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Spiderman 3: A Review

I know I'm late on this boat, but I wasn't going to see Spiderman 3 in theaters because a) I detest Tobey Maguire, b) I loathe Kirsten Dunst, and c) oh whatever, man.

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.

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( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 26th, 2007 05:15 pm (UTC)
"a Conor Oberst who would cut you instead of cutting himself."


also, the best thing about most Sam Raimi projects is Bruce Campbell, and that goes double, triple, quadruple for this one.
Jul. 30th, 2007 05:49 am (UTC)
I think Bruce Campbell is one of the most underused actors in Hollywood... but I blame that entirely on the Evil Dead series.
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 30th, 2007 05:50 am (UTC)
I'm pretty sure you're not alone in thinking that. I'm 98% certain he could pull off a bad, "John Tucker Must Die", teen movie... but I could be wrong.
Jul. 27th, 2007 03:55 am (UTC)
You know what's funny? Spidey 3 is the only one of the series I actually LIKED. I won't make an effort to see it again but honestly, I felt the storylines were actually more compelling than the previous ones (Bryce Dallas' character was pointless though.) I LOVED the Peter/Topher journalism war (probably because I'm biased thanks to my profession, haha.) I felt the special effects were MUCH more adept than the last two films.

And Peter's emo hair (and Conor Oberst) are hot. So there.

I will agree with you on one thing - Bruce Campbell rocks!
Jul. 30th, 2007 05:54 am (UTC)
Dude, I like seeing the plagiarist get professionally offed as much as the next self-respecting journalist... but come on. If I wanted that, I'd watch Shattered Glass.

The special effects were completely inconsistent, and I'm a total dork for analyzing them. I just... ugh.

... you can have your emo-boys. I certainly don't want them. I've been there, done that. They may be okay to look at (although I'd disagree with you on Tobey), but I'd rather be a girlfriend instead of a babysitter. :-P
Jul. 27th, 2007 11:12 pm (UTC)
It was still better than X3.

I agree with the majority, except for the bit on Topher Grace. Eddie Brock is designed to be a foil to Peter Parker. Using the model that Tobey Maguire had set (and believe me, I really haven't like him as Spiderman for 3 movies now), there are few actors out there who could have provided the same attitude that Brock needed and have fit the same age category. Topher suffered from poor directing decisions and a terrible script.

I could rant on and on and on about Spiderman 3, but I've already invested more effort than I like to. I defended it at one point, but every time I think about it I get angrier and angrier with it. Ultimately, they just tried to do too much in one movie. Even Batman couldn't handle three villains in one film.
Jul. 30th, 2007 05:56 am (UTC)
I don't know. I wasn't that horribly offended by X3. I at least had fun watching that movie, but I have a huge soft spot for Sir Ian McKellen. And Hugh Jackman is really fun to look at... for me anyway.

What did you think about Batman Begins? 'Cause I freaking love that movie and it's intro to the "dark side" of comic books.
Aug. 5th, 2007 05:17 pm (UTC)
Um, Batman Begins owns faces and I almost murdered a girl at a wedding when she said we don't need any more Batman movies. Because we do. Because Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale seem to understand Batman.

X3 was just awful. It was clear that Brett Ratner went for campy humor rather than legitimate content, and treated the thing much more like a spin off of Rush Hour than a sequel to X-Men. Cyclops was the most compelling character in that movie, and he had 15 minutes of screen time max. They tried to apply way too much of what was happening in the comics at the time, rather than working with the plot lines they had previously established (see House of M, though that's not nearly all).

I'm not saying Hugh Jackman did anything wrong. Far from it, in fact. His Wolverine tends to be a bit smarter than I like, but that's more of a side-note than a complaint. What I really like, though, is that he's producing the Wolverine film, and he sought out a writer that was very knowledgeable of comic book material and history. I'm excited for that one.

I also can't wait for The Dark Knight. The most recent teaser featured a bit of audio from Heath Ledger as The Joker, and it sounds Hamill-inspired (Mark Hamill voiced The Joker in Batman: The Animated Series). Since that's been my favorite interpretation of the character thus far, I'm pretty excited to see it and wish that it was July next year already.

300, V For Vendetta, and Sin City are all also great interpretations of the "dark side of comics". I'm interested to see how The Watchman turns out, because that's such an amazing book/graphic novel (it's in TIME Magazine's top 100 books of all time).
Aug. 5th, 2007 05:23 pm (UTC)
I love you, Dom.

Why don't we go to movies more often? I wish you would've been there for Transformers.

I actually started watching 300 last night... my brother told me not to bother but I decided I really needed to see the cinematography. It was friggen beautiful.

V for Vendetta is one of my favorite movies of all time.

I am also excited for all the movies you referenced. We should go.
Aug. 5th, 2007 11:28 pm (UTC)
I was drunk when I went to Transformers! And I think it made it better...though I kind of wish I'd been a little more sober when Prime showed up for the first time. I love Prime.

Y'know what the worst part is, though? I'm actually really easy to entertain. Unless it's a horror movie (which, y'know, don't entertain me), I can watch pretty much anything and enjoy it. I'll criticize stuff for this or that, but overall I still enjoy the event (which helps a ton when watching chick-flicks, since I usually enjoy those as well). It's only comic book movies that I'm overly critical of. I don't expect them to adhere to the original by any means. I do expect them to provide an interesting perspective on the source material. I mean, if I wanted the original story, I would go read the original story. I'm all for adaptation and re-imagination. It's when those are poorly done that I get upset.

But yes. More movies need to be viewed. By us.
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