Thursday, May 10, 2007

"Spider-Man 3" Review (2007)

When I found out that Venom was going to be in Spider-Man 3, I became a drooling fanboy who would go see this movie no. matter. what. There really was no question about whether I was going to go see it on opening day or not, it became an immovable fact of the universe. When I heard the early so-so reviews, it didn't change the fact that I was going to see it, but it did damper my enthusiasm a bit.

Let's face it, Spider-Man 3 is not director Sam Raimi's best effort. But as the judges on American Idol like to say, "We still love you Sam!" The movie is a dense miasma of material and the scope is as far reaching as Middle Earth. Inside, Spider Man battles himself, an alien spore with the lovable nickname "Venom", a cocky competitive reporter, his best friend-with-a-grudge Harry, and the slips-through-your-fingers-and-gets-everywhere Sandman.

I'm glad they included Venom, because the sandman is just not interesting enough a villain to carry the movie. But with four other villains to jockey with, the sandman's story fades into pseudo-schlock territory and just doesn't matter. This was supposed to be a personal movie for Peter Parker, wherein he battles his own demons as all superhero's should (if only to satisfy us salivating comic fans.) When every other scene included the kind of heavy-handed verbage that spawned the "With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility" line the film just kind of drowned in its own lessons. I should have come out of it with a strong urge not to submit to my own darker urges, but instead came out of it with a strong desire to grab a beer and glare menacingly at the nearest emo goth.

Sam has an thing for humor mixed with action, which is a good thing, because he and I share that fetish. There are a great many humorous scenes in the movie, and the audience had a hoot of a time. Still, the humor did not mix well with the dark drama and angst. It went from Saturday Night Live goofiness in one scene, to wife-beating "what the hell are you doing?" in the next. This led to the movie lacking the usual Sam Raimi patented smooth silky scene transitions.

I liked the movie. It was better than any of the second tier comic book movie disappointments (see Daredevil, Elektra, Ghost Rider, and the Fantastic Four.) It still had some of the ol' Raimi magic including another great cameo by the Indomitable Bruce Campbell. It had some fun Spider-Man action antics, and some drop-dead gorgeous effects. But the story was too big for the sandbox and the tone changes of the movie made me seasick, dropping it down a notch.

Judging by the box office, you've probably already seen Spider-Man 3. If you haven't, go see it, just so you can fit in with the rest of society. As I clean the sand out of my shoes, I know in my heart of hearts that I will buy the movie when it comes out on Blu-Ray. I will feel a twinge of guilt as I do so though, as if the movie isn't quite worth the full price of seeing it in the theater plus purchasing the shiny plastic disk version. I do love the shiny though...Hey what's that over there?

(4 out of 5)
James the CMO

No comments: