So the Lovely Bride and I went to see Spider-Man 3 last night, and it was OK. The LB liked it more than I did, but it still worked on a lot of levels, and was the good, easy-going, action-packed summer blockbuster that media moguls dream of. There are few things I've noted, and I'll warn you about the big freaking SPOILERS right now.
1) Old People are Fonts of Wisdom: Every elder in this movie says the absolutely right thing at the right time, from Aunt May to Uncle Ben's flashback to Peter's landlord to Stan Lee to the Osborne's butler, for god's sake. All of them, wise sages with the perfect advice. Yes, the voice of the elder Osborn is evil and JJJameson is a fool, but while adults they are not in the elder category. With all that good advice on the loose, can NYC be anything less than heaven?
2) And this New York is New York of the sixties. Yeah, I know, they have cell phones and I-Pods, but the way everyone dresses and the demure nature of Times' Square and even Peter's scooter just screams the imaginary NY of 1967. It is the New York of "Breakfast at Tiffany's", "Bridget Loves Bernie", and "That Girl". I mean, I'm expecting to see Marlo Thomas as one of MJ's rivals, not Gwen Stacie.
3) There are a lot of weird time losses in the movie. The alien symbiote is grabs onto Peter's scooter and sneaks into his apartment in the first reel (to use the archaic phrase) then apparently hangs out, living off of cockroaches and old ritz crackers, before joining up with the body of Peter deep into the second act. Similarly, Peter and young Harry have a battle that wrecks Harry's appartment, and, despite having a BUTLER, nobody cleans up for a couple weeks as young Harry heals. At the time, you don't notice the long time jumps, but looking back, you say whathehey?
4) Peter was being a jerk BEFORE he got hooked up with the symbiote. Please note that. Really wrapped up with himself, to the point that he's not even paying attention to MJ's troubles. At the point where reunion is offered, and they reach out for each other, I want to shout "Run, woman, RUN! He's dangerous even when he isn't posessed!"
5) On the other hand, I want to use the alien symbiote excuse the next time the LB catches me eating chocolate ice cream from the container with my fingers.
6) And what's with this letting Sandman go because he didn't MEAN to kill the person he killed? The guy not only pounded the crud out of you, Spidey, and also kept all of NYC at bay while your girlfriend was threatened. I mean, you COULD have forgiven him AND brought him in for his crimes. Even if it is not murder one (and I think the case could have been made, happening as it did during commission of a crime), it WAS manslaughter.
7) Oh yeah, the biggest supervillain? The runaway crane. Out in Bellevue, cranes just fall down ONCE. Here, they whip around, taking huge gashes out of office buildings. Apparently construction cranes really, really, REALLY hate copying machines. (And I got lost in all the confusion and special effects - did Spider-Man ever rescue the Crane Operator in all that?)
8) And you know what I think? I think that May's old engagement ring is cursed. And she knows it. THAT'S the reason she wants to fob it off on Peter and not take it back. And indeed, in the movie, everything goes south for him as soon as he takes the ring.
So the movie has made metric tons of money, so they are going to keep going. The Spider-man villains' gallery has good but not unlimited depth, and with the resolution of the Green Goblin situation, there are still some options before you get to Rocket Racer and the Grizzley. Me, I would like to see JJJ get into his active phase against Spidey - Spider-slayers, creating the Scorpion as a competing hero, and the Jackal (complete with .... dare I say it? ... clones).
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