The Hype, the Bloat, and the Fury: Spider-Man 3
Columbia Pictures put pressure on Raimi to finish Spider-Man 3 too quickly, and the stakes were higher in a crowded summer market of trequels, so the film shows more signs of strain and effort. The storyline is overly complex, with two or three villains at work in
Compared to the privations of the previous installments, Spider-Man 3 begins on a complacent note, since Peter enjoys the support of New Yorkers for a change, and he has Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst with red hair). As he sits in the front row of a musical where she sings, he can’t stop himself from saying “That’s my girlfriend!” to the men sitting next to him. In the evening, Peter and Mary Jane canoodle on a giant web in
Of course, an evil strain of black glop falls from outer space and hops on Peter’s scooter. Later, the gunk will reconfigure itself as a black Spiderman suit that will tempt Peter into joining the dark side. Apparently, the stuff makes one more powerful, but also more aggressive, and I found it delightful when Tobey Maguire started wearing his hair emo-style with black bangs over his eyes. For a brief moment, he forgets all of the dreary ethical concerns of being a superhero, and just enjoys wailing on all of the people giving him a hard time. Then Aunt May shows up and says “Spiderman doesn’t kill people,” and he starts to realize what kind of Faustian deal he has fallen into.
The movie has so many plot lines. Suffice it to say that the rich Harry Osborn (a k a the new Goblin, or James Franco) is still mad at Peter for supposedly killing his Green Goblin father way back in the first film. Escaped convict Flint Marko (played by
The movie makes classy references to Vertigo and Some Like It Hot, but when it is all said and done, what makes Spider-Man 3 fun to watch is all of the swooping around in the canyons between skyscrapers. Until we can cut to the action scenes on the extras-laden DVD, audiences will have to watch Peter Parker and his cohorts engage in adolescent drama, drama, drama. What was once the franchise’s greatest strength, its characterization, has now become tiresome, and I got a strong sense that Maguire and Dunst (both good actors) increasingly feel trapped in the web of studio expectations and computer-generated hype.