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December 16, 2009

Film Fatale: Spider-Man 3

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Written by: The Movie Lady
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Spiderman3Spider-man 3 was released in 2007 becoming the third highest grossing film worldwide. However domestically, it was the lowest grossing film of the franchise. The public’s reaction to the first two films was pretty even and most people seemed to enjoy them. The third film is pretty much split down the middle. Either you hate it or you love it. And I do love it. There I said it! I think it’s the best film of the series. Yes, the story is spliced together from multiple sources, there is a lot going on in the plot and there are two villains, but it all seems to blend together seemlessly into an entertaining treat. Thomas Haden Church plays Flint Marko/Sandman and Topher Grace plays Eddie Brock/Venom (even though they never actually refer to him as Venom in the movie). Ironically, both were chosen for their roles based on performances with characters which are nothing like their Spider-Man 3 characters (Church for Sideways and Grace for In Good Company).

Church is great as Sandman. He brings a heartfelt performance to a rough character. Grace is annoying as Venom. This might only be particular to me. He is synonymous with That 70’s Show (which he left to be in this movie) and in my mind they can’t be separated. On some level I guess it works since it’s annoying seeing him play this character, and his character is supposed to be annoying so, mission accomplished. Sandman has stunning visual effects that sort of resemble the mummy in, well, The Mummy, and took three years to make. Venom is also stunning in a horrifying way with those razor teeth and that piercing shriek.


sm3still1bigThis movie is awesome. I think it’s the best of the Spider-Man films, for a few reasons. First off I love the action. In the beginning of the film we get to see a great air battle between Harry and “Peter” who is wearing his normal street attire during the scene while also trying to save/retrieve Aunt May/MJ’s engagement ring. When Spider-Man meets Sandman for the first time to stop him from robbing an armored car, Sandman simply says “I don’t want to hurt you. Leave now.” Spider-Man then proceeds to grossly underestimate Sandman’s powers. How do you fight someone who’s nearly invincible? The ensuing battle is a rough and tumble brawl between two powerful figures. The final battle is just cool.

Second, because there’s so much back story they can just jump right into the drama. At one point Peter is going to see Mary Jane’s play, she’s singing a romantic song, and he’s dreamily mouthing the words along with her. Then the camera pans to Harry and sinister music follows. Peter sees Mary Jane backstage after the show and it’s all smiles and flowers. Then MJ shows Peter the flowers that Harry got her, which are much bigger. Next Peter and MJ are laying on a Spidey web gazing at the stars. MJ says she wants to sing on stage for the rest of her life with Peter in the front row and he says “I’ll be there.” She asks him to tell her he loves her and he does, adding “I always have.” It’s so romantic it’s like a girl’s wet dream. The love spell is soon broken however by the arrival of the evil symbiote. Traditionally in the comic the symbiote has more of a liquid appearance. This was changed for the film opting for it to have a stickier look and having it be this lurching attacker which works great and adds to its sinister feel.

spiderman32Thirdly, I feel this movie is the most romantically inclined. It has the most angst and real life drama. Peter isn’t being sensitive and supportive so Mary Jane seeks comfort in Harry’s arms. That happens all the time, keeping your feelings inside so villains won’t kill your girl, doesn’t. Though Mary Jane does do that in this film. When Harry threatens to kill Peter if Mary Jane doesn’t break up with, she agrees! Why doesn’t Mary Jane tell Peter what Harry said and trust him to protect her as well as himself from Harry? And what is Peter thinking when he kisses Gwen Stacy upside down? Even a little boy in the crowd has more sense than him, shouting “No! Spider-Man! No!” He only said that because he thought kissing was gross but he was on the right track! Later Peter intends to propose to Mary Jane in a fancy french restaurant practicing and imagining what he’ll say to her like… “Don’t cry.” Reality is a little harsher with Mary Jane storming out of the restaurant as a glass of champagne holding the engagement ring is delivered to the table. There’s even an extra show made of Peter drying off the ring, that’s rough. And Harry telling Peter about kissing Mary Jane and how she tastes like Strawberries??? That’s pretty rough too. The most romantic scene happens at the end when Peter goes to see Mary Jane who is singing in her waitressing clothes and nobody is listening; nobody is noticing how beautiful and marvelous she is but him, her audience of one.

Fourth, the villains are so cool. Sandman’s animation is great to watch. The horrifying way his body began to turn to sand and blow away… The way the sand slides and slivers back into his increasingly clearer form… Then the way his body fails to form before he shakes with determination to rise from the ground, and finally returns to his normal appearance brushing sand off his shoulder. Yeah, he’s pretty sick. Venom is great in his own right with fast moves and a sinister personality. Eddie even shows evil tendencies in the beginning of the movie with his total disregard of the fact that his girlfriend was hanging off the side of a building by a phone cord. Later, in an effort to save his own life, Spider-Man tries to talk Venom into fighting the symbiote, and gets this reply “I like being bad. It makes me happy.” Yikes. I would not mess with that. Having two villains also provided the opportunity to have a kick ass final battle at the end of the movie between Spiderman/Harry and Sandman/Venom.

And lastly, my favorite part of the film is when Flint apologizes to Peter for accidently killing Uncle Ben. He tells Peter that he spent many nights thinking about it wishing he could take it back, and Peter says “I forgive you.” That is bad ass. Why? Because that’s what the good guys do.

-End Spoilers

The best cameos of Bruce Campbell and Stan Lee in all the Spider-Man films are in this one. Bruce Campbell plays a hilarious french Maitre D who pronounces Parker’s last name “Pe-kar”. Stan Lee stands next to Peter (who is reading an announcement that Spider-Man is to receive the key to the city) and says “You know, I guess one person can make a difference. Enough said.” You said it Stan Lee.


The Movie Lady



  1. Wow! Great write-up!

    I still have to see this movie but you’re one of the few people who manage to make it sound awesome!

  2. So many people hated this one (including my brother-in-law). I thought it was great. Well…. Not spectacular, but great. It’s the one, out of the three, that really feels like a comic book. Sandman is great (love Thomas Hayden Church), though I could really do without Venom/Brock (Topher Grace? REALLY?). And most of the stuff with Harry was ridiculous; at least he redeems himself in the end. Also, three movies with Dunst Mary Jane is 3 movies too many.
    But Toby is AWESOME. The Peter Parker “emo scene” is hysterical.
    However there is WAY too much going on in this movie. They tried to cram too much in there, and it hurts the film.
    Bruce Campell though, is awesome, as he is in the other two. But Stan Lee gets the worst and most cheesy line in the entire film.

  3. Billy

    I liked this one but not nearly as much as 1 & 2. Topher Grace just wasn’t good for this role. Blame that on casting. THC was a good Sandman though.

  4. InfiniteSpeech

    I agree with Billy and soooo many others that Topher was a horrible choice to play Venom and the whole Spidey/Harry team-up was kind of blah as well. Dunst had lost sooo much weight by the 3rd film she looked like a Q Tip. The stunts and effects were great most of the film and Sandman was awesome. This move could have been a lot better had Raimi not been burnt out as he stated but here’s to hoping the 4th installment will be better as i’m really hoping for another actress to play MJ.

    Oh and any girl that goes to a guys best friend for “comfort” is something I can’t say here…but thats what she is! And Harry violated as well lol

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