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Saturday, July 07, 2007

Spider-Man 3

**** Spider-Man 3. Science fiction, action/adventure.

Directed by: Sam Raimi.

Starring: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco.

We saw this at Sembach, which, according to the website, seems to be closing??? Noooooo!!!! They just remodeled it last year! Maybe it's an error?? Pardon me while I panic a bit. It's been our favorite theater--a little off the beaten path, so it's not so crowded, and the configuration is the nicest of the local AAFES theaters.

At the beginning of the movie, Spidey/Peter has it made. School's going well; the city loves Spider-Man; Mary Jane has a part on Broadway; and Peter's planning on asking Mary Jane to marry him. But you know that can't last.

And it doesn't.

Mary Jane's show closes after one performance. Peter's former friend Harry Osborne is out for revenge, as the New Goblin, influenced by his father's spirit. The Bugle has a new photographer who's out for Peter's job, and who has a great success plan: prove Spider-Man is a bad guy. An alien symbiote bonds Peter to his suit, turning it black, amplifying his powers, and changing his personality. One of Peter's classmates, Gwen, is getting his attention and driving a wedge between him and Mary Jane. And as if that's not enough, Uncle Ben's real killer, who's only stealing money for his little girl, gets changed into the Sandman, a creature made of (what else?) sand. Oh, yes. Peter gets away from the symbiote, but it attaches to the ambitious photographer, who enjoys the power and becomes Venom.

Did I leave anything out?

That's really the whole/only problem I had with Spider-Man 3--it was just way too busy. Even at almost 2.5 hours, it still felt too rushed. Plenty of people have written opinions of which parts should have been cut or left out, but I'm not that picky--just get rid of one of the villains and one of the personal-life problems, and I'd be a happy camper.

Other than that, it was a fun movie, and pretty much what I expected. Lots of web-swinging and action, plenty of emotional depth and consequences, and really cool special effects. The Sandman in particular had impressive effects--in fact, if it weren't for those effects and the difficulty Spidey had in fighting a creature who can re-form itself, I'd have said the movie could have done without that story line.

One thing I do want to mention, because I saw a few reviews criticizing this: when Spidey is influenced by the symbiote, he becomes all arrogant, reminding me of Jerry Lewis in The Nutty Professor. But what I just loved (and this is apparently not a majority opinion) is that, unlike Buddy Love, Peter Parker's alter-ego is not irresistible to women. He's still just as inept and clumsy, and the arrogance does not endear him to people. I thought it was a nice bit of characterization, actually--the symbiote merely amplifying traits (like the suit's power) rather than actually changing those traits.


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