Friday, June 22, 2007

how i hope this review will just be about an aberration

i can't believe it took me close to two months to get around to seeing this:

spider-man 3
starring tobey maguire, kirsten dunst, james franco and thomas haden-church
directed by sam raimi
written by alvin sargent
viewed at the metreon imax screen, san francisco, ca

it breaks my heart to admit that the spider-man movie series finally (and sadly) lost its way.

the first two movies were really great. like, really really great. there was such a rich humanity in both of them that, although none of us are superheros, we can relate to the man who was. that was the magic of those spidey comic books that mesmerized me during my youth - all in all, peter parker was just a teenaged kid going through some pretty heavy stuff, the least of which was being bit by a radioactive spider.

and in the first two movies, even the villains, although over-the-top, had a human element to them. norman osborn was a power-hungry scientist that took performance enhancements that drove him crazy (although the real emotional heft in this storyline was manifested in the jealous and vindictive relationship between his son and peter parker).

doc ock was another scientist who was involved in a failed fusion accident that took the life of his beloved wife, and drove him in such a rage that he dedicated his own life to finish the experiment, the world be damned.

you have some of that in this one, too. the sandman was also involved in a scientific accident, but there was a humanity in what made him a villain. after all, he was just a man who made the wrong decisions in an effort to raise money for his sick child.

you don't have to agree with their mindsets, but it's clear where they were coming from. they were humanized.

if they stuck to that, i would have loved it. again, a relatable movie.

but the main focus, or so it seemed, was the black alien venom that overcame spidey, that amplified his bad qualities. the whole storyline seemed forced, from how he coincidentally contracted that, to how it affected him, to his emo haircut, to how it coincidentally found its way to peter parker's enemy - it was just too much. it didn't fit in the series. it just didn't work at all. too many coincidences. too many forced qualities.

it was one storyline too much, and not worth the time.

otherwise, i dug it. the fight scenes were fantastic. and it looked tremendous in most parts. and it still kept much of the charm from the previous two movies.

but the sheen is off, and my heart is breaking.

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