Monday, June 18, 2007

Movie Chat: Spider-Man 3

So, Spider-Man 3.

I usually have more fun writing about a movie when I can say something that goes against the conventional wisdom, not only because I enjoy being a contrarian at time, but also because ditto-ing the CW is not that satisfying from a creative, coming-up-with-ideas perspective.

But, sometimes, the CW gets it right:

Spider-Man 3 was too long and tried to do too much stuff. I agree 100% with Jim Henley that it was a "good idea" for a movie.

It felt a little like Peter Jackson's King Kong, except with lower highs and higher lows.

I liked almost all of the goofy stuff that Sam Raimi threw in (the business with Bruce Campbell, the Daily Bugle marketing scene with Ted Raimi, the sequence where badass Peter gets to strut his stuff), except that I didn't like it because it was well done or because it worked but rather because I admired Raimi's perverse and unapologetic willingness to be as corny as he wanted to be.

More generally:

I got to thinking about the difference between spectacle and fantasy. Most of the fx in Spider-Man 3 seem to be there in the service of spectacle - the big fights, the crazy attack-of-the-Venom-suit. In my own movie viewing, I'm getting really diminishing returns from these fx-driven "spectacular" set pieces. Like: "Ok, they've basically solved that technology problem, so they can really do almost any kind of crazy action scene. But so what?"

The one fx moment I really like in the movie was less spectacle and more fantasy: I wouldn't call it poetic, but there was something very moving about the way they used the CGI during the Sandman's "origin sequence". I'm thinking specifically of the image of his face turning to sand and blowing away and then the image of him trying - unsuccessfully - to form a hand so he could pick up his daughter's locket. I'd like to see more of that kind of thing.

1 comment:

James said...

I've been a fan of Spider-Man all my life. When I'm feeling sick, I curl up with hot chocolate and reprints of the Lee-Ditko run.

I was so excited that they were filming in my neighborhood. Last summer, on the way to work, I passed by a big arch in front of the courthouse that read, "Thank You Spider-Man!" and I was like, Damn straight!

What a horrendous movie. It was incoherent, incomprehensible, terribly paced, badly acted, riddled with cliches, and managed to be both loud and boring at the same time.

Also, the perspective is all wrong: the main character doesn't have an agenda or any goals.

A much better movie could have been made, focusing on Harry's predicament. "Should I kill my best friend the superhero? If so, how?" and then show him becoming a crazy supervillain mastermind.

Also: the Sandman and Venom are poor characters.