streets, going black and not going back as well as becoming a jazz pianist.  Also plot threads are picked up and thrown like live grenades, characters are corrupted and redeemed and corrupted again just to be redeemed.  Oh and the Venom goes from bad ass to sissy pansy.

The Good:

-New Goblin.  I admit, I love Harry Osborn’s version of the Goblin.  I love the new glider, I love the swords, the razor bats, the pumpkin bombs, the face mask, everything.  The first battle of the movie is pretty awesome when taken as just an action scene.  Look any deeper than that and you will be disappointed.  The fight just comes out of the blue, isn’t really in line with either character and there’s nothing to indicate the weight behind these two best friends finally throwing down.

-The fight at the Osborn mansion.  So after the first fight Harry gets amnesia, Harry is cured of amnesia by the ghost of Willem Defoe and goes right back to being the Goblin.  So his revenge plan is this: Step 1: make MJ break up with Peter, Step 2: get ass kicked, Step 3: Victory.  But the showdown of newly evil Spidey vs newly re-evil Goblin is pretty bad ass.  After tossing each other around a bit, which in no way does the fight justice, it ends when Harry throws a one last desperate pumpkin bomb only to have Spidey dodge it, web line it and throw it right back at Harry.  Awesome and a great character moment.  Of course it’s totally undone moments later when Pete thrusts his pelvis in the camera while doing the taffy pull.

-Everyone seems to understand how doors function and demonstrates an ability to use them.  Unless it’s for Peter’s apartment, in which case it’s hi-larious and the super’s fault.

-Thomas Hayden Church puts in a great performance as Sandman but his good, sincere acting job looks ridiculous surrounded by the other performances.

The Bad:

-The villains.  New Goblin is alright and he starts out strong but goes out like a punk and there is no character development or motivation for why he does what he does other than Spidey killed his paw, his father who he didn’t really seem all that attached to.  Sandman, his daughter is suffering from disappearing character syndrome which becomes instantly terminal the moment her scene ends and so he robs banks and stuff so he can get money.  Which is apparently apart of the cure?  I don’t know, I also don’t know of any doctors that accept payment in the form of canvas bags with dollar signs on them.  Venom, comes from nowhere, has poor motivation and is almost instantly gone.  He’s also played by Topher Grace, who, while a decent actor, he is not Eddie Brock.  Eddie Brock in this is played as a Diet Peter Parker.  He has all the flavor of a Peter Parker with none of the calories.  Or pesky character traits.  Or personality.  Comics Eddie is a huge powerhouse motivated by the fact that he was never good enough and that Spider-Man just continued to prove this time and time again.  He uses and abuses the power of the symbiote.  He is supposed to be a badass.  He is not in this film.

-Gwen Stacy.  She comes and goes like a thief in the night.  I like Bryce Dallas Howard.  I prefer her as a red head, not a blonde but I think she’s a pretty decent actress.  She just sort of shows up, collects her character moments, her paycheck and then vanishes.  Seriously, she just vanishes.  She acts as a romantic interest for both Brock and Peter, not adding tension to any existing relationship and then after Pete plays the piano and does his song and dance she gets all teary eyed and disappears into the night never to be seen again except for a brief moment in the final scene which I don’t count because it looks like it was either filmed on a different day entirely or incredible CGI.

-Mary Jane.  She is not very likeable or sympathetic in this movie.  I found myself being happy when she got fired from the play and I just kept hoping worse things would happen to her from there.  She’s selfish, shallow, mean to Peter and just really a total bitch.  I feel bad for Kirsten Dunst that she was given this role and told to play it as she does.  There’s no way she could have made her character, as she was written, any less of a mean bitch.

 -Everything else.  They really tried cramming 100 pounds of story and character development into a 2 pound sack (with a dollar sign on it that was later stolen by Sandman).  From way too many villains to way too many character arcs, this movie is filled with more nonsense than, well, something that’s filled with a lot of nonsense.  That’s how bad it is, it defies simile.

 -The fact that there’s no one person to blame.  I can’t blame the director because he’s demonstrated an ability to direct well.  I can’t blame the actors because they’ve all demonstrated an ability to act well and at the end of the day they can only work with what the writers write for them and how the director directs them.  I can’t blame scriptwriters because they were probably all rewritten and hamstrung by what the studio told them to write.  I don’t know who is really to blame for this but since I don’t really know what a producer does and since “The Studio” is much like blaming “The Man” in that both are vast, nameless, faceless concepts, I blame them.  Producers and The Man made this a bad movie.  God damn you both.

-I fucking hate that fucking butler.

-Also Peter’s door being ganky isn’t really that funny.

The Ugly:

-The magic exposition butler.  You’ll know it when you see it.

-Harry goes out like a bitch.

-Everything Venom.

-The club scene

-Everything leading up to the club scene

-Everything after the club scene

-Every ounce of missed potential that this movie had to be awesome.

Final Thoughts:  I am not a huge fan of this movie.  I’m not a small fan of this movie.  In fact I would go so far as to say I’m not a fan at all.  I have seen it twice however and now that I’ve written this I never plan on seeing it again.  These movies dropped in quality exponentially from the first one and this one really just seems like someone took the scripts from the next 3 movies after Spider-Man 2 and in a desperate attempt to make them all at once just shuffled them together Las Vegas card dealer style at which point it was too late for a rewrite so Sam Raimi said “How much am I getting paid again?  Fuck it, alright let’s shoot this bitch, I’ve made worse, I made Maniac Cop.”

            The saddest, most frustrating part is that all these people are good actors.  Toby McGuire, Topher Grace, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Thomas Hayden Church have all demonstrated an ability to act in at least one movie.  Now maybe their one movie was a fluke but damn it they did it once, why couldn’t they do it again?  But they are universally terrible from open to close.  I remember seeing an interview of the main cast on TRL where, when asked about sequels, they all sort of look down and mumble before one of them says “There’s been 3 movies.  Isn’t that enough?” of course being an audience comprised mainly of teenagers, and Carson Daily, who is close enough, they said no and applauded as if the actors were asking for some cheap reinforcement.  The actors reacted to this with an almost weighted disappointment, all except James Franco, cause he dies in this movie and knew he was free.  So he just smiled, smoked a blunt and got some high school girls digits.  But it was pretty clear at this point that everyone was sick of it and it really shows on film.

This movie would have been so much better if they just took one concept and ran with it instead of running with every concept.  Alright Peter is on top of the world, so introduce black suit and venom, make the movie about Spidey’s downfall, after this black suited Spidey shows up and ruins everything and the public doesn’t know if it can trust Spider-Man again.  Then the B plot is Harry getting ready to take out Spider-Man.  Set it up so in the 4th movie, when Harry becomes officially the new Goblin it’s the last straw for Peter and he becomes heartbroken and has to figure himself out again.  Or focus on Gwen Stacy, drop MJ for Gwen then kill her off in the next movie and make the A plot Sandman doing Sandman stuff.  There are a ton of good ideas in this movie it’s just none of them work when you pile them on top of one another like a stack of ill fitting hats.  This is a bad, bad movie but the 2 good scenes in it make at least one watching worth it if you can tolerate everything else about it.  Watch it with friends and make fun of it and if you have to watch it a second time watch it like I did, while cleaning the house.

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