Saturday, June 23, 2012

Marvel Media Mania: Spider-Man 3

Spider-Man 3, released in 2007, is the final installment of the Sam Raimi Spider-Man movie series.
This movie routinely gets trashed by critics but I don't think it's all bad. Sure, the third installment was a big disappointment and let a lot of fans down but I think that's a testament to how great the first two films were.
Spider-Man 3 introduced the awesome black suit.

So let's start with the silver linings.

First, there are several absolutely vicious fight scenes in this movie. The first is between Peter (out of costume) and a surprise attack by Harry as the New Goblin. Peter ends the fight by returning one of Harry's own pumpkin bombs at him, then clotheslining Harry with a web and sending him falling several stories to the ground where Harry lands with a bone chilling thud. Another brutal fight is the first Sandman fight. Sandman pounds Spidey throw the metal wall of an armored truck before it crashes. Ouch. The next encounter with Sandman shows Spidey grinding Sandman's face against a subway train and punching him so hard it breaks the sewer pipes they're fighting on. It's Spidey without a restraining conscious and it was something to behold. The final great fight is when Peter goes on the offensive and confronts Harry. It's not enough for Peter to defeat his foe, he then goes on to taunt him. When I saw Harry's scarred face from the pumpkin bomb Peter explodes next to Harry's head, I couldn't believe it actually happened. 

The best moments in the film are of the amnesiac Harry. With his vicious Goblin personality forgotten, he has fun with his friends and it leads to some great moments such as Harry and MJ cooking together and doing the twist.

Flint Marko, the Sandman, was given a great backstory and the character was really given dimension by showing his sick daughter. This wasn't just some power hungry super-villain - he was a dad desperate to help his sick little girl. 

Now, on to the rest. I'll give the flaws of the film but I'll be mercifully brief in describing each one. 

The Eddie Brown/Venom storyline was rushed and the villain was never given his due, leaving the fans to feel cheated. He dies after one fight from a single pumpkin bomb that disintegrates his whole body and the symbiote.

The Sandman suffered from bad CGI and his odd "sandstorm" power (which was without precedent in the comics) left fans scratching their heads. The huge, stupid giant-sized Sandman in the final fight was also ridiculous. While we're on the final fight, let's mention the very boring and unnecessary narration by the TV anchorman.

While the black suit Spider-Man looked great and was fantastic in battle, the black-suited Peter Parker was another matter all together. Sure, the idea was that he was suppose to be making poor choices that the other character didn't like but unfortunately the audience also stopped liking Peter Parker as well. When you permanently scar your best friend's face and (unintentionally) hit your girlfriend you're no longer a good guy in the eyes of the audience. Add to that the ridiculous 70's jive moves and cheezy lines such as "Find us some shade," and you've managed to wash away any good will the character of Peter Parker had built up. 

Finally, going back to the origin and shoehorning the Sandman as Uncle Ben's real killer offended Spidey fans on almost every level and barely seemed to make sense. 

Ultimately, this film just felt like it was trying too hard.

1LR REVIEW - 12 out of 20! It's a Glancing Hit!


  1. Man, you are way to kind. A glancing hit? It stunk up the joint.

    Let's talk about that first fight where Harry, as the New Goblin, blind-sides Parker. Where was his spider-sense then? Ohh that's right, it conflicted with the story so it's casually forgotten.

    Yes, they did start out giving Sandman a compelling back story, a shame they didn't build on it.

    The gags with J. Jonah didn't make any sense. What made him so funny in the first two films falls to mere prop comedy. He's supposed to be under doctors orders to remain calm and reduce stress, yet every time he gets aggravated, his desk top jumps up and down, knocking everything over? Yes, soothing therapy indeed.

    After his first encounter with the Sandman, Peter takes off his boot to dump some sand out. Where did this sand come from? Is the sandman missing a hand? is one leg shorter than the other?

    Scientists assume the weight differential is due to a bird. How many 180lb birds are flying around NYC?

    Can someone please explain OSCORP to me? In the first film, the board looks to sell the company and kick out Norman Osborn, despite "sales are up, costs are down, and our stock has never been higher." Yet, the company embraces his son, who's academic career was unstable, wasted millions of dollars funding Dr. Octavious' project, not to mention his using the company to fund his revenge on Spider-Man. What do stocks and shareholders have to say about that?

    Sure was nice of the family butler, who apparently takes up forensic medicine as a hobby, to mention to Harry that he's wrong, Spidey did not kill his Father. I'll take "things I wish I was told 3 years ago for $500 please."

    Harry Osborne is a walking plot hole. He want's to kill Spider-Man. Why? Because Spider-Man killed his Father? At the end of part 2, Harry discovers his Father's secret passage where he kept all his Goblin gear. Not once did Harry consider "maybe my best friend isn't a murderer after all. Here is overwhelming evidence that my Father, whom I was never particularly fond of, was in fact, a psychotic killer." Nope, he instead spends much of the first act trying to kill his best friend. Wouldn't Harry have been smarter to invite Peter over for a couple beers, to "talk about things", then when Peter arrives, pumpkin bomb the hell out of him? Ehhh, maybe his spider-sense would warn him it was a trap. Ohh wait, they wrote out his spider-sense.

    The Pumpkin bombs in the movie have different effects depending on what is needed for the story. They can be thrown at Harry's face to cause some facial scarring or they can be thrown at the Symbiote to completely vaporize organic beings. There is probably a ON/OFF button on the side to make the bombs useful.

    Flint Marko tries to flee from policemen and falls in a Particle accelerator, 30 seconds before it is scheduled to move sand around. The scientists did notice a change in weight, but not the actual change in weight because that would make too much sense. In short, the amount of sand doubled and they thought it was a bird that would leave once the machine started. The scientists were also hurt by the recession since they could not buy actual cameras to see the experiment or actual fences to block retarded escapees to fall in their machine.

    Aunt May and Peter Parker learn at the police station that the actual killer of Uncle Ben is Flint Marko. The authorities knew this information since Marko was in prison (because he was arrested for that) but decided to inform the family during the third movie instead of the first one.

  2. So bad it doesn't fit into one comment.......

    Peter, a man of some intelligence, takes a sample of this biological thing to...wait for it...his physics professor? He declares, the mysterious substance "amplifies characteristics of its host." So shouldn't Peter's fierce nerdiness be wrenched up to intolerable levels, with his hand shooting up even faster to every question in class, his apartment turning into an explosion of Star Trek bric-a-brac?

    When Spider-man is in the bell tower, removing the symbiote, it's raining and dark outside. At the same time Eddie Brock is in the church down below and praying. You can see out of the front door of the church and it is bright and sunny outside. Similarly, every stained glass window is lit up. How can they be lit up if it is dark outside?

    Flint Marco has his whole body turned into sand including his belt buckle and any other metal he happens to be wearing. If all of this turned into sand then why was the locket fine without it turning into sand as well?

    despite having plot holes the size of Kim Kardashian's butt, this film fails in key areas.

    Directing. Sam Raimi was completely railroaded being forced to write in Venom from the studio exec's. It's hard to determine if Venom's failure is a result of Raimi being uninspired to write for a character he never wanted, or purposely sabotaged as a form of protest.

    Principle actors, Tobey, Kirsten and James phone-in their performances. Even on the all important media circuit weeks before the premiere, Tobey comes off as very unenthusiastic about the film. Kirsten would try and interject her other projects.

    1. Hey, you have some valid points. The plot had holes and the acting was poor in some cases. New characters such as Gwen and Captain Stacy seem forced into the story and aren't used effectively. In short, it seemed like Spider-Man robotically going through the paces from the first two films. But I think a lot of what you're referencing is just nit-pickery. Who cares if it's raining through one window but sunshine through the door? Am I suppose to doc an entire point for this? Almost every film is riddled with these little inconsistencies... there's even entire websites dedicated to them (which I'm guessing you've checked out to get info for your comments).

      But at the end of the day, I try to objectively weight all of the elements in the film. And there WAS a number of very good things with the film, some of which I listed in the post. To me, there is enough "good" in the film to justify a 12 out of 20 - A Glancing Hit!, which, according to my ratings page, means Spidey 3 was, "Good but with a few flaws that moderately reduce the enjoyment. It is recommended that you check this out." I think that's a fair assessment of Spidey 3. It's good but certainly flawed. Is it worth watching? In my estimation, yes. You can disagree if you wish. Spidey 3 may not be "Captain America: The First Avenger" but it's not Elektra either.

  3. Nit-pickery? This from the guy who spent (how many hours) so much time, including flow-charts, stop watches, cross referenced with various novels and texts pertaining to sociology, theology, and ethics, all to prove a point that Jedi's lie. Motivation and supposition still a mystery.

    The film disappointed, did not live up to expectations, admittedly was bad acting, plot holes, etc. A few spots here and there do not make up for it. Anything that leaves the viewer with a sense of disappointment is not a "hit", no matter how slight.


    Let me put it this way. If you met someone who never knew of Spider-Man, but was curious, would this be the Spider-Man film you would present to him? Personally, I'd rather watch the Japanese version with Spidey using machine guns.

    But I understand, you're a Spidey fan, a true-believer. Excelsior.

    1. I don't review these films as a Spidey fan but I do review them from the perspective of a comic book fan in general. I try to be as completely objective as possible. Just because I like Spidey more than Wolvie doesn't mean I'd give Spidey a pass - if fact, super-fans are the ones hardest on the films based on their properties.

      You speak about expectations and disappointment... I don't measure these films based on my expectations but based on objective standards of what makes a film good.