Saturday, December 1, 2007

Spiderman 3 [2]

**/***** (2/5)

1. Spiderman (4/5)
2. Spiderman 2 (4/5)
3. Spiderman 3 (2/5)

Possible SPOILERS ahead.

Sam Raimi's Spiderman movies captures the Marvel comics in an entertaining manner and its final installment -- SPIDERMAN 3 -- is no different. Unlike other people, I didn't mind the extra dose of villains here while Raimi continues to excel at imbuing a personal touch to his movies. Unfortunately, I felt some of the plotting in SPIDERMAN 3 seemed far-fetched, even for a superhero movie. For example, you have Harry Osborn / New Goblin conveniently lose his short-term memory early on, and then later, when it becomes important to the story, conveniently reacquire it. After Harry recalls who he believes killed his father (Peter Parker / Spiderman), he impels Mary Jane to dump Peter. Mary Jane dumping Peter in turn makes Peter revert to his darker side with the Venom suit. I thought Mary Jane should have dumped Peter without Harry's interference. Brock/Venom and Sandman magically running into each other on the street to join forces against Spiderman also seemed out of place. I found Sandman/Marko 's angle as it relates to Peter's uncle's death back in SPIDERMAN also contrived. You could just have Marko doing what he does because of his daughter, no need to connect it to Peter's uncle back in SPIDERMAN and fuel Peter's revenge further. I thought the lure of power and Mary Jane's rejection should provide enough reasons for Peter's darker side instead of forcing a connection between Marko and his uncle's death. Too many of the characters seem to die in SPIDERMAN 3 only to miraculously reappear later on. Twice with Harry/New Goblin, and then Sandman seems to perish only to miraculously return later. Although Harry and Peter teaming up during the climax may also seem contrived, I actually enjoyed that bit. SPIDERMAN 3 enjoyably wraps up Harry's story arc and his friendship with Peter.

Tobey Maguire plays Spiderman / Peter Parker as he now deals with inner demons and a growing cast of villains in SPIDERMAN 3. Recall from SPIDERMAN 2 that both his love interest Mary Jane and his friend Harry Osborn discover the truth of Spiderman's identity. Mary Jane played by Kirsten Dunst is accepting ("Go get'em tiger!" -- a quote from the comics), while Harry desires vengeance for his father and to kill Spiderman/Peter. James Franco plays Harry as the character transforms himself to the new Goblin and relentlessly pursues Peter. Peter furthers his relationship with Mary Jane though things decline between the two here. Negative reviews of Mary Jane's performance prove detrimental to her acting/singing career and watching Spiderman kiss a classmate (Gwen Stacy) upsets Mary Jane. The city basks in Spiderman's glory and Peter becomes a little egocentric. Meanwhile, criminal Flint Marko breaks out of jail and needs money for his ailing daughter. He enters a radioactive facility and the experiments accidentally disintegrate him. Flint Marko becomes Sandman -- able to manipulate dirt and sand -- as he now finds the power to acquire money for his sick daughter. You also have a dangerous, symbiotic substance ("Venom") which finds refuge at Peter's decrepit apartment. "Venom" is a symbiont and requires an organism to magnify its power. Finally, there's Eddie Brock played by Topher Grace, the photographer who challenges Peter's exclusive pictures of Spiderman at the Daily Bugle. After a darker Peter destroys Brock's career by uncovering forged pictures, Brock lusts for revenge against Peter.

The climax once again sets up Mary Jane as the damsel in distress. Villains from all three Spiderman movies capture poor Mary Jane to stage the climactic fight. Although SPIDERMAN 3 was enjoyable and the special/visual effects good, too many nonsensical plot devices drained some of my appreciation of the movie itself. I did like Harry and Peter teaming up at the end though.

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