Superhero Movies on Steroids Series: Movie #72

Spider-man 3 (2007)

Plot: When a black symbiote from outer space bonds with Peter Parker’s (Tobey Maguire) Spider-man suit, it unlocks his darkness as he battles the new Green Goblin (James Franco) and the Sandman (Thomas Haden Church) who’s accused of killing Ben Parker (Cliff Robertson) years ago.

*Another lengthier then normal piece and SPOILERS the whole way through.

I get the feeling half-way through this movie, director Sam Raimi couldn’t take Spider-man anymore and just started to lose his mind.  This isn’t quite as horrible as I remember, but it’s still pretty bad.  The first forty minutes are okay.  It’s sort of boring, really slow, and just kind of ‘meh.’  There was no effort to make one cohesive plot as it floats around the seas of mediocrity.  Also, the writing is really lazy.  This symbiote just randomly falls from the sky?  That’s how the movie starts?  Come on.  Creativity is certainly lacking all around in this movie.  Mary Jane gets kidnapped at the end once again.  How clever.  Also, do we really have to re-visit Uncle Ben’s death?  I’m not interested.  I like when sequels introduce new problems, not re-hash things from two movies ago.  Well, at least the ‘with great power comes great responsibility’ line was never spoken once throughout the whole movie.   

Tobey Maguire is a little more energetic as Peter Parker, but in the serious moments, he just flat out sucks.  When Mary Jane breaks down at their fancy dinner, Maguire just sits there with his eyes wide open not really doing anything.  It’s even worse when Harry dies at the end.  He just stares at him with a confused look and then suddenly lets out a laughable scream.  Look, I’ve never liked Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker/Spider-man.  To be honest, I think Topher Grace who plays Eddie Brock/Venom in this movie may have been a more interesting choice.

The one good storyline the film has going for it is Flint Marko who becomes a criminal because his daughter gets sick and he needs money for medicine.  Unfortunately,Thomas Haden Church brings absolutely nothing to this role.  I think he was asleep.  I will say the sand effects look damn good though, especially when he first rises as the Sandman.  I really didn’t need to see Spider-man dump sand out of his shoe though.

The real problem with this film is when Spider-man puts on the black suit.  That’s when it goes from a mediocre movie to an ‘Uh-Oh’ movie.  The tone is all over the place.  There’s a dark scene where Spider-man almost kills Sandman in the sewers.  It’s a serious moment.  But then immediately after, we get a quick shot of Peter Parker playing with his hair to make it more Goth and Emo.  And then later on he fights Harry.  Comedic music plays on as the fight is infused with lame dialogue from both characters, but at the end, it decides to go dark.  It’s just inconsistent. 

There are also just some awkward and weird scenes that don’t make any sense.  Peter’s Landlord suddenly has a heart-to-heart talk with him.  Huh?  Harry’s Butler randomly comes out and tells him he loves him like a son and that he always knew what was going on with the Goblin stuff.  The Butler is in like two three second scenes before this!  Did we really need to see Harry and Mary Jane in a cooking dance montage where they dance around to ‘the twist?’  I’m fine with Stan Lee making quick cameos in all these Marvel movies, but he actually comes out and has dialogue in this one going ‘I guess one person can make a difference.’  I hate stuff like that!  This is why a lot of critics won’t take superhero movies seriously!  It’s contrived shit like this which completely takes you out of the movie.

But let’s be honest.  We’ve been avoiding it long enough.  We all know the moment Spider-man 3 goes from disappointing to crap.  Goth Peter Parker dances around like a clown.  I don’t know who came up with this idea, but they should never be allowed near a superhero movie again.  What’s so infuriating about all this is they really could have done some interesting and dark stuff with the symbiote influence, but instead they decide to go goofy and campy.  And then Sam Raimi wants you to take the movie seriously again after the jazz club scene.  Nope.  There’s no way!  This one concept completely discredits the entire movie.  This isn’t Darth Vader yelling ‘Noooooooooooooooooooooo!’ for six seconds.  This is two long extended dance scenes of Tobey Maguire humiliating himself.  I can’t express how much I detest the Emo Goth Peter Parker dancing scenes.  Once again, I repeat: This is why people refuse to take these movies seriously.  It’s when an irresponsible creative team does something like this.

This goofy tone also bleeds into the climax of the movie.  You get forced shots of Spider-man posing in front of the American flag which just looks silly.  You get an overdramatic news report during the last battle where the anchor clamors out, ‘Just when all hope seemed to be lost.’  There are kids going ‘Awesome!’ and ‘Wicked Cool!’  There’s J Jonah Jameson arguing with a little girl over a camera.  Come on!  This is the emotional end climax, yet the film is still cracking jokes!  Spider-man 2 walked a brilliant line between humor and seriousness, but this is just a disgrace.

I think I actually hate Spider-man 3 more so then when I started writing this review.  This came out in 2007.  There’s no excuse for the type of crap they pull.  Let’s put it this way.  Not even movies like Batman & Robin, Catwoman, and other horrendous superhero films had Jazz Club dance scenes where your protagonist is dancing on tables like an idiot.  Now certainly Spider-man 3 isn’t nearly as bad as those movies, but it just gives you an infuriating feeling because of all the talent and money this had behind it.  This could have been something special, but they ruin it with hundreds of little problems.

Rating: 4 out of 10 (Really Bad)

Category Rankings (Spoilers Throughout):

Best Performance: Topher Grace as Eddie Brock/Venom
-The Eddie Brock/Venom character is the one element I actually enjoy.  I thought he was developed pretty well.  What I like about Grace’s performance is that he’s funny, but also threatening when he turns into Venom.  Even though some of Venom’s lines are silly on paper, he found a way to bring a sinister vibe to all of them.

Worst Performance: James Franco as Harry Osborn/New Goblin
-Every scene he’s in, he’s got these big dumb goofy smiles, especially when he’s on screen with Mary Jane.  Unfortunately he was plagued with some of the worst dialogue.  Mary Jane sarcastically tells him to hit her on the head.  Harry taps it and then goes, ‘Bop.’  He also has to say stuff like ‘I wrote you a play in high school.’  Certainly a lot of this is the writing, but Franco makes it even worse.

Best Line: “Never wound what you can’t kill.” –Venom
-I don’t know.  There wasn’t much to choose from.  This line was pretty solid I guess.

Worst Line: “Love that giggle.” –Peter to Gwen as they enter the Jazz Club
-This is Peter Parker on the symbiote influence?  Instead of becoming a darker and scarier character, he spews out lines like this?

Best Fight:
-The opening fight between Peter Parker and the New Goblin was solid.  As much as I didn’t like Franco’s performance, he’s certainly better than the ridiculous abomination Willem Dafoe was when he played the original Goblin. 

WTF Moment:
-I’m sorry, but Flint Marko running into random physics sand testing arena is just lazy writing.  When you compare it to the other villain origins, it just seems stupid by comparison.

Best Scene:
-I thought the symbiote suit coming off of Peter Parker and then dripping down to Eddie Brock was done pretty well.  It’s the one important moment the film actually takes seriously.

Worst Scene:
-Obviously, it’s Peter Parker dancing at the Jazz club.  He’s jumping on pianos, tables, the whole works.  He bounces around like he’s the fricking Mask.  They should have just had a Cuban Pete dance number in the middle of the street.  Why not at this point?

Funniest Moment:
-Jameson has to take his pills, and Miss Brant keeps buzzing in on the desk until he gets the right pill.  Elizabeth Banks does a really good job in this scene.  I always found the stuff going on at the Daily Bugle to be my favorite scenes in all the Spider-man movies.  Why can’t they just be about that?

Bad Ass Moment:
-Spiderman defeating Venom was pretty cool.  He slams down all these metal pillars creating a cage like thing, and then just goes crazy with the sound causing the suit to peel off of Eddie Brock.

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One comment

  1. Pingback: Superhero Movies on Steroids Series: THE FINAL RANKINGS « The Green Light

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