S Movies

Spiderman 3 (2007)

Spiderman 3Four Stars

Who’s in it

Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Thomas Hayden Church, Topher Grace, Bryce Dallas Howard, James Franco, J.K. Simmons

Should you see this movie?

Maybe. That is what I will cautiously say. Right before I left, I read a couple reviews for the movie, with the critics being so-so on it. Most of the reviews said it was campy, and there was too much crying. Not phased by reviews usually, we went, and I will say that as a fan I was so out of my mind excited for the treatments for the villains. However, I thought the movie totally sucked through the middle and was completely campy, especially through that point, and, yes there was too much crying. That is the short review, now to pick it apart as the fan boy.

I knew going in, that the movie seemed to have a little much going on. Somehow the movie was going to accomplish these things;

  • Continue the conflict between Peter Parker and Harry Osborn, where somehow Harry was going to be turning into a super villain
  • Peter was going to try to ask Mary Jane to marry him
  • Flint Marko was going to be established as the real killer of Peter’s Uncle Ben as well as turned into the Sandman
  • Introduce Gwen Stacy, as a character and then a competitive love interest
  • Introduce the symbiote suit from outerspace, what it does to Peter, and how he gets rid of it
  • Introduce Eddie Brock, establish him as a character and then give him motivation to hate Spiderman
  • Introduce Venom as a character
  • Keep all of the small sub threads going simultaneously

Wow! What a lot of stuff. From what I read, the direction Sam Raimi was writing the new script with Sandman as the villain, and possibly someone else when Avi Arad came to him and told him he wasn’t listening to the fans, that the fans want to see Venom. I thought the plot made sense, and it flowed together fine, not like it was an afterthought. But I do think when you cover so much ground, lots of things get left on the table.

The first half of the movie is highly segmented. There is a short scene showing Harry Osborn stepping out of the chamber with the green smoke, and although you get that he is strong now and probably didn’t need to go into detail, it felt so quick and unnerving a little bit. It started to remind me of latter Bat-man’s, where the creation of a villain was whimsical, like there were no consequences for the villain themselves or those around them. They were just there to destroy the hero.

We did see the introduction of the symbiote. It comes down in a meteor from outerspace, and crawls onto Peter’s bike. I don’t mind that they needed to update this a little. Someone Peter needs to get it, and I don’t know what the best answer was here, but didn’t think it crawling onto Peter’s bike was the best solution. The Symbiote is attracted to aggression, there was none at the time, so you can’t even justify that as the reason it would crawl to the moped.

The scene above the city with Peter fighting Harry, you’ve seen it in the previews, but that doesn’t matter. Awesome! They did an awesome job, just like the rest of the action in the movie. High intensity, never before seen stunts, it will keep you mesmerized. For me, Harry Osborn’s treatment as a villain was logical. I never liked the Green Goblin treatment, so for this I put the comic geek in me aside and didn’t care about the Hobgoblin and his story. If Harry was to create a villainous identity, one on a hoverboard with a retractable mirrored mask makes sense.

There is a scene with an out of control crane on top of a building, that swings a beam into another building destroying a whole floor. Pretty cool idea, gives way for Spiderman to save Gwen Stacy. I loved the action of the falling pieces of the building and Spiderman dodging through them. I did notice Sam’s treatment of the falling debris as being his trademark, and a little weird. I also thought the CG on the exploding glass looked a little strange too.

Then, to continue the story, it gets into Peter’s room, and in one stormy night where Peter has strong aggressive feelings, it attaches itself to his costume. This didn’t bother me as much since now it was in the room. But, immediately they cut to Peter hanging from a building, talking to himself about the suit. Again, segmented, jarring, and stupid. Why don’t they explain this? Too much going on, and too little time of course. Or so I thought.

This is getting long, I’ll try to make these points shorter. The Sandman is created. The sign on the fence Flint Marko jumps says something to the effect, “Stay Out Text Particle Facility”. Seriously? They couldn’t have done that someway else? I also though the CG treatment of Marko initially after the accident didn’t look that great, looked kind of generic, and didn’t fit with the rest of the CG later in the movie. But no big deal.

The introduction scene of Marko as the Sandman, nice job, solid and interesting. The fighting scene between Spiderman and Sandman in the sewer – Awesome! The fact that Sandman can just particalize and float through the whole city on the wind, majorly stupid. I don’t care if this was comic book related or not, it seemed like an easy solution to how he would get through the city so quick, and it was a bad one.

Then comes the middle of the film. Raimi tries to establish that Peter is a bad guy now, talking back to people, doing things he may have thought of doing before, but didn’t have the guys. Talking back, treating people poorly, dressing in black and wearing a Good Charlotte Emo haircut. I get that the general audience doesn’t understand the suit, and you have to show the power it has, but seriously, snapping your fingers down the street and looking coyly at women. The singing and dancing in the bar? Was all of it necessary? I think you cut this section way down, and flesh out the other disjointed sections just a little more. The section of the movie was just as bad for me as sitting through the whole fourth Batman, I just cringed in my seat.

However, the scene with Peter fighting Harry as a badass, and throwing a bomb back at his face, very cool. Keep the action, this was the strong suit of the whole movie. All of it was top notch.

Finally, he hits Mary Jane, and we see, oh, the suit is bad for him. And, the movie hits a turning point, and sans all the cry baby crap in the end, the movie is the best of any of the any movie’s from here on out.

We see Peter get rid of the suit in an awesome CG scene, and Eddie Brock become Venom. The part where Venom meets Sandman and is crawling on the wall looks a little weird, but that is the only part. The news clips of Venom are frightening, and Eddie Brock’s face transformation, and the suit pulling back just looked amazing. I will say I had my reservations of a younger, thinned Brock. But it makes a lot of sense as “the evil Peter Parker”. Similar build, just didn’t have the moral core to handle power like Peter did. It is a more logical transition that having Eddie Brock be a middle aged body builder like he is in the comic. And, Topher Grace put on some 20 plus pounds for the part and whether or not they beefed him up in CG in the suit, or if it was all him, he was a good size I thought without being too crazy huge.

The whole end sequence. Amazing, Amazing, Amazing. Possibly the most amazing thing I have ever seen. How the did Venom, he was as scary as he should be, and acted just as he should. Loved the hanging taxi in the black webbing over the city, the enormity of the webbing was just fantastic.

The accumulation of the plot between Harry and Peter comes to a head here, and the general feel good audience member liked that Peter and Harry team up to fight the end two villains. Kind of sappy probably for a real comic geek, but something I liked to see, for the sequences if nothing else.

Sandman here in the end, you get to see why he is no two bit part villain. He is truly fearsome, and here in the end we are all glad there are two villains kicking the crap out of Peter. You can’t imagine Peter fighting The Sandman only as the final to the movie, and you can’t imagine him fighting Venom and Sandman without Harry’s help. To watch Sandman rise up over the city as this huge monster was just amazing, and to watch Harry throw bombs at him and turn him into glass, and then shatter pieces of him was really awesome too. How else do you really stop a man made of sand?

Venom, Venom, Venom. Loved it. They did an awesome scene in getting Brock out of the suit by banging hollow tubs on the ground, then sticking them into the cement in a ring around the symbiote. This whole section gave me goosebumps. The symbiote separates itself, but not before you see many a scene of Venom turning his head and screeching like a monster from hell. For writing this character in towards the end, they just couldn’t have done a better job.

Then the end, Brock is blown up with the symbiote, Harry dies saving Peter, and Sandman, cries and floats away on the wind. The crying by everyone, a little much, but probably needed for a main screen movie for the general public. It was the least of my worries in the parts I hated for this movie.

So, a terribly long review. But a lot to say. As you can see, for the geek in me, sometimes you have to sit through crap to see the good stuff, and the second half of the movie made all of the middle bad stuff worth it. As a comic fan, you have to see this movie! But you have to turn off the super geek and try to enjoy the big idea. The small plots and accuracies will tear you apart if you don’t. The general public, that is hard for me to say, and that is why I say maybe. I think you will be taken for a ride in the CG. Venom might scare you to the point of non-enjoyment, but I think for something so out there you have never seen before, you will get that satisfaction from this movie. It is also a nice close to the three movies if they were a trilogy, so I think for some of those plots, and especially the close to Peter’s relationship with Harry.

I think you should go see it, just know you will see it because you are invested in the story for the others, you want great special effects, but parts of it, you won’t like.

My Super Ex-girlfriend (2006)

My Super Ex-girlfriendThree Stars

Who’s in it

Luke Wilson, Uma Thurman, Anna Faris

What was good

The core idea of a guy, who just starts dating a girl that happens to be a superhero. That, and the fact that she is a psycho, so to see what happens when a pyscho girl with powers is dumped. I did like it when she threw the shark at Wilson.

What sucked

This movie is what it is. You know it is going to be silly at times and outlandish. There were parts like the recycled super hero story, and actually the end animated sequence, that come to mind as bad. But, it was a short, entertaining movie at an hour and a half and for .50, it was worth that time.

Who should go see this

I think this movie is probably worth a 2.00 rental, not much more. The time is great, it is fun if you are a younger couple and are aware of the times and just are married or remember dating. I don’t think the older crowd would like this as much, especially anyone who doesn’t like the supernatural hero thing. Those types need to stay away just like you do with the regular drama hero movies like Superman and X-men.

Shattered Glass (2003)

Shattered GlassFour Stars

Who’s in it

Hayden Christensen, Peter Saarsgard, Rosario Dawson, Steve Zahn

Should you see this movie?

I think so. This was suprisingly entertaining and for the first half of the movie, the best acting job Hayden has ever done. It’s a true story about a writer who “cooks” all of these stories, or fabricates them, and has everyone fooled. He goes to great lengths to make up all of his sources and lies, and uses the system of checks and balances so he can advance his career. Saarsgard, like usual, is very good, and the movie is engaging, but towards the end the regular “Anakin” whine starts to come out and you want to turn it off. But don’t, it is a good one.

Superman Returns (2006)

Superman ReturnsFour and a Half Stars

Who’s in it

Brandon Routh, Kevin Spacey, Parker Posey, James Marsden, Frank Langella, Kate Bosworth

Should you see this movie?

Yes. If you liked the older movies, then you may not like this, but I think this is a much more modern version of Superman, closer to how he should be, using today’s technology to make him happen. It is violent, it’s engaging, and it’s a story that really shows how alienated Superman feels in a human society. These are my gripes, however. Bosworth, worst casting ever possible as Lois Lane. Too young, terrible acting, completely unbelieveable. That is it. I will comment that I watched all of the old movies before I saw this one. I thought that Christopher Reeve played a better Clark Kent, and Brandon Routh, although a little young, played a tremendous Superman. But the flying scenes, the plot, the idea behind the whole movie was very awesome and I hope that it kicks off a whole series of successful movies directed by Bryan Singer. He is a great director, a true artist whole is dedicated to what he does and I am really glad he took over the project. See it and figure out what you think, but like Batman, it helps erase the late movies that left such a bad taste in people’s mouths.

So I Married An Axe Murderer (1993)

So I Married An Axe MurdererThree and a Half Stars

Who’s in it

Mike Myers, Nancy Travis

Should you see this movie?

Maybe. This was the third time I saw this movie this summer, and it has finally grown on me. If you are stuck in the early 90’s and liked Mike Myers humor then, this movie may not sit well with you like it did for me. I never thought it was very funny, just the opening part at the family’s house with “the head” and “Saturday Night”, Myers plays a hilarious father. The rest of the movie is a more physical humor that is traditional mixed in with a cute love story. She turns out not to be the murderer, instead her roommate, but she does act weird through the whole movie to keep you guessing, which is a product of being hurt so many times. A cute dated love story, you might see it if you like him if you haven’t already.

Saving Silverman (2001

Saving SilvermanThree Stars

Who’s in it

Jack Black, Steve Zahn, Amanda Peet, Jason Biggs, Amanda Detmer, Neil Diamond

Should you see this movie?

This was the second time I saw this movie, and I liked it a ton better the second time. Zahn and Black are two die hard retarded friends that want to save their other friend from a voraciously crazy girlfriend. She is controlling and a freak, so decide to kidnap her, and all sorts of crazy crap happens. I don’t think that my parents would like this obviously, but most of my friends would. To watch Black run around like a stupid ass fits in this movie a little better, and Zahn is the great balance of sort of normal guy with not quite all there. Biggs is pretty terrible like usual, but he sure does know how to pick friends and women. Younger crowd should see this, it’s funny.

16 Blocks (2006)

16 BlocksFour Stars

Who’s in it

Bruce Willis, Mos Def, David Morse

Should you see this movie?

It was good, much better than what I expected and different than expected. Bruce Willis is aolid in yet another diverse role for him, an aging degenerate drunk cop, who no one seems to respect, makes a decision to help protect a noisy guy who his fellow police officers seem to be really concerned about taking in. Turns out this guy knows more than he should, about the corruption of the department, and by helping him Willis is turning himself in, being a part of it himself. Plus, there is a twist. Decent acting, action, and story, this isn’t a blockbuster, but a solid mid year release that is a good Friday night rental for most anyone.