Spider-Man 3...

"We've all done terrible things to each other, but we have to forgive each other. Or everything we ever were will mean nothing."

This will be one of the most painful posts I will ever have to write.

If you think, for even a second, that I wasn't in line to see this movie at 11:59pm on Thursday night, then you don't know me very well. Editor's Note: And you don't read this blog regularly. I have seen this movie 3 times in 3 days. I wanted to make sure that I took some time to really think about it before I gave my review of it. Spider-man is iconic to me, so anything I say about him deserves to be carefully measured, weighed, and considered before it's put into writing. Believe me Spidey, this is going to hurt me more than it's going to hurt you...

Spider-Man 3
Running Time: 2 hrs. 20 mins.
Directed By: Sam Raimi
Starring: Tobey McGuire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Thomas Haden Church, Topher Grace, Bryce Dallas Howard

This is, perhaps, one of the most eagerly anticipated movies of all time. Especially by me. I have been salivating over this movie since they announced it. And, if you look at the box office receipts from its opening weekend, you would be led to believe that it was everything people wanted. However, I have yet to meet a person who would agree. I'm going to skip the usual rundown on what the movie's about, since every person on earth has probably seen a commercial, and head straight for the review.

Words cannot describe how much I was let down by this movie. The first one was my Episode IV. It introduced me to a whole new unimagined world of movie sweetness. The second movie was my Empire Strikes Back. (How do you like those comparisons Josh?) It upped the story, acting, and effects. Better movie, but second in my heart to the first. This movie had inspired so much hope in me. It was going to be bigger (rumored to be the last in a trilogy, the studio was sure to break the bank on it). It had my favorite Spider-man villain in it (Venom). And it was getting pushed much more than it's predecessors. But, in the end, it couldn't deliver.

Everything about this movie was too much. I hate to say it, but this movie brought to mind when Joel Schumacher took over the Batman franchise from Tim Burton. He changed the whole feel of the franchise; making it campy, neon laced, and packed with too much useless fill. (Not to mention the nipples on the bat-suit.)

When people have asked me about my opinion on it, I have said that I have two; one as a life-long Spider-man fan, and one as a movie goer. Both were disappointed, but the movie goer a little less so. So, I'll do my best to seperate the two opinions and indicate where one takes over for the other.

What follows is a SPOILER FREE review.

So, what was good?
  • The special effects. This movie makes the effects in the first two look like a five year old trying to wear his dad's suit. It's been said that it's the most expensive movie ever made (upwards of $250 millon) and you can definitely tell. The first battle, Sandman's initial transformation, the crane sequence, and the final battle are amazing sequences visually.

  • Peter vs. Harry. I think that this was the most powerful aspect of the movie's story. James Franco steps it up bigtime. You can really feel the emotion of a friend who feels betrayed and is out for revenge. I can't say anymore without spoiling things...

  • There's too much story here. You've got Peter vs. Harry, Peter and MJ's relationship, the Sandman story line, the Eddie Brock/Venom thing, and Peter's internal struggle with revenge and hatred. As a result of trying to include all of this, none of them are very developed. I would have been happy to just see the Harry vs. Peter angle developed more, even if my heart ached for more Venom.

  • I know that camp is part of every summer, but this is ridiculous... I know that, previous to Spider-man, Sam Raimi was known for the Evil Dead trilogy (which is campy in a good way). And I know that parts one and two had their campy parts, but Raimi went overboard here. If there was ever a movie in the series that had license to go way dark and serious, this was it. Instead, it felt like they tried to play up too much to the kids. For my reference point, see the dance scene, which was used to prove how dark and hate-filled Peter had become.

  • Horrible pacing. Here's what the story boards for this movie must have looked like: "Ok guys. Put the 4 big action sequences on the wall. Great, that's our movie. What? We still have an hour and a half to fill? How long will the dance sequence take? Shoot. Only 2 minutes. Ok fill the rest up with exposition and eyeliner..." I found myself on the edge of my seat during the action parts and bored to tears during the rest.

    And so, with a heavy heart, I award Spider-man 3 with a certified 2.5 Yarmulke™ rating.

    I can only pray that the inevitable 4th installment turns out better. Because up until then, my favorite movie franchise has been desecrated. Of course this is an opening night movie. In fact, you've probably already seen it. But, don't get your hopes up. As I'm sure you'll walk out disappointed like me...

    Joshua Griffin said...

    Thank you for being honest.

    I didn't know you had this in you, after single-handedly being the reason the film made $150M this weekend by posting day after day on your blog.

    Unfortunately, I agree with you. This is indeed a sad day. Sigh.


    Brent said...

    I might just wait for the $1 theater now. How sad.

    TS Harrison said...

    Joshua thanks for you thoughts.

    I have to agree with you on many of your points. The movie was good, but not great. Being a huge Spidey fan, reading and collecting the comics still in my late 20's, I feel that I was let down more than the casual movie go-er.

    I'll start with the positives.
    1. Visuals were amazing. But more specifically the speed of the action felt "right", more than the first two flicks. Much quicker! It was an orgy of flips and spins and webbings and kicks and punches and...and...and...calming down. Great action.

    2. The Sandman's look was dead on, except for the final battle where as usual film-makers tried to hard. But Thomas Haden Church as Flint Marko...spot on.

    3. I noticed that the sequences designed to get a laugh worked. At my second viewing I was listening the audience's response and every time the audience was "supposed" to respond a certain way, they did.

    4. Bryce Dallas Howard was a beautiful Gwen Stacy, and made me long even more for the original storyline found in the comics. (I still marvel at a blonde playing a red-head and a red-head playing a blonde...ballsy)

    5. Bruce Campbell...still legendary.

    6. Despite my early cringing toward the new goblin glider, I really think they pulled off the goblin-board well.

    But like you I had some major disappoints.

    1. The script as a whole. Yeah you knew that the action sequences were going to be there and that furthered technology and experience was going to make it amazing. The only thing that could make this thing fail (at $270M) would be a poor script. So why in the world was Sam Raimi allowed to pen it? Directors should direct. Editors should edit. And with a $270M budget, you can afford a scriptwriter to write a script.

    2. Because of the poor script there was an after school special feel as the movie began to resolve the "revenge/forgiveness" element.

    3. There was too much and too little at the same time (again the script). Too much story was being told, with too little detail and time to tell it well. I told several people before hand that I had hoped they developed the alien costume in this movie and setup the next movie for a Spidey/Venom showdown. Resolving the Goblin, Sandman, and costume storylines, and then bridging towards the next movie with the Mary Jane, Venom storyline. But without knowing Maguire/Dunst/Raimi's future commitment they forced the story to fit their own agendas. (A selfish Hollywood move).

    4. Why would a particle separator be in an open area with only a fence around it?

    5. The black alien costume didn't have any life to it when it was with Peter, but did with Eddie Brock. The usefulness of the symbiotic relationship wasn't developed. The alien's ability to mimic clothing would have been a huge bonus and still allowed Peter the wardrobe shift (used to demonstrate the dark side).

    6. Where was Venom's tongue? There are two things about Venom in the comics that defined Venom. His size and his tongue waging outside of his fangs, even to the extreme. Not in the movie.

    7. I’m waiting for the creative cross over. With the Fantastic Four already out there, they could have done a cross over where Spider-Man tries out for the FF.

    Well these are some quick thoughts. Marvel has made statements that they expect to make several more films and I am personally hoping for a director and cast change over. New blood. The team of Maguire/Dunst/Raimi seemed to stall.

    newnorth said...

    I dont think I could stand Peter at any point in the movie.

    I agree with your review :(

    Big Mike Lewis said...

    Really? I liked it.

    I thought it was pretty good. Not as good as 1 or 2, but good. The "campy" stuff is classic Spiderman. Humor has and always will be part of what makes Spidey so fun to read in the comics.

    I thought the villains went the direction they needed to go and 4 will have Venom return after we thought he was dead...they just didn't hint at it like most movies.

    The dance thing was great...very funny and then the part when he's on the phone...classic!

    Sorry you didn't like it, but not every comic movie can be Michael Keaton or Hugh Jackman.