OK, think back. Remember how Spiderman was all action. And then we loved Spiderman II because it delved into the psyche and angst of Peter Parker…. a veiled attempt at an Empire Strikes Back episode. Well, Spiderman III took everything that was good about Spiderman II and blew that up even further. But now its too much and takes what we liked and made it annoying.
Case in point…. the majority of the movie is the Star Is Born conflict between rising star Peter Parker and quick to fade has been Mary Jane. A full two thirds of the movie is summed up in this way:
Mary Jane: I’m having a really bad day. Life sucks. I need ice cream.
Peter: It’s OK. Get back on your horse. Don’t let life knock you down. Get back out there!
Mary Jane: You’re making no attempt to understand how I feel.
I bet even girls are thinking, “Gosh. Have some chocolate and go watch some Gilmore Girl reruns and get over it.” Seriously. I thought I was watching a bad episode of Saved By The Bell and Zack Morris and Kelly Kapowski were going at it. Again.
There ends up being three action pieces. A bit with the new Goblin at the beginning, a bit with the Sandman and a free for all at the end with all three plus Parker’s rival Eddie Brock in the Venom suit. Venom… a black goo, spider-like symbiote that melds with Brock gets waaaaaaay too little screen time, which is a shame because he’s one of the far more interesting characters of the movie. The bit where Peter Parker initially likes the amped up feeling he gets from wearing the symbiote suit is hilarious. He walks down the avenue like a nerdy/hip version of Travolta in Saturday Night Fever, but with bemused reaction from all the hot women he flirts with. Far more interesting than the sad sack Sandman, whose powers kind of reminded me of the mummy in the Brendan Frasier movies of the same name.
Some distractions…. Black suit Spiderman/Peter ends up wearing his hair differently and Parker ends up looking like Pete Wentz and a million other emo boys. And then there’s Tobey Maguire’s double chin. I’d seen pictures of him during his off time where he’d packed on some serious weight and while his body looks in pretty lean form now (cough…. Wintstrol)(not that I’m implying that celebs take this to slim down for movies)(I wonder if the second parenthetical should have had two parenthesess)(cough… maybe I am suggesting it)(why am I coughing so much?), you can still see the weight’s affect on his body, particularly in one long closeup shot meant to be dramatic but all you can think is “Spidey’s got a double chin”.
For my taste, they could have cut back on all the Mary Jane telenovella stuff and focused more on the Peter-Spidey/Harry-Goblin arc. The whole movie could have been all about that… you’ll know what I’m talking about when you see the movie. Because when you get down to it, all the great movies I can think of centered on redemption themes… not sad girl feelings.
Still.. a good solid movie and yes I’ll get it on DVD when it comes out.
arnold rating: B