Wednesday, May 16, 2007

"Spider-Man 3" Review

O.K. now I can finally post my review for probably the biggest movie of the summer. Too bad it's not as good as the other two.

SPOILER ALERT: If you did not see the film yet (which by now most of you have) than stop reading now!

My first thought when the movie finished and the credits rolled was that there was just too much going on. The bottom line: you absolutely did not need Venom. Certainly he is a major fan favorite. But why not leave him for someone else to tackle after San Raimi is done. Venom of course was the add on that Avi Arad and the studio talked Raimi into including. It was pretty apparent at Comic-Con last year that Venom was not his idea or interest. He is a classic Spider-Man fan and needed to stay true by mining that treasured era. You could see his original vision for the film despite the inclusion of too many characters.

Here's what seemed to be Raimi's original concept: Spidey is now accepted by everyone, his relationship with MJ flourishes, but some unfinished business threatens all of that. Sandman was to be one of only two villians, the other being Harry, the New Goblin. In short, Sandman turns out to be the real killer of Uncle Ben and Peter Parker becomes obsessed with bringing him to his own personal justice. This obsession becomes so great that it threatens his relationship with MJ and the good person he really is inside. Meanwhile Harry finally unleashes his revenge on Peter/Spider-Man.

Again, this appeared to be what was planned. Then along comes Venom. You didn't need Eddie Brock nor Gwen Stacey. They were just in the way. How convenient that right at the moment when Eddie is praying to God for the death of Peter Parker, Peter just happens to be up in the bell tower of the church trying to remove the alien symbiant. Eddie just happens to wander right under him, seeing who Spider-Man really is and getting the goo on him at the same time. All too quick and tiddy, like we needed to move things along because there was just way too much happening in the story. Also it seemed very much like a 'we need to wrap this up' moment when Harry's butler came into the Goblin lair to confess that he noticed the fatal wounds to Henry's father was by his own hand. That could have and should have been played out better with a bit more realization on Harry's end.

Basically the whole black suit thing made things a little weird at times. Peter walking down the street being Joe Cool was funny. Walking into a store to buy a black suit, then dancing out the door, was even funnier. However the big dance number with Gwen just to make MJ jeolous seemed over the top and a bit like "The Mask". I cringed at least twice.

The ending was sort of like a big video game. Plus it seemed like they were at the point in the story where somebody finally said, 'O.K. enough plot, now it's time to kick ass and save MJ from high height danger again'. Harry showing up to save the day did not have the emotional punch it should have. J. Jonah Jameson's gag scene with the little girl and her camera was ill placed.

All in all this could have been a great human emotion story. It certainly was trying to be, and you could see that with the actors taking cue from Raimi. Peter finally coming to grips with his Uncle's death and being able to forgive the man who committed the murder. Even though that kind of messes with the original comic which had that guy from the first film who Peter let get away as the killer indeed.

All of the major players, as always, were great. Thomas Hayden Church was perfect in the role of Sandman. Toby Maguire and Kirsten Dunst, right on the money yet again. Perhaps on a second viewing (which is defintely in the cards) I might come to appreciate those moments I did enjoy. But for now I have to say it was certainly not as good as the first two. At two and a half hours, the film was just bloated with no room for anyone to breathe.

Hands down, Bruce Campbell stole the movie!


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