Grade: Ehhhhhh -
NOTE: This post includes some details about the movie but I preface this interview by saying that the film doesn’t feature any suprises that could be revealed.
Even though the spring has just really sprung, this weekend was the beginning of Hollywood’s summer run. What a weak rhyme. Still, Spiderman 3 has been unleashed to the world. The people lined up. And it was a sight for most.
No need to get into plot. Let’s start with the positives. Director / Spidey film mastermind Sam Raimi chose to utilize some good villains in Venom and Sandman. Some of the best in Spiderman’s history. Too bad they were boring and wasted. These two villains seemed underdeveloped especially with Topher Grace as Sandman. A couple of snide remarks, a confrontation with Peter Parker and then blam. Thomas Haden Church gives a valiant effort as the Sandman. He has the bruised and battered look and seems like a character you can empathize with, but even he caves to whiny bitch mode.
Harry/ Hobgoblin is just awful. He’s always been the worst part of the films. With the looks of James Dean and the acting prowess equivalent to a Baldwin sibling. He has a short shining moment that you can look for when he finds glee in the pain of Peter and gives him a little wink. The rest of the movie he’s either a whiny anguished kid who lost his father, or a goofball with short term memory loss.
Tobey Maguire and Dunst truly test your patience throughout the film. They are on again, off again so much you’d think you were watching a season of “Saved By the Bell.” Every moment is traumatic and life changing but the movie never ends clocking in at a shade under two and a half hours. If they cut out the parts of them crying and whining, the movie would have a healthy run time of 2 hours. Every fucking 10 minutes someone is crying or talking softly in the upset voice. I don’t remember reading comic books where the superheroes just cry and worry about their girlfriends. Seriously, it’s fucking ridiculous and it must stop. Uber-predictable, convoluted, and over-emotional are the unenviable mix that Spiderman 3 brings to the table.
There are even some Matrix 2- Tribal Dancing awkwardness moments splattered into the movie. At one point, Maguire turns a bit evil and the signifier for this is the part in his hair changes and he seems to be wearing mascara and wearing black. Then he walks down the street with an awful swagger and even a bit of dancing. He even has a Ron Burgundy Jazz (pronounced Yaz) Flute performance, but it was neither comical or decipherable. It was spiteful and really uninteresting.
You know you’re in trouble when fans will most positive response to detractors is, “it wasn’t that bad.” I could probably spend days giving negative commentary on this latest in a string on comic-based film disappointments, but I’d like to attack where this film falters in the larger context of genre in general.
The problem with Spiderman is that it doesn’t have the dark edge of X-Men or Batman It tries to reveal that side in this film and fails. Secondly, Tobey Maguire is just a face that is tiresome to look at for the whole film. I know the point is that he is supposed to seem like a normal dorky guy, but I just don’t like him. And Ms. Dunst, who I have often praised in other films, is just a wash in this film. The film tries too hard to continually tug at the heart strings but by the end you don’t care if they are still together, yet there is a 5 minute epilogue to the movie to deal with it. Hollywood always feels the need to give too much closure to make sure you didn’t miss any hints or blatant plot details. The audience with pummeled with their relationship at the expense of the entire film. There are three villains that all just seem to fill time instead of being Spidey’s true test. His arch nemesis should be villains, not the little lady. series.
The one plus Spiderman does have that I’m sure very review mentions is in the comic relief department. J.K. Simmons has been terrific in the series as the prickish loudmouth Newspaper Baron J. Jonah Jameson. A perfect piece of casting that is a constant scene stealer. If someone steals scenes, GIVE HIM MORE SCENES. Use the best parts of the film to your film. There seems to be no in between in large Hollywood productions. Either they overuse or underuse, but it never seems just right. Same goes for Mr. B Movie Bruce Campbell who has shown up in all three films in different roles. His part is one small surprise that I’ll leave in case you actually do decide to waste your time and money, which are both considerable investments that you should really re-consider.
5 Ways For Comic Movies to Be Better
1. Just because the sequel number increases doesn’t necessarily mean the villain count should. (See Batman and Robin, or actually don’t). It makes sense in X-Men because it’s a superhero fighting group.
2. I know Woman need the love stories but if you’re not going to destroy them at least minimize it. Absence of a love story makes the viewer go fonder. Does X-Men or Batman waste time with the love story? Minimal at best.
3. Do not have every big battle take place on top of a building or bridge.
4. If the comic relief works, beef up the roles.
5. Stop making every situation a series of coincidences. Peter Parker seems to be intimately linked with every super villain in the world. If I knew him, I’d avoid him. Otherwise, I would have an awful accident that gave me special powers but also intense hatred for him that would cause me to be defeated. I like to win.
6. Wolverine must be in every comic movie from now on.
The best compliment I have for Spiderman 3 is that it is bad, but at least it is not Godzilla bad.
Spiderman 3 Breaks Every Record EVER (Cinematical)
Spiderman 3 Reviews (Rotten Tomatoes)
The 53 Best Reviewed Comic Book Movies (Rotten Tomatoes)