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Spider-Man 3 [Reino Unido] [Blu-ray]
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Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) finally has the girl of his dreams, Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst), and New York City is in the throes of Spider-mania! But when a strange alien symbiote turns Spider-Man's suit black, his darkest demons come to light changing Spider-Man inside as well as out. Spider-Man is in for the fight of his life against a lethal mix of villains - the deadly Sandman (Thomas Haden Church), Venom (Topher Grace), and the New Goblin (James Franco) - as well as the enemy within himself.
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Right up there with Bryan Singer's "X-Men", the "Spider-Man" movies have been the epitome of superhero movies since it started. Throwing in high-quality acting talent, a twisted sense of humor (from the likes of J.K. Simmons as arrogant Daily Bugle chief J. Jonah Jameson and Bruce Campbell playing different roles), affecting drama, slick special effects, and slam-bang action, director Sam Raimi has created a treat for the eyes and the heart that would lead up to "Spider-Man 3". In work since "Spider-Man 2", this is Raimi's most ambitious, expensive (the budget comes in at a whopping $250 million) project. And the wait was worth it.
It's also long. Clocking in at two hours AND thirty minutes, "SM3" is loaded with everything. Raimi includes another batch of villains to the process, which include New Goblin, Sandman, and Venom, with aliases of misunderstood chums (Harry Osbourne is filled with passion to kill Peter Parker/Spider-Man, whom he believes to be his father's killer; Flint Marko is an ex-con who does whatever it takes to help his ailing daughter, even though his wife totally despises him; Eddie Brock is upset at Peter Parker for exposing him of a fraud, and a symbiote from Peter's suit turns him into the maniacal Venom). Raimi doesn't mind letting the viewer care for them, even though they're doing awful things (the Marko subplot is the most effective).
Of course, he throws in a bunch of useless subplots. The revealing of Marko as the man who killed Uncle Ben, while weaving into the story, doesn't seem satisfactory. The Gwen Stacy subplot seems like an attempt of soap opera ridiculousness, something that the series knew well of steering clear from. And Mary Jane Watson still has no luck keeping a job (this whole subplot is getting old fast, even though Dunst manages to leave with a shred of dignity thanks to some effective line-readings). It seems like Raimi was afraid that his iconic franchise might come to an end (which it fitfully does), considering rumors going about, that he decided to throw everything but the kitch sink. Sharp line readings and good story-telling aside, maybe they should've saved some of that stuff for the recent video game adaptation.
As usual, star Tobey Maguire is sharp and intense as he's ever been. With Peter Parker faced with alot of drama in his life - losing M.J., turning into an egomaniac that would put Tom Cruise to shame, and fighting off his enemies - the actor helps all of Parker's actions ring true. While he does overplay his hand with a dose of weepy scenes, that doesn't mean he continues sharing great chemistry with co-star Dunst (who still works her magic, but that ain't no surpris).
The rest of the cast fares well. James Franco, coming off a series of bombs ("Annapolis", "Flyboys", and "Tristan & Isolde"), reclaims his powerful, brooding performance as Harry. Topher Grace, J.K. Simmons, and Bruce Campbell (now playing a French waiter) provide plenty of comic relief in their roles. Thomas Haden Church, known for playing the cocky friend of Paul Giamatti's character in "Sideways", is affecting in his role as an ex-con who may or may not have purposely killed Uncle Ben. Other memorable performances also come from smaller roles played by Elizabeth Banks (Betty Brandt) and Bill Nunn (Robbie) among others.
I'll go out on a limb here and say that "SM3" is a delgiht. The film ends on a note that the trilogy has come full circle, which probably explains why so many characters and subplots have been added. If so, hat's off to Raimi for making one of the best comic book movies of all time.
That may have been passable in the summer of 2007, but now we have The Avengers saga and The Dark Knight trilogy that have set the bar so high that movies like them should be treated with the utmost respect and care. The addition of Gwen Stacy seemed rather pointless to me, unless they planned on ellaborating on the love triangle between her, Peter, and Mary Jane from the comics in later installments that never came to fruition. The running time was noticably longer than the previous two films, and it felt like a bloated Thanksgiving turkey. There's no reason the two dance scenes should have made the final cut. Some editors and directors don't understand what truly qualifies as a "Deleted Scene". Aside from the dance scenes, perhaps the biggest issue I have with this film is the treatment of my all-time favorite Spidey villain, Venom. Venom was so obviously a late addition to the script that it made me mad. And in addition to that, he was not the towering, manacing presence that we know him as. I must admit though, I loved the wonderful, yet very predictable team-ups of Spider-Man and the New Goblin versus Sandman and Venom. That really brought something to the movie when it was in desperate need of a kick-start. Spidey 3 was not the disaster it has so often been called by geeks and armchair critics alike, but it wasn't an achievement either.
Now for the Blu-ray treatment of this rather mid-level, if slightly above average comic book film. Simply put, it's reference quality. The audio and video transfers are pretty much flawless. Unlike the re-releases of the first two films, this one actually loses great extras that were on the first releases. Because of that, I have to dock it considerably in the extras department. All said, I Recommend it, but get the first release.
For instance, is Thomas Haden Church's Sandman necessary to this film? Granted he lets the dark Spiderman loose for a bit, but both The New Goblin and Venom get their turns as bad spidey bait. It also sucked points away by convoluting plot points and weakly re-writing the circumstances of Uncle Ben's death. The movie's pace would have significantly improved had the conflicts been more limited to Peter, Harry and Eddie Brock. Since the main focus was on Harry and Peter's attention to Mary Jane and Eddie's anger at losing his girl to Peter, it would have tightened the story if Sandman had been saved for later.
The conflict also gives Tobey Maguire a chance to goof around with the role. His moments as Dark Peter Parker are some of the film's funniest (following J.K. Simmons as J. Johah Jameson), and his antics in the jazz-cafe were the ones that got the big reaction in the theater I was watching this. I also found it amusing that when Peter gets bad his bangs suddenly fall down his face and he looks like he should be joining a Fall Out Boy/My Chemical Romance concert.
What all this crowding does accomplish is a shortchanging of character development. How Sandman and Venom form an alliance in zero seconds flat is whiplash inducing as is the almost total lack of development in Topher Grace's character. He's brought in so quickly you wonder how he became so angry so fast in his evolution into Venom. Aunt May is barely in the plot at all; Peter's apartment manager and daughter get more significance. Harry/The New Goblin plays a major role throughout, but his character stages are done so abruptly that, once again, you end up wondering what the heck just happened here.
This probably won't distract you from all the action, and Sam Raimi again delivers the goods. The flights, fights and special effects are astonishing as ever. Spiderman's suits are as sleek and cool as before, and all the gimmicks will keep your eyes on the screen. So will the obligatory Stan Lee cameo. All told, "Spiderman 3" is not a bad movie, but given that both one and two were amazing, it is still a minor let-down.
With the amount of character content that was introduced in this latest installment, I think Sam Raimi did an outstanding job. He gave the fans exactly what they had been looking and asking for. Of course, any one of the villains this time out could have had their own Spidey film (and perhaps should have) but again, the fans had spoken and to me, it was handled marvelously.
The character and story progression was handled very well. The action was just what you've come to expect from Raimi (and he didn't disappoint!)and the pacing was just enough that I didn't find myself restless at anytime due to the length of the film. I think that Raimi presented us with one of the truest presentations of comic-to-film adaptations possible, and no one can take that away from him (THE most true to date - TO ME - was SIN CITY, Rodriguez just dumped the film straight from the comic to the screen with that one). I loved the Goblin upgrade. I loved the Sandman CGI and battle sequences with our hero. I loved Venom (although, admittedly, wished that there could have been more time with him) and the over-all satisfaction and relief I felt after 1st hearing that there was even going to BE an S3 (you kind of get a little worried about sequel disappointment - "awww maaann, they should have stopped at 2" Blade 3 anyone?).
Of course it was far from a flawless film but the things that I would pick on that I didn't like would probably be glossed over by someone else (I LIKED the little dance number Peter had and the Travolta, 'Saturday Night Fever' shout out Raimi added)so I won't bore you with what I felt were shortcomings and let you make your own decisions.
What it boils down to is Yeah, I'd recommend this film to my pickiest friends with a cheese eating grin on my face and two thumbs way the heck up. I could get into some of the other unfolding story and character points but honestly feel that you'd like to see what they are for yourself (and hope you won't think me a sucky reviewer after seeing it). Go. There's nothing stopping you...