My Photos
boffo01's photos More of boffo01's photos

Friday, May 04, 2007

Spider-Man, where are you coming from?

So I went and saw Spider-Man 3 today.

I must admit, I was a bit concerned beforehand. From the trailers I had seen it all smacked of being over-stuffed. Sandman, the introduction of the black costume through to the creation of Venom, and the continuation of the Harry/Goblin storyline? Not to mention throwing in something to try and make the Peter/MJ relationship still of interest? Too much! So I was expecting to be disappointed.

And I was.

I love the first two Spidey films. The first was quite flawed, but they got so much right about the Peter Parker character that I couldn't help but love it. Shit, at the risk of my hard-as-nails image you all no doubt have of me, I even got misty eyed when Uncle Ben died.

And the second time around, it just got nailed. Doc Ock was a brilliantly realised bad guy and his interaction with Harry to bring down Spider-Man felt like a natural progression. Not to mention the genius set-pieces (the first action sequence is Peter trying to deliver a pizza, fer chrissake!) and seamless effects.

So when the black costume is introduced by way of a rather unimpressive meteor falling close to where Pete and MJ are web-canoodling, I knew trouble was coming.

I'm not going to give anything away, but the film lurches from one plot strand to the next, and when they do cross it feels clumsy and artificial. Characters disappear for extended periods and their motivations range from murky and underdeveloped to nonsensical. Even the action (when it actually happens) isn't up to much, the earliest sequence holding up as the best. Even the effects actually feel like a step backwards.

Most importantly though, this character played by a largely disinterested Tobey Maguire doesn't actually ring true to me as Peter Parker. The essence of the character, so well captured in the first two films, just seems lost here.

Which is not to say that it's all bad. There are some things to like. Thomas Hayden Church's introduction as the Sandman is nicely played. His "escaped con" bit feels weirdly retro, and the scene in which he tries to reform his body for the first time (the best fx work in the flick) is breathtaking and quite moving. The first action scene is also good, as is Spidey's rescue of Gwen Stacey after a crane goes amok (you didn't misread that). His weird flirtatious relationship with his landlord's daughter is back (what the hell is up with that?) and she gives another fun performance, and JK Simmons' J Jonah Jameson is always good for a laugh. There are actually a number of effective comedy moments, and I even liked the totally goofy sequence in which Peter comes under the influence of the costume and goes all Saturday Night Fever.

But on the whole? Let me put it this way: at around the 2 hour mark, I suddenly realised that I was spending more time making excuses for the film than I was actually enjoying it.

Time to give ol' Spidey a rest, maybe?

(By the way Brits, them clips are from the OTHER big Children's Television Workshop show The Electric Company, which featured the likes of Rita Moreno, Morgan Freeman, Mel Brooks, Gene Wilder, and even some Bill Cosby. Weirdly, I always thought Hector Elizondo was in there, but apparently not!)


  1. Ah well thats nailed it for me. I kinda tolerated the first and was very bored in the second. It was funny in a b-grade rah rah America way, but mostly I was bored which is why I turned down options to see #3 last night.
    I thought HEctor was in TEC too...weird!

  2. Anonymous9:12 pm

    So the landlord's daughter turns up again, eh? I hope all is explained in the director's commentary on the DVD release, coz I don't get it.

    Similary I didn't get TEC Spidey over in Blighty as a child, so seeing them here was great (and it explained the TEC Spidey comic that turns up in shops from time to time, but was excluded from price-guides for years). He could well be the best Spidey ever.

    Big shame on Spider-Man 3 though. Having sampled the trailers I was keen on seeing Sandman (the real one, Gaimanites!) made celluloid, but now I don't think I'll bother. Thanks for the heads-up..

  3. I enjoyed it a bunch, me. But I agree with everything you say. Figure that one out.

    The landlord's daughter relationship is absolutely my favourite thing about 2 and 3.

    I am an escaped convict determined to get money for my daughter's operation! But - Spider-Man exists! I will, er, team up with evil monsterface to kill him! Because it makes sense!

  4. Love me some TEC. I showed my Irish boyfriend all the great ol' clips thanks to fans on youtube.

    Remember the Soft-Shoe Silhouettes? They were the best! I was also completely fascinated why Spidey never spoke...

  5. I saw the first two, but the thought of seeing this one actually repelled me, I soooo couldn't be bothered. Death by sequel. Rod went by himself, and reckoned he quite enjoyed it.

    But thanks for the TEC spidey clips! They spurred a glorious, you-tube-alicious evening of watching the opening credits to every 80's show we could think of. WKRP in Cincinatti, Laverne & Shirley, the Littlest Hobo, Lucky Luke (in 3 different languages....). Bloody marvellous. I love nostalgia trips.

  6. Oh yes, I have the themes for WKRP, Littlest Hobo and the Incredible Hulk end theme sitting on iTunes. Hell, I even have the theme from Storybook International.

    "I'm a storyteller,
    And my stories must be told."

  7. I tried to find "The Storyteller" that same night!!

    But I didn't know it was called Storybook International, so it didn't show up in my searches.

    I'm so glad you mentioned that, because that show used to totally creep me out. And I used to get the song stuck in my head on a regular basis. And now I probably will again....

  8. Well then, I strongly suggest checking out:

  9. Saw Spidey 3 last night, and suffice to say, the three of us snarked our way through most of the movie.

    I swear I saw foreshadowing desperately waving from the sidelines in a couple of scenes, trying to be included so some of the plotlines had substance and reason. However, no. The writers and producers said "talk to the hand Shadow-man" and wasted screen time on lingering shots of Peter Parker being baffled and depressed, rather than move the villains' stories along.

    Sadly, other than the Sandman reforming scene (which was very moving and would stand alone as a short film) the most excited we got was when the Transformers trailer played. You'd swear we were seven again!