Friday, June 01, 2007

Spiderman 3

The verdict: Too long, too slow, too self-indulgent. It might just give you arachnophobia.

The rating: 5/10

In this review I'm going to do something this film failed at: I'll try and keep it brief. Spiderman 3 follows the first two slickly imaginative popcorn flicks in the Peter Parker franchise with a tale that weaves a web with important moral messages to deliver around important choices and controlling the ego. This is ironic because Sam Raimi has succumbed to his own ego with this overblown production, and made many questionable choices in its realisation. The result is a semi-coherent puzzle of a big-budget stinker that entertains in fits and starts, creating a mood of impatience rather than exhilaration.

Chief among my problems with this episode are: the dance sequence, the completely superfluous Stan Lee cameo, the excessive use of kids (including one who says 'way cool') and the melodramatic, poorly written character of Mary-Jane, whose behaviour is so inscrutable, most of the audience will have fallen out of love with her long before the end of the movie. Even Bruce Campbell's cameo feels out of place, and it misses the mark in terms of comedy, jarring as it does with Peter and Mary-Jane's first moment of Greco-Roman tragedy.

There are bits and pieces to like about this movie though. Topher Grace is a welcome addition, and he revels in the material he is given. Thomas Haden Church (who PCMR thought was great in Sideways) is also good as the Sandman, and the scene where he takes his first steps is the best in the movie.

The thing is, this movie has ambitions far above its station as a popcorn flick. It’s trying to be a love story, a love triangle story, a moral tale about power and ego, betrayal and making the right choices… which is all very well, but it just feels so cobbled together between the action sequences, and although the action is typically top-notch, the dialogue is truly awful and the characters difficult to relate to as a result. The character of Aunt May, in particular, feels out of place, appearing every now and again to move along the moral message with all the subtlety of Roy Chubby Brown at a Glasgow dockers' Christmas party.

The venom character is good, but when Peter Parker has the dark suit on you just want to make it stop… I mean.. he dances! My eyes!!

Overall, Spiderman 3 looks like it's going to join the ranks of episode 3's that just weren't trying hard enough: Pirates of the Caribbean at World’s End, Ocean's 13, Return of the Jedi, Alien 3, Terminator 3, Rush Hour 3… to name but a few. There may be a Spiderman 4, but my money would be on Tobey Maguire making a quick exit from this sinking ship. If Sam Raimi is allowed make another one, and he has any humility, he'll try a lot harder next time, because this franchise is headed for its very own 'Batman and Robin.'

1 comment:

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