Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here. So I assume you’ve seen this already. I’m not sure how that’s any different than what we’ve been hearing since even before SPIDER-MAN 2 came out, but some people in talkback seem to think it’s “breaking news,” so there you go. What I’m fascinated by right now is the huge range of reactions we’re hearing as reviews for SPIDER-MAN 3 come in right now. The trades went head-to-head today, with The Hollywood Reporter pretty much gushing, while Variety could barely restrain their (pardon me) venom. Even among our readership, presumably the exact audience that this film is supposed to reach, there seems to be a divide already springing up. One friend of mine IM’d me last night to compare it to BATMAN FOREVER, while another friend could barely catch his breath as he described everything he loved about it. Check out these two reviews for a sense of what I’m talking about:
Hi, Harry. I lucked into a L.A. press screening of Spidey 3 and figured I'd pass my thoughts along. In short, it's a worthy entry in the series...although I think most will agree that it's also the most flawed. The first half of this film is pitch-perfect...better than Spider-man 2. All the characters are in top form and all the action/drama/comedy works beautifully. But major problems surface in the last half when it all comes together. Eddie Brock/Venom is completely shoe-horned into the film as fan service (I heard Avi Arad forced it on Raimi). The film has way too much on its plate, so many subplots and characters come up short in the end. It's still the first good comic book franchise to get to #3 (sorry fanboys, X3 was soulless crap). Here's a rundown: What works: The action: Pretty obvious. Raimi knows how to stage chaos. Peter-Harry relationship - Perfect. It's the real soul of the movie. Gives us everything we ever wanted after the end of Spidey 2. Peter-MJ relationship - I never fully bought it in the first two films. We got a lot from Peter, but not much from MJ. Here it's believable on both sides. Good stuff. The Sandman - A great villain! Thomas Haden Church gives him a real emotional edge. Sandman's birth scene is actually quite beautiful. Even the whole "Uncle Ben killing" angle (which I hated from the previews) worked pretty well in the final product. The "Oddball Apartment Girl": Screw Dunst, I had a serious thing for the cute manager's daughter in Spidey 2. Personal preference. Glad she's back. What doesn't work: The pacing: Everything moves perfectly until the third act of the film, then its a mad-dash to wrap it all up. Eddie/Venom - Short-changed beyond belief. This was a subplot that needed its own movie, pure and simple. Gwen Stacy - Why the hell is she here? To make MJ jealous, I guess. They set her up like she's an important character and she just disappears from the movie. Emo Peter - For the most part, Peter's dark side was well handled, but there are moments when Raimi goes way too over-the-top with it. Especially when it comes to the jokes. Overall, I enjoyed it. There are serious problems, sure, but we also get some of the best moments in the franchise. Fans should be happy. Call me Sirand.
The “Dark Peter” stuff is what I’m hearing the most complaints about. But this next guy... he doesn’t hold back at all. Check this out:
Hey Aintitcool…Dojo here. I attended a press screening of Spiderman 3 tonight at the Grove in LA Thursday night and all I can say is… …I need to be consoled… I need to be held… I feel so alone… so cold… so betrayed… so misled… …by the creators of Spiderman 3. He danced? Venom died? Harry’s Butler saved the day? What film did I just watch? What monstrosity did I just witness? I am a film geek and a comic geek- but above all- I am a Spiderman geek. I started drawing comics myself because of Spidey, I met Stan Lee when I was 9 at a bookstore in DC and had him sign my Marvel Universe book “Excelsior!”. I was Spiderman 3 years in a row for Halloween and consider him to be my favorite hero of all time. Spidey means the world to me- and my world crumbled tonight. The film had some wonderful moments don’t get me wrong. I agree with a lot of the positives listed in some of the reviews above. Franco was awesome, Dunst even brought it, Bryce was beautiful- and Topher as Brock was great…but as Venom, was far from convincing. They didn't even have him refer to himself as plural...and his voice wasn't alien or snakelike- it was just Topher Grace's voice. So it was like "Hey, you wanna kill Spiderman? I'm just a dude!" They took what should've been a GIANT inner conflict within Peter Parker and watered it down to a Saturday Night Fever throwback of Pete walking down the street snapping his fingers and oh yeah, the aforementioned dance number. I've always had a problem with the cheese level Raimi has brought to certain scenes- and people always say "But Spiderman always had a sense of humor!". I'm talking about a sense of humor...I'm talking about a DANCE NUMBER in the MIDDLE OF SPIDERMAN 3. That's how they chose to portray his cockiness? His newfound arrogance? The symbiote was taking over and turning his heart cold in the comics...it was rendering him ruthless, it was convincing him that his darkest desires were right and just- and in the film...HE DANCES!!! Oh yeah, and accidentally hits MJ. He also takes out Sandman (or sort of almost takes out Sandman...but not really cuz he's Sand...man... AND...AND! Ben was killed by Sandman, right on- toss that in last minute for good measure. Take back the engine we've been running on, PETE'S been running on for years now- just to make us care a little more about this villain even being in the film. I call BS on that claim, Sandman killed Ben by accident...BS! This is Spiderman people, not Days of our Lives. Oh but Venom dies, yes Sandman stays alive to be forgiven by Peter (great message however severely out of place when tacked on to the end of a poorly constructed mess of a film). Venom however goes out...and goes out like a B! When will filmmakers learn? This is an entire universe you are messing with. Just because you are the current team in charge of the franchise- doesn't mean you can muck about and re-arrange just to make your version of what millions know to be true. Don't kill the biggest arch-nemesis a character has. Put him away, lock him in Arkham (Batman style) but don't incinerate a villain who was only onscreen for ten minutes anyway. VENOM. Dear VENOM. I'm sorry you weren't scary, I'm sorry you weren't even imposing. I'm sorry they reduced all that you are to virtually nothing. I'm sorry you went out in a non-descript construction site. I'm sorry they didn't give Eddie enough depth and back story to really create a true enemy. I'm so sorry. I can only hope that in ten years there can be a re-boot of the franchise under the guidance of someone who believes that what the comics have done needs to be watched and read closely. This movie had all the makings of a bad Soap Opera, memory loss, love triangles, supposed deaths- cheesy jazz clubs with bad extras filling out the background. Who the F was Bernard? Could the writer not think of ANY OTHER WAY to exonerate Pete in Harry's eyes? Seriously, expositional character number 103 Bernard : You know Harry, I don't talk much...but when I do...it's because I need to tell you that Peter didn't kill your Father...I know this- you didn't know this? Harry : Sweet- I'll go help Spidey now, thanks random dude! Done and Done. Screenwriting 101. I liked the way Harry and Peter were going at each other early on in the film, the rivalry- the lies, the relationship sabotage- that had great depth and momentum to it. They just didn't go anywhere with it, they just let it fizzle and sputter to nothing. The audience I saw it with was let down. No claps, no whistles when Venom came on the screen- well a few claps, that quickly died out in dismay. When the film ended, there was an air of "that's it?" filling the auditorium. People shuffled out heads hung low, no one's mind blown- no one's faith restored, no one's excitement level beyond the excitement they had to tell their friends they saw Spiderman 3 way early. I love Sam Raimi, I really do. I wanted to love this film, I really did. But I cannot deny how many wrong decisions this team made from a technical perspective, a story perspective, and a creative perspective in how they tried to illustrate this story arc. I hope that people see through the fanfare- and can be honest with themselves as comic fans and as Spidey fans- that while Peter may have forgiven Ben's murderer for what he did...we should NOT forgive what these filmmakers have done to these wonderful characters. -Sincerely, Dojo