Along came a spidey…a very expensive spidey. Peter Parker and Mary Jane were back with Spiderman 3 this weekend in the gruesome company of some new trouble-making, super-villains to break the United States box office record for an opening weekend.
The film, which is reportedly the costliest ever made, injected an almighty buzz into State Street’s Metro 4 movie theater on Saturday. Sold-out signs were plentiful, even though the entire theater was solely dedicated to showing the film, and I was fortunate to get tickets two hours before the start time.
So was this fun-fantasy film worth such massive commotion? I’m afraid not. Clever marketing that cost more bucks than some entire nations can muster was probably the reason movie-goers were so drawn.
From the off, the relationship between Spiderman/Peter Parker (Toby Maguire) and “MJ” (Kirsten Dunst) was far from convincing and I couldn’t help viewing them as actors rather than characters. The altercation from MJ’s former boyfriend Harry Osborn/New Goblin (James Franco) does, however, make things a little more engaging. Just as Spiderman is enjoying life as Manhattan’s savior, things get tangled. A mysterious black, gooey, alien parasite consumes him with rage and a brand spanking new black Spiderman outfit to boot, and causes him to push away his loved ones.
The theme of the film is that superheroes have a dark side, but the supposed dark side to Spiderman offered up nothing more sinister than a bar fight. This was perhaps to indicate how nice a guy he truly is, but I would have liked to see something more devilish. One scene involved Peter Parker strutting ridiculously confidently down the street, eyeing up the woman, dressed in all black with a hint of eyeliner. Was this supposed to be the dark or the damn right idiotic side? It was almost a parody of his own toothless character.
The villain Venom is introduced when Spiderman’s gooey parasite finds a new host in his not-so-friendly co-worker at the Daily Bugle, Eddie Brock. In revenge for getting him fired, Brock (Topher Grace) goes after Spiderman in his own black spider outfit equipped with a Jaws-like smile and deafening squeal.
On top of altercations with Venom and New Goblin, Spiderman has to combat Sandman-linked with the murder of his uncle-who can turn from human to sand quicker than a small egg timer will alarm. The special effects team really did the business, but Venom and New Goblin would fail to scare my 7-year-old sister.
The film did have comedic value, even if it was unintentional. Scenes were often transitioned by lackluster one-liners that bought about embarrassed chuckles rather than reactions to creative wit.
On a positive note, the film was a thrill-ride for the senses, if not the emotions. The slick Spiderman latex looked better than ever and along with visually stunning villains and busy fight sequences, the film probably had enough to completely satisfy comic book fans and the younger generation. The blistering sound effects seemed to shake the walls and top-notch music helped string the romantic scenes along and pump life into the action, especially in the climactic showdown.
Sony Pictures have said they plan to make a fourth, fifth and sixth film, as long the story lines are there. In other words, as long as they can make money they will make the films.
Spiderman 3 was a web that will hold action junkies. However people expecting to be whisked away into a fantastic fantasy world will be crawling away in disappointment.