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Have you come here to play Jesus to the lepers in your head?

Smash Cut – Spider-Man 3

with 2 comments

WRITER’S NOTEAt long last, I am getting this posted.  And while it’s several weeks removed from holding any real pertinence, it at least gives me the practice of writing these things.  Just to forewarn you though, the tone of this thing reads with a little more pomposity than I would have liked.  I’ll try and do better next time. 

I approached Spider-Man 3 with a certain level of caution.  I never really liked the first film.  The Peter Parke/Mary Jane conflict worked for me, but when the villain looks like he bought his costume at Wal-Mart, I have hard time suspending my disbelief.  And I’m usually very good at that. 

The second film ignored such cringe-inducing elements, and instead dove into the heart of what makes Spider-Man such a great character—the awkward balance between hero and geek, and his struggle to figure out his purpose.  He begins film two conflicted and still somewhat of an enigma to the public, and by the end, he’s won the hearts of the girl, and the people as well.  Peter Parker is finally whole.  But, as my wife would lament, we haven’t seen the wedding yet.  Which means there’s still more story to tell…

The film essentially begins with a happy ending.  Spidey enjoys immense popularity now; MJ is singing on Broadway, and Peter Parker has decided he wants to get married.  The filmmakers have to create tension, and fast.  The only loose end left over from the last film is Harry Osborne’s thirst for vengeance, which won’t carry a film by itself.  Enter the Sandman, established as an object of revenge for Peter by his insertion into Uncle Ben’s death.  You can feel the contrivance already.

Conflict quickly erupts between…
–Peter and Harry
–Peter and the mysterious black suit
–Peter and the Sandman
–Peter and Edward Brock, the new photographer at the Bugle
–Peter and MJ and Gwen Stacy, the girl in his science class
–Peter and Brock and the black suit and…

It’s a lot to cram into 140 minutes. 

I probably would have had a better time had the filmmakers not tried to cram so much into the story.  Topher Grace (Brock) and Bryce Dallas Howard (Stacy) lend a fresh energy to their roles, and building the story around Peter’s interactions with them (and the black suit) might have made a better film.  The themes of redemption and forgiveness, while handled with suitable aplomb, might have made a deeper impact had we been allowed to get to know these characters better.  The Sandman—more of a rehash of the misunderstood villain that characterized Dr. Octopus—just gets in the way. 

A bloated plot allows only a little room for proper resolution.  We still do not get to see a wedding (sorry, honey), and, well, you know what that means…

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Written by taj

June 2, 2007 at 6:43 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Originally submitted by Darth Vertigo (and not posted for some strange reason)…

    This is probably the first time we disagree on something. I liked all three films, and thought the third to be the best of the three. I can see your point of view, though.

    The one major issue I do have with these films is that it departs from the mythology at a very key point in the development of Peter Parker/Spiderman’s character: the Gwen Stacy/Mary Jane love-triangle.

    If I remember correctly without depending on Wikipedia, there was always a certain tension between Mary Jane and Peter, but then Peter met and became involved with Gwen Stacy early on – probably around the time, in the film, Peter became involved with Mary Jane. The three of them remained friends, along with Harry Osborn, however things got complicated thanks to Harry’s
    father, Norman.

    Norman, the Green Goblin, became Spiderman’s arch-nemesis, but was ultimately (and accidentally) killed in battle with Spiderman – a detail which the film seems to get exactly right. Harry Osborn, driven by revenge, takes up the Goblin identity (and I have to say the outfit in the film for Harry’s “New Goblin” DID look like it came from Wal-Mart). Harry was deeply troubled by family and fatherhood issues, as well as a dangerous flirtation with drug use, which had serious results for his psyche.

    I can’t remember if it was Norman or Harry, but in a battle with Spiderman, the Goblin took a blow to the head in a chemical factory explosion and forgot who he was. The relationship with Peter was healed, as the Goblin also forgot Spiderman’s identity. However, the Goblin eventually remembered
    everything and was more determined than ever to destroy Spiderman – but to make him suffer first.

    The Goblin kidnapped Gwen Stacy and took her to the top of the Brooklyn Bridge in New York. Spiderman took off to rescue her, but the Goblin tossed her off the bridge. The force of the fall killed Gwen, though whether it was her impact with the water, the speed of her fall, or Spiderman’s webbing
    catching her and snapping her neck, I don’t know. I suspect the latter due to the incredible guilt Spiderman will always feel afterward.

    The death of Gwen Stacy is one of the most defining moments in the life of Peter/Spiderman, probably second to the death of his uncle Ben. The period following finds Peter’s relationship with Mary Jane becoming more defined, and it’s only at that point that they become involved and eventually marry.

    The films focus on the relationship with Mary Jane, and this is extremely disappointing to me. I believe the Gwen Stacy relationship DEFINES Peter on a fundamental level, particularly the loss of that relationship.

    taj

    June 6, 2007 at 10:46 am

  2. video game,pc game,xbox game,wii game,ps3 game

    Good comments. I\\\\\\\’ll definitely put this one on my \\\\


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