So tonight, we (Nic, Faith, and I) went to go see it at the $2.50 low-budge theater in Hopkins. The only way I can describe this film is catastrophically bad.
Firstly, the only reason I've actually seen any of these movies, and mind you I only began watching them this year after years of patently refusing because of the casting choices and horrible soundtrack artists like Nickelback, is because of the pretty. The special effects were they only reason I eventually gave in. I may have watched the first one due to a special fondness for Willem Dafoe that I cannot satisfactorily explain, but that doesn't matter at this point. The special effects are what drove me to this.
Let's be honest. The only slightly decent thing about this film was how badass Venom looked. The black Spidey-suit was blasé, and looked kind of like inverted basketball material. The dark-side of Spiderman was at best a Conor Oberst who would cut you instead of cutting himself. Lame.
The acting in this film was painful to watch. Tobey Maguire has the emotional-depth of a special-needs swimming pool, and he shifts emotional gears instantaneously. It's like switching on the sad-light and BAM! Instant woe. It almost worked when he needed to bring the angst and douche-baggery because at least he could put the suit on and suddenly be a bastard. Otherwise he's a deer in headlights until an emotion is absolutely necessary.
For example, take the scene in the cafe after Harry has so nastily tricked him in to believing that he stole MJ from Peter. There is no hint of sadness until the bomb drops. Only then come the tears and the chokey-chokey and the hasty exit.
I think Nic said it best when he noted that something is wrong when the best performance was given by Kirsten Dunst. She wasn't even good, she was just the least annoying.
The casting of Topher Grace as Venom was absolutely absurd. Faith wisely observed that while he makes a great snarky little shit, Topher doesn't look like he could kick a puppy let alone kill Spidey.
Speaking of casting, I'm really kind of irritated that apparently this film was a showcase for the entire Raimi family. In the trivia section, it says that all three Raimi brothers were involved. Sam Raimi wrote and directed, his brother Ivan wrote, his other brother (Ted) played the part of Hoffman, Sam's daughter was in it, and the singer who replaced MJ in the Broadway gig was named Andrea (named after the sister of brothers three). Granted, I didn't know this until after-the-fact but it makes me not like the movie even more. It does, however, prove that nepotism does not a good movie make.
You know what also does not a good movie make? Disco on the streets. I never want to see Tobey Maguire's hips move in that fashion ever. again. It was an embarrassment to dance and it was truly horrific. I might have nightmares. If I ever need to barf on command, that's the only mental image I'll need. In fact, I think threw up a little in my mouth just now. Moving on.
Let's discuss the biggest let-down of all... the design and effects. One would think, that with a budget of $250 million, the largest movie budget of all time, that you would be able to make the effects match up. Apparently not, however, because the sand-man was inconsistent. I don't care if it did take 3 years to get that sucker right, make it right throughout the film.
I felt really let down. There was a lot of banging people around on various hard-looking surfaces, but not really much crazy "camera"-swooping with the patented Spidey-swing. I think Spiderman looked more fake than he did in this film than any of its predecessors. It's hard to be engrossed in the battle when you're constantly aware that this is just CGI, and it's not even the best CGI $250 million can offer. This film out-spent King Kong and they had gigantic Tyrannosaurs swinging on vines and a very tactile, very large monkey. If this is all we can expect from $250 mil, we better close up Hollywood.
All in all, poor directing, poor acting, and poor design. Aunt May's apartment was disgusting. There were walls and cabinets interfering with the camera angle. Peter's apartment didn't make sense for such a bookish guy. It was really disappointing.
Plot-wise, it was too watered down to derive any meaning from what was supposed to be Spiderman's internal struggle with the positive and negative aspects of his own humanity. It really came down to the suit. It was the lame meteorite's fault, and the real Peter Parker is still practically Christlike with his inordinately kind nature. There were too many villains distracting focus. It came down to red suit=good, black suit=bad. Profound.
The movie dragged with unnecessary scenes and abysmal dialogue. The music made me cringe. It was cheesy all around with the choral "Harry's dead" anthem, the sullen strings singing every tragic moment, and whatever that slow-dance love-drivel was in the final scene. Someone should've reminded Christopher Young and the rest of the sound team that this was an action film.
The highlight of this film: Bruce Campbell as the Maître d', and he was only in the film for about 2 minutes. Is it worth it? Absolutely not.
I rarely say this and mean it, but I never want to see this movie again.