Thursday, May 31, 2007

Spider-Man 3 (2007, Sam Raimi)

Too much plot, Sam. With three villains to work with, plus Parker's relationship issues and a new girl waiting in the wings, this lacks the narrative simplicity of its predecessors. The idea of Raimi going back to the Spidey well again looks kind of unlikely, given the finality of the film's ending- there's not even a swinging through the city capper like in the two previous Spidey adventures. Also, too much goofy comic relief in the middle- I understand that with this much plot it probably had to be every minute of its 2 1/2 hours, but this stuff just distracts from what we came to see. Perhaps the filmmakers feared being too serious, lest they turn out like HULK. And when are they gonna use The Lizard? I mean, they already have a Dr. Connors in the movie, so you know it's got to happen eventually...} {A day later- man, does the fun stuff evaporate quickly while the problems stick out all the more. For one thing, I forgot to mention what a harpy Mary Jane turns out to be- yeah, it sucks that your career isn't working out as you'd hoped, but you see what Peter (who loves you) is doing? It's called empathizing, and I don't think Raimi does a very good job calling her on her petty crap. Being Spider-Man is just as much a performance as being an actress, and any performer with a shred of self-awareness could see this. Also, fans are probably gonna be semi-pissed by the short-changing given to Venom (admittedly a contentious figure) and especially Gwen Stacy. Gwen might have made for an ideal rebound girl in a subsequent Spidey movie, given how mood swing-y and prone to being victimized Mary Jane is, but instead Raimi relegates (read: wastes) her in a stock other-woman part. Pity, because not only is Bryce Dallas Howard a better actor than Dunst (hotter too, imho) but she captures the movie's spirit better than Dunst, who's always been a wet blanket in these things. My after-the-fact suggestion? Split this installment into two movies. First half: bring Sandman onboard, work out the stuff with Harry, and let the alien oozing stuff and the antagonism of Sandman and Harry bring out Spidey's dark side. Find a way to kill of Mary Jane during a battle with one of the baddies, thus causing a crisis of conscience in Peter. Introduce Gwen and hash out the dynamic with the pre-Venom Eddie Brock. Second half: Peter casts off his dark side, Eddie reaps the benefit, becomes Venom. In fact, Peter isn't sure he wants to be Spidey anymore, so he takes a hiatus to grieve and get his life together. Gwen gravitates to him and helps him move on, but jealous ex Eddie (teamed with the non-dead Sandman) kidnaps her to bring Spidey out of hiding to humiliate and destroy him. Could work, I think. Too late now. Rating: 4 out of 10.

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