By James S. Gorcesky
May 5, 2007
Image:Spider-Man 3, International Poster.jpg
Spider Man 3 or
"A Series of Fortunate Coincidences"
Yeah, that's right I said it super hero fans, I feel that Spider Man 3 was a hack job. A film where we were force fed waaay too much information and eye candy and not enough character or story development. Once again, Hollywood has killed off a franchise due to the fact that they want to make the MOST amount of bucks off of their product. Following the Daredevil film model, Sony Pictures has literally blown their load on the Spidey franchise by introducing waaay too many characters (especially villains), squeezing waaay too much story line into a two and half hour movie without fully developing the events and leaving quite a few plot holes along the way and killing off/ending such high points of drama that certain events could have CERTAINLY been milked and used for many more Spidey films to come – instead Hollywood has twisted the arm of Sam Raimi into making this film.
You really can't blame Sam Raimi whatsoever for the failure of this production. Granted, he is the director and one of the co-writers of the film and holds the most amount of responsibility for the success or failure on a project – but I feel there were higher powers at work behind the scenes of this film. I.E. – the evil doings of the Sony Corporation only hoping to make this film SO much more of a financial success than it's two previous. They figured that following the formula of adding more villains to a film and raising the stakes against Spidey was the way too go. So in this film we are dealing with Venom, the Sandman and the second Green Goblin – along with the introduction of Gwen Stacy and a love triangle between Mary Jane, Peter and Harry which is soon to be squished before the end of the second Act. All without much development. If the films follow this trend, we will see more villains and Spidey teaming up with secondary characters like the Black Cat and Morbius to combat evil. BAH!
See, the problem is Sony – you are fucking greedy. You are force feeding waaaaay too much down our throats without us being able to digest it all. Think small and this franchise will be stretched out for YEARS! Instead, you are taking villains and storylines from different eras and squeezing them all together with a love story inter-twined just to bring in the largest amount of cross categorical marketing techniques for viewers that are young, old and use it like a date movie. To say that this film could all be Raimi's fault is more than likely half false. He is an EXCELLENT film maker, as he has brought you success from the past two films amongst many other great pieces of his work: (the Evil Dead trilogy, Darkman, A Simple Plan, The Quick and the Dead –just to name a few) but I have heard rumours that Sony practically twisted his arm into getting Venom in this film. SO with this desire to have Venom, you need to combine it with the pathway the films were heading by using the older storylines and villains. After a while, it becomes a cluster fuck of too much in too little time.
Sam is one of the writers on the film along with his brother Ivan – who last worked together on the rather hilarious Army of Darkness Image:Army of Darkness poster.jpgand they also wrote with Alvin Sargent who worked on the Spidey 2 screenplay – so you'd think between all of them they could make a little bit more sense of all of these stories inter-twining. ON the upside, we still get that typical Raimi style in the film that was rather apparent in the previous two: Cameos by Stan Lee and Bruce Campbell (who, the Great Chin plays a rather ridiculous sounding Maitre D' with a terrible French accent) as do we have the cameo of the Olds 88 which is found in every Raimi film except for the Quick and Dead (since it's a western). There is some fun tongue-in-cheek slap stick with Jameson and his pills and watching people getting terribly hurt and flying through buildings as reminiscent of the cartoon like violence found in the Three Stooges shorts. Unfortunately though, Danny Elfman is not around to score this film, as it's duties are now turned over to Christopher Young (who JUST got done scoring Ghost Rider –blah!) I find that most of Young's music sounds quite reminiscent of the Wizard of Oz soundtrack here and there – but he is surely no Elfman.
There is also some rather EXCELLENT special effects done in the film (even though Star Wars' master John Dykstra wasn't around)– in particular the stuff with the Sandman (although not the final rendition of the Sandman) In fact, at that point of the film it feels sooo cliché, that I'm watching the video game version of the film. That I know I need to run around Venom with steel tubes and use the sonic vibrations to destroy the beast. There are also times when the film becomes very clichéd – like you are watching a super hero movie – not a film inspired by the super hero genre. Please allow me to explain.
There comes a time in Hollywood when certain film makers becomes soooo passionate about a film project, that they want to take a product they grew up with as a child and bring that timeless love and joy to the screen in the form of the inspiration they felt from the comic book. I truly feel that Spider Man 1 and 2, Batman Begins, Bryan Singer's work and the original two Superman films were also on this same wave length with a few other classics (the 90's version of Captain America anyone?! :D ) Image:Captainamerica2.jpgT
The other side to this spectrum is the comic book movie, i.e. "the bad comic book movie." Not to say that these comic book movies aren't enjoyable, but they showcase such things that become clichéd on the entire genre, that you watch it with excitement and are enthralled with the utter cheesiness of it all. Here, a film maker is a given a job to a make a product – although some of the writers/actors and others say they are passionate about the project (NICHOLAS CAGE, solely for the sake of making another sequel) they are in it for the money and not for the love of the game. WHERE THE FRANCHISE PAYS YOUR DUES AND SALARY. The big example that comes to my mind is Flash Gordon. Yes – I absolutely LOVE Flash Gordon, but what those film makers did was they took that cheesy look and feel of the original serials of the 30's and intertwined it with the snazzy and sexy appeal of the 70's with Queen's music and the glittering wardrobe from the Kingdom of Mongo.Image:Gordoncast-198
The Story: Things have been going great for Spidey as far as his public image is concerned. NY loves him and he has even become quite a marketable tourist attraction for the beautiful city of New York. Then we are introduced to Flint Marko,aka the Sandman (is it just me, or does anyone else notice that the Sandman has the same last name as Marvel's other supervillain, The Juggernaut (aka Kane Marko, "I'm the Juggernaut Bitch," Image:Juggsmovie.PNG– < – Juggernaut I?m>) Marko is played by the very apathetic and sorrowful Thomas Haden Church, who some of you might remember from his sitcoms Ned and Stacey or Wings – but I remember him as the asshole – Roach from Demon Knight. So Marko is constantly on the run from the law. He has a very sick daughter whom he cares very much about and is just trying to steal money to get her healthier. The Sandman is a wholesome character who just ends up making dumb choices and a run of bad luck. No wonder he turns face a few times in the comics. Anyways, he is a convict but just runs into trouble. His ex-wife hates him, it turns out he was the one who accidentally killed Uncle Ben at gun point and somehow or another, as he is escaping from the law – he stumbles upon a random particle accelerator that is doing SOME SORT OF EXPERIMENTS ON SAND FOR SOME REASON. He falls in and his molecules become sand – allowing him become large and powerful.
Meanwhile, Peter Parker is ready to propose to MJ but she (from my own interpretations) is jealous of Spidey's fame and wants her own – unfortunately she is a terrible singer on Broadway and gets fired after a one night showing. From that point, she is down and depressed, Pete is not around to listen to her complain because he is a fucking superhero and needs to save the day – so she ends up looking for love, affection and attention from other venues – Harry Osbourne. Harry is currently battling with his own demons, now donning a new and snazzy Green Goblin suit Image:New Goblin front view.jpgthat makes him look more like a combination of a reject from G.I. Joe and Cannonball from the New Warriors, who is on the course to destroy Spidey with his new toys. Harry and Spidey fight, but Harry bumps his head and has a fit of "temporary amnesia" that has effected his short-term memory.
Okay, then we are introduced to some MORE characters. First we got Eddie Brock, (who is played by that little nerdy kid Eric Forman on the 70's Show for years). Eddie is a little competitive photographer at the Daily Bugle and tries to edge out Peter Parker from that snazzy staff job by doing whatever it takes. Eddie's girlfriend is the VERY beautiful Gwen Stacy Image:Howard in Spider-Man 3.jpgplayed by Bryce Dallas Howard and whose father is Captain Stacy (James Cromwell of Revenge of the Nerds) of the NYPD and helps things fall into play. Peter doesn't like Eddie all too much due to competition, Peter knows of Gwen through Physics class and is also a rising model and Peter is also not too fond of Captain Stacy who just reveals to Peter that they found it who really killed Uncle Ben and he is on the loose.
So, essentially at this point we got a WHOLE lot of little stories and events bouncing all over the place. Sandman is introduced and turned into Sand for some reason,
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Harry is out to kill Spidey but gets amnesia and inadvertently works on seducing MJ, Gwen plays the damsel in distress and is hotter than MJ which causes her again to be jealous, Pete hates her boyfriend Brock who is out to steal his work and Spidey is out to marry MJ but she is too much down on her luck for losing her Broadway job. Through out the film, MJ is the only character you can truly feel for, and she is the least developed and just plays the other damsel in distress. An over encompassing rage begins to fuel Peter Parker with the tension of problems with MJ, problems at work and knowing that Ben's killer is on the lose.
CUE THE FLYING ASTEROID! You are still in your seat at this point in the movie, and you are just wondering – how are all of these various and random elements going to fall into place without you getting bored or say – WHY THAT'S JUST ABSURD! This also begins a series of fortunate consequences that JUST SO HAPPEN to come about when they need to be. Such as the randomn flying chunks of asteroid that is never hinted at and instead just happens to land near Peter and then mold onto him like a parasite. The parasite (or symbiot whichever you prefer) molds onto Peter and begins to feed off of his aggression and turning him into an evil Peter. He becomes very jazzy and absurd; he combs his hair over to the side and ends up looking like an Emo Kid. In fact, the parallels of him becoming darker in nature AND appearance was my instant connection to Superman III when Supes comes in contact with synthetic kryptonite Image:Superman&Gift.jpg(be
Anyway – back to my ranting. So this creature feeds off of Parker's dark side and begins to turn him into something bad, and Pete gets what he wants – by any means necessary. Like Vinny Barbarino from Staying Alive, Pete is off seducing women, getting the staff job and being an all around jazzy and cocky asshole. It comes to a point in the film when THE SPIDER MAN SERIES JUMPED THE SHARK when Peter Parker begins to do this whole entire dancing extravaganza trying to impress/embarrass MJ at her new job. I didn't pay fucking money to watching Spider Man dance – I paid money to watch him in his mask and beating up bad guys and getting the crap beat out of him in the process.
And that's another thing, (and I blame Hollywood for this as well) for this being a super hero film (and being a super hero, one should truly protect their secret identity to safe guard their loved ones) many of the heroes and villains in this film have NO problem whatsoever revealing their identities. Yeah, I know – say what you want that you need to see the emotions portrayed by the actors, but that is not what they do in the comics. You can feel it in a panel – and you should be able to feel it on a piece of celluloid as well. Venom frequently has his mask slide off ,Image:Eddie Brock AKA Venom.JPG Harry constantly runs around mask less as the new Goblin, Peter has no problem concealing himself in his initial fight against Harry on the roof tops of Manhattan in the beginning, his big finale on a construction site (with hundreds of people below who are telecasting the news who could easily see his identity) and he even shows off to the Sandman right at the end of the film and even TELLS him who he was and his Uncle Ben lineage. Hogwash I say – keep your characters in check.
So in the end, it becomes a show down of Sandman/Venom vs. Spider-Man/Green Goblin. There are some truly gay scenes of Spidey and Goblin riding a hover board together trying to save MJ and the commradory amongst super folks is just felt shameful at that moment. Venom is defeated and Brock jumps into an explosion with the symbiot via pumpkin bomb. Sandman redeems himself and sails away like Dust in the Wind and Harry redeems himself and the name of Osbourne by helping out Peter and dying in battle. Which is a DAMN shame because you could have done SO much more with the characters of Venom, Brock, Gwen Stacy and Harry Osbourne but they are all too soon dismissed, written out of continuity and gone by the way side for the sake of another sequel which will probably have no continuity with this one. Perhaps it will all be a dream and we will wake up in a shower with Patrick Duffy.
Final Analysis: Although the film has this re-occurring theme of redemption and a lot of internal conflict, I really feel that this film is just telling us waaaay too much in too little time and bringing characters into our lives that mean so much to the entire Spidey series – only to just drop them off once we are done seeing them as eye candy. It was nice to see the direct connection of the feelings of revenge on the Sandman when the symbiot comes about – and serves as a great motivational tool for Pete to turn to the dark side, but it almost feels like we didn't need to deal with everything else in the film. The plot, and most importantly the villains should have been picked more wisely and I think they could have done a lot more with these characters than sticking them ALL into this one movie and being done with them. Harry should continue his on-going hatred of Pete, get with MJ for a while and Pete could get with Gwen Stacy for at least a movie or two – until Harry goes nuts and kills her by dropping her off of a bridge..der-Man_Death-of-G
Why can't they just continue going in the formula of using the older Spidey villains and story lines and then build up to the more modern stuff – shit they got like 40 years worth of stories to use – why are they cramming it all?! Why can't you begin to hint on some studies that Dr. Curt Connors is doing on his missing limb? Why not the Vulture – or shit even Electro or Mysterio?! Hollywood has definitely bitten off more than they can chew in this film and I hope the other film companies learn from this lesson when they make future super hero films – DON'T BLOW YOUR LOAD!