SPIDER-MAN 3 (Sam Raimi, 2007)

NOTE TO READER: With this review, I am going to be blunt and random. Movies that are bluntly and randomly ridiculous need to be bluntly and randomly ridiculed.

“Spider-Man 3” is unlike any other movie I’ve seen. You want to know why? Because it is one of the most annoying, cringe-inducing, and vomit-bubbling films ever made. What’s worse is that it is a follow-up of two films that were actually quite good. Third time is almost never the charm with franchises and trilogies, but this pretty much beats them all down in terms of suckage.

“Spider-Man 3″‘s screenplay is filled with some of the most hammy of the hammiest of dialogue. Take a scene where Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) and Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) google-eye back stage after one of her stage performances. Peter resorts to repeating how good she was on stage as she blushes off with the “stop it, no I’m not!” routine. It’s a painful sight, just as much as it hurts the ears and it seriously lacks almost all senses of reality. Had there been subtitles reading the actor’s thoughts at this time (“Annie Hall” style) I guarantee both Maguire and Dunst would be repeating how tired they are with playing the worn-out characters that had a relationship perfectly summed up at the end of “Spider-Man 2”.

The film continues with them on a spidey-web, sharing their high school-like love for one another while, all too coincidentally, a strange meteor falls from the sky close by. For some odd reason, Spidey’s spider-sense must’ve been too focused on getting his fingers wet to overlook this impending danger, something I seriously took into consideration during this scene. But then, the next scene and so on with every scene after that, I realized that the film is composed of nothing but coincidences. The screenplay uses these to its own benefit, every one of them paying dues to bringing on a movie which, even though is bloated with too many sub-stories and the like, ironically lacks much of a plot to begin with.

One of the sub-stories of the movie involves Flint Marko (Thomas Haden Church) who is an escaped convict with a back-story that is the cliched definition of a comic book villian who secretly acts bad with “good” intentions. How does he get involved with Spider-Man? The fact that he killed his uncle. Ho ho. Yes… They change the origin of the previous films in order to work Sandman into the plot because of course he can’t be one of the criminals Spidey locks up and forgets about as he goes on to the next one.

But then, without this villian, there is another out of Eddie Brock, a rival photographer of Peter Parker, who only arrives in the film when needed to stir up some crap and leaves until he is needed for a final few minutes that made me scratch my head and question whether or not it crossed the mind of director Sam Raimi that there was way too much going on.

Back to the meteor, of course it is somehow important to the story, as it is what causes Spider-Man’s sudden shift toward the dark side in which he becomes a whole new person. (Uh huh.) And not only emotionally, we’re talking full blown extreme makeover, fully intact with a new mop of emo-brand hair. Seriously, what the hell were they thinking? I personally have no idea other than that I have to point out that at first sight of it, I could not help but cringe and assume it was a cry to get Spidey closer to the emo clique…. but even that doesn’t make any lick of sense…

And we all know that since this is a “Spider-Man” movie, there must be those romantic issues between Mary Jane and Peter Parker. Oh boy, let’s not forget about the love triangles, and let’s not also forget that there is another subplot involving amnesia-stricken Harry Osbourne (James Franco) being completely nice with friend Peter before he comes to his senses and begins to seek bloody revenge on his pal for killing his father. The transitions Harry goes through in his scenes are completely mind-boggling and dumb. The way he begins to grow an even stronger affection for Mary Jane (and where she realizes she may or may not feel the same toward him as she scrolls down her cell phone contact list between Harry and her poor, poor Peter) is completely stupid, spewing out every romantic comedy cliche in the book, minus the comedy. When did this start to happen in real life (excluding high school), let alone even in the movies? Maybe the movies have had these mistakes before, but never has a film, especially an expensively financed Hollywood blockbuster with a brilliant director and nice cast at its helm, have material handled with such muddled attention to plot or character development.

Follow this up with another character (yes, you heard that right) by the name of Gwen Stacy (Bryce Dallas Howard), whose main purpose in this film is to be saved from a falling doom by our hero. Not to mention, the ruckus boiling in the relationship of Peter and Mary Jane when Ms. Watson sees Peter kiss Gwen on stage in front of many reporters and Spidey fans….

There is even a scene later on where Peter tries to impress one of the girls (Mary Jane or Gwen; not really sure due to the confusing editing and overall execution of this scene) by giving a “sexy” (*rolls eyes*) dance in a bar that involves moving chairs and a slick jacket removal. Yes, surely Mary Jane must work here because she has to see herself being replaced by “a cute, rich blonde girl” in both her personal life with Peter, as well as her acting career on Broadway.

Turning to a different observation: what the hell is up with the scene where Peter Parker struts down the streets of the city as if he were in a 70s disco flick? This scene is random, heavy-handed, and downright cringe-worthy; lacking any kind of wit to be funny, or any kind of substance to be anything fun in general. The film is also hurt by the confusingly edited and amateurishly staged actions pieces, all of which feature some epically bad visual effects that feel right at home in a PlayStation game released circa 2000.

Throughout all these flaws, you’re probably wondering if “Spider-Man 3” really is as bad as I’m saying it is, or if there are at least some pleasurable moments somewhere to be found to keep the film enjoyable. If you share similiar taste in film with me, the answer is no. (Even a Bruce Campbell cameo comes off as lame and shmaltzy.) Throughout all the melodrama, throughout all the poor action, throughout all the bad writing, the confused editing, the tired acting, and some of the most unpleasantly bizarre choices director Sam Raimi has ever made in any of his films (here’s looking at you strut sequence), this film really has not one pleasurable bone in its bloated, yet hollow, body. Maybe it’s possible to find something worthy? If you do, I envy you. To me, “Spider-Man 3” is lacking practically everything and is easily the most disappointing film of the decade. And due to the talent involved (seriously, a film with this much talent in its cast and crew shouldn’t come out being a film this bad), I’m also thoroughly claiming it as one of the worst.


~ by jerkwoddjh on November 5, 2009.

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