If you’ve not seen Spider-Man 3, turn back now. Here be spoilers!
I’m a fairly decent fan of comic book movies. I’m cursory familiar with most of the properties that have been optioned for TV and Film and, although I’m not intrinsically comfortable with the particulars of the franchises (save Batman) I know enough. Spider-Man was in and around my peripheral understanding all throughout my childhood and I was very happy to see Sam Raimi take the reigns of the film franchise back at the beginning of the decade. First movie was good, I remember folks saying things like, “This is what a super hero movie should be!” and the general aura of excitement. The company I worked for (Cingular Wireless) had put a lot of support into the movie and it seemed to be everywhere. Some years later, Spidey II hit the screens and I was bowled over again with the great story brought to the screen. Score, directing, acting, all of it was in good order. So, naturally, I was excited to see Spider-Man 3.
I cannot accurately describe the level of my disappointment. From a fan perspective, they got a LOT wrong. Much more than I’m sure I caught as a casual fan. Sure, you expect some changes and liberties to be taken with a film as compared to the roots of the graphic novel, but really? Plus the acting, dialogue, and EVERYTHING else associated with the film was atrocious. Let’s run them down:
- Opening credit sequence was a video-capture history of the first two movies. Sure Spidey II did a similar thing, but at least it made it look like a comic book. The recap here is lazy and unnecessary.
- Peter Parker is unsympathetic from the beginning. From his mannerisms to Hubris Gone Wild it’s a wonder I ever liked the character in the first two films. When he starts to “go bad” later I almost welcomed it…before I realized what that meant.
- Mary Jane has become the most insecure person on the planet. She is always asking for booster statements and not accepting compliments. Plus, I don’t like the way that Kirsten Dunst sings, but that’s a personal gripe.
- The symbiote just so HAPPENS to land mere feet from Parker’s moped via meteorite and attaches to his bike. How convenient! It then tucks itself into a drawer for the first and second acts.
- The Sandman stumbles through his scenes and is set up early on with a backstory (daughter with unknown illness) that assures that Spider-Man won’t be able to kill him, regardless of what bad things he does. Also, his method of transmogrification is ridiculous. Particle accellerator in the middle of a field, at 2:00 AM, and the scientists don’t notice there’s a guy in the unprotected area. Whatever.
- Gwen Stacy, her father, and even Eddie Brock are completely and totally wasted. I don’t want to get into the relationship triangle attempt this movie made, but I was totally uninterested.
- Amnesia? Really? REALLY?! Any movie that uses amnesia to get rid of a bad guy for awhile really needs to go all the way back to the drawing board.
- The whole ‘Parker Goes Bad!” segment…terrible. Evidently, cosmic symbiotes cause you to turn emo, strut everywhere, and be ridiculous. Not to mention cause you to break out in random dance numbers in a jazz club.
- Venom. He shows up for like ten minutes and goes down like a sack of potatoes.
- All is forgiven at the end, la-de-dah, and Spidey let’s the Sandman go. Not to mention that mid-way through the movie, it’s revealed that HE is the one that killed Uncle Ben, not the other guy, but since it ended up being an accidental killing Peter forgives him…and Sandman just flies away. Cause, y’know, sand does that.
- THE BUTLER! ZOMG! “Oh, by the way, this whole vengeance thing you’ve been on that has caused you to damage the house, disfigure your face, and alienate all your friends…your father wasn’t killed by Spider-Man, it was his own glider. I’m the butler, I know these things and kept it to myself until just now…20 minutes before the movie is over. Cheers!” I almost walked out of the theater at that moment.
We watched it with Rifftrax goodness last night. It gets worse on repeat viewings. Poor dialogue, terrible pacing, hammy acting…what the heck happened? The other two were so good!
C’mon, Dark Knight. Make it all better!