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SPIDER-MAN 3, 2007
Movie Reviews!

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SPIDER-MAN 3 MOVIE POSTER
SPIDER-MAN 3, 2007
Movie Reviews

Directed by Sam Raimi
Starring: Tobey Maguire, Kirstin Dunst, James Franco, Thomas Haden Church, Topher Grace, Bryce Dallas Howard
Review by Andrew Kosarko



SYNOPSIS:

A strange black entity from another world bonds with Peter Parker and causes inner turmoil as he contends with new villains, temptations, and revenge.

REVIEW:

I don’t hate this movie nearly as much as everyone else does. Granted, it pales in comparison to the first two, but the film is still pretty badass….when it wants to be. And I mean exactly that. When it wants to be. It is pretty well known among the fan bases that Sam Raimi’s original plans were to only have Sandman as the main villain and play with the theme of forgiveness. And if you watch this film and you take out the entire Venom subplot, you can see where they were going with it. And it had the possibility of standing just as strong as the second film does. But the studio behind it “forced” the Venom into the film because the fanbase wanted him so much. This film is a standing testament to the “art” of storytelling. Not the numbers.

The Story:

Like I said, take the venom stuff out and you can see the potential of the film. But we cannot judge the film on what it could have been, only what it is. The action sequences are truly what can redeem this film. They’re so imaginative and well shot that you cannot help but have your eyes glued to it. The theme rings so well in the scenes about forgiveness. Peter and Harry, Aunt May and Peter, Sandman and his family. The story really goes south with the inclusion of the Venom storyline. Venom is one of the most beloved of comic book super villains, third only to the Joker and Lex Luthor. His entire storyline is relatable to everything going on, but more of an off-shoot than a “need to be addressed” kind of thing. Plus, it feels as though he’s forced into the plot as well. “I want to kill the spider, you want to kill the spider.” I cringe every time I hear that line. It takes me back to the horrible precedent set by Batman Returns in 1992. Apparently if two Super villains are in the same film together, then HAVE to be in league with one another. In my experience, bad people don’t team up. They fight each other and the hero. Which still makes things worse for the hero. Evil allegiances are just so weak unless there’s hidden motive behind one of the villains and they plan to screw over the other one quite royally. But not here. Past killing Spider-man there’s really no goal for Venom nor Sandman. They just….exist. And stuff. *sarcasm* Yay……..not.

Tobey Maguire - Peter Parker / Spider-man: There’s nothing here different from much of what happened in the first two films. Maguire’s comedy of being an asshole while being symbiote overtaken is spot on. He can be quite the asshole when he wants to be. Other times, he a jazz singing emo kid. But that’s not so much his fault. He has to do what Raimi and the script say. But the emotions he hits are quite believable throughout the film (sans his crying at the end.).

Kirsten Dunst – Mary Jane Watson: Again, she’s less annoying in this film, but quite annoying still. Throughout MJ’s troubles with Peter, I keep wondering why he wants this girl’s love when he could have Gwen Stacy who’s cute, lovable and soooooo much hotter.

James Franco – Harry Osbourn: He’s like the Katy Perry song the whole time. Hot and cold throughout the film. When he has amnesia (don’t get me started on that horrible storyline.) he acts like he has a mental disability. Like a retardation. It’s so bad. You can’t help but laugh with him. Then when he’s right back in the game and full fledged Harry… you dig it. He’s so evil and badass. He’s a good friend. Franco can play anything as long as you don’t tell him he has amnesia. He treats it like down syndrome.

Thomas Hayden Church – Flint Marco / Sandman: He’s good. Believable to the most extent. I really felt for his daughter and his relationship. Whoever played his wife was horrible though. Or it could have been the editing. Sometimes you can’t tell, and this is one of those times.

Topher Grace – Eddie Brock / Venom: I mean….no. I understand the whole “Peter’s exact opposite clone” idea behind him. But this isn’t all that great of casting. Hell, if Maguire ever left the Spider-man franchise, ask any fanboy. This guy was the next contender for the red and blue tights. Some even say he was always the only person for it. And now he never will be. Grace plays him well as an egotistical jerk who tries to trump Peter at every turn, but it just doesn’t work. Bryce Dallas Howard – Gwen Stacy: Completely wasted. She’s such a better actress than Dunst. The character is a very important one in the Spider-man mythos and she just goes to waste. Howard is a great actress and I would have enjoyed seeing more of her but it just ain’t happening. This saddens me.

Rosemary Harris / Cliff Robertson: Aunt May / Uncle Ben – Always good. Uncle Ben talking to Peter isn’t in this film so you lose some characterization of him, but Aunt May is just as great as she is in Spider-man 2. The strongest of the whole cast in my opinion. There’s not a second that I don’t believe anything she says or does.

JK Simmons: JJ Jameson – As always just freaking perfectly amazing. That’s bad sentence structure, but I don’t care. He’s just that damn good. Once again, I would like to see him included in the film as something more than just the Bugle editor in chief, but this film has enough going on that I understand it. I just want to see him in some kind of peril. *fingers crossed for Spider-man 4.*

Directing:

Ok…here’s where I go off the wall. Seriously Sam Raimi, you dropped the ball. You made it past the defensive line and had no one chasing you. You could have walked into the end zone for the final touches of victory on this trilogy and you would have been admired for years to come for your work. Sadly, you let the studio muscle on to your art and look what happened when you don’t stick to your principals. You came off the best Superhero film to date and you had all the bargaining power but you let them get to you. If you did not have a passion for Venom in the storyline, the very least you could have done was to find someone who absolutely loved the character and helped you nail the characterization and usage (*raises hand*). In addition, I understand that as a film making technique that seeing an actor’s face to convey emotion is an essential storytelling technique. That being said, the constant varying of mask on, mask off, mask on, mask off just takes away from the narrative. When Spider-man is fighting, I don’t have to see Maguire’s eye and nose to believe he’s fighting. I actually don’t want to. I want to see Spider-man. Not Peter Parker. I want to see Peter Parker when it comes to the self reflection and decision making moments. In addition, being evil is not the same as being “emo”. It’s just disappointing. Badasses are not jazz dancing, hair over eyes whiney brats. Exposition is not revealed by butlers at random points in the movie. Amnesia is a tired and annoying story element. As director, you take the blame for these faults in the film.

Cinematography:

Bill Pope – Solid. The shots are visually engaging and breath taking. The story is well told from the shot by shot perspective. Nothing seemed out of place or un-necessary. Colors looks brilliant and excellently translated from comics to film. Actually on second thought, there’s one shot that was out of place. In a scene where Sandman runs from the cops and hides in a dump truck full of sand the camera is bouncy and rough. Almost as if it was following a “Cops tv show” format. The only reason is that the camera wasn’t mounted on a Steady-cam mount (or at least doesn’t look like it) and is in so much contrast with the smooth camera work that plays throughout the film. The follow along idea is fine, but the camera operation was poor. But just for that one spot.

Production Design:

Again, solid as the second film. Everything is well made and believable. I’m not too hot the design of the “New Goblin” that Harry becomes. It seems as though he’s a crazed snowboarder but whatever. I can deal with it. Everything else is well done.

Editing:

At some points, the emotion comes off cheesy. This is not always the acting, directing, camera work or the story in general. Flawless editing can save all those things. I wasn’t on set or in the editing suite so I have no idea what there was to play with. But I felt that the editing wasn’t doing much to try and save those scenes from being too over the top and forced. Score: Christopher Young takes over the reigns from Danny Elfman for this installment. I had always felt since the first Spider-man that Elfman didn’t really nail a strong theme for this hero. And while Young continues with the Spider-man theme that Elfman created for continuity sake, and I appreciate that, he takes the other cues in the score head on. The scores for the other villains are so full of rich characterization that it does a fantastic job of saving some of the moments that the editing, directing, acting and writing failed to help with. Especially the Sandman cues.

Special Effects:

Ah-maze-ing. I am absolutely shocked that this film was not nominated for an academy award for it’s special and visual effects. I could watch the “birth of a Sandman” scene on repeat for an hour (actually….I have haha) and still be totally immersed in it. The visual effects in that scene along with the sound work and the score were just breath taking. I never have seen such a breathtaking realistic visual effect work since Jurassic Park. Just great. In closing:

This film wanted to be so much. And it could have been. But the money blinded the film makers and they fell for it. If it had been me, I would have not included Venom. I would have had Eddie Brock and the symbiote in the film because it means so much. But the story could have saved them and focused more on Sandman and the forgiveness angle. Build up a Peter/Eddie rivalry. Peter would have been more of a jerk than an emo kid and by the end fight I would have had Peter stop fighting Sandman to forgive him and then choose to rid himself of the symbiote after he saw that Harry forgave him for what happened and then take himself to the bell tower to rid himself of it for once and for all. Then Venom is born, leaving a lot of room for the next film for him to re-build everything he destroyed. But that’s just me. In the end, the film isn’t as bad the second time you watch it. It gets less annoying the more you do it fact. But the first viewing isn’t all that great. My advice is to watch it once and then let some time go by to digest it. Then watch it again and you’ll see the potential of what could have been. Then I would welcome you to the world that fanboys live in every day. Knowing the potential of what could have been, but what is not because of greed and lack of passion.


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