Spider-Man Three

I saw Spider-Man Three this weekend. I liked it. A lot.

The critics have been panning it pretty severely, but they are wrong. They’ve been complaining that there is too much CGI, that there are too many supervillains, and that the story is unconvincing. Actually, I was impressed by how restrained the film is. In a two and half hour movie there are really only a handful of big action sequences. Unlike many recent action movies, people actually talk to each other in this one. And, c’mon! The CGI is pretty spectaular. The Sandman effects alone are worth the considerable price of admission.


The one criticism with which I agree is that they tried to do a bit too much. I think either Sandman or Venom is interesting enough that they could have been the sole bad guy in the movie. Venom in particular is woefully underdeveloped here. I suspect the reason for including both (not to mention Harry’s stint as the new Green Goblin) was (a) The erroneous feeling, prevalent especially in the Batman movies, that you have to keep topping yourself by doing more extreme things in each sequel and (b) the uncertainty as to whether there would be other Spider-Man movies and the desire to include most of the iconic Spider-Man characters just in case this was the last one.

On the other hand, I thought the writers did an impressive job of weaving together the various characters’ subplots. For example, the triangle between Peter Parker, Mary Jane and Harry Osborn weaves together nicely with Sandman’s own quest for forgiveness.

In the end, the movie passed it’s most important test. After two and a half hours I didn’t want it to end. More so than most comic book movies, the Spider-Man films are made by people who understand that the characters come first, and the action second. I hope they make many more.

Comments

  1. #1 David D.G.
    May 7, 2007

    Actually, I still haven’t even seen “Spider-Man 2″ yet because of the stupid stuff they did with the first movie: namely, the awful change in the Green Goblin’s costume, altering the origin from radioactive spider bite to genetically-altered-spider bite, and, worst of all, making Spidey’s webs come from his own body!

    The story and acting were good, but those were some awfully key details to be messing with, especially those defining Spidey himself; it would be like changing Superman’s origin so that he comes from Mars instead of Krypton. It just isn’t DONE!

    If you think SM3 is worth it, I’ll consider checking it out; but do you think, then, that I should see SM2 beforehand to familiarize myself with what’s going on?

    ~David D.G.

  2. #2 Vincent Kargatis
    May 7, 2007

    Absolutely see SM2 – it’s fabulous, and features the best superhero fight on screen ever. (Of course the changes you disliked are still there, that’s a given. Though I think especially about the webs they made the right decision – one that Stan Lee shoulda made originally.) Anyway, yes, these films tie together quite a bit, so don’t skip SM2 before SM3.

  3. #3 PC
    May 8, 2007

    SpiderMan points out a problem with Neo-Darwinism, if you rememeber in Spidy 1 Peter Parker was bitten by some type of weird spider and the Gentic information for being spider-like was infused into Peter’s DNA from the spider. At least they knew the information had to come from somewhere. They did not suppose as neo-darwinists that the intricate and complex information for being spider like just happened to pop out of nowhere. I guess you can allude to X-men if you want to use a comic as evidence to overcome insurmountable negative mutation rates in the DNA.

  4. #4 itchy
    May 8, 2007

    Jason, you and PZ need to have a Siskel & Ebert-type faceoff, since he rankled a few fans last month by making public his contempt for the Spiderman series.

  5. #5 Godless Geek
    May 8, 2007

    David,

    The movie version of Spiderman’s origins was derived largely from the Ultimate Spiderman continuity, not the original. Much of the storyline did come from the original though; the Ultimate imprint had only been around a year or two at the time of the first movie, so there wasn’t a lot of source material to work with there.

  6. #6 David D.G.
    May 8, 2007

    Godless Geek,

    At least Hollywood had the blessing of the comics writers; but if the comics writers are the ones who took away the webshooters and made the webs come from Spidey himself, they did the character a grave disservice. The web fluid and webshooters were a perfect way to exemplify just how brilliant at science Peter Parker was; the organically grown webbing, however, could be done by anybody who got bitten by the spider in this situation.

    Similarly, the genetically modified spider causes serious problems. Originally, the radioactive spider was a unique creature that died immediately after biting Peter Parker, so there could be only one Spider-Man. However, there are at least 15 of these genetically modified superspiders, with at least one having escaped already, and it certainly didn’t die right after biting him, so such a bite is surely a non-unique event. So how many other Spider-Men can we expect to see swinging around New York on their own organic webbing in the near future?

    THAT is my big problem with the changes, far more than just their failure to adhere to the orthodox canon.

    ~David D.G.

  7. #7 cephyn
    May 8, 2007

    I thought 1 was great, 2 was pretty good and 3 was just OK. They tried to cram too much in. They should have just had Sandman. I love Venom but that really needs its own movie (and Topher Grace? bad casting…)

    Sandman effects were great. I never much liked Sandman in the comics but Haden Church really stuck the role. Great job.

    But the movie as a whole? mediocre. Too cheesy in parts – the whole disco sequence was just stupid.

  8. #8 Jkrehbiel
    May 8, 2007

    What is it about critics that causes them to dislike any movie that is actually entertaining?

  9. #9 chelsea
    May 16, 2007

    I thought that it was very good.Iliked it a lot I can’t wait to see the fourth (if there is one) it was awsome. In the fourth one i think Mary Jane should become spidergirl .
    ~chelsea o

  10. #10 chelsea
    May 16, 2007

    I thought that it was very good.Iliked it a lot I can’t wait to see the fourth (if there is one) it was awsome. In the fourth one i think Mary Jane should become spidergirl .
    ~chelsea o

  11. #11 Vincent Kargatis
    May 16, 2007

    Well, finally saw it and I didn’t like it much, unfortunately. Main problem I had was just disappointing rhythm/pacing/flow throughout. Seemed to me the script was just too crowded for Raimi to get a handle on how to put an artful flow together, which he did wonderfully in 1 & 2. And I found none of the superhero moments heroic-feeling, which I think is a pretty big deal in a superhero flick (the train stoppage in 2 being the crowning example) – they all felt pretty perfunctory. The PP/MJ relationship bits were the best part.

    Overall, left me reminded of Batman Returns, not a good thing.

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