There are three types of movies that had an effect on me early in life:
- Star Wars — Seen during its first run in the theaters with my father. That Star Destroyer filling the screen had me hooked.
- James Bond — Again a bonding (no pun intended) moment with my father at age 9 with Moonraker.
And then there is the third type: anything to do with superheroes.
My mother is to blame for this genre. She let me watch the Adam-West Batman series on afternoon TV, which led to watching The Superfriends on Saturday mornings. She also took me to my first superhero movie — the Adam-West Batman movie that the local public library was showing for free.
Since that time, I have tried to see every superhero movie I could. Even Batman and Robin…
Combine this love of the movie genre with the fact that my three favorite heroes growing up were Batman, Spiderman, and Green Lantern. So imagine back a few years ago when they first announced a new Spiderman franchise — I was excited.
Then the first one came out and it was tremendous.
Then the second one came out and I was just as pleased.
It’s at this point that I was lulled into delusion that maybe Spidey could avoid the “3″ curse.
What is the “3″ curse, you ask? Well, true believer, it is something I made up but is grounded in fact, as shown below:
- Superman and Superman II were well-received; Superman III signified the ending of that chapter of the franchise.
- Batman and Batman Returns did well enough; Batman Forever helped bring an end to Burton’s vision.
- X-Men and X-Men 2 were also well-received; do you even remember watching X-Men 3?
So my delusional self did what it does for any big movie: I bought tickets for the midnight showing at AMC Altamonte so that I could be one of the first ones to see it in wide-release. My co-workers laughed at me doing that and my boss gave me one of those looks that said “You better not be late or call in because I know what you are up to.” The first warning bell should have gone off about the movie since I was able to get my ticket that afternoon — the other two had been sold-out for weeks.
I got to AMC at 10:30 and my Spidey-Sense was tingling. Where were all of the people? Oh, AMC let them into the theater early. I got my favorite seat and settled down. Since nothing was on the screen, I watched clips of the Muppet show on my Windows-Mobile device until the battery died. Luckily the First Look reel started, so I was ok.
At this point, you are probably wondering where my review is. Well, I wanted the buildup of the review to be in proportion to the hype of this movie.
I have tried to like this installment as much as the other two, but I can’t. For all of its budget, it seems as if the story-writing line item got left on the cutting room floor. I have joked with friends that Three’s Company seemed to have stronger plot-lines than Spidey 3 — while I did enjoy Three’s Company, it was only 22 minutes. A lot of emphasis was put into the fight scenes, showing that Sam Raimi had followed George Lucas’s recipe for Episodes I-III of Star Wars.
So, bullet-points of why I was disappointed:
- The Superman III vibe — Battling his “bad” self to reclaim the good side, but let’s do some bad things first to get the public against him.
- Repeating of Spidey 2 — the whole “Saturday Night Fever” sequence was a direct repeat of the “Raindrops” sequence.
- Too many villains/Poor villain choice — There was no need for cramming in two villains that had no set-up from the other movies. Why not keep the B-story part of Harry and make Doc Connors/The Lizard the A-story? We had been setting that up for two films and I feel that is a promise unfulfilled from Raimi.
- Gwen Stacy/Venom — Gwen and Venom felt forced. The way they are treated in the film, it is as if Raimi included them to make Spidey people happy since this would be his last Spidey film.
- Unfulfilled plot points — why make a big deal of the suit if you are not going to explore how it is more powerful?
Overall, I walked away disappointed. Am I going to end up getting it on DVD? Yes, because I still love the genre, even if it disappoints me.
My advice: see it during AMCinema ($5) or at matinee price — it is still worth seeing in a decent theater on the big screen, just not full price…