Thursday, May 31, 2007

Three Third Movies: Spider-Man 3

If there's going to be one of the three third movies that has to be a party pooper, Spider-Man 3 is it. This is really the only one of the three I was truly disappointed in.

While I liked the original Spider-Man movie, Spider-Man 2 was a serious leap in quality. The story was better. The villain was multidimensional. The effects were better. It just beat the first movie at everything. I hoped that the third movie would continue the upward trend, especially since I really liked the whole black suit/Venom storyline from the comic book/TV show. However, Spider-Man 3 is a dive from the previous film.

The biggest problem with this film is the villain situation. The more villains in a superhero film, the more it usually sucks. Spider-Man 3 had too many. There's Harry Osborn, Sandman, and Eddie Brock/Venom. If you want to, you also could count the symbiote itself as a villain. That would make it four villains in one movie. In cramming all this stuff into this movie (in addition to the iconic Gwen Stacy character), there are a ton of missed opportunities.

There isn't enough time to really see Peter's gradual transformation thanks to the symbiote. Instead, we see Peter become emo instead of borderline evil. Venom, easily a big enough villain to be the lead, is basically shoehorned in and wasted. Sandman isn't allowed to get the depth that Dr. Octopus got in Spider-Man 2. The storyline with Harry was probably handled the best. However, if the relationship between Gwen Stacy and Peter actually went anywhere, that storyline would've really shined.

Sam Raimi's penchant for the goofy is more of a curse in this movie than in the others. Dark, “emo” Peter is hilarious and the humor drifts from intentional to unintentional quite easily. I doubt that I was supposed to laugh (or want to laugh) when Peter slaps Mary Jane while under the symbiote's influence. Also, a certain villain's demise was, by far, the funniest villain death I've seen in a long time. Again, I'm not sure if that was intentional or not.

With these moments, this movie almost veered into Ghost Rider territory. While I enjoyed Ghost Rider for the way it teetered between goofy good movie and funny bad movie, I didn't really want to see that in Spider-Man. I don't hate Spider-Man 3...I just wish it was better.

Spider-Man 2 > Spider-Man > Spider-Man 3

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