Wednesday, May 9, 2007

The Case for Arachnophilia

While not a huge fan of the first two Spiderman films, I did enjoy them. And so it was with a mix of mild interest and detachedness that I went into the third instalment – and, surprisingly for Sky Village in the Hutt, about 30 other people were in the movie theatre as well (it fits around 300 so we were all still fairly comfortable…)! I had already read Morgue’s (4 May 2007) critique of the film, so I felt I was fully braced for what I was about to see.

Spiderman 3 was big, spectacular, and long. The action scenes were impressive, dizzying, occasionally nauseating; the romance scenes were formulaic and involved the odd “romance to music” device which works in Ghost but I wasn’t so sure here; most of the original cast was back for mostly fleeting appearances, though they were joined by the welcome but unfortunately underused talents of Topher Grace (I reckon he stole every scene he was in, but then Peter Parker always seems like a bit of a wet fish in most scenes, so that’s not really that hard); and the plot was as incidental to the set pieces and spectacular special effects as ever.

Some plot spoilers here: quite a few people realised that Peter Parker was Spiderman in this film, though luckily they were all killed or de-molecularised at some point. The whole origin of Sandman was actually pretty naff: crook stumbles across an open air de-moleculariser that is being tested at what looks like 1am, and where the mad scientists are trying to de-molecularise sand into… well, sand, though of course no-one checks out the de-moleculariser once the test has been completed or takes any samples or precautions about overnight precipitation or anything because… well, because it’s dumb. And why did the baddies decide to dangle a car and a lorry from the one millionth floor of an under construction building (how long does it take to fall down that far? 20 minutes or so it seems), especially when one of the evil henchmen is bound to the bottom levels? And why did none of the debris fall down and hit the annoying “British” journalist in the face causing instant and gratifying deadidity?

But should I really have been surprised? It was big, dumb fun, and may not even be the last Spiderman film considering how well this one has done at the box office. I was surprised that there was actually no real character development for Spiderman (it just rehashed something I thought was resolved in movie one), and the hero at the end of the day did not seem to be Spiderman at all. But then, the whole “mostly, nothing really changes” is part of the whole comic book ethos, so perhaps I should have expected the “new villain; same plot” format.

And I think I actually enjoyed the film a bit more than the 30 other people in the theatre in the end. The kiddies were apparently comatose by the halfway mark, so little noise did they make; the High School lads were busy mocking each other and throwing jandals around the theatre (luckily not too noisily); and most other people must have knocked their popcorn over as they dozed, so unkempt was the cinema floor (really!).

Already the details of the film are dissolving and fading (apart from sweet Ursula – she was awesome!). And perhaps that is what will make it such a huge success – it’s instant forget-ability and unsurprising storyline allowing easy repeat viewing. Though not by me.

Verdict: Sit down, brain off, enjoy the spectacle, take a pillow.


Morgan Davie said...

Ursula is my sweetheart. SO much better than Mary Whiney Jane.

Anonymous said...

It was DULL. The action scenes moved nauseatingly fast, so you couldn't appreciate any effects, and the character development and romance scenes were....nauseating. Peter Parker is a wet sap.

The highlights of the movie were the special effects with the Sandman and the alien goop. Not worth sitting through 2 1/2 hours for.

1.5 soggy stars.