The Movie Buffer

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Spiderman 3


Wealth and fame, he's ingored,
Spoilers are his reward!


So here’s a nugget of my personal history, as a kid I was a huge Spiderman fan and I still am. I don’t collect the books anymore though I do have a sizable collection that can only increase in value if this movie is a huge hit. (Edit: While not a huge critical hit, it did rake in a tremendous chunk of cash). Moreover, Venom is one my favourite super-villains of the series and I was excited to see how Sam Raimi would create the character.

Unfortunately, knowing the lore casts a long shadow on the film version. I understand that on film everything needs to be tightened up because they don’t have as much time or freedom to explain a story like the books do, so allowances must be made, laws of physics broken and caution thrown to the wind.

You like tangled webs? This film has them in spades. With three Peter Parker stories and two Spiderman plots, this film overflows with new characters and exposition. About an hour an a half has elapsed after getting through the introduction of all the characters and their distinguishing traits.

There’s the Sandman (Thomas Haden Church) running amok, Harry Osborn (James Franco) attempting to avenge his father’s (Willem Dafoe) death, the symbiotic Venom suit’s terrible curse, the relationship highs and lows between Peter and Mary Jane, and the rivalry between Peter and Eddie Brock (Topher Grace) at the Bugle. The film is a five car pile up – it’s a horrible mess, but it’s hard to look away.

The film is visually stunning. If only the story had been streamlined the film would have been excellent. The Sandman and Venom are rendered superbly and web slinging shots have been brought to a whole new level. Unfortunately, these extras are like slathering gravy over a rancid pork chop.

The first problem with the film is the opening credit roll. Yeah, I know it’s pretty rough when the credits are messed up. Similar to the previous installments, Spiderman 3 uses a CGI montage during the roll call for the cast and the characters they play, but not all the names and the characters were synched up. This would have made sense if the montage was just of Peter and Mary Jane, but most of the characters appear and many of them are mislabeled.

This small miscue was followed by dozens of others, the uncaring scientist who turns on the particle accelerator with a man standing in the beam’s path, a meteor crashing into central park going unnoticed, two terribly overdubbed musical numbers performed by Dunst, etc. They are small things but when you’re having trouble suspending your disbelief already, these obstacles only make the experience worse.

I doubt this is going to hit home for fans of the first two films. There are plenty of action scenes, lots of explosions and more villains than you can shake a stick at but this is clearly a case of too much, too fast. For the fan of the comics, this is another film that you’ll probably watch just to see where they had to change the story and come out of the theatre with a burning desire to flame this film all over the internet. I’m giving this film a 4/10 by virtue of the Venom scenes, the excellent visuals and Bruce Campbell’s cameo role as the swarthy French Maitre D’.

Sony has announced that it is going to be developing more Spiderman films regardless of Raimi, Maguire or Dunst’s involvement. Hopefully, they pick a more self contained comic story to make into a film.


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