Southern Man

Friday, May 04, 2007

Movie Review - Spider-Man III

Southern Man has always thought it a great treat to take his children to midnight premiers of movies, even when they invariably fell on school nights. You never really know what's going to stick in your kid's heads, but he's always hoped that these evenings would be among those that his children remembered and treasured. So with the gracious permission of his ex Southern Man grabbed all three kids (plus gf's youngest daughter) and the five of us headed to the local megaplex for Spider-Man III.

Now everyone pretty much acknowledges that the first two entries in the series were pretty good; indeed, the first sequel may have been a touch better than the original movie. Toby Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, and James Franko are comfortable with their continuing roles and all are convincing and entertaining as their characters. And Southern Man personally thinks that Dunst has a perfectly fine singing voice. But as a movie, Spider-Man III falls flat. It is plain that cash aplenty was poured into the special-effects fireworks; they might have held back a few hundred thousand of that and invested in a script instead. There are four, count 'em four bad guys (if you count Spidie's brief bad-boy phase as one), which is at least one too many, and the movie ran at least a half-hour too long. While Thomas Haden Church does a fine job with Flint Marco and even garners quite a bit of sympathy for the plight of his unfortunate character, the entire Sandman subplot could have been omitted entirely. And the open-pit "particle physics" experiment into which Marco unwittingly stumbles was just plain silly, even for a comic book. Topher Grace doesn't handle his character (Eddie Brock / Venom) nearly as well - not that the script gave him much of a chance to go beyond a one-dimensional cardboard cutout of a villain. And to top that off we still have to deal with Peter Parker's evolving relationships with both his girlfriend and with Harry Osborn / the new Goblin. Spider-Man III would have been much, much better had it developed only one of Sandman or Venom; to have both, plus the Goblin, plus the bad-boy Spider-man, made for a movie that was too long, to jumbled, and too complicated. It's a comic book, for crying out loud. Southern Man shouldn't need a scorecard to keep track of all that's going on in a comic-book movie.

It was hardly a lost cause - we all had fun and Southern Man loves to be with his kids regardless of the event - but this one gets a vote of thumbs down. You'll end up seeing it anyway, but he predicts that fans of the series will be disappointed.


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