Spiderman had, up until this point, been one of the few superhero movie series that I've liked. At this moment, I can't actually muster up any intelligent reasons as to why. The X-men series I've generally liked because it has had fine acting: aka the whole Captain Picard versus Gandalf thing; and at least a modicum of complicated personalities and motivations. Spiderman has had at least some of the latter, Peter Parker wrestling with his abilites and his powers, trying to best decide how to use them.
Spiderman 3, with its 4 main storylines: Peter's relationship with MJ, Peter's relationship with his former friend Harry, the escape and super empowerement of Peter's Uncle killer, and the alien carrying meteorite... oh wait, make that five, because there is also a rival to Peter's photography job at the Bugle.
Now, I like complications and convoluted plots. But there is nothing particularly tangled nor complicated about Spiderman 3. It starts all happy, and you know that it will not last. The plot is driven by a series of coincidences: alien on meteorite crashes next to peter unnoticed and climbs on his scooter; Spidey saves a model from a industrial accident who happens to be the police chiefs daughter, his school lab partner, and the object of desire of peter's rival photographer; the uncle's killer stumbles into a science expirement on the run from the coppers and becomes the sandman; The rival photographer happens to be in the church that Spidey is in when he removes the alien from himself, happens to see Spidey is Peter from several stories away.
Any complication is further reduced by some gross foreshadowing: Harry in a addled state says he will die for his friends, Peter's teacher warns about the dangers of the symbiotic alien, Aunt May asks Peter if he is ready to live for his wife.
There are certainly unexplained things: what are the Sandmans motives for trying to trap Spiderman. He may have been mad at him for Spidey's brutal attack, but it seems like something he would have been keen to avoid. Not too mention how did the alien/photographer even find him (and why didn't it attack Peter just after he removed the suit when he was in a weakened state). How did the alien even get in Peter's room to begin with (it would have been easier for it to crawl on MJ -- which I think would have been a much more interesting story line).
There were things that I wanted to like about the movie -- the scenes where Peter is being inhabited by the alien, being a womanizing, finger snapping tought guy were amusing. But they seemed out of place with the rest of the movie. Had the rest of the movie been as irreverent, the whole thing would have been elevated.
Alas, we are left with a rather dull story of redemption: Harry dies for his friends, Spidey forgives his enemies and himself, MJ screams a few times, and we presume he will listen to her from now on. The audience settles back into the sunset over Harry's dead body, as a young woman in front of me says, "that was the worst movie I have ever seen." (I've seen worse, but many that are far better).
Labels: movie review