May 6, 2007

Spidey Sense is Not So Tingly Anymore

**This is a very hastily written unstructured response to Spider-Man 3, which I just got home from.**

Yeah, so I'm glad Spider-Man 2 is so good, because Spider-Man 3 is most definitely not. Painfully bad. That dialogue is terrible parts (I find it funny that there's a scene of Kirsten and James reading bad dialogue from a play he wrote in 12th grade because some of the dialogue here sounds like it was written by a 17-year-old whose only experience with writing dialogue is from listening to how people speak in movies).

So many scenes of people discussing their feelings. ugh. Who wants that? But then when it came to the action sequences they weren't exactly thrilling. They were kinda cool for a while but they all went too long and usually involved dodgy CGI - the crane sequence had particularly bad effects. The glass shattering was terrible looking.

Why don't they ever mention the deaths that Spider-Man doesn't prevent? Like all the people who got crushed by a big skyscraper exploding and debris flying everywhere?

So many characters! We don't need three villains. Three barely-there villains. Venom was only in it for the final act and Sandman? Well, he had the best visual effects of the movie but the character is incredibly silly. The whole sand transfusion bit is not explained at all. What were these scientists trying to do? If their aim was merging sand with a physical being then where was it? Ugh. And there was no explanation of how he figured out how to do any of the things he could do, like turn into a big giant sand monster, or fly through the city. And his locket never turned to sand despite all his clothes changing. And that big truck of sand was ridiculous. I can't imagine many trucks filled with sand driving around New York City, can you?

Oh, Gwen Stacey! So pointless. She was such a non-factor I'll probably forget she was even in the film by Tuesday. And, no offence because I really like her, but Bryce Dallas Howard looked awful. She, in real life, has red hair and fair skin, so giving her bleach blonde hair made her look anemic or something.

And don't even get me started on that ridiculous Saturday Night Fever moment and the musical sequence at the jazz club. Just dreadful. I know the aim was to show Peter's newly formed dark side but, jesus christ, we already knew! We got the picture (by the way, after fighting with Sandman in the subway, where did Peter's clothes come from? Does he have secret stashes of clothes spread throughout the city?)

It's too long. I know Spider-Man 3 was only 20 minutes longer than 2, but those are 20 long painful minutes of people talking about feelings and forgiveness and all that junk. I like character development, but when it's in the form of old bitties expensing plainly obvious advice then I don't. Did ANYONE care about all the flashbacks to Peter's uncle, either? I doubt it.

The end reminded me of Return of the King when it just kept going and going. Why did they have to have everyone cry? Ending it on a sappy moment was not good. I mean, I was a huge fan of the "Go get 'em tiger" ending for 2. It was fun and it was slightly cheeky and felt right. Here it just.... nothing. Forced tears. How incredibly disappointing. C-, or I might be generous and give it a C for Bruce Campbell.

No. C- it is.

The two friends I saw it with didn't like it either. And I'm not sure it was a hit with the audience I saw it with. A lot of people were clearly restless and getting tired of it all. Lots of people shuffling in their seats, chatting amongst themselves and munching on food.


J.D. Judge said...

Ouch. I knew it would suck too. Still haven't seen it, and I honestly don't know if I should...

Barry said...

You guys are being so hard on it. I think Spider-Man 3 is better than the first one, but the second one is better than the third one. It's so much fun and a lot of the scenes with discussing feelings are done really well. The bridge scene in particular is heartbreaking. I loved all the villains, Venom by far the second best throughout the whole series. Sandmans special effects were awesome and the action scenes in general were exceptional. Casting was great. Bryce Dallas Howard brings a lot of life to Gwen Stacy and Thomas Haden Church and Topher Grade are great as well. Kirsten Dunst is the best she has been in the 3 movies and Tobey Maguire is great. That ode to Saturday Night Fever was hilarious. I have to give Spider-Man 3 an A+ along with Spider-Man 2. Spider-Man is an A.

Kamikaze Camel said...

I thought Tobey Maguire looked ridiculous crying on the bridge. Poor guy.

A+? Geez.

Didn't you think Gwen Stacey was so pushed-to-the-sidelines? After the jazz sequence she just disappears. There was nothing to her character. No point for her to even be there.

Honestly, it's a writing disaster. Maybe it's because Sam Raimi co-wrote that he didn't know what he what to get rid of. No cohesion. No structure. No rhythm. Like a jigsaw made out of pieces that don't connect and that are sort of faded so you can't tell whether one piece is blue or green. Or... however the analogy is meant to make sense.

Kamikaze Camel said...

"he didn't know what he what to get rid of" should be "he didn't know what he should get rid of"

Barry said...

I'm very lenient(sp?) with my grades. Most of them do get B's and above while only some of them get B-'s and below.

Spider-Man 3 is a perfect summer block buster popcorn movie, with the great special effects and the epic scope of the movie. However, I also thought that it was very well acted and scripted. Yes I was disappointed with Gwen Stacy not returning, but Bryce Dallas Howard left such an impression on me with her performance, that I wasn't too pissed about her departure.

Ninja Monkey said...

You are so right about SpiderMan 3 Glenn. The film just felt gratuitous in so many ways... Gratuitous number of villians, Venom who is such an interesting character who could have been explored in a really interesting way, only gets twenty minutes of screen time (I was bored before he even came into it) Gratuitous number of characters in general, as in the whole Gwen Stacey thing and that stupid butler who just magically appeared out of nowhere. Gratuitous character actions / development, as in that whole Jazz club sequence, most of the aunt sequences, etc. (I wonder if any girlfriend would ever buy the 'I'm sorry I was such an arse, but I was under the influence of an evil alien symbiote' line?) Way gratuitous dialogue, I mean who decided we need reporter in the film showdown explaining everything we can clearly see going on, and finally gratuitous SFX that just needlessly extended the action sequences! It just felt lazy, like Raimi's solution to everything was just to chuck more in and hope people wouldn't notice.
Phew, that was cathartic, I feel strangely better now! :P

Kamikaze Camel said...

Yeah, I was bored by the scene where Venom comes into it. At that stage it was like "ANOTHER villain? Aren't we into the final act though?"

And the Butler thing? I'm fairly certain his name was Deus ExMachina or something like that *looks around with shifty eyes*

I love how everyone in NYC must be so blase about all this stuff because nobody once even questions the fact that Sandman is actually MADE OUT OF SAND!

Weren't those opening credits strange? It was like watching Spider-Man: The Series on tv or something.

Ninja Monkey said...

Yes, I forgot about those odd opening credits... and why does emo=evil? and was it just me, or were tobey and james looking a little pudgy?

JS said...

Popcorn movie....... one of my most loathed film terms. =/

And there are just so many things to complain about this movie, it's difficult to start where. I am however starting to remember that Sam Raimi did the Evil Dead movies and Bruce Campbell being in here.... well...

Topher Grace should have been Spider-man based on this.

And if they really wanted to end the franchise as Raimi, Dunst and Maguire have implied here and there, couldn't they have just gone for "end" rather than "try to kill" it? *sigh*

Kamikaze Camel said...

Tobey most definitely was. I've never been a fan of his, but I really didn't like his performance in this movie. And, yeah, he wasn't looking too crash hot.

James... oh, James frustrates me. He was actually really good (performance, and looks, wise) when his character was happy but when he was all evil it's like... not so much. He looks like a C-grade James Dean, really.

And, YES. The emo=evil thing was so bizarre.

J.D. Judge said...

Well, he did (and win some awards for) play(ing) James Dean in a TV mini-series, so you can't really blame him.

Q: Should I even see this? I thought the first was great and the second incredible, but... should I for the sake of the series? I don't think I NEED to, especially since it just made $148 MILLION over the weekend. Wowza.

Kamikaze Camel said...

Yeah, he was really great as James Dean too. The resemblence is uncanny, but he doesn't have the vibe of JD. The effortless cool factor. Plus, he hasn't given a performance anywhere close to as good as that James Dean one. So... yeah. Whatever.

I suggest you watch the trailers and if they look exciting then go see it. But, to me, the trailers didn't even look that enticing but I loved the second one so much so I saw it. And, yeah. I guess I'm glad I did or else I'd never know.

J.D. Judge said...

Yeah, good point. All the TV spots though have been worrysome, except the one or two that advertise the "epicness" of it. I'm a sucker for the operatic.

adam k. said...

Well, I get all the flaws, but I still found it watchable enough. I had a good time. But then, I was distracted by people talking next to me and other people with laser pointers, and I guess I was giving it the benefit of the doubt. And I just didn't want to believe that Raimi could muck it up so badly.

I liked both James Franco and Topher Grace. They both gave good performances, and were hella-sexy (especially James).

I disliked Bryce Dallas Howard. I've been endlessly amused by all her failed attempts to break into stardom. First the non-starters Manderlay and Lady in the Water, and now she finally gets into a BIG film (you know daddy had something to do with that), but has to become this dishwater blonde bimbo to do it. Plus the film isn't even very good, and people don't like it. Haha.

She's actually a good actress, but she's Ron Howard's daughter, and that makes her an easy target for my ire. Gotta love it when nepotism fails.

Tobey was not so good in this one, true. I liked Dunst fine. But yeah, overall... eh. I will see it one more time to clarify my opinion.

Barry said...

Spider-Man 3 is excellent. Period. It's a fun movie with a lot of heart and fuck yea it made 148 million bucks.

Everyone in the cast is excellent and Bryce Dallas Howard is great even if she exits without a good ending to her story.

I would GLADLY see Spider-Man 3 again.

Barry said...

I have the "Evening" trailer up in my blog if anyone wants to see.

Kamikaze Camel said...

Money does not equal quality. Especially on opening weekend.

Adam, didn't you find Topher's highlights sort of strange? I don't think they suited him at all.

The path travelled by Bryce Dallas Howard is indeed an intriguing one. She was great in The Village, but that film is almost universally reviled (I don't hate it, but I don't like it either). And then Manderlay was a bit for arthouse cred and that failed. As did Lady in the Water and now SM3.

She's a good actress, I can see that (and I reckon she's got a great actress name) but something's not going quite right with the career. I wish her luck. Maybe she'll get a good prestige picture out of this? I reckon she's be class in a period film.

Marius said...

Here and in comments on other blogs you've pointed out some serious flaws in SM3. I agree with a lot of them, but I can't understand how you could dislike this film (so much) if you actually liked Volver, a weak film, in my opinion. Almodovar's screenplay was seriously flawed.

Aren't you experiencing some cognitive dissonance?

Kamikaze Camel said...

How are Volver and Spider-Man 3 even remotely connected?

Marius said...

No, I didn't say, nor did I imply, that they're connected. I was making a comment about you as a critic. I find it interesting that you're being very hard on Raimi's SM3 but were too lenient on Almodovar's Volver. Some of the (basic) issues you pointed out about SM3's screenplay can also apply to Volver.

Kamikaze Camel said...

But, in my mind, Spider-Man 3 and Volver striving for the same thing. SM3 is trying to be this incredibly deep human drama, whereas Volver is more of a light-on-its-feet dark comedy.

Besides, I think the places that Almodovar takes his characters in Volver is much stronger, more rewarding and ultimately done with more success than what they did on Spider-Man 3, where I could see the cogs of the writers moving with each scene. "How can we have Sandman get away? Oh, I know! A truck full of sand could be parked at the side of the road!" Or "We can't kill Sandman just yet, but we need an action sequence. Let's have him magically reform after dissolving in water. Yeah, that's believable, right?" and etc yada blah.

Trust me, I really wanted to love Spider-Man 3. 2 is just brilliant masterpiece worthy, but... ugh.