May 4, 2007, - 2:04 pm
* 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;
* 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.
Tags: actor, Bruce Campbell, Bryce Dallas Howard, CGI, Debbie Schlussel So, editor, freelance photographer, Harry Osborne, I, James Franco, Kirsten Dunst, Lifetime Channel, Lois Lane, Mary Jane, media attention, nerdy actor, New York, New York Times, Peter Parker, rival freelance photographer, sheriff, Spidey, Stan Lee, The Battle Within, The Daily Bugle, Thomas Haden Church, Tobey Maguire, Topher Grace