"No, Spider-Man, no!"

There might be something very wrong with me, because I kind of liked that "Spider-Man 3" flick. Critical opinion, both mainstream press and fanboy, seems to say that it sucks. There's no reason for it NOT to suck. It certainly gives off that sucky ambiance from the ad campaign. And yet, those same legit critics and fanboys mainly agreed that the first two movies ranged between "okay" and "pretty good," while I would not. Those first two movies BLEW, IMHO, ANITGW (And Not In That Good Way). So of course, with null expectation, I sorta like this one that everyone else has been complaining about.

Why Spider-Man 3 Was Sort Of Good
--a treatise of utter importance by me--

* There was more acting. It did resemble a Korean soap opera at times, but I like Korean soap operas. The first two flicks skated by on cute looks and a sort of vague hopefulness by the three main actors. In this one, we see Peter and Harry literally fighting over Mary Jane, and betraying each other, and feeling the impact of that, and that stuff, in Ye Olde Acting School, is GOOD. Mary Jane did NOTHING in the first two movies, I'm not sure if anyone noticed that. She had an ostensible action to play in the 2nd movie (finding out if Peter really wants her) but she walked through it like she was going shopping. In "3", she gets punked, she gets dissed, she has diva fits, she cries, she seduces, she even throws a brick at somebody. She was actually fun to watch, as opposed to just cutely dressed.

* The fight scenes were better. Although they were not as meticulously-animated, they were better-composed. The NewGoblin/Spidey chase through that narrow alleyway was exactly the kind of fight Spider-Man should be having. In the last fight with Venom, Spider-Man won with speed and ingenuity, which is, hello, How Spider-Man Wins Fights (as opposed to with brute force and mawkish displays of humanity). True, the fights with Dock Ock in "2" were more elegant, but I could never get over the problem that the superhumanly-strong Spidey couldn't beat Ock by simply punching him in the face one or twelve times. And don't get me started on those Spidey/Original Goblin bouts. Embarrassing.
....Also, there was a giant sand monster in this last fight. 'Nuff said.

* The dialogue, while not good, was not HORRIBLE. Let's recap, shall we, some of the gems from "1" and "2":

Goblin: You never know when some maniac is going to come along with a sadistic choice! (No one, no matter how evil, ever says this.)

Aunt May: People love heroes. Blah blah blah. They cheer for them. Etc etc. Heroes (n. pl.) are people who save people who, ad nauseum. (This has to be one of the worst speeches ever.)

MJ: You can't get off if you never got on! (What?)

"3" was at least lacking in cringing moments. There were even a few cute lines, like Spidey's "Where do all these guys come from...?" which at least hinted at the snappy wit that is Spider-Man's most endearing trait, and yet has been notably lacking from this whole movie adaptation business.

* Gwen Stacy was great. I'm not a big fan of the Director's Daughter Is Famous Now syndrome, but I'll concede that, within her limited role, Bryce Howard nailed it. Intriguing but not TOO intriguing. Beautiful but not SO beautiful. Exactly the kind of normal but dreamy girl that would end up in Peter Parker's life.

* It had one part that choked me up. Backstory: my thrills from the first two flicks derived almost entirely from the trailers. The inferences and the teasing shots of Spider-Man coming to save the day. Because, for pho's sake, all I really want out of a superhero movie, No Matter How Bad It Is, is to get choked up once. For one moment to be swept up in the fantasy of an alternate world where someone shows up to do something when the 9/11s and the Columbines of the real world happen (or even before they happen).
....This never happened in the first two flicks. Due to some clumsy handling of the stakes, the dialogue, and those pesky plot mechanics, it never seemed Important that Spider-Man showed up. It was Pretty, watching him swing in, but not Affecting. Maybe 'cause the Green Goblin was just not scary, and no one believed that crazy contraption of Ock's was going to work anyway.
....BUT, at the climax of "3", MJ's clearly in big trouble, the citizenry is afraid, and the bad guys hold extremely high ground. And then, there's about 10 seconds where, despite long odds, Spider-Man comes swinging in with no intention other than Handling It. Pretty dope. If it hadn't been for that tweaky faux-Brit reporter talking through the whole thing, it might even have been moving.

...That was a kind of long rant, and I guess someday I should devote equivalent time to some Subject That Really Matters, but whatever, I'm a geek. I just hope the next one has The Scorpion in it.


MosSteph said...

what about the bad dancing . . . what say you to that?!

what about crying peter parker? . . . i don't think that was supposed to be funny. but i laughed.

Anonymous said...

and a nod to diversity

* black nypd cops
* asian women represented heavily through movie
* diversity more like la than ny (more asian, less puerto rican or black)

did anyone else notice the similarities between "goth peter" and the charlie's angels freak who liked to rip and smell hair?


ps: hi dom! i am procrastinating studying for the bar exam but saying hello.