Movie: "Spider-Man 3"
Genre: Action / Adventure
Directed by: Sam Raimi
Writing credits: Sam Raimi, Ivan Raimi, Alvin Sargent
Plot: Spider-Man finds a new costume, goes emo, and fights off three different villains who are trying to kill him. Also, he cries a lot.
Review: The first Spider-Man was a fun retelling of the character's origin story, with a cast that fit into the comic book mythos like a glove, or a condom that fits snugly without coming out of a box with an embarrassingly small size printed on the side, and Sam Raimi's love for the characters shining through in every scene. The second one was one of the finest comic book movies made in recent years, improving on everything the first one did right and dropping some of what it did wrong. The third movie had everything going for it from the beginning; it should have been a home run. Why, then, was it such a piece of shit?
I think it's safe to say that Sam Raimi bit off more than he could chew, trying to fit somewhere between three and five movies into the time allotted for a single one. The unfortunate side effect of this was a bunch of stupid shit working its way into the story where it didn't belong. When I first heard that there would be not two but three villains in this film, I fought the urge to worry that it would succumb to Batman syndrome, throwing too many villains into the mix, resulting in absolutely no compelling character development for any of them. Surely Sam Raimi would not make that mistake, I reasoned. No, certainly he would handle it intelligently, introducing Sandman early on and somehow having his plot resolve but bring about the creation of Venom in the process. Then Venom would take the center stage for the second half of the film, with the second Green Goblin taking advantage of the chaos and striking Spidey while he had his hands full. Multiple villains, yes, but at least in my predicted scenario there were no lame villain team-ups for no reason.
As I sat in the theater watching the movie, I realized that I had overestimated Sam Raimi. A lot. The alien symbiote that spawns Venom shows up early in the movie, having mysteriously fallen from space and finding its way to Peter. You'd think Peter would be a bit more bothered when he sees it crawling around on his bed trying to get to him, but no, he's apparently unconcerned when it bonds to him and becomes his new costume, and for a good third of the movie he's wearing the black suit with nary a question asked. It just feels rushed, and sloppy. And when he's wearing the suit, look out! Because he gains the emo powers of black eye-liner, black hair dye, and the devilishly evil ability to selfishly eat cookies. The "acting" during this portion of the movie is painful to sit through, and the dancing scene made me think that we the audience had fallen victim to some carefully plotted scheme by some kind of real life comic book villain who had altered the film print.
And Sandman has been given a ridiculous personal connection to Peter for no good reason at all, other than the fact that the filmmakers decided to completely disregard, nay, contradict what came before in order to shoehorn this new character into the story in a (supposedly) more meaningful way, which is completely unnecessary and only serves to harm the story rather than help it. Why, that would be like if George Lucas made more Star Wars movies and you found out that Yoda didn't really train Obi-Wan at all even though he said he did...oh. Wait. I think that comparison speaks for itself.
When Venom finally shows up, you won't care, because he's completely two-dimensional and boring. And when he finds Sandman and offers to team up with him to take down Spider-Man even though they really have no compelling reason to work together, I was ready to shoot bullets into that fucking movie screen. Even dumber is that Harry is willing to team up with Peter after he throws a grenade in his face, permanently disfiguring him. He's willing to let bygones be bygones, and they fly around on their rocket sled together, throwing punches at the bad guys in between jumping high-fives.
And the crying, oh god, the crying. This movie has more crying in it than, oh, I don't know, a documentary about crying. But that's nothing compared to the crying the audience was doing as they shuffled out of the theater, suckered into being separated from their money and time. I really hoped the third movie would be the best yet, but Raimi let us down big time, and I'd just as soon forget this pile of disappointment ever existed.
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)
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