Saturday, May 05, 2007

Spider-Man 3

Here's my Spider-Man 3 review. If you haven't seen the movie, be forewarned that there are spoilers ahead. Proceed at your own risk.

I went into this movie excited, but realistic. Spider-Man 2 was nearly the perfect example of what a comic book movie should be. Consequently, I did not expect the third movie to top the second and I don't believe it did. However, I did enjoy it very much and did not leave the theater disappointed. I have read many of the reviews of movie critics and heard responses from many of my students. Across the board, the response seems to be mixed, with some loving it and some not. Yet, I've noticed that for many of the people who didn't like it that much, it was often because it didn't top the second movie -- an unrealistic expectation to begin with from my way of thinking.

Spider-Man 3 benefits greatly from maintaining the same cast, director, and production team. The quality of the movie is thus on par with the first two. It serves as a fitting conclusion to this initial trilogy by tying up virtually all of the story lines set up by the first two. I'm not sure of what would be the best way to write my review, so I'm just going to list what I liked and didn't like about the movie. Since it's a much shorter list, I will start with what I did not like.

WHAT I DID NOT LIKE:
The occasionally rushed feel of the film. I think Raimi tried to fit too much into this movie and so had to force some things rather than let them unfold naturally.

The script, though good, lacked some of the tightness of the other two films.

The gigantic Sandman at the end of the film. In the comics, Sandman was not able to expand to such gargantuan sizes. By making him bigger, it made him less interesting to me.

I would have liked more of Venom. In fact, he should have his own movie.

WHAT I REALLY LIKED:
The special effects were outstanding. This movie contained some of the most thrilling web-swinging and fight scenes we've seen.

The initial battle sequence between Peter Parker and the new Goblin. The previous two movies shied away from in-air battle sequences because they hadn't quite figured out how to make them work. In this movie, they got it. It really captures the kind of mid-air fights that are a staple of the comics.

The birth of Sandman. His attempts at formation in the particle accelerator are fascinating to watch.

Gwen Stacy. She was always one of my favorite characters. I think she was under-used in this film, but just having her in the movie and the possibilities it creates for future films is exciting.

Black-suited Spider-Man. I always liked the black suit in the comic and it was great to see it come to life. The way the symbiote alters Peter's personality is very faithful to the comic.

Goth Peter. I thought Tobey did a good job of pulling off Peter's transformation to the dark side.

The dance scene. I know some people who found Peter's semi-impromptu performance in the jazz room to be kind of cheesy, but I found it very enjoyable to watch.

The earlier scenes of Sandman. I thought Thomas Hayden Church was perfect casting for that role and he captured the essence of Sandman. He was always a villain who wasn't really sure he wanted to be a villain.

The redemption of Harry Osborn. I could see it coming a mile away as they foreshadowed it early in the film, but I still thought it tied up his story line well.

Venom. Venom. Venom. I love Venom. Always have, always will. Visually, they depicted him very well. I do wish they had kept the Venom face on him more rather than switch to Eddie Brock whenever he wanted to talk. The movie was very faithful to the Venom story, right down to the church bell scene. The reason why Eddie Brock was in that church in the comic was different, but that's a relatively minor point. I'm hoping that the way Venom was dealt with in the movie -- note that we didn't actually see it or Eddie Brock die -- means that we may seem him again down the road.

Again, this installment doesn't scale the heights of Spider-Man 2, but it is definitely, in my humble opinion, a worthy addition to the Spider-Man saga.

If you've seen the movie, I'm curious to hear what you think.

12 Comments:

At 10:49 PM, Blogger Laura Ware said...

I honestly thought it was the best of the 3 Spiderman films.
I expected it to be good in a summer blockbuster kind of way. I did not expect the depth of emotional resonance it had.

There are many examples of it, but I think the one I found the most affecting was the resolution of the Harry/Peter relationship. Both actors gave stellar performances in this film, and the end when Harry and Peter fight side by side was incredible.

I expected to enjoy the film. I did not expect to be moved. Spiderman 3 blew away my expectations.

YMMV, but that's my opinion.

 
At 12:45 AM, Blogger Naomi said...

The biggest complaint that I heard about the movie was that it was "too long." I, actually, was shocked to hear that there were actually people who didn't like it. Granted (as stated), it wasn't as good as Spider-Man 2. But:
-1-The way the four plot lines joined together at the end was fantastic.
-2-The series of scenes with Emo-Kid-Peter-Parker were hilarious, especially remembering how nerdy he was in Spider-Man 1.
-3-I'm a sucker for besy-friend-turned-enemy-turned-most-valuable-ally stories...good job Harry.

Though, for hilarity, my favorite was the shot of Spide-Man in front of the American flag. Simply stunning. Ha...

 
At 8:13 AM, Anonymous J Rock said...

The movie had a good amount of corn in it but I thought it was good. I kind of liked the Peter Parker with the venomous edge to him. I liked the way he returned the New Goblin's bomb to him and walked away without looking back. Like he said, he was tired of trying to explain it to him.

I think the scene that gets the award for the corniest shot is when Spider-Man came swinging in to have it out with Venom and the Sandman. He swung past a giant American flag and I thought to myself that the only thing that could have made the scene more patriotic is if Spidey had been eating a slice of apple-pie and whistling "Take Me Out To The Ball-Game".

All in all it was a fun movie. I really liked the special effects - especially the initial Sandman sequence where he was trying to form himself.

 
At 12:54 PM, Blogger Jim MacKenzie said...

You may be going to speak to the themes in the movie on another post, but I really liked the powerful portrayal of revenge, redemption, and forgiveness in this movie.

 
At 9:31 PM, Blogger Greg said...

I am planning to do another post as soon as I have some free time that will look at least one of the movie's themes in more depth.

 
At 10:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What I didn't like was that it was too long and had too many areas that could have easily been edited down. It was poorly edited, simply put - it seems that given its cost of production, this could have been helped.

I was intrigued by its religious undertones, and a bit surprised. The statement "for forgiveness, get religion" and then the church scene, is what I mean.

I liked Harry's overcoming his father's past and was genuinely moved by his demise.

I thought it was fitting end, though it had these glitches that the Return of the King also has - they prevent one from having a very great set of films (just good to great to less good, in this case).

RRC

 
At 3:04 PM, Blogger Laura Ware said...

To add, I have to toss in that J. Jonah provided the two biggest laugh-out-loud scenes in the movie...the scene when his secretary is reminding him about his blood pressure and then when the little girl extorts him. :-)

 
At 2:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Greg;

Going to see the new Spiderman movie this weekend. I think they should be doing a series of movies on the supervillians such as Dr. Doom.

 
At 1:40 AM, Blogger Lindy Erin said...

i loved the movie.what i love most is watching new movies like spiderman in the Bronx. i watched the movie twice opening weekend(due to miscommunications). once in manhattan (boring-no one clapped, even at the end) and then in the bronx.. which was filled with yells and swearing when parker hit mj at the jazz club, 3 separate sets of clapping b/c everyone thought the movie was over, and then there would be more, and people have no problem commentating the entire movie to all of their neighbors. it's hilarious.

special effects were stellar!

side note.. know you watch Lost.. just read the press release that they will finish the show in 2010. aghhh..the waiting, don't know if i can take it.

 
At 9:00 AM, Blogger Greg said...

Lindy,
Any miscommunication that leads to seeing Spider-Man 3 two times is a good one. Thanks for the Lost commennt - it reminded me that I wanted to post something about it.

 
At 11:40 PM, Blogger C. E'Jon Moore said...

The dance scene ruined the film for me, in all honesty.

The American flag part really ticked me off, but I imagine that has to do with personal biases right now.

Peter walking down the street doing his cheesy, pointing-the-finger-at-the-ladies-while-he-struts thing was a bit over the top.

I felt like the script was WAY to jumbled and rushed.

3 villians! Come on! Spidey had a hard enough time with Green Goblin in the first film and a REALLY difficult time with Doc Ock in the second film. I felt like a lot of good story fell by the wayside because of an attempt to tell too many stories because of the presence of so many adversaries (despite Harry's ultimate transformation at the end).

In my opinion, there is no Spider-Man 3. Only part 1 & 2. So be it!

 
At 4:47 PM, Blogger Phil Travis said...

I couldn't agree with your post more, the bit on Super-Sandman I was indifferent about, but I hadn't read the comics, so I wasn't aware of the change to the character.

 

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