Spiderman 3 review by The Grim Ringler

Spiderman 3

Spiderman 3

Before I lay into the man, I have to admit it Sam Raimi was right. All along he said he didnt want to do a Spidey story about Venom or Carnage, basically feeling that there was little to work with emotionally with those characters, and he was right. Totally right. What Spiderman 3 reveals is that the suits are full of crap. The suits behind the scenes were the ones pulling for Venom, and it was they, and the suits at Marvel that thought they knew best. Well, they must have said, its what the fans want. Oh, sure, the fans that dont care much about the story arc of the series, and just like the monsters of Spiderman. Sure, theyll love it. The rest of us, well, the rest of us got this. So yeah, the fans got what they wanted, and the suits got what they wanted, but poor old Sam, and poor old us, we got a mixed bag that gives us both too much and too little all at once.

Peter Parker is happy. Happier than hes ever been. He has his girl, Mary Jane, he is doing well in school, and Spiderman is finally being appreciated by the city he protects. Its good to be him. Perhaps too good though. With the popularity of Spidey on the rise, Peter starts losing the grip he has on his ego. This escalates when Peter, as Spidey, lets a ceremony giving him the key to the city get out of hand and kisses the presenter, a woman he has a class with and had saved recently. Peter, who has always been so focused on everyone else, is finally focusing on himself, which is made all the worse because Mary Jane truly needs him as her own acting career takes a tumble. Its this distance between them that opens the door for Harry Osborne to step back into the picture. Harry, who has taken up the mantle of Green Goblin for his father, has suffered amnesia from a battle with Spiderman but has come through that the better for it. He has forgotten the anger, and the notion that Spidey/Peter killed his father, and is back to his old self. Mary, lonely and needing attention, turns to Harry and it is a kiss she gives him out of her pain that sets Harry back onto the path of the Goblin. Suddenly, with that bitterness and some alcohol, the voice of his father is as clear as ever and he knows what he must do to kill the head, you attack the heart. Harry sets his eyes on Mary Jane then, hoping to break Peter emotionally. What this does though is open the door for Venom, the symbiotic sludge from outer space that has adopted Peter as its ideal partner. With the symbiote suit on, Spidey is stronger, faster, and far more cruel and heartless. It is in this suit that Spidey hunts down the real man responsible for Uncle Bens death. Sandman, an escaped convict who has been transformed and bonded into a shape shifting man of sand bent on stealing enough money to pay for his daughters medical bills. Things come to a head when Harry and Spidey in the gray Venom suit have another fight which leaves Harry badly wounded and scarred and which amplifies the rage of Peter over his loss of Mary Jane. Realizing what a monster he is becoming, Peter fights and defeats the suit and its power over him, only to release its malevolence onto Eddie Brock, a rival photographer at the Bugle who Peter had gotten fired. With the re-appearance of Sandman, and Brock giving in completely to the Venom suit, these two enemies of Spidey forge an unlikely alliance set their sights on killing Spiderman. Mary Jane has again become the target for Peters enemies and he must face Sandman and Venom alone if he is to save his love, but he may need the help of an unlikely ally himself if he is to stand a chance.

Sound complicated? It is. Boy is it ever. The biggest problem here is too much. They were trying to do too much with the story and with Peter and his heros journey. There is a lot of good, but there is almost as much bad. There are some wonderfully done moments of Peter fighting the pull of the Venom suit, and the attraction to mete out punishment in it, but then there are scenes that are simply ridiculous. Instead of keeping things simple, there is an embarrassingly elaborate scene in which Pete tries to show up and embarrass Mary Jane at a night club shes working at. There are too many scenes that are not just awkward but are downright embarrassing. These sorts of scenes worked in the first film because we were getting to know Pete and could laugh at him, but here, its a mockery of that scene, and it doesnt work. Thats the thing too, there are a lot of echoes in this film, of the first and second films. I love that idea, as its great to see those themes renewed, but it doesnt work here. Its done sloppily and I can think only of two moments where this works. There are such great leaps in logic that it defies even comic book craziness.

But there are good moments.

The finale works. The final battle works. The resolution for Sandman and Harry work. There are moments of pain and drama in the film that work, just as the few moments of terror regarding Venom. The battle for Peters very soul is fantastic, as is the journey of Harry. But dammit, this stuff isnt enough.

Yeah, the special effects are great but the characters are so false. Eddie Brock is a joke. Mary Jane STILL plays third fiddle to everything else in the film. Venom is done well, but there is so little time with Venom himself that you dont get the fear and terror of the character. This is the villain, so far, that should match Spidey completely, and even better him, and while the big battle is nice, its doesnt do justice to the character. Sandman is great, but his backstory is shown then dropped as if it didnt even matter at all. I love the humanizing of the villains but it only works if theres some sort of resonance that lasts throughout the film. And honestly, there are too damn moments that seem to play to the audience and not the characters. The beauty of these films has been that the characters came first but here, its action first, characters, well, third.

Problem one dont let the suits run the movie. If you want this guy to make your movies, trust him to make them. Sure, Venom is an interesting character but give him a whole movie. Hell, the problem here is the same with the old Batman movies too many villains. You dont always need a ton of villains to prove that its an important movie. Or last film. Or whatever. Problem two dont tell us its a trilogy. Say its the last movie that these people are working on. I am sure well see more Spidey, with a new director and cast, and thats fine, but if you try to do too much with this one movie it sets up unattainable goals. And this shows.

But is it bad?

No, no its not.

At all.

Its just that this is decent, and no more than that. Its not awful, though moments certainly are, but this could have been so much more. Have the story about Harry and Sandman. These are two stories that define who this Peter Parker is. Venom should be in say, film five, after you deal with one more regular villain like Lizard or Hobgoblin. There are so many ways to do this and they tried to do too much in one movie. Its a wonder that there ARE nice moments here and I credit Raimi for that. Shame on him for letting them do this to his film, but at least he tried to keep it as emotionally honest as possible.

Oh, and Bruce Campbell is fabulous and plays his best character of the series, yet.

See it if youre a fan. Dont read the spoilers. See it and judge for yourself. Its better than people are saying but is really the least of the series. I think Spidey has earned a break, and a new direction for the future.


6 out of 10 Jackasses
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