May 4, 2007, - 2:04 pm

“Spiderman 3″: Sensitive Man Spidey’s Bloated Math

By Debbie Schlussel
So, here’s the strange math of “Spiderman 3“:

* 0 (zero) mystery;
* 1 Chick-flick (yes, that’s what this movie is);
* 1 absurd dancing number–mm-hmm, Peter Parker/Spidey dances in a nightclub (that’s the jump-the-shark moment);
* 2 hours, 20 minutes long (almost an hour longer than it should have been;
* 2 gratuitous cameos–Stan Lee and Bruce Campbell doing a bad French impression and even worse “Pecker” joke (haha, funny);
* 2 love interests;

spiderman3poster.jpg

Spiderman 3: The Battle Within

* 2 crybabies (Spidey and his chick, competing for the smudged eyeliner award):
* 2 superheroes (1-2 of them a villain-turned-hero if you count Spidey against himself);
* 3-4 villains–again, depending on whether you count Spiderman vs. himself;
* 4-5 scenes of girlie-man Spidey/Peter Parker in;
* 6 plotlines (or more–I lost count);
* Countless egomaniacs (lost count here, too); and
* More Computer Generated Imaging (CGI) than you can shake a stick at.

Yup, all of that bloat stuffed into one movie. It’s too much. It’s like a stuffed pizza with way too many ingredients, far too many toppings, stuffed AND flavored crust. And together, it’s a mess. You can barely eat a whole slice, and your stomach is churning with sickness after you’re done consuming.
That’s Spiderman 3 in a nutshell.
And here’s another nutshell: Spiderman 3 IS A CHICK-FLICK!
And the chick ain’t Mary Jane (well, she’s one of them). THE CHICK IS SPIDERMAN/PETER PARKER, played by nerdy actor, Tobey Maguire (who is definitely in touch–way too much in touch–with his feminine side). We see Peter Parker and Spidey cry, whine, and display overwrought melodramatics so much in this movie, I was imagining the tampon and Chicos ads to pop up during a Lifetime Channel commercial break. As I wrote earlier, Spidey cried so much, I had to get a running tally on my Spidey-Cry-O-Meter.
And it’s dark. Spiderman takes on a self-centered, ego-maniacal, bad guy persona and has a battle within, ergo, this movie’s tagline: “The Battle Within.” but that’s nothing new. We saw the same storyline with “Superman III,” in which Supe becomes a dark, conceited alcoholic, on whom the populus has turned. In that movie and this one, their love interests–in that one, Lois Lane; this one, Mary Jane–have discovered their true identities. There’s no mystery left (Mary Jane discovered Parker is Spidey in “Spiderman 2″). It’s simply not sexy, anymore.
And with the end to mystery in the superhero/mortal chick relationship comes dullness . . . and jealousy. Mary Jane is upset that Spiderman is getting so much media attention and accolades. She wants to be a star. (This perpetually whiny, sullen state makes the forever dull, unglamorous Kirsten Dunst seem even less appropriate as a superheroes’ love interest than ever.) And Spidey is all caught up in the parades and newspaper glory:
* Spiderman tells a woman he saved to lift up his mask and kiss him on the lips for the media:

Kiss me. They’ll [the media and the general population] love this.

* Spidey tells Mary Jane:

I’ve become something of an icon. Like yesterday, they were yelling: “Spiderman, Spiderman.”

* He tells villain, the Sandman:

I guess you haven’t heard–Im the sheriff in these here parts.

* He swings around New York just to get accolades, a parade, and a key to the city.
Sorry, but this ain’t your father’s modest superhero out for valor and not glory, nor is it your father’s superhero love interest anymore either. Gone is the supportive woman who swoons over her man’s heroics. Now, she’s just a whiny crybaby–whining about Spidey overshadowing her failed career, whining that he spends too much time saving people and not hanging with her, whining that other women (including a blonde Bryce Dallas Howard) adore him.
Well, this is certainly in tune with the Gen-Y audience at whom this movie is targeted. As I’ve written, recent studies show it’s the most narcissistic and self-centered generation ever. Natch, it’s superheroes reflect that not-so-super quality, I suppose. This movie screams: Me! Me! Me!
Then, there are the villains. We see Peter Parker’s old friend-turned-nemesis, Harry Osborne, played by the hot Jewish actor, James Franco. He takes on his dead father’s evil persona, the Green Goblin, in the form of the New Goblin (so creative, these Marvel Studios guys). He adds some pizazz and movie-star looks to this mostly-bland movie.
But the most interesting villain is the Sandman, played by Thomas Haden Church. How and why he becomes Sandman, the way it is tied back to the first Spidey film, and his dynamic with his estranged family is interesting and adds another dimension. The computer-generated images of him, not so much.
Then, there is the rival freelance photographer Topher Grace. He becomes Venom, who comes toward the end of the movie and adds little it.
And finally, there is Black Spiderman versus Red/Blue Spiderman. A living, black gooey substance shoots to earth from a meteor and ultimately attaches itself to Spiderman’s uniform. It turns Black, and suddenly we see a mean, egomaniacal Spidey (though just as egomaniacal as the Red/Blue Spidey in this installment of Spiderman). He wears black eyeliner. He dances around town and goes shopping for expensive clothes. He does an absurd dance routine at a nightclub.
The editor of The Daily Bugle kinda resembles the real New York Times editors of today. He tells his photographers to get photos of Spiderman doing wrong and wants to bring him down:

Catch his hand in the cookie jar!

But even with that realism, the movie is simply too chock-filled. It’s all too much and overloads the movie to such an excess.
In his cameo, Hillary-supporter Stan Lee–playing a man on the street–remarks about Spiderman to Peter Parker:

I guess one person can change the world.

Maybe so. But it took a whole lot of people to change Spiderman into a dud.

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22 Responses

Debbie, what you’re complaining about was written way before there was a gen-y. All of these story lines are ripped directly from the comic books, give or take a few modifications here and there. Spiderman was written to be a complex character with real emotions, something that superman didn’t really accomplish. While superman may have been “mild mannered” spiderman was written to represent your typical teenager, no matter what generation, that struggles with being different and trying to fit in while still trying to succeed and do well in the world.
So, I’m sorry you didn’t like it, but most people who don’t try to dive too deep into the story line and the emotions will probably see it for what it really is and enjoy it.

ConservativesLovePuns(descent) on May 4, 2007 at 3:11 pm

Ditto ConservativesLovePuns(descent)!
From the review:
[Then, there are the villains. We see Peter Parker's old friend-turned-nemesis, Harry Osborne, played by the hot Jewish actor, James Franco. He takes on his dead father's evil persona, the Green Goblin, in the form of the New Goblin (so creative, these Marvel Studios guys).He adds some pizazz and movie-star looks to this mostly-bland movie.]
Debbie obviously didn’t collect the ‘The Amazing Spiderman’ as a kid but I did. The movie is trying to stay true to the comic book series and that’s what happened, unless of course it would’ve been better to turn Harry into the “Hobgoblin”. What Marvel Studios is essentially doing is condensing 30 years of Spiderman comics into one movie. Maybe it’s a bad idea or maybe it’s good, I don’t know since I haven’t seen it, but Debbie’s review seems to be based more on politics than on the movie.

Norman Blitzer on May 4, 2007 at 3:42 pm

Yeah I’m with you all. Deb, usually I agree with you on everything…but this one I gotta throw in the towel. I think you should read as many spiderman comics as you can before talking about this movie the way you did.
With that said, I’m gonna enjoy seeing spidey 3 tonight.

Squirrel3D on May 4, 2007 at 5:10 pm

I have to agree with the other comments. Debbie, you’re taking this movie WAY TOO SERIOUSLY. This is a hero based on comic books. I can’t comment any further as I haven’t seen it yet.
I did enjoy reading your review though. You’re so totally hilarious, as usual. Love your sense of humor.

cinerx on May 4, 2007 at 5:35 pm

Spiderman has always been an emotional character, but he was always able to suck it in and defeat the bad guys. I don’t remember ever seeing him cry, he was the type of guy who would hold it in until he would explode and almost kill -insert random spidey villain-.
When he gained the alien costume, it would make him crazy, make him hurt those he love, turn him into a rage-a-holic. I don’t remember seeing him dance at a stupid nightclub. And buy expensive clothes? WASN’T HIS SUIT SUPPOSED TO TURN INTO ANY TYPE OF CLOTHING HE WANTED? Staying true to the comics my ass!

Jose on May 4, 2007 at 11:00 pm

Did I also miss the comic where Mary Jane stops worrying about her husband’s safety and starts worrying about the press he’s getting? In that case, I must have missed the comic where the crowd actually loves Spiderman. Was that the issue Peter started to wear eyeliner?
Seems like this movie was based on only the Spidey comics that I have, for some strange reason, never read.

Jose on May 4, 2007 at 11:11 pm

Am I the only one that noticed two things:
1) Misuse of Venom?
2) Lack of spider sense?
Jose, my take on your comments was that perhaps they wanted to use the black suited Peter from the animated series to keep above the PG-13 rating. And um…Peter did strike MJ in a scene…but accidently. Also, you and debbie misinterpt the crying thing. I don’t think Peter was crying becuase he was a girly-man, but for Sandman’s story….and also for harry becuase he died.

Squirrel3D on May 4, 2007 at 11:28 pm

Yeah, you’re probably right Squirrel. I was just mad that everyone was talking about how Debbie’s complaints were unjustified because the movie was based closely on the comics, when obviously that isn’t the case.
I’m not a crazy Spidey fanboy, but they clearly ruined what otherwise SHOULD have been a masterpiece by straying too far from the comics, or even the animated series.

Jose on May 4, 2007 at 11:45 pm

Well Jose, here’s my gripe’s with spiderman 3:
1) Venom ALWAYS refers to himself as “we”. When he says “we” Venom refers to himself….the sympiote and eddie brock. Look it up or read any comic with venom in it. The film made Venom say “I”…hell, am I the only one that didn’t see his tounge?
2) There was NO explaination as to why Spiderman couldn’t detect Venom. Becuase the ailen costume used all of spiderman’s powers…Spidey couldn’t detect Venom with his spider sense. And this take me to…
3) Why the lack of spider sense??? Peter should’ve known there was something behind him ready to carry peter off his motorbike…but that never happened. That was so needed of Peter’s spider sense.
4) Venom never got off 1st gear in this movie. There should’ve been more time given to Venom and what he could do. I think he was put in at the last minute to appease certian fans. -_-
5) What becomes of the Sandman!? I thought the guy would be killed or something. Or does that happen in 4? Does he come in at the last minute to save spiderman as he’s bout to be killed by…say…the shocker (which should’ve been in this movie and not Venom.)??
So yeah, the more i think about it, the more I think this movie was rushed. Makes me worried about the next film. Still, it’s very enjoyable if you can get past their misuse of Venom.

Squirrel3D on May 5, 2007 at 3:49 am

You are spot on with this review, Debbie! When I saw the night club dancing scene I cringed! And my friend who went with me said after it was over, only half-jokingly, that he is throwing away all his Spiderman comics!

Witch-king of Angmar on May 5, 2007 at 12:17 pm

Debbie, your review was right on the money. Stupid chick-flick all the way. My 14 year old son wanted to see it though. Spidey crying like a big-ol-baby and a remorseful Sandman did it for me. What a waste of my time. But my son liked it, of course.
THANKS. GREAT MINDS THINK ALIKE.
DEBBIE SCHLUSSEL

AynaydaPizaqvick on May 5, 2007 at 8:21 pm

Jose, take a pill and chill. It’s just a comic book movie and don’t get mad over nothing.

Norman Blitzer on May 6, 2007 at 9:31 pm

First of all, Jose, learn to use your spell checker, it can make anyone seem literate.
For all of you who are hammering Debbie for taking this film as more than just entertainment, let’s try to be a little more aware. NOTHING that emanates from that town is free of politics. Every self proclaimed producer with deep pockets wants to make sure his message is heard, be it Bizarro Tommy Lee Jones making the US Border Patrol out to be murderous thugs in Three Burials, or John Cleese trying to affix absolute ascendancy to the Brits over America in A Fish Called Wanda. And who among you left Syriana thinking, Wow, what a rush! Ok, hand down. Now, how many left the theater utterly bemused and stunned by the sheer weight of allegorical BS that lesser son Clooney was shoving in our direction? OK, hands down.
You need only look at who was behind this film to suspect that there might be a hidden political agenda at work there. Film makers out west are going through a very bad patch right now, no one wants to go see films that try to preach to them. But nothing is going to change until the bloated gasbag heads out there realize that they are not the final say in what we on the other side of the moving shadows want in the way of film entertainment. Let me just interject with two words that will be wed in eternity asbelonging to the most monumental flop of the latter half of last century: Battlefield Earth. I for one do not wish to hear about some loony cult that some overpaid ‘actor’ thnks will save the world, and that goes for the couch jumper, as well.
Since they’re down to raping the last vestiges of all the good TV shows and movies in my lifetime, know what I’d love to see? Let them remake It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, if they can find enough actors out of their ‘tweens who might be able to carry the flick home. Personally, I don’t think they could fill two driver teams with the talent pool available. Also, we’d more than likely end up with Dukes of Monte Carlo meets Mad “Herbie” Max meets Cannonball Run meets a CGI bill that would render any real actors moot, anyway.
BOttom line is, Debbie knows of what she speaks, and if she comes down on this or that side of a film, I’m there with her. And this from a lifelong Spiderman fan!
“Are you cryin’? There’s no cryin’ in baseball”!

Big Boss Ogg on May 7, 2007 at 11:24 am

Wow, while I was writing that, someone went in and corrected all of his typoes. Someone’s got a friend in the webmaster’s office!
ACTUALLY, WE DIDN’T CORRECT ANYTHING ON ANYONE’S COMMENTS ON THIS ENTRY. YOUR IMAGINATION.
DEBBIE SCHLUSSEL

Big Boss Ogg on May 7, 2007 at 11:28 am

Debbie, I love your column and I usually see eye to eye with you but on this one I gotta jump on the “comic book” bandwagon a bit here.
The Hobgoblin is an old-school character and all the hard-core Spiderman comic fans are just gonna keep busting your chops for that one.
As for the whining, what the heck is up with that? I too hear so much of that in everyday life dealing with the public that I’m tired of seeing it in movies, that and the obligatory Bush bashing you get in every other movie today. Hollywood is mostly Lib and very excessively so, we get it…really we do.
The eye makeup, I’m with you on that one too. What’s up with that? To each his own and all that, it just looks weird on a dude. He going for the 80s Rocker look or something? I’ve been a big Sam Raimi fan since he was in his 2nd installment of his College Film project (Evil Dead). I guess you just gotta kind of take the good with the bad.
ONE PROB: I WROTE ABOUT THE NEW GOBLIN–NOT HIS FATHER, THE HOBGOBLIN. AND I DIDN’T CRITICIZE THE NEW GOBLIN–JUST SAID THAT IT ISN’T A CREATIVE NAME.
DEBBIE SCHLUSSEL

Tolbert on May 7, 2007 at 10:33 pm

Big Boss Ogg, I didn’t make a single typo. The only part I messed up on was when I said “suck it in” instead of “suck it up”. Before calling someone illiterate, you should learn how to read.
(I know you realized your mistake, but I couldn’t help returning an insult after you insulted me for no reason.)
Norman, at the time I wrote that I was angry since I had high hopes for the movie, being a longtime childhood Spiderman fan. I’m sure you can relate to that in some way. Rereading my comment, I don’t think I went overboard, except for putting the fact that the alien costume was supposed to turn into any piece of clothing in CAPS. (I know “CAPS” isn’t an actual word Big Boss Ogg) I was just trying to make a point that the “alien costume”/Venom, as Squirrel pointed out, was misused.

Jose on May 8, 2007 at 2:41 pm

ONE PROB: I WROTE ABOUT THE NEW GOBLIN–NOT HIS FATHER, THE HOBGOBLIN. AND I DIDN’T CRITICIZE THE NEW GOBLIN–JUST SAID THAT IT ISN’T A CREATIVE NAME.
DEBBIE SCHLUSSEL
Actually, his father was the GREEN goblin. Harry, his son, becomes the Hobgoblin to avenge his death.

ConservativesLovePuns(descent) on May 8, 2007 at 4:10 pm

What disturbs me about “Spider-Man 3″ and other superhero movies is that most superheroes are vigilantes. They take the law into their own hands. The most perverted example of vigilante behavior is Cho Seung-Hui.

Doug Puthoff on May 8, 2007 at 10:05 pm

A late comment: I took my 9-year-old son to see “Spider-Man 3.” Halfway through, he turned to me and asked, “Dad, are you sure we’re in the right movie?” ‘Nuff said.

mechmorph on May 9, 2007 at 3:01 pm

Debbie, why do you always say “hot Jewish actor James Franco”, but never “Jewish actor Shia LaBeouf” or “hot Jewish actress Keri Russell”. I think you’ve got a crush.

Mike L on May 21, 2007 at 4:10 am

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