Sunday, May 06, 2007

Spider-Man 3 (**1/2)

The summer movie season has officially begun, but unfortunately, it's with more of a whimper and less than a bang (though the box office would beg to differ). Spider-Man 3 is the much anticipated follow-up to what many, including myself, consider to be one of the greatest comic book films ever: Spider-Man 2. I've been skeptical about this third film for a while now. Ever since I saw the first preview, I felt that the movie would be trying to do too much and would give short shrift to everything in the attempt to fit it all in. Turns out I was right. The best way to enjoy Spider-Man 3 is to go on with low expectations. It is a flawed and chaotic mess of a movie, but there are some truly great action sequences (including the first airborne fight between Harry Osborn (the "Hobgoblin") and Peter Parker). The special effects have come a long way since the first Spider-Man, but the story they serve isn't up to par. Director Sam Raimi seems to have lost his visual style and doesn't really put his own stamp on the film. It feels like anyone could have directed this, and at times, it feels like three different directors are working on it. The tone veers wildly from sappy melodrama to all-out action to lame comedy. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is another film with many different tones, but that one balanced them all more succesfully. I sitll like Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, and I thought Topher Grace was a welcome addition to the cast as Venom (even though the character is given extremely short shrift), but the whole Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst) love story needs to go. Too much time is spent on their relationship, and try as the actors and screenwriters might, you never really care. If Sony decides to make a fourth film, and let's face it - they're going to, I think a creative shake-up is in order. Spider-Man 3 does do a good job of capping the trilogy and tying up all the loose ends, but I think the fanatical audiences that the character inspires deserve more than that.


At 9:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

John, I couldn't agree more. I went in with LOW expectations and that's what I got. The Spiderman movies have now cloned the X-Men movies. The first of the trilogy was good, not great. The first is always an origin story and in just these few years, you can look back and say the special effects were no where near where they are now. Then the sequels came. Spiderman 2 was one of the best comic book movies I ever saw. And X-Men 2 was just incredible (and yes, that movie scored BONUS points for me with the opening scene in the White House). But then the studios decided to keep the franchises going, even with tired actors and sub-par plots. X-Men The Last Stand was a huge disappointment and Spiderman 3 followed suit. I'm sorry, but Tobey McGuire looked bored through half the film and Kirsten Dunst was even worse (and I like her as an actress). And to have three musical numbers in a summer, comic action movie?!? Are you kidding me. I was looking at my watch by the end. And what a waste... the Venom character had three scenes in the movie. Huge disappoint for the people who read the comics as kids. The movie tried too much, too hard and it was too soon. Just because you can keep making these movies every 3 years, that does not mean you have to. No matter how much money they make. -- Brian.


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