The Spider-Man saga didn’t end with a bang like everyone was hoping and so we take a visit to the third and final film to see where it all went wrong. I would like to mention that what I want to talk about may involve some plot points, but all spoilers will be left in the spoiler’s edition as always.
The severely underrated cast returns with its mainstays of Maguire, Dunst and Franco, but also welcomes some new faces with Bryce Dallas Howard as Gwen Stacy, Topher Grace as Eddie Brock, and Thomas Haden Church as Flint Marko/The Sandman.
Spider-Man and Peter Parker have finally gotten to where they want to be in life. The media and public have finally embraced him as the protector of the city and Parker has finally gotten the love of his life by his side. The only problem is that his best friend Harry Osborn knows that Peter is Spider-Man and believes Spider-Man killed his father and so by default Harry wants to kill Peter.
We’ve got new villains in Eddie Brock/Venom and Flint Marko/The Sandman. As I discussed in my review of Spider-Man 2, these films rely so heavily on its characters that it’s essential that they give our villains complexity and depth and they succeed in doing so somewhat. Eddie Brock is a guy who’s life never goes his way, which is more due to his poor character and life choices than on luck. He’s a guy hellbent on revenge and that’s really all there is to it. Grace doesn’t create a stench of lackluster acting by any means, but it’s also a character that I’ve seen far too many times and requires an actor who can sell me on his originality and unique qualities as well as dialogue that aids him in that endeavor. With Brock, we don’t really get a lot of that and I don’t really feel that sorry for the guy because most of the pain and embarrassment he suffers is of his own doing.
Marko on the other hand is a different story…slightly. Church has some broad strokes to his character that allow some depth but not as much as I was expecting from a Spider-Man film. Marko’s daughter is sick and he’s trying to get the money to pay for her medical bills. Its emotional appeal hits on some points and misses on others, something I feel is accredited to the fact that this character didn’t come out of a cauldron of creativity. Once again, it’s a role I’ve seen before and while Church has his moments, I’m not persuaded.
The action scenes continue their steady incline of progress although they’re not that much better than Spider-Man 2. Comedic lines were more prominent, which was much appreciated.
Now let’s get down to business and talk about what’s really wrong with this film: Peter Parker. It’s not Tobey Maguire although I was occasionally ranting at the television as if it was his fault, but truly it isn’t and I send Mr. Maguire my sincerest apologizes. The symbiote known as Venom makes his entrance and really from there the film goes downhill. For those of you who still haven’t seen this (how dare you), that’s like 10 minutes in. You see, the problem is the screenwriters got too antsy about turning our beloved Spider-Man into an egotistical bigot before he actually interacted with the symbiote, causing Parker to do things that he wouldn’t do. I’m basing this off of the character of Peter Parker. Obviously, this is a subjective concept, so I’m not right or wrong, this is purely opinion. Parker is a caring, intelligent and selfless guy, someone who puts others before himself, and so on and so on. Can we agree that this is a basic sketch of who Parker is? If you can, great. If you can’t, bear with me.
Mary Jane’s acting career isn’t set in stone just yet and whenever she tries to confide in Peter how she feels, he just relates everything to himself or Spider-Man. This is before he connects himself with the symbiote. Now, does this sound like something a selfless person would do? He accepts the key to the city and decides to take the special moment that only he and Mary Jane had, the Spidey-hanging-from-a-roof kiss, and do the same thing with Gwen Stacy. Mary Jane isn’t happy with this and I wouldn’t be either. Does this sound like something a caring and smart person would do, someone who knows how Mary Jane takes things?
Before we move on, we must address the purpose of the symbiote as well as what it actually does because Jon and I had a disagreement regarding it yesterday and so I want to explain what my viewpoint is so you know where I’m coming from.
Jon kept saying that once Parker interacted with the suit that he no longer had control of himself or could be held responsible for his actions, which I disagreed with. If you google “define symbiote”, it will explain that they’re a fiction parasite from the Marvel Comics and that:
“The Symbiotes envelop their hosts like costumes, creating a parasitic bond through which the host’s mind can be influenced.”
Notice I bolded the word influenced because that is the important word. It does not say control or manipulate. It says influence, meaning it tries to persuade Parker to do things but the choice is his. It gives me the impression that Parker is in the frame of mind of a person suffering from some sort of addiction. He keeps giving in to temptation and wants to continue to do it, not fully understanding the consequences of his actions. He’s still making the decisions. As further proof, he takes off the black suit at one point in the film, voluntarily and without any problem at all. If the symbiote was controlling him and he had no control of what he was doing, do you think the symbiote would have let it be separated from Parker? No, that wouldn’t make any sense. The more he wears it, the stronger the coercion and power it gives him, making it harder to break the “addiction” as in real life addictions.
Because of this, everything that Parker does in this film as both himself and Spider-Man he is responsible for. He does have outside forces interfering with how he would do things but he still is capable of choosing the right course of action. Parker fails to do the right thing again…and again…and again…and again…and again…and again, so much so that I got to the point of hating the character on the screen. Spider-Man is my favorite superhero and I was disgusted with the guy. Spider-Man has perhaps the highest moral compass of any of the more popular superheroes, so if anyone would be able to resist the temptations of the symbiote, it would be Spider-Man, but instead he proves to be just as bad as the average joe, doing things so uncharacteristic of himself that I didn’t even think I was watching Spider-Man anymore. It felt like I was watching M. Night Shyamalan take a dump on the character we all know and love and turn him into the ugliest filth humanly possible. Pretty hard to root for someone like that.
Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.
50-59 This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (Aliens, Alien Resurrection, Full Metal Jacket, Thor, You’re Next)
40-49 This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (Pitch Black, Alien, Serendipity, Cowboys and Aliens, 300: Rise of an Empire)
0-19 Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (Midnight Cowboy, Dark Fury, Alien 3, Open Grave)
My score for Spider-Man 3: 82.
The blame for the collapse of this trilogy may fall on the shoulders of Maguire and Dunst, but truly belongs to the developers of the script. A film that tried to show us a darker side ended up creating a whole different movie and along with some cornyness towards the end of the film, caused Spider-Man fandom to leave the theater disgusted.
*SPOILER ALERT* IF YOU DON’T WANT THE MOVIE SPOILED, STOP READING!!!
When Harry threatens Mary Jane and tells her that if she doesn’t break up with Peter, he’s going to kill him, why does she do what he asks? I mean, he’s Spider-Man. Meet him at the bridge like you said you would and then say, “Hey, Harry’s got his memory back and says if I don’t break up with you he’s going to kill you.” There’s no way Harry can hear their conversation that far away from the bridge and so there’s no risk in telling him that. From here, you also have quite a couple of options of what you can do. 1) Mary Jane could “fake” break up with him and make it seem like Harry got what he wanted, Mary Jane goes unharmed and then Peter beats him up. 2) Peter and Mary Jane walked across the bridge to Harry and try to get him to stop being stupid and if not, Peter beats him up. I don’t think Harry would try to kill Mary Jane. 3) You walk away and do nothing. While an option, I wouldn’t consider it. 4) Mary Jane can actually break up with him, causing Peter to go into a bout of depression, destroy Harry’s crib and blow half his face off, which then results in Peter being an egotistical, self-absorbed prick and so on and so on. Mary Jane chose option 4, probably the worst option on here aside from option 3, although if she had picked 3 I probably would have been happier.
Finally, the romance between Mary Jane and Peter is left with a cliffhanger, which is just mean. They hint that they could be back together but they don’t come right out and say it either, not to mention that how she could give him a second chance I don’t know because he doesn’t deserve it. It’s just a movie that makes me very angry to watch, but not because it’s one of the worst ever seen.