Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Review: Spider-Man 3

I attended a screening of "Spider-Man 3" Sunday night. Which is to say I went to the movie theatre and watched it, just like everyone else. Except that it sounds more professional to refer to it as a screening. So I did.

Because of the monthly publishing schedule of ArtScene, I don't see much sense in running theatrical film reviews in its pages. Odds are, by the time the issue made it to the street and was picked up and read, the movies covered would have moved on, so a review wouldn't accomplish much more than reminding people of all the potentially great films they missed out on seeing. Or that they did see, and now don't need to be told if it was any good or not.

But the occasional film review on the blog...that's not a bad idea at all. After all, blogs are immediate. I could have a review available online the same night that I watched film (I mean, attended the screening) if I was a bit more on the ball. Even so, two days later is still pretty immediate compared to a monthly publication schedule, and the deadlines involved in it.

I'm off on a bit of a tangent here, though. Let's talk about Spider-Man.

I haven't followed Spider-Man's adventures in the pages of a comic book in years, but when I was younger, he was at the top of my list of favoured super-hero characters. So as each film in this now-trilogy has been released, I've anticipated with the sort of glee that comes from having the opportunity to revisit something from your youth as an adult.

The first two films were exceptional examples of comic book movies that worked. The third continues that trend, though I confess, it's a slightly weaker film.

"Spider-Man 3" falls victim, in a large part, to being too much of too many. There are too many new characters, too many villians, too many subplots, and unfortunately the one spot where we could have used a little bit of too much -- storyline -- falls short.

Which is strange, because there's an awful lot going on. An awful lot of little stuff, crossing this way and that way, but as far as a single, from beginning to end narrative goes...I'm not actually sure there was one.

"Spider-Man 3" feels very much like the third part of a trilogy, requiring an awareness of the previous two films much more than "Spider-Man 2" did. "Spider-Man 2" -- while it was still a sequel -- managed to be a self-contained film in its own right. Unfortunately, "Spider-Man 3" seems more interested in tying up plot threads from the previous two movies to stand on its own.

Having said all that, it is a spectacular, summer action film, with some of the best comic-book-esque fight scenes I've ever seen on the screen (one of the best coming in the first third of the film, leaving the final, exciting climax a little short on action in comparison). Tobey McGuire is still a bang-on Peter Parker, and new arrivals Thomas Hayden Church and Topher Grace fill their villainous roles more than competently.

If you're expecting a deep, philosophical, examination of the human condition, you're probably not going to see "Spider-Man 3" anyway. If you want to see some high-speed, web-slinging action, you likely won't be disappointed, if you overlook some of the problems that are probably unavoidable in a story as ambitious and jam-packed with content as this was.


IMDB Random Keywords:
Revenge / Laboratory / Blockbuster / Particle Accelerator / Newspaper

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