Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Spidey review

It looks like this month is going to be dismal for blog posts. I've been working on something, which I'll mention when I found out what happens. I had to complete something, and I submitted it last night. One way or another I should know within a week.

Meanwhile, a week ago Saturday we took Logan to see Spider-man 3. It turns out the professional reviews have this one correct. It was a little disappointing. That's not to say that it's a bad movie. As summer movies go it's pretty good, but it's not as good as the first two.

The film opens with Peter Parker watching Mary Jane's Broadway premiere. Peter's feeling pretty good, seeing as how Spidey is now a popular New Yorker. This is a welcome change from the comic books, which ran for decades under the premise that the people of New York couldn't tell if Spidey was good or evil. Peter wants to marry Mary Jane, but two things get in the way. First, Harry Osborne, son of Norman Osborne (who died attacking Spidey in the first movie) is out for revenge. Second, Mary Jane's career isn't going as she planned.

Besides the new Green Goblin attacking Spidey there is also the Sandman (an escaped convict who gets turned into living sand) and a mysterious symbiote (who corrupts Peter as a secondary black suit). There are a couple of other subplots vying for screen time.

That's the problem with the film: too many plots. This isn't the problem it was in the run of Batman movies that collapsed under the weight of all the supervillains in the final films (not to be confused with the pretty good Batman Forever). However, it does hurt the pacing. Like the first two movies, it starts slow, building up the story and the characterization. Unfortunately, the film's story never gains the proper momentum. Simply put, there's too much characterization. At least there's too much to fit in three villains.

The problem is the mating the Mary Jane/Peter plot with the three-way villain plot. Either the relationship plot should have been coupled to a single villain, or the relationship plot should have been dropped.

The special effects are excellent. Venom, the black suited Spidey, is well done from a technical perspective, but Venom's appearance is rushed. The folks at the Daily Bugle are a hoot. I loved Bruce Campbell's character as a maitre'd, but I thought the scene with his character was too distracting for what should have been a poignant scene. Sandman gets more character development than most super villains, and is probably the highlight of the movie (but it doesn't match the development of Doc Ock in the last film). The climax comes with not enough lead up, and the final resolution is a bit too sudden. The fight scenes are well choreographed. Peter's and Mary Jane's relationship is realistic.

This next bit is a spoiler. If you intend on seeing the movie, stop now... This covers a big plot hole.

You sure you want to keep reading?

Okay, you've been warned...

I'm convinced that at some point a change was made to the plot, and not for the better. It resulted in a big, stupid plot hole.

Mary Jane is upset with Peter for a couple of reasons. Instead of calling Peter, she calls Harry, and goes to see him. Harry has, by this time, recovered his memories. She has a nice night with Harry, and ends up kissing him. She then leaves, realizing she may go too far if she stays.

Now, as shown, Harry gets into his Goblin suit and goes after Mary Jane. He grabs her, and threatens to harm Peter if she doesn't do something for him. The next scene she tells Peter to meet him on the bridge. When he shows up, she dumps him. Harry looks on, smugly. He then confronts Peter, telling Peter that he was responsible for her dumping Peter.

While the film was running I thought that Harry would then attack Peter. He didn't. So, then I thought, "Why didn't Mary Jane phone Peter and warn him about Harry, and explain what happened?" Instead, Peter gets all upset, and tries to make her jealous. This didn't make any sense. If she really still loved Peter, if Harry really forced her to dump Peter, why did she not try to tell him or warn him? Harry couldn't have watched Peter all the time. There was no real threat to Peter.

It makes no sense. Unless...

I believe the story, as filmed, was a bit different. I believe the story followed her to Harry's place. She kissed Harry, and then left, all confused. I believe she then broke up with Peter, on her own. It makes the most sense.

Probably a focus group saw the film and reacted negatively to Mary Jane. So, they cooked up the idea that Harry forced her to break up with Peter. In the final version it wasn't her fault.

That's my take, anyway.

I did enjoy the movie, even if my review comes over as negative. It just wasn't what it could be. Hopefully the next one will be more focused.

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