Friday, May 04, 2007

Spider-Man 3

Yeah, I liked it, but I'm not the guy they were worried about.

Spider-Man has always been a great comic book for young guys and teens. Kids growing up and learning what it takes to chose the right path look to Spider-Man and see that it is always tough, but worth it in the end. You've always got to live with the choices you make.

That's this film as much as it is the previous two. That's good.

Peter is riding high on the overwhelming support from the people of New York City, and the public in general. Because of that he becomes more self-centered. He doesn't start out as a jerk, but he sees some things primarily in how they relate to him.

Keep in mind that the movie poster doesn't feature the villains. You see Spider-Man in his traditional costume and the black costume. It is all about him. More accurately, it is all about Peter Parker... and that's what Sam Rami has been doing since the first film.

In fact, the best moments of all of the films are more about Peter and his relationships with his family and friends. Not that the fight and action sequences were not interesting. On the contrary, they have all been fantastic... it is just that the characters and how they fit with each other is much more interesting.

The supporting characters...
  • Harry Osborn: You're tempted to call him the New Goblin, but he's not a supervillain. That doesn't mean he is insignificant to the story. Harry's a big part of Peter's problems. He's just a guy who found his dad's secret lab (and used it to gain all of the physical enhancements and technological toys). Now he wants to kill Peter to avenge his father's death.
  • Eddie Brock: Similar to Peter, but not in where it counts. He's a photographer. He's in love with a beautiful model (Gwen Stacy... a real honey). He wants a job at the Bugle. However, he's the guy who doesn't have a moral compass. Like Harry, he wants to get even with Peter.
  • The Sandman/Flint Marko: From early on in the film, he's somewhat of a remorseful criminal... a minor character, but done well. He doesn't want revenge against Spider-Man, but because he was involved in the death of Uncle Ben, Peter wants revenge. (Spot the theme?)
  • Mary Jane Watson: Peter's girlfriend... she know's he's Spider-Man and can't say anything about it. Not only that, her acting career isn't running as well as Peter's superhero career... and the support he gives her all comes from him dealing with his massive popularity, so it is kind of gaulling to her. (We get a hint of the classic Mary Jane from the comics early in the film... she's a little selfish herself, and a little bit.) She's also more than a little jealous of Peter's lab partner Gwen Stacy. (While Harry Osborn and Eddie Brock slightly mirror Peter, Gwen mirrors Mary Jane.)
Of course, you always have Aunt May to focus Peter on the importance of doing the right thing. In other movies, this might be stale or flat or too preachy. However, Sam Rami manages to make these Aunt May scenes feel right... and good. They are among my favorite scenes in the Spider-Man films. The sorts of moments that I hope to show the boy or my nephew over and over again for moral backbone... as well as the scenes of dishing out a little hurt to the badguys.

Rami often uses corny humor and over-the-top camp well in this series... he lays it on thick, so no one can say it looks unfortunate. The cheese-factor appeared in Spider-Man 2... Rami's homage to "Evil Dead" and himself during the operating room scene with surgeons trying to remove the newly-attached arms from Doctor Octavius, the quick-zooms on Peter and Mary Jane after the loud STOMP noises, Doc Ock grabbing Mary Jane in an homage to King Kong, Peter walking through NYC with "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head", and the blonde (in a tight shirt, if you know what I mean) screaming right to the camera right after Doc Ock robs the bank and starts climbing up the building. This time we have bad-Peter (or more accurately selfish-Peter) struting through the city to music that might as well be from "Saturday Night Fever", Peter jumping up on stage (and all over a bar) and playing piano with something that sounds like an up-beat version of "Fever", and a tag-teamup near the end of the film. They are all great, but I'm sure we'll hear professional critics who want to buck the trend and say it feels out of place.

Speaking of which, this "buck the trend" style of reviewing films, especially sequels, is more or less running with the pack. It is not courageous to pan any sequel. The idea that most sequels are no good is foolish when you think of how many original films are not good to begin with. (In fact, I bet sequels are better than most films on a higher ratio... they have to be considering how few films get made into sequels.

In any case, I enjoyed the movie. I'm going again in another 90 minutes with a friend. Later, I'll talk with the wife about it... she saw it right after work.

Hopefully, Columbia can convince Sam Rami to make a Spider-Man film with Kraven the Hunter.



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