(originally posted on April 26, 2007)
In addition to my daily horror movie, I found the time to go see Spider-Man 3, which is pretty much the polar opposite of Hills Have Eyes Part II in just about every way possible. Now, you might recall I said the script for Hills was pretty decent. Put two and two together. I’ll be at the next paragraph, waiting.
Yes, apparently in an effort to make sure another filmmaker doesn’t do anything he thought of, Raimi (this is his last film in the series) decided to just throw in just about every idea possible, which done properly would probably take 2 films, possibly even 3, and cram it into a 2:20 film. Whether plot-lines are rushed or just forgotten, the film goes off in so many directions, one might think it was their artsy attempt to create an actual spider-web out of the storyline.
Let’s count em, shall we? Peter and MJ's relationship troubles. Harry losing his memory and forgetting he hates Peter. Harry (with memory intact) being Green Goblin II. Sandman trying to save his daughter. Sandman being the original killer of Uncle Ben. Eddie Brock vs. Peter at the Bugle. The black suit taking over Peter. The black suit forming Venom. The Stacy's. I’m surprised Sony didn’t just throw Ghost Rider in there for good measure. Christ, even Stan Lee, Bruce Campbell, and the weird Russian people who live next to Peter get more screen-time this time around, as if the film wasn’t jampacked enough.
It's not a bad film, not at all. Film IS a visual medium, and an unfocused story isn't enough to bring down a film as technically brilliant as this. The Sandman effects in particular are flawless, Raimi is still one of the most gifted visual directors of all time, and there is no particular scene or performance (even Dunst is better than usual, in that I didn't want to slap her every time she appeared onscreen) that is bad. But by trying to do so much, the film ends up feeling incomplete, sort of like the middle part of a trilogy rather than an end. Nothing is given enough time to develop correctly, and as a result, Sandman’s entire plotline (saving his daughter) is left unresolved, plus the Stacy's add absolutely nothing to the story line. Cutting half of those subplots (the black suit/Venom/Brock, the Stacy's, and Sandman being the killer) and focusing on the others (Sandman and Harry, plus Peter and MJ's troubles) would have possibly resulted in the best film of the series, due to the improved acting, effects, etc. Then, Venom and Brock, and possibly the Stacy's could have provided the backbone for a great “back to basics” Spider-Man 4 (the Sandman killing Uncle Ben storyline is just stupid and shouldn’t even be included in a parody of the film).
(Here - let me remind you that I have no sort of reservation about spoiling the end of a film.)
And that brings us to what may bring about the biggest outcry of the film – Venom dies. Quickly. And definitively. He is born, kidnaps MJ offscreen, has a brief Marvel vs Capcom style 2 on 2 fight (Venom and Sandman vs Spidey and HarryGoblin), and then gets blown up. Total actual Venom screen-time – maybe 5 minutes, with maybe another 5 of the decidedly unthreatening Topher Grace “unmasked” with the suit on. So I wouldn’t expect him to show up in the next film (though Doc Connors has a small piece of the symbiote, which will likely become Carnage).
Also... oh who cares. Look, I could have just written “Spider-Man spends the whole movie playing Halo” and it would make 200 million dollars next weekend, so what the hell does it matter what I think? Just keep in mind: it wasn’t secrecy that they have been stingy with Venom action on the trailers – there just isn’t any to show.(My longer, less profane review will be up next week on www.freezedriedmovies.com)