Saturday, November 3, 2007
Spider-Man III, this summer's installment in the film franchise, just came out on DVD this week. While I own DVDs of the first two films, I think I'm going to pass on picking this one up. I just have mixed feelings about the film which we did see in theatres.
While I loved the Sandman (I thought Thomas Hayden-Church was perfect casting for the character) and the visual effects with that character were wonderful, I felt disappointed with how the story didn't feature him more. His story easily could have been enough to carry a solid 1 1/2 hour or so film. The problem came into with throwing Venom and the whole symbiote thing into the mix. Again, the effects worked for this character and Topher Grace was okay in the role (he'll always be "Eric Forman" to me - so that is distracting) but this plotline and Peter's struggle with the symbiote in his life again could have made a decent film on its own. Slamming these two plots together made the film disjointed. Add to it the closing arc of the Harry Osborn story plus the introduction of Gwen Stacy plus Peter and MJ's rocky engagement, the film was just trying to cover all the bases, at times failing to make me care truly about any of them. It was almost as if the folks behind the franchise were trying to get everything in just in case this was the final hurrah for the series.
The series in general has been a little hit and miss for me.
Spider-Man started out well enough with a nice retelling of the origin. I didn't even mind the liberties taken with storylines to make a solid Green Goblin tale as well for the film. Where I was let down was the whole Goblin mask. It was too "Power Ranger-ry" for me. Here they have Willem Dafoe, a wonderfully expressive actor, and they tie him down with an unmoving mask. That is so wrong. The Goblin needed a skin-tight yet fully expressive mask. That's what made the character so memorable in the comics.
Spider-Man II really worked the best of the three films. The origin was out of the way so we got to see Spidey doing what he does. Doc Ock was brought to life wonderfully, and the battles in this film were outstanding. It clearly is up there on my list of the top super-hero films to date. Maybe that's why the third film didn't work as well for me - the second film was such a peak that anything that followed was going to have its work cut out for it to match the excellence.
Yeah, the third Spidey film, much like the third and fourth films of the previous Batman franchise, put too many villains into the pot in hopes to amp things up further. Bigger casts does not always mean better films. Give us a solid story. Make us connect with and understand fully the villains brought in. Give them a chance to strut their stuff as one film is usually all any of them will get. I'd rather have 90+ minutes of a solid film rather than 120+ minutes of a film that's all over the map.