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Movie Review: "Spider-Man 3" (2007)
DISCLAIMER: This review may contain spoilers.
The first two 'Spider-Man' films from Sam Raimi, while they are great comic book films (especially the second one), contained doses of campiness and cheesiness here and there but the overall package was well-received and acceptable. By the time "Spider-Man 3" swung around in 2007, it took those elements to uncomfortable heights, thus amplifying the campiness and cheesiness of the first two films, making this whole trilogy appear to be retarded.
"Spider-Man 3" is the "Batman & Robin" of the 'Spider-Man' franchise. It nearly killed the series, thus resulting in a proper reboot five years later. Fortunately, with all its shortcomings, "The Amazing Spider-Man" has done the franchise justice and has proven to be much-needed restart after the disastrous third film. Hopefully, they have learned their lesson and won't mess it up again this time around.
With that said... The biggest problem with "Spider-Man 3" is that it tries to accomplish way too much within its running time. It's one big over-bloated (and quite possibly constipated) whale that's just waiting to implode. Main characters and plot aside, what doesn't help is that includes many unnecessary shots and/or scenes all throughout.
For example, in all of its entire 139 minute running time, with all that is going on, what is the point of showing a random shot of Spider-Man dropping down in front of a US flag during the film's finale? This happens at time mark 01:49:00 in case you're curious. This is unnecessary patriotism at its finest. We've got romance, trust issues, work issues, an alien goo that can make people do retarded things, broadway singing, broadway dancing, 'Saturday Night Fever' dancing, stupid pick-up lines, Sandman's daughter is sick, friendship issues, a particle physics experiment, a love triangle, and a million other things. And on top of all that, they decided to shove patriotism in there as well, because Spider-Man represents the United States of America while Venom and Sandman represent... uh, well, I don't know, terrorism?
I don't know what's worse, trying to tackle this screenplay as a director or the film itself as a reviewer. Both avenues sound troublesome.
The convoluted mess of a story this time around is that Spider-Man is New York City's hero and Peter Parker has let his ego explode because of this. Peter continues to juggle work, school, and relationships while MJ is trying to break into broadway. An alien goo lands and gets on Peter, luring him to the dark side (or should I say not-so dark side?).
Meanwhile, Flint Marko escapes from prison to cure his daughter's illness but ends up accidentally becoming the Sandman, Harry Jr. knows who Spidey is and still wants revenge for his father's death, and to top it all off, Peter Parker must also deal with a competing photographer at work named Eddie Brock who later gets infected with the black goo and becomes a cheap version of Venom.
Keep your aspirin handy, here we go...
One Size Fits All
One thing that doesn't make sense is why would the symbiote provide Peter with a special black costume for his particular size? We learn this when Peter is about to respond to a crime but he can't decide on which Spidey outfit to wear, the red and blue one or the new black one. The symbiote is supposed to amplify characteristics of its host, not make costumes for it.
This leads me to other unanswered questions. Is the goo on the suit or is it on Peter? If it's on the suit, then why does it cause Peter to turn EMO later on? If it's on Peter, then why does the suit appear to be black? Lastly, upon removing the suit during the church scene, is he removing the black suit or the goo? He had no problem removing it before, but now he does?
So the symbiote or black goo is supposed to be Spider-Man's version of the 'dark side of the force', right? Well, for a darker side, Peter/Spider-Man does some unquestionably stupid things which are not as evil as the film makes them out to be. I'll give some examples:
- So instead of sleeping with his landlord's daughter, Dark Peter Parker simply orders her to feed him milk and cookies while he talks on the payphone. Of course, because this is a kids movie, right?
- Peter Parker dancing in the streets as if he just walked out of a screening for "Saturday Night Fever". What's so evil about this? And who's to say that every woman he passes by is going to be turned on by this as the film depicts? Realistically-speaking, if a guy (good-looking or not) tried this in the street, most of the women would probably laugh at him or think he's a weirdo. That's not to say that these films have to be "realistic" per se, but come on now, there's only so much the mind can take. A guy having spider powers is one thing, but then to have him dancing like John Travolta in the streets of New York and causing every girl to have the hots for him? WTF is this nonsense!?
- The whole jazz club scene in particular is cringeworthy, from start to finish. He takes Gwen Stacy out to the jazz club where MJ is a waitress and a singer. The first thing he does is tip one of the other waitresses for a good seat, followed by the line "Find us some shades, hot cakes". What's evil about this again? And while I'm at it, any real waitress would probably slap him in the face or report him to her boss if this actually happened. Maybe if they showed that side to this scene, I might actually be able to buy the whole evil Peter Parker thing in an a-hole sense.
- Peter Parker does broadway dancing at the jazz club scene. Need I say more?
- In response to all the "bad" things that Spidey is doing, one spectator comments saying "I have a 9 year old daughter who loves Spider-man, who is she supposed to look up to now?" -- Well, Beyonce seems like an equally great choice.
One has to be retarded in order to think that most of the things Peter/Spidey does in this film are "evil" or "bad". Have him sleep with the landlord's daughter, let him kill some people for the fun of it. Come on now, make me hate this guy like I'm supposed to!
But instead of infecting Peter Parker with the symbiote goo, they gave him a bad dose of Love Potion No. 9.
Join Me, Mr. Sandman...
... And together, we will ruin the movie for everyone!
This has got to be one of the worst villain team-ups in comic book history. The lame and snappy teaming-up of Venom and Sandman just in time for the film's final act felt rushed and shoehorned in there. Sandman doesn't even question or doubt this guy prior to joining with him.
"Spider-Man 3" really knows how to not to handle villains very well.
First off, the whole character of Venom is laid to waste here. What a tragedy. This guy is supposed to be like the evil flip-side of Spider-Man himself. The first thing that comes to mind when I picture Spidey battling Venom is the battle between Robocop and Cain in the finale of "RoboCop 2". Venom should be to Spider-Man what the robot version of Cain was to Robocop.
Instead, Eddie Brock is depicted as the weakest link. Venom is not that much bigger than Spidey in this movie. Plus, he keeps revealing his true face instead of leaving his Venom face on. This happens constantly throughout the final act. My guess is that the studio went over-budget and couldn't afford to keep showing us a Venom face for the remainder of the film. How sad.
Then there's Sandman. "Spider-Man 3" really attempts to humanize this character in the lamest ways possible, even by connecting him to Ben Parker's death in the first film (oh, it wasn't his fault!). Then at the midway point of the film, Spidey wastes him in the sewer and he's forgotten about for like 30 minutes until Venom shows up.
Perfect Timing, Jackass
Let's talk plot convenience, shall we?
- The way in which Sandman becomes Sandman -- The whole scene is pretty self-explanatory here.
- Eddie Brock happens to show up at the same exact church as Peter Parker when he is stripping away the symbiote goo (or costume?).
- Prior to kidnapping her, how did Eddie Brock know MJ was going to hail a cab?
- The black goo lands right next to Peter Parker, how convenient. But why do it this way? He never notices it at all, you might as well have it land in the east river.
- Gwen Stacy runs into Peter Parker at the same fancy restaurant that he takes MJ for the engagement proposal. What are the odds!?
- And my personal favorite... Harry Jr.'s Butler: "If I may, sir, I've seen things in this house that I've never spoken of. The night your father died, I cleaned his wound, the blade that pierced his body came from his glider" -- Wait a second, why would YOU be the one who cleans his wound? You mean you never bothered to call 911? The man was dead!
As if this "Spider-Man 3" didn't have enough problems, they decided to shove little kids in this and actually give them screen-time plus dialogue.
- First and foremost, when the crowd cheers for Spider-Man to kiss Gwen Stacy, a little boy randomly says "No!" while everybody else says "Yes!". Gee, all we needed to see was MJ's reaction to this and that was it.
- Another (pointless) scene involves Peter's boss offering a kid a photographer job, to which the kid responds "Why would I want a job? I'm just a kid".
- There's a scene towards the end involving a little girl (who is most likely the producer's daughter or some crap) who says "Look!" followed by two other kids saying "Awesome" and "Wicked cool", all in reaction to Harry coming to save Spider-Man at the construction site.
All these things do nothing but embarrass the overall series and make an already long movie feel even more bloated with unnecessary baggage. Get rid of the damn kids.
Random Things That Make No Sense
- A measly fence which anyone can climb over is the only thing standing in between trespassers and a particle physics experiment?
- During the climax, where did the big dump truck come from? It wasn't there before.
- During the crane sequence, Spider-Man saves Gwen Stacy but forgets all about the crane.
- How did Betty know that Eddie Brock was attempting to sell Spider-Man photos to his boss? She never saw what was in the damn envelope he was holding. Is she psychic or did she read the script?
- Peter Parker drops down on top of a building behind Gwen Stacy's celebration, wearing everything but his mask, when he realizes "They love me". Kinda careless to show up on top of a building in public during broad daylight without wearing your mask, don't you think?
- When Peter Parker goes to MJ's play, we hear the sound of people clapping but if you look carefully, nobody is actually clapping.
- Sandman floods an armored truck with sand, thus weighing down on the gas pedal and accelerating the vehicle. So does sand only have this effect on gas pedals but not brakes?
- Either that's William Dafoe sitting at a table during the jazz club scene or it's the ghost of Harry Osborn from the first film.
- As Venom and Sandman trap and beat up Spider-Man, the NYPD sit back and do nothing but watch.
- It's rather odd that Venom's explosion during his scene death is so 'contained', isn't it?
- "The Twist" -- Need I say more?
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