Thursday, September 6, 2012
Growing up in the 1990s, I was surrounded by masked superheroes a lot. My early childhood consisted of The Dark Knight of Gotham City thanks to Tim Burton's 1989 blockbuster hit Batman, which made me a fan at as young as 2 years old. I was so obsessed with the character of Batman that I had everything I could get my tiny little hands on. Batman t-shirts. Batman pajamas. Batman bedroom slippers. For my 3rd birthday party, I had a Batman cake. Another great thing about growing up during the '90s was that these comic book heroes were making themselves even more popular in television and animation. It was so awesome being a kid watching The Flash live action television show, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series, X-Men the animated series, the short animated series for The Incredible Hulk and The Fantastic Four, and of course the web slinging college student Peter Parker had his own animated show with Spider-Man.
I fondly remember watching Spider-Man and X-Men every Saturday morning. In fact, I watched television from the time I woke up all the way through noon. Just goes to show how many great shows were on which kept me glued to the screen. Fox had animated and live action shows every Saturday. X-Men, Spider-Man, Errie Indiana, Street Sharks, Men In Black: The Animated Series, and Goosebumps were the main ones I watched. While I grew up more around the DC characters such as Batman, Superman, and The Flash due to their popular television shows or movies, I found myself interested in both Spider-Man and the X-Men. The thing that had always attracted me first was their costumes. For kids, they love the cool costumes, super powers, the cool villains, and of course the action.
Aside from Batman, Spider-Man was my second favorite superhero. In fact, he's probably the most popular Marvel character to date just like Batman is for DC. Batman is relatable because he has no super powers and has to rely solely on his humanity and will to fight crime. Peter, while Human, does have special abilities that no Human is supposed to have. But, it's not exactly Spider-Man's cool costume, fascinating rogue's gallery, and spider like abilities that have made him the most iconic superhero in the Marvel world. It is the fact that he was one of the first teenage superheroes who was not a sidekick.
Peter Parker is just a shy and very intelligent high school outcast. He has very few friends. He gets picked on. He has a hard time talking to girls due to his shyness. Many guys can relate to this kid. Many of us have been that kid in high school. Then, this accidental encounter with a radioactive spider changes his life forever. Here's a guy who is outcasted by his classmates yet has probably saved their lives many times without them even knowing that shy and quiet Peter Parker is a superhero. Like many superheroes, Peter goes through complicated relationships with women due to his secret life as Spider-Man. From Gwen Stacy to the woman he would end up with, Mary Jane Watson. Also like many well rounded comic book superheros, Peter has his fair share of enemies. Green Goblin, Dr. Octopus, Venom, Carnage, The Lizard, Vulture, Shocker, Hob Goblin, and Sandman just to name a few.
With big time iconic heroes like Superman, Batman, and the X-Men getting the big screen treatment by Hollywood, it was inevitable that Spider-Man would get his. I remember sitting in the movie theater back in 2001 for some movie and saw the surprising teaser trailer for Spider-Man. It opened with some guys robbing a bank, jumping into their helicopter, and right when you think they are going to get away, their helicopter gets tangled in a gigantic spider web between the Twin Towers and then we see Spider-Man swinging from the buildings. Brilliant fucking teaser! In fact, it is probably one of the greatest teaser trailers to a movie that I've ever seen besides Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and Scooby Doo. Seriously, you should have seen the smile on my 13 year old face when I realized that it was Spider-Man. Back then when a movie came out, I didn't know about it till the trailer and poster popped up in the movie theater or on television. Yes, we had internet back then too, but I never paid attention to what people were saying on the net and we also didn't have quite all the movie sites we have today where you can find out just about everything before the film even goes into post-production.
Unfortunately, 9/11 happened later that year changing everything. The brilliant teaser trailer was taken down due to the showing of the Twin Towers, which is still a sore subject to talk about even today. It was a dark time for not only New Yorkers, but to us all over America as well. Peoples' friends and familes were lost that tragic day. All of this caused Spider-Man's theatrical release to be delayed as well as a few scenes to be cut down that featured the Towers. Some action films were delayed due to their acts of violence. But in May 2002, Sam Raimi's blockbuster hit Spider-Man was released to theaters. I can remember going to see it with a packed house. It was so damn packed that we had to split up and see separate showings because tickets were selling out quickly opening night. Spider-Man opened big starring Tobey Maguire (Peter Parker/Spider-Man), Kirsten Dunst (Mary Jane Watson), James Franco (Harry Osborne), and Willem Dafoe (Norman Osborne/Green Goblin). It also brought director Sam Raimi who was famous for his classic Evil Dead trilogy more into the mainstream. With a huge blockbuster, superhero fans knew that a sequel was soon approaching.
In June 2004, only two years after the first film, Spider-Man 2 was released pitting Peter Parker/Spider-Man against the infamous Dr. Octopus played by Alfred Molina. Spider-Man 2 for a long time was considered by critics and fans to be the best comic book/superhero movie of all time. It really turned Peter Parker into a complex guy who decided that he wanted a normal life and to be with the woman of his dreams, Mary Jane Watson. Also, Spider-Man 2 setup Harry Osborne's thirst for revenge and the beginning of his fall to become a major enemy of Spider-Man's. With all of this praise and even bigger box office numbers for Sony/Columbia, a third chapter was a no brainer.
Unfortunately, Sony wanted a huge hand in the next movie. They wanted Spider-Man to face his arch nemesis Venom. But, director Sam Raimi wanted to use Vulture. A huge argument arose between Raimi and Columbia Pictures on what to do with Spider-Man 3. Finally, Sam Raimi agreed to do what Sony wanted and get his paycheck. Instead of just using Venom though, Sony wanted their third chapter of the Spider-Man saga to go out with a bang by throwing in several foes for our web slinging neighborhood friend to fight. We got the Sandman/Flint Marko, Harry Osborne becoming The New Goblin to finally try to exact his revenge for his father's death, and of course Eddie Brock/Venom for the final act. Spider-Man 3 was released to theaters in May 2007 to a lot of critical and fan backlash due to its uneven narrative, an emo Spider-Man, and WAY too many villains. Even though Spider-Man 3 was a disappointment, Sony and Raimi had talked about possibly doing a Spider-Man 4. But, due to the massive success of Christopher Nolan's Batman movies, Sony decided to reboot the web slinging hero by making a darker and more some what realistic take on the characters that was closer to the comic books. With The Amazing Spider-Man hitting theaters on July 3rd starring Andrew Garfield as the web slinging teenage superhero and Emma Stone as Parker's hot high school girlfriend Gwen Stacy, let's take a look at the Sam Raimi/Tobey Maguire Spider-Man trilogy.
Peter Parker is just your average teenage outcast living in the big city of New York and trying to survive high school. He's clumsy. He's a science geek. He has problems talking to a certain Mary Jane Watson who also happens to be his next door neighbor. He lives with his Aunt May and Uncle Ben. Peter often misses the bus and is picked on by popular jock Flash Thompson who happens to be Mary Jane's boyfriend. One day while on a school field trip for his science class, Peter is bitten by a radioactive spider which escaped its glass containment. Not feeling good, Peter comes home and collapses. When he wakes up the next day, he comes to realize that he no longer needs his glasses and that he has gained muscles basically over night. All the sudden, weird things begin to happen. He can move at a fast speed, jump really high, climb walls, and shoot spider webs out of his wrists. Peter sees an ad in the newspaper where he can win $3000 if he fights Bone Saw for three minutes and wins. Deciding that he wants to get the quick cash and buy a car to impress Mary Jane, Peter goes and fights the unstoppable Bone Saw who is ready for him. He tells his Aunt and Uncle that he is going to the library. Feeling that they don't hardly talk anymore, Uncle Ben gives Peter a ride. Peter and Uncle Ben have an argument because Uncle Ben wants Peter to be responsible with his actions and Peter leaves after telling his Uncle that he is not his father. Luckily that night, Peter beats Bone Saw thanks to his spider like reflexes. Unfortunately, the man who's supposed to give him the $3000 only gives him $100. While leaving, a thug runs in and robs the guy. Feeling that the guy deserved it, Peter lets the thug get away with the money. While walking to meet up with Uncle Ben, Peter sees a bunch of people gathered around somebody including the Police. To Peter's horror, it turns out to be Uncle Ben who is laying on the side walk after being shot in a car jacking.
Peter learns that the man who killed his uncle is the same man he let get away. Remembering his Uncle Ben's saying "With great power comes great responsibility", Peter decides to use his gifts to save the people of New York City as the masked hero Spider-Man. After graduation, Peter gets an apartment with his best friend Harry Osborne and a job at The Daily Bugle as a photographer taking pictures of Spider-Man in action. Meanwhile, Harry's father Norman Osborne is having some problems of his own. First he is booted off from his own company, Oscorp, and then an experiment goes horribly wrong which opens up an alternate personality in Norman. One who wants revenge. One who wants to kill Spider-Man. One who wears a green costume, throws orange grenades, and flies on a glider.
I highly enjoyed Sam Raimi's first Spider-Man movie. Is it perfect? Nope, but it is fun and entertaining which is always a plus. The reason that I think it works so well is that it doesn't just center around who the villain is and what they are about. It centers around the hero and what he is going through. Peter Parker was one of the first kid superheroes in comics. Sure, you had kid or teenage sidekicks such as Robin, Batgirl, Supergirl, Superboy, and the like. But, Peter was one who didn't need a sidekick. It showed that a teenager could be a hero too. You didn't just have to be in your 20s or 30s to wear a costume and fight super villains. Plus, being a regular teenager is hard enough. You start becoming attracted to the opposite sex and dating, you get picked on if you are different from the rest of the pack, you have peer pressure, you have home work, and you have the usual drama with the parents and family. But, to have to worry about fighting crime too? That's a lot for one kid to handle. Being a superhero has really had both a positive and a negative effect on guys like Peter Parker or Clark Kent. You can't really sustain a relationship with the girl you love, afraid that she may get hurt or killed by your enemies. But, saving a little kid from a burning building or a boy from some school yard bullies always makes you feel good and want to pat yourself on the back at the end of the day. The screenplay for Spider-Man by David Koepp was decent for the most part. The film begins like many modern superhero flicks, with the origin story of the hero. We see Peter go from being just a high school science geek and outcast to being a hero in secret.
Koepp definitely changed the story up from the comics. In the comics, Peter Parker's high school girlfriend is Gwen Stacy who is the daughter of the Police Captain who is aiming to catch and arrest Spider-Man. He didn't meet Mary Jane until later when she was brought in as a way to add drama to Peter and Gwen's relationship. Mary Jane was the hot redhead girl who was always flirty and had a thing for Peter while he was in a relationship with Gwen. Here, Mary Jane is basically given the Gwen Stacy role. Green Goblin even drops her off a bridge but instead of killing her like what happened to Gwen in the comics, Spider-Man is able to save her. She is the girl next door who Peter obviously has a crush on, yet she wants the douchebag Flash Thompson and soon dates Peter's best friend Harry after graduation. It isn't until close to the end that MJ wants Peter as more than a friend, but Peter is afraid them being together would put her in mortal danger so he rejects her offer for a relationship. But wait, she also has a fascination with Peter's alter ego especially after they shared a special kiss after he saved her from some hoodlums in the rain. Peter and Mary Jane's relationship as friends and lovers will go in all sorts of different directions in the two sequels. What we do know about MJ is that she comes from a very dysfuctional family where her father is a white trash fucking jerk who constantly screams at her and puts her down. She wants to be an actress, but is having to struggle waiting tables to make her dreams come true.
And then we have Norman Osborne. Osborne is really into science just like Peter and is doing all sorts of different experiments under his company Oscorp. The government though believes his prototypes can be dangerous and wants to shut him out of his own company. Norman decides to test a new formula he has concocted on himself. The procedure goes wrong resulting in him losing his mind and creating The Green Goblin, a menace who flies on a glider and kills anybody who stands in his way. I've always loved The Green Goblin as a villain. He looked so cool in the animated series throwing those grenade pumpkins at people and laughing maniacially. Green Goblin was one scary dude. The problem is that as cool as the Green Goblin's mask is in the comics and animated series, it would look extremely laughable in a live action movie. Same goes for grenade pumpkins. Thus, the Goblin suite had to be altered to look more like a protoypte with of course Osborne making some changes to give it a Goblin look to match his twisted alter ego. It looks like if you took the mask from the cover of the Goosebumps book The Haunted Mask and mixed it with a Mighty Morphin Power Rangers villain. Sure, it still looks silly, but it would look even sillier if they had done it like in the comic with the purple stocking cap. I like the suite actually. I know I'm in the vast minority who does. I liked the way the yellow eyes would slide back to reveal Norman Osborne's eyes. The design of the grenades was cool too. Instead of them being grenade pumpkins, they are just round small orange grenades. The glider was right out of the comics though. Not too bad of a job bringing The Green Goblin to life. I'm just curious how they'll bring him back in a sequel to The Amazing Spider-Man and what he'll look like. Probably closer to the comics I'm guessing.
I really dug the scene in the car between Peter and Uncle Ben. Really powerful saying that inspires Peter to become Spider-Man. The cage match between Peter and Bone Saw was fun too. And you gotta love the cameo by Bruce Campbell as the fighting announcer. Also really loved the scenes between Aunt May and Peter especially after Uncle Ben was killed and how they became closer in a mother and son kinda way.
Harry Osborne is Peter's best friend, but I always felt that he was jealous of Peter. Here, Peter has his Aunt and Uncle who care about him like parents would for their son yet his father is always working or wants him to follow in his footsteps. Therefore, it really pushes Harry down a dark path when his father inevitably is killed after fighting Spider-Man.
I absolutely love the music score by Danny Elfman who is widely known for composing the music for basically all of Tim Burton's films including the iconic scores for Batman and Batman Returns. Elfman's score would carry on into Spider-Man 2 and 3.
Personally, I thought the special fx in this film was pretty well done. Some of it was obviously CGI, but it didn't distract me or pull me out of the film.
The acting went from great to okay. Tobey Maguire was just okay as Peter Parker/Spider-Man. My big issue with him was that he didn't really look like Peter Parker for starters. He barely was the sarcastic and talky Spider-Man we knew from the animated series who would actually pick on the criminals and villains he was fighting, which is something most heroes don't do but Peter is a teenager and is having fun while he fights. Being that he was such a total dork before he got his spidey abilities, you would think this new power would have changed his attitude from clumsy and shy to being one of the cooler geeks, but no. He's still the same old clumsy Parker he was before he became Spider-Man. That is my problem with Maguire in a nutshell. You'd think this new power would have changed him into a cooler version of himself like it did in the comics and the cartoon. It made sense for Clark Kent to appear clumsy and overly dorky because it was all an act so people wouldn't think he was Superman as he didn't wear a mask. Here, Peter should have grew out of being a total clutz. I also took issue with the film glossing over Peter being in high school and that he wasn't Spider-Man till he had already graduated. Kinda defeats the point of the character being a kid superhero who we see grow up as time goes on. In these films, Peter can also shoot web slingers out of his wrists as opposed to gaining the knowledge to make web shooters like in the comics. Kirsten Dunst was just okay as Mary Jane Watson, but would get worse in the sequels. Personally, I'm not a big fan of Kirsten Dunst. I don't know what it is about her, but something has always bugged me. She ain't a bad looking woman, but just the characters she ends up playing annoy me. They either whine, are overly jealous, have an attitude problem, or end up being a brat. This is not to say that I haven't enjoyed movies that she happens to star in. I loved Bring It On, Jumangi, Small Soldiers, and The Crow: Salvation. But when you play the overly jealous/back and forth girlfriend or a pregnant teenager who's a temper tandrumed spoiled brat, that ain't gonna make me like you as an actress, I'm sorry. James Franco who has been one of the best actors of this trilogy was perfect for the role of Harry Osborne. I've always liked Franco and he is truly great here and in the sequels. Rosemary Harris was great as Aunt May. I'm really interested to see Sally Field's take on the character next month. Cliff Robertson was good in his small role as Uncle Ben, which Martin Sheen will be playing in The Amazing Spider-Man next month. I wonder if he will have the same fate as he did in the comics, which is always what caused Peter to want to use his powers to become the hero that New York needed.
The two actors though that fucking owned the roles they were given though and will be hard as Hell to replace in the rebooted Spider-Man franchise are Willem Dafoe as Norman Osborne/Green Goblin and J.K. Simmons as sleazebag newspaper editor J. Jonah Jameson. Wow, did Sam Raimi cast the perfect actors to fill these roles or what? Seriously, both men look the part, have the body language, and even the fucking voices down perfectly. Dafoe is a great actor and brought both Norman and the Green Goblin to life brilliantly. His Goblin voice sounds exactly like the actor who voiced the character in the '90s animated series! Simmons was absolutely hilarious to watch as Jameson and has hands down the best dialogue in the trilogy. Such a sleazebag, but you can't help but laugh at the character. Not a bad cast, but Franco, Dafoe, and Simmons steal the show in this one!
The direction by Sam Raimi was pretty good. Loving the Spider-Man suite. You could tell Raimi was a fan of the characters even if they were changed especially Mary Jane's story. While I prefer his direction on the Evil Dead films, Raimi did well with this film and Spider-Man 2. Shame he couldn't have said no to directing 3 though.
Overall, Spider-Man is a good superhero film. Not perfect, but definitely fun and entertaining. It shows us that with great power comes great responsibility.
After facing and defeating the menacing Green Goblin, Peter Parker is struggling with his dual life. Peter is constantly late for his job as a pizza delivery boy, doesn't do his home work for Dr. Connor's class, and keeps disappointing Mary Jane by not showing up to see her play. Anyway, Peter decides to do a research paper on Dr. Otto Octavius so his buddy Harry Osborne brings him along to meet Dr. Octavius since Oscorp is funding Octavius' experiments. During a presentation dealing with fusion, things take a disasterous turn when the device Octavius has built begins pulling anything in the room into the glowing ball of light, which kills Octavius' wife and destroys a chip attached to his spine so he can control the mechanical arms implanted in his back. Soon, the mechanical arms over power Dr. Octavius and turn him into a criminal known as Dr. Octopus who robs banks and blackmails Harry to recreate the machine which was destroyed. Harry has vowed to kill Spider-Man and make him pay for the death of his father unaware that Norman Osborne died by his own sword. Seeing that Spider-Man is going to get in his way, Dr. Octopus wants him gone. Since Harry wants to make Spider-Man pay, he promises that he'll take care of Spider-Man if Octavius brings him to him. Meanwhile, Peter and MJ are at a weird place in their relationship. Mary Jane wanted to be with Peter, but Peter pushed her away due to being afraid to put her in danger in case someone discovered who he was. So, MJ starts dating the handsome astronaut son of J. Jonah Jameson and is set to marry him. But, Peter has suddenly lost all of his spider abilities and decides to hang up being Spider-Man, wanting a normal life again. He wants that normal life to be with MJ. While hanging out, Octavius kidnaps MJ because Peter wouldn't tell him where Spider-Man is. Spider-Man must come back to save MJ and stop Octavius from taking out all of New York.
Like the first movie, I really dug Spider-Man 2. It was considered one of the best comic book/superhero movies for quite awhile until like the following year when Batman Begins came along. Spider-Man 2 is a sequel that does some things better than its predecessor, yet also does some things not as good. I'll first address what really worked for me about Spider-Man 2. The most compelling thing about this sequel to me is that it really showed how tough being Spider-Man was on Peter Parker's life. He gets fired from his job. He's failing many of his college classes. He turned down the offer to be with the woman he's had the hots for since he was a child. The guy's entire life has been consumed by his web slinging alter ego to the point where he desires it less and less. When his gifts start failing on him too, he decides to throw his costume and mask in the dumpster and try having a normal life. This reminds me a lot of Superman II where Clark made a bold choice to give up his gifts and live a normal life so he could be with Lois Lane, the woman he had fallen in love with. But, when General Zod and his army started taking over the planet and wanted it surrendered and signed over to them, Clark had to put on the red and blue tights again as he was the only one capable of stopping Zod from taking control of his adopted planet. Here, it is pretty similar. Peter quits being Spider-Man, but comes to find that MJ doesn't want him as a boyfriend anymore. It's too late, she has moved on and is getting married. Peter, you lost your chance bud. But, when Dr. Octopus starts up trouble in New York especially when he kidnaps MJ and wants to start up his fusion machine that could take out the city, Peter must find a way to get his powers back and get back into the game.
One scene that has always touched me emotionally. In fact, it actually makes me a little misty eyed therefore it is the best moment of the entire Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy and that would be the ending to the train scene. Doc Ock has taken out the track as a train is moving with a bunch of innocent people inside during his fight with Spider-Man. Spider-Man throws himself in front of the train unmasked and swings out his webs to stop the train from falling off the track. It works, but Peter is so exhausted that he passes out. The New Yorkers on the train actually carry him above them inside the train as if he is their King or leader. One man is shocked that New York's savior is only a kid. Another tells Peter that his secret is safe with them, handing him his mask. When Doc Ock hurtles into the train trying to take Spider-Man out, the people actually stand in front of him ready to risk their own lives to save Spider-Man for a change. Just a really touching moment. I barely ever tear up or cry during a movie, but that really touched my heart. I give screenwriter Alvin Sargent and director Sam Raimi huge props for adding strong emotion to that scene. That scene may be another reason why Spider-Man 2 was regarded so highly when it came out back in June 2004.
I also really loved the characterization of Dr. Octopus in this. In the comics and in the animated series, he was just always portrayed as this really bad guy with eight mechanical arms attached to his back. I dug that he wasn't really a bad guy at all. He was just taken over by the machine instead of controlling it. Octavius lost control of himself. It's not like with Norman Osborne where there was a dark side to him that was unleashed during an experiment gone wrong. Octavius was just a scientist who was a nice guy but lost control of who he was when the chip was destroyed that would help his brain fuctions control the mechanical arms instead of them controlling him.
I did have one problem with this film though. Peter and MJ's back and forth relationship. It started to get annoying with this film. In the first film, there wasn't much of a relationship except for maybe friendship. Here, they started going back and forth. Make up your damn minds already. Do you want to just be friends or do you want to be in a relationship? Pick one and stick with it! It kinda reminded me of in the show Smallville where Clark Kent and Lana Lang would go back and forth because he was too afraid to tell her the truth about him. With that, Clark had a great reason for not being totally honest because he was an alien from another planet and was scared that she would look at him as an alien rather than seeing him for who he is. Peter though is still a Human Being, he just has special abilities due to getting bitten by a radioactive spider. Even when MJ was with John Jameson, she still had a thing for both Peter and Spider-Man. There's even a scene where she asks John to tilt his head back to see if he is Spider-Man. Of course, it does kinda make sense here due to Peter being back and forth between living a normal life and being Spider-Man. In Spider-Man 3 however, it makes no fucking sense at all with the rocking chair relationship of Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson.
The acting like the first movie was great to okay. Tobey Maguire was just okay as Peter Parker/Spider-Man. Although, I will say he was characterized a little better than he was in the first film. Kirsten Dunst starts to get on my nerves here as Mary Jane Watson. Does she want Peter? Does she want John? Does she want Spider-Man? Pick one! I will say that I liked the ending. Too bad it all got fucked up in the next film. James Franco was great again as Harry Osborne. You could tell he was walking down a dark path similar to his dear ol' Dad. Rosemarry Harris was great as Aunt May. J.K. Simmons was absolutely hilarious and perfect as J. Jonah Jameson. Dylan Baker did well with his short appearance as Dr. Curt Connors who would eventually become The Lizard, another iconic Spider-Man villain. Too bad we didn't get to see The Lizard in this franchise, but we definitely will in the franchise reboot coming out in a few weeks! Bruce Campbell's cameo as the theater usher was pretty funny. And then we have Alfred Molina as Otto Octavius/Dr. Octopus who I thought did really well. He was a lot more Human than the Green Goblin was. All in all, not a bad cast.
The direction by Sam Raimi was even better than it was on the first film. Too bad Raimi stained his Spider-Man reputation by caving into Sony's demands with Spider-Man 3.
Overall, Spider-Man 2 is a very good superhero/comic book movie. I do think it was a little overhyped, but still fun and entertaining just like the first film. Too bad I can't say the same for Spider-Man 3, which will end this series of the characters until Marc Webb reinvented it with The Amazing Spider-Man.
It's finally happened. Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson are finally an actual couple since MJ found out that Peter was Spider-Man at the end of the previous film. Everything is perfect. Peter has found a way to evenly balance his dual life as a photographer at The Daily Bugle, being a boyfriend to Mary Jane, and kicking ass as Spider-Man. In fact, Peter is planning to propose to MJ. Too bad Harry Osborne also knows that his old pal Peter Parker is Spider-Man who he thinks murdered his father. Using equipment he found in his father's secret room, Harry becomes The New Goblin and tries to kill Peter before he can even pop the question to MJ. Fortunately for Peter, Harry ends up bumping his head pretty badly and has no memory of the past two years. Thinking that Harry won't remember his personal revenge plot on him, Peter keeps it all a secret hoping that Harry will never get those memories back. Mary Jane is having a lot of problems though. The play she was starring in dropped her because of the negative comments critics made on her performance (Put me in line!!!). Feeling that she can't tell Peter, her and Harry become close. There's also a complication in Peter and MJ's relationship when a gorgeous blonde model named Gwen Stacy takes a fancy to both Peter and Spider-Man turning MJ into a jealous girlfriend. Unfortunately for Peter, Harry gets all of his memories back and decides to break up Peter and MJ. Meanwhile, an escaped convict named Flint Marko is trying to find anyway he can to save his sick daughter. While running from the cops, Marko falls into a sand pit. The device turns on causing his body molecules to mix with the sand turning him into a villain known as The Sandman. At The Daily Bugle, a snotty photographer named Eddie Brock is trying to take Peter's job away. In the meantime, some small meteor hits New York with a black gooey substance that is attracted to aggression. It becomes attracted to Peter and attaches itself to his Spidey costume turning it black and giving him an emo haircut and groovy dance moves. Peter also realizes that it was actually Flint Marko who shot and killed his Uncle Ben. After deciding that he's done being a douchebag, Peter manages to get rid of the black goo from his suite in a church due to the bell's chiming. Eddie Brock just happens to be at the church too and the black goo attaches itself to him turning him into Venom. Knowing that Spider-Man is Peter Parker, Sandman and Venom are holding Mary Jane hostage. Peter must fight Sandman and Venom to save MJ so he asks for an old friend to help him out.
Wow! That's enough subplots for three Spider-Man movies! Where the hell do I even begin? The screenplay by Sam Raimi, Ivan Raimi, and Alvin Sargent is all over the fucking place. Seriously, there's enough here for Spider-Man 3, 4, and 5! But instead of making three films, Sony wanted three villains all meshed into one fucking movie! Didn't you guys learn from Batman & Robin that too many characters can be a bad thing! At least with Batman & Robin, it was silly enough to entertain me. Here, it just became massively frustrating to watch. In my opinion, they should have just wrapped up the Harry Osborne story by having him as the villain rather than throwing us Sandman and Venom too. Harry's path to villainy had already been setup in Spider-Man 2 so him becoming The New Goblin would have been just fine enough for me. While the Sandman story wasn't necessarily bad, it just made the film more confusing than it should have been. If Sandman had been the villain in Spider-Man 4 AFTER Harry was the villain in Spider-Man 3, then it wouldn't have bugged me. The biggest issue with the whole Flint Marko/Sandman subplot is that it turns out HE killed Uncle Ben. Now I know the third chapter of trilogies usually reveals something to be true that we didn't know was true when watching the first movie. Star Wars for example revealed that Princess Leia was Luke Skywalker's sister and in the previous film had revealed Darth Vader to be Anakin Skywalker, Luke's father. But here, it just came across as lazy and stupid. In fact, when I watch the first movie, I just ignore this little twist even exists. I liked the whole story of him wanting to cure his daughter no matter what he had to do to make it happen. Kinda reminded me of Mr. Freeze with his wife in the Batman universe.
The whole New Goblin/Harry Osborne subplot was decent, but they fucked it up when he loses his memory and the two become pals again like nothing happened only to go back to being enemies near the finale before becoming friends again to save MJ. UGH! Then there's the whole emo Spider-Man plotline. I remember sitting in the theater shaking my head. WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? Having Peter kinda let loose with his rebellious side by lowering his inhibitions would have been fine if they did it more like Clark Kent/Superman exposed to red Kryptonite where he basically becomes bad to the bone. But, turning Peter into Justin Bieber is NOT the way to go! And those dance moves and snapping fingers, please make it end. Make it end! But, thankfully he gets rid of the black goo and goes back to normal. Then we have the Eddie Brock subplot where Bieber Peter gets Eddie fired for taking a fake picture of Spider-Man. Now, Eddie wants revenge on Peter. The black alien goo grants his wish by attaching itself to him and turning him into Venom.
Oh yeah, the Peter and Mary Jane relationship subplot. They go even more back and forth to the point where I just wished that Mary Jane would just fucking die already. Beautiful Gwen Stacy shows up and MJ becomes the overly jealous girlfriend. In the comics, MJ was actually the one who comes in between Peter and Gwen Stacy. But, they turned things around here. Peter and Harry end up reuniting their friendship to take down Sandman and Venom to save MJ. Sandman asks Peter for forgiveness for accidentally shooting his Uncle Ben. Peter forgives him, Sandman flies away. Venom/Eddie Brock gets evaporated, but not before he kills Harry. Harry dies after getting impaled with his glider exactly how his father was killed in the first film. Fuck it, I'm done. My head hurts, I'm frustrated, and I'm sick of this jumbled up mess of a sequel. It's not Superman III or Elecktra bad thank God, but it does pluck my nerves.
The acting this time is mostly annoying with a few okay and good performances. Tobey Maguire, fuck you and your emo haircut and shitty dance moves. If I wanted to see an emo superhero, I'd watch Superman Returns. Kirsten Dunst, an even bigger fuck you for annoying me for 2 hours and 10 minutes. James Franco, I'm so sorry you found yourself in this piss poor attempt at a sequel, but thanks for at least being watchable as Harry Osborne/New Goblin. J.K. Simmons, you still owned the role of J. Jonah Jameson and will be missed in the new series. Rosemary Harris was still good as Aunt May. Thomas Hayden Church did okay as Flint Marko/Sandman and should have just been a solo villain in a movie rather than sharing it with two other villains. Topher Grace from That '70s Show fame was actually okay as Eddie Brock yet was horrible as Venom. James Cromwell did okay as Captain Stacy and the character will have a huge role in The Amazing Spider-Man. And Bryce Dallas Howard was okay as Gwen Stacy, but didn't really play the character as displayed in the comics. Emma Stone will be a much better fit. All in all, bad to okay to good acting here.
The direction by Sam Raimi was off and on here. It's a shame Raimi dropped a huge stain on his directorial reputation with this movie although some may even argue that his return to horror, Drag Me To Hell, was another stain even though I actually liked that film. I will say that the film looked great especially the special fx of The Sandman. Venom's look could have been better, but it was okay besides the moments where the black goo pulled back to reveal Eddie Brock's face or when he talked. Also liked the look of The New Goblin suite.
Overall, Spider-Man 3 was a huge disappointment not only for me but all Spider-Man fans in general. I only really watch this film for James Franco and J.K. Simmons. The scene where Jameson asks the little girl for her camera, pays her, and then she tells him that film is extra made me laugh. But, at the end of the day, Spider-Man 3 is an over convoluted mess of a superhero/comic book character. Just proves again that three villains always brings a movie down instead of actually pleasing the fans. There's no wonder why Sony wanted to reboot the franchise instead of making Spider-Man 4 even though they played a big hand in interferring with the filmmakers' creativity instead of letting them do their thing.