Things are finally looking up for Spidey. After coming to terms with his superhero ways in the first film and overcoming an unbearable urge to hang up the suit forever in the second installment, Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) is enjoying the success and good fortune he’s been yearning for for years. He’s at the top of his game in the world of academia, he has the love of his life, Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst), and cheering throngs shout with glee as the police chief’s beautiful daughter (Bryce Dallas Howard) hands Spidey the keys to the city.
That is, until he lets it all go to his head. In the case of Spider Man, absolute power corrupts absolutely, and soon the walls come tumbling all the way down. Mary Jane is fired from her Broadway gig. Peter almost kills his once-best friend Harry, who is still out for revenge over his father’s death. And to top it all off, Peter soon learns that his uncle’s killer has escaped from prison and is on the run. Not to mention the mysterious blob of black gunk that crash-lands from some distant planet and jumps on-board Peter’s motorized scooter. It subsequently attaches itself to a Spidey suit, turning the default red and blue to a pitch black.
Unfortunately, Peter is more than just vulnerable to what happens next. Haunted by the fact that his uncle’s killer is on the loose and his relationship with M.J. is disintegrating, Peter soon succumbs to the urges the new black suit presents and tries it on. What he finds is staggering: He is faster, stronger, and more agile than ever before. The only problem lies with his heart—it seems to have turned to charcoal, too.
Spider Man 3 performed miraculously in theaters, shattering the box office records by bringing in 148 million bucks on opening weekend. And while throngs of viewers were able to look past the film’s obvious flaws, it was painfully obvious that this third installment pales in comparison to its superior older brothers.
Three villains, four if you count bad spidey, fly in and out of the storyline, muddling the film and confusing the viewer. Even Peter Parker himself looks at a loss to figure out what the blazes is going on. Pick one (maybe two) main villains and focus the story around them. But, three? Too much, especially, when the filmmakers haphazardly kill them all off in the movie’s final moments. Each of their demises has a symbolic meaning, but the viewer is too busy watching the next one go down that they miss the symbolism altogether.
Spider Man’s dialog is terribly clichéd—not that this is anything new. But unlike the cheesiness of the other movies, which actually seemed feasible, this movie’s idiotic attempts at witty one-liners leave the audience saying to themselves, “Now, who would actually say/do that?” Serious moments become laugh-out-loud moments because the dialog is so cheesed-up it’s unbearable.
Peter’s thirst for power and glory goes to his head, and his heart turns sour once he yields to the evil that is the black suit. He comes to his senses, like usual, but not before providing the audience a powerful lesson of how not to act. The film is littered with other symbolisms, though, as I mentioned earlier, most are drowned out by the impatience on the part of the filmmakers to let the plot develop before tossing in another bad guy for Spider Man to take down.
Don’t get me wrong; no one should feel cheated after walking out of the theater. Spider Man 3 is mostly enjoyable, and makes for a great popcorn movie. Just don’t expect the WOW factor the previous two provided. This time, Spidey has undoubtedly become wrapped up in his uber-complicated and under-thought web.
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