Spiderman 3

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And so the cash-cow juggernaut that is the Hollywood sequel continues to drive its way across the world, obliterating almost all that comes before it. After the debacle that was Pirates of the Caribbean 3, I knew that I should abandon this year’s slew of threequels as hopeless and quietly admit that these big budget movies are no longer for me, but the Hollywood gene that was implanted as a child remained intact and like a moth to the flame I was irresistibly drawn towards this third, darker, Spiderman movie.

I knew it was going to suck, I knew I was going to hate it but still I couldn’t give up the ghost of the idea that maybe this time I would be wrong. Maybe this time I would find something satisfying and admirable in the cold, dead eyes of a billion dollar franchise. Maybe this time would be like when I was younger and I’d find giddy enjoyment in the spectacle and find it emotionally engaging as well.

I was a fool to even think it.

Remember that episode of the Simpsons where Poochy is introduced into Itchy and Scratchy but is destroyed by the studios attempts to satisfy every demographic? Welcome to Spiderman 3. The class and style of the first two films appears to have been thrown out the window in favour of a predetermined marketing angle, the established character arcs are dismissed with an almost gleeful preference for point A to B storytelling and the set-pieces are uninspired and formulaic. It’s almost as if the producers had a bullet point list of scenes / toy spin-offs they wanted to include and the story was shoe-horned in around them.

Even taking into account that it’s a comic-book movie and not subject to the general laws of logical storytelling, it was still a staggeringly lazy piece of work. Whole sections of the first movie were rewritten to justify character behaviour, soap opera levels of plotting were used to initiate storylines, villains given absolutely no reason to exist whatsoever and plot lines that had been carefully built up over the two previous movies were discarded in one or two lines of dialogue. What was even worse was that potentially interesting and exciting avenues of the plot were jettisoned in favour of turgid song and dance sequences and horrifically embarrassing ‘comedy’ moments.

This was meant to be the ‘dark’ episode of the trilogy, but instead it was a laughable exercise in bad filmmaking. How do we know Peter Parker has lost his soul to the black suit…? Why, he grows a Kraftwerk haircut. How can we justify his descent into bad behaviour…? Simple, rewrite his motivations from the first film. How can we get the new Green Goblin on Peter’s side..? Easy, give him selective amnesia. The disregard and lack of respect for the audience is evident in every frame as they go about hitting each target for their demograph and the consequences for the story be damned.

The villains were a pathetic lot and had none of the interest or pathos of either the Green Goblin or Doctor Octopus. Venom was a lousy CGI creation that was neither scary nor cool, and the Sandman was lumped with a backstory that was irrelevant and insulting. Kirsten Dunst became an irritating, demanding, self-interested cow barely capable of getting a teenage boy interested, Tobie Maguire had a humiliating dance sequence to explain his descent into badness and even the utterly reliable Bruce Campbell was saddled with a sub-Arthur Bostrom bad French accent that was nigh-on-impossible to watch without having fingers to hide behind.

The CGI was uninspired and shoddy, the fight sequences were boring and hard to watch and the so-called humour made me realise why these people were paid so much money in the first place – to buy their dignity and splash it on the screen. The ending was an insult to everything that had preceded it, the logic frequently dismissed in favour of expositional dialogue and the script was clearly (hopefully) a first draft they couldn’t be bothered to finish. For a series of films that started out very well, this was a terrible, terrible, terrible way to end them.

Of course, it made $800 million at the box office so who gives a fuck if it’s any good? Not the studio or filmmakers who must be swimming in their Scrooge McDuck pools of money and laughing at the gullibility of the global audience. The whole film was a fucking insult.

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16 Responses to “Spiderman 3”

  1. graham Says:

    Say what you want about Spiddleman, but leave Arthur Bostrom out of it. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have a sense of humour at all.

  2. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    What did you expect though? The first movie had a ridiculous pantomime villain and cod philosophy about ‘with great power comes blah blah blah’. Its dialogue was risible and half the cast couldn’t act. The second movie was a remake of the first and was for the most part dull … but that’s not the point. It’s a summer blockbuster, not a Jean Luc Goddard movie. Summer blockbuster movies are always overblown toy advertisements, they have been since that grandaddy of bad acting, bad dialogue, and bad directing Star Wars hove into view back in the 70s. Getting worked up about summer blockbusters strikes me as an exercise in shooting fish in a barrel. Of course it was shit – it’s a summer blockbuster movie. What did you expect, Jean De Florette?

  3. Dave Medlo Says:

    Getting worked up about summer blockbusters strikes me as an exercise in shooting fish in a barrel. Of course it was shit – it’s a summer blockbuster movie.

    Yeah, I’d agree with you in theory, but my beef is that they didn’t even try. It’s perfectly possible to make a genuinely good summer blockbuster – the first Pirates movie, Blade 2, Batman Begins, Oceans 11, the Matrix, X-Men 1+2, the Bourne movies, Superman Returns (ok, that was rubbish but at least they tried something new) – that appeals to the popcorn crowd and cineastes alike. They may not be high works of art, but they’re good movies and a fun night out. I would even argue that the first two Spidey movies are great examples of a genre films that don’t pander to the lowest common denominator.

    Even within the confines of the Spiderman universe, though, this third one was lazy and unimaginative. Maybe it’s naive of me, but I’d like to believe that with a great director, a world-class special effects company, an unlimited pot of money and two previous films worth of backstory they could at least aim to finish what they started. But they didn’t, they threw the quickest and easiest film at the screen and waited for a $800m cheque to fall into their hands. I’d expect that from something like the Fantastic Four (which is why I didn’t go and see the sequel), but not from someone like Sam Raimi…

  4. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    Why not from someone like Sam Raimi? What’s so bloody special about the guy? The Evil Dead movies are badly-acted, cheap-looking crap no matter how much fan-boy reverence is poured on ’em, Darkman went straight-to-video because that’s all it deserved, The Quick and the Dead stinks, and the Spider-Man movies are wafer thin fluff dressed up as profound and meaningful works of cinema. With the exception of A Simple Plan, which I’ll concede is excellent, I’m trying hard to see where this trust in the Sam Raimi Seal of Quality comes from … For The Love Of The Game?

    Don’t get me wrong , I love tawdry, crappy entertainment as much as the next man, but expecting more from a hack who comes up with toss like Spider-Man 2? Why?

  5. Badger Madge Says:

    RE: films that are made to sell toys – may I just direct your good gentlemens’ attention to Transformers. It’s kick ass. It’s not deep but doesn’t try to be. It’s knowingly tongue in cheek – but in a good way.

    Likewise, the 5th Harry Potter film is ace too. A clear demonstration that it is possible to go beyond two sequels and still be fresh and exciting.

  6. Swineshead Says:

    Napoleon – are you on the blob?

    Badger – Transformers is going to be covered tomorrow, funnily enough, Napoleon done gone did a review for it.

  7. Dave Medlo Says:

    Hmmm. I actually disagree with you almost completely on Sam Raimi. I think the only films he’s made that aren’t very good are A Simple Plan (boring and kudos indulgent) and For the Love of the Game, which I don’t think a single person has ever watched.

  8. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    No I’m not you scabrous dog! I’m just amazed that these films (based on a comic book in this case … I mean, come on!) have such weighty expectations thrust upon them. Perhaps the hype overdrive that accompanies summer films causes some sort of high-expectation bulb to flower in people’s brains?

    Taken on its own turns as a brainless comic book movie, Spider-Man 3’s not all that bad. Certainly no better or worse in parts than such cinema classics as Ocean’s 11, X-Men 3, Blade 2 and others of the genre the eminent Mr. Medlo introduces in his comments. Shit, even Pirates 3 LOOKED fucking specatcular, even if it was a bloody mess. Like I say, it’s shooting fish in a barrel. What next? The earth-shattering revelation that Wil Wild West was appalling (if you discount the rather snazzy steam-powered spider thing … oh there I go again).

  9. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    Dave – Allow me to disabuse you of your notion. I’ve watched For The Love Of The Game, and the US box office takings for the movie lead me to suspect others have to.

  10. piqued Says:

    My turn

    The first two Evil Dead films are fantastic, the first one in particular was a gem back in the day, a day one of us can at least recall (you lot were being breast fed, though some of you were definitely on formula)

    Darkman didn’t go straight to DVD (I saw it in the cinema, it was on limited release and was a little shit, yes, but I’ve seen worse) and A Simple Plan is a great film

    Re. Spiderman, they’re okay for fucks sake, not seen 3 yet, I’ll probably like it though as I have a little sort of kink for him.

    *cums arc of white hot fat*

  11. Badger Madge Says:

    Swineshead – check your MySpace messages dude…

  12. Clarys Says:

    In comparison to Spiderman 1+2, 3 was enormously disappointing. I wasn’t going in there for my world to be altered cinematically, but I was expecting what I got from the others: enjoyment, fun and a few laughs. Instead it felt like a haphazard mess, and I was undoubtedly disappointed. A shame, it could have capped off the trilogy and made it all rather enjoyable and fun.

    I did nearly cry with shame when he sodding well landed in front of a screen sized american flag. Subtle as a brick – made the audience laugh heartily though.

  13. Badger Madge Says:

    I’ve not seen it yet, but it doesn’t bode well that the two main actors couldn’t be arsed to plug it loads on Wossy…

  14. Dave Medlo Says:

    How about the UK box office / rental takings for The Love the Game? We all know how Americans love their rounders…

  15. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    Dave – not the point. You said you didn’t think a single person had seen it. I have and I use the US cinema box-office as an example of others that did too.

    Piqued – Balls! The first two Evil Dead movies were ‘fantastic’ were they? So fanatstic that the director remade the first film cutting out all but two of that film’s central characters … wow that’s so fantastic. I’ve seen better comedies, better horrors, better horror-comedies and certainly better actors than the mugging buffoon Bruce Campbell in countless other films. Fantastic, my arse.

    Maybe Darkman came out in London, I don’t know. For the rest of us (that’s around 90% of the population), it was an STV stinker.

    And there you go again with your age superiority argument. Ladies and Gentlemen, Piqued comes from a time when legends and tales were handed down by minstrels in ancient English villages – he is the keeper of the secret that is called ‘You Had To Be There’ (which is why none of us can make up our minds whether World War II was horrible or fun). We young pups have to rely on recordings of films and music to unlock the mysteries of the past and make up our minds about things from Ye Olden Days … sadly our conclusions are invalid because, well, you had to be there.

    And anyway, I WAS there, thought they were shit at the time, still think they’re shit now.

  16. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    FANATSTIC? WHY DID I WRITE FANATSTIC??

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