Sunday, May 06, 2007

Spider-Man III

Serious comic book fans will note that despite being one of Marvel's A-List super heroes that the proverbial webspinner suffers from a decidedly second rate rogue's gallery. From Electro to The Vulture and on to the The Lizard they are, by and large a shopworn collection of one-note freaks.
So when it came to write Spider-Man III, clearly Sam Raimi threw caution to the winds and dug right down to the bottom of the barrel to dredge up MORE if not better antagonists for the title character. This is how we end up with such tedious hacks as "The Sandman" (Thomas Haden Chuch channeling Jim Nabors), "Venom" (an entirely superfluous Topher Grace) and James Franco's "Goblin Junior" or whatever the hell they called unpromising bunch to be sure.
Local pundit Jon Haber has sensibly opined that when screenwriters start shoe-horning multiple supervillains into a script it is a time to worry as easily written excess has now supplanted mere creativity.
To me though, the real villain here, the one Spider-Man cannot beat, is hubris, that firm belief that with a cast this good producers can indulge anything sans reproof.
Sadly, this is not the case, at two hours and twenty minutes Spider-Man III feels like a ponderous three and a half hours as we wearily trudge from villain backstory to villain backstory and on to the completely joyless action climax.
This is disquieting to watch, generally the Spider-Man franchise has been impeccably cast from the git-go with strong thematic notions to underscore the and move the action. Here though, the vague notion that poor Peter Parker has been seduced by Spider-Man's popularity is burried under tons of treacly dialogue, witless brawls and bizarre continuity errors. I won't even try to discuss Spidey's new black uniform it's origin or it's ultimate fate...I don't have all night and it wouldn't make a lick of sense the second time around anyway.
Personally I think McGuire and Dunst should take a hint, cash their checks and move on, the franchise has nowhere to go but down.