Spider-Man 3 2007
While I wouldn’t recommend watching the Spider-Man films for the first time this way, I thought it was a perfect way to set myself up for the new Amazing Spider-Man next week. I figured I’d get the final and also the worst film out of the way first and end with the origin movie since it would be the one that would most closely compare to the new movie. This movie is one of those instances where since the first time I’ve seen it, I’ve heard so much negativity about the movie that I was prepared for the worst. And while it wasn’t all that great, there were some genuinely good moments in the movie too. But they were surrounded by bad ideas, too many characters, and too many subplots.
Let’s start with the romantic subplots, shall we? First, there’s the love triangle between Peter Parker, Mary Jane Watson, and Harry Osborne. Peter wants to marry MJ, but he’s too wrapped up in Spider-Man’s popularity to listen to any of her problems, while Harry lends an amnesiac induced sympathetic ear to a romantic montage cooking scene to the song the Twist of all things. If this were a chick flick, that alone could have filled a full hour and a half, but instead it gets all of maybe 20 minutes in this over 2 hour runtime. And that’s not all. On top of that love triangle, there’s the much more famous love triangle between Peter Parker, Mary Jane, and newcomer to the movie series Gwen Stacy. Gwen is the blonde bombshell that’s out of Peter’s league. She’s as smart as he is, beautiful enough to have a modelling career, and is the daughter of the Police Commissioner. And when she’s rescued by Spider-Man and presents him with the key to the city, they share a kiss based on the audience’s urging. And of course this causes a rift in the PP & MJ relationship which is furthered by the fact that Peter never even mentioned the fact that they were very close in school. Though of course that’s something that’s only mentioned in that one scene. Oh, I’m not done yet, there’s still a third love triangle between Peter Parker, Gwen Stacy, and fresh photographer Eddie Brock, although in that case the relationship seems to be more in Eddie’s head than for real.
If all that romantic inter-connectivity weren’t enough, the writers decided that all the villains in this movie had to be personally interconnected to Peter Parker as well. Thomas Hayden Church, who I will always think of as Lowell, plays the Sandman. And it wasn’t enough to just introduce him as a somewhat tragic villain, they had to retcon him into being the actual person responsible for Uncle Ben’s death. It wasn’t necessary and only served to give Peter a reason for hating him as a person, even though I did appreciate the fact that they got the original actors from the first movie who played Ben and the random criminal to reprise their roles in a newly created flashback sequence. And there’s also the New Goblin, Harry Osborne who’s already a part of one of the love triangles in the movie, but he also blames Peter for his father’s death in the first movie, at least he’s quick to act on these feelings, right? But in order to muck things up even more, he develops temporary amnesia which only serves the purpose of allowing Peter and him to make believe they are friends again, at least until he regains his memory. And finally there’s the third villain played by Eddie Brock. Which honestly feels almost like a love triangle between Peter Parker, Eddie Brock, and J Jonah Jameson. Eddie Brock is the new freelance photographer in town and wants to suck up to JJ as much as possible to gain the new staff position instead of Parker getting it right away.
Whew, now that all that’s finally out of the way, let me talk a little bit about what I thought was done well in this movie, and there are some bits. I thought the first battle right out of the gate between Peter and the New Goblin was fantastic. It came out of nowhere, left Peter in his civilian outfit, and was just a flat out well done action sequence. I also thought the look and feel of the Sandman in every part of the movie except for the final battle was amazingly done. All that sand looked, felt, and moved like it was something that could almost really happen. And Bruce Campbell was one of the highlights of the movie in his too-small role. There’s even something to be said about when Peter turned into emo Peter, I won’t say it was a great scene, but I will say that it had me laughing more than anything else has in quite a while. Of course, I may not have been entirely laughing at how funny the scene was, but instead over how bad it was.
But with every good thing about this movie, there are several bad things that counteract it. I didn’t understand why the symbiote took so much time between attaching itself to Peter’s bike in one of the first scenes, to waiting until almost an hour into the movie before finally attaching itself to his costume. It also never really makes sense why it only attaches itself to his costume rather than to himself. And when it becomes Venom at the end, it always felt silly that it pulled itself back to allow Topher Grace’s face to be seen, and yet he had fangs too for some reason. And there’s always too many convenient reasons to get rid of any of the masks, it’s like at this point everyone knows everyone’s secret identities so why even bother with the masks now? It’s never more than a few minutes before his mask conveniently gets stripped away or ripped to uncover strategic pieces of his face. And one of the most interesting parts about the symbiote storyline is how much darker it makes Peter and Spider-Man become, but instead of becoming darker, it mostly becomes just a joke. And in the few scenes that touched on their real lives, they felt absurd rather than real. Like all the nerd bullies in the college class, and the broadway run that only lasted one performance that was presented to the movie audience as something quite good. It really felt like this movie was a victim of its budget. For it to cost that much money, it had to have everything the fans wanted to see in it regardless of how to turn it into a good story. That’s why there’s Harry becoming the next Goblin, Venom, and Gwen Stacy all thrown in there, and the only thing left that the directer wanted to get in was Sandman, and his storyline honestly felt lessened by it. I think it could have been so much better if it had just been pared down to the essentials. I did enjoy parts of it, but the rest of it has just become a joke of a superhero movie. At least it gets better from here. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.