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By Michael Ferraro | May 4, 2007

I went to a midnight screening last night, not to be that guy who flames message boards with his opinions, but because I love going to the movies. Especially at midnight, when all the fanboys come out with their related attire. I go to midnight screenings all the time throughout the summers. I have a special man-purse (Chris Gore knows what I am talking about) that holds beer, which I usually fill up and bring with me. Nothing like cracking open a can of Foster’s right in the middle of a packed house during a silent portion of the film.

Last night was no different. Sure, I have a rocky history with everyone’s favorite neighborhood… man I can’t even say that term anymore. Needless to say, I thought (and still think) the first Spider-Man films is one of the worst films I have ever seen. The second one, while I didn’t love it, was a great improvement over the first but still had many (and I do mean many) of the flaws the first one suffered from. So my excitement for the third entry just didn’t exist.

I’m pretty used to being all by my lonesome on this too. It seems that everyone loves Spider-Man. A good chunk of my friends included. Critically, they do awesome too. On Rottentomatoes, the first film has a 90% currently. The second film has a 93% currently, with some claiming it to be the “Best Super Hero Movie” ever. Part 3, however, has a different story to tell. Right now. it’s at a 63 %. It seems I am no longer alone.

But I was excited to go to the movies last night. And, as I’ve said before, never bring any negative feelings towards any film when I go in. I’ve done that in the past only to be surprised too many times by films, so I just don’t do that anymore. Even with Spider-Man 3. I just hoped for the best.

But hoping for the best just didn’t do anything for me. Arriving to the theater partially drunk didn’t do anything for me either.

At 3:30am this morning, I got back home and read Pete Vonder Haar’s review. He only gave it 3 stars (about a 60%). My favorite quote:

The bad news is that the third installment is overlong, crammed full with a repetitive romantic plot, and just plain excessive. Raimi appears to be suffering from Peter Jackson syndrome, in that every idea he comes up with simply has to make it on screen. Was the entire montage of “”Evil Peter” sauntering down the street and doing a goofy and incongruous dance-off in a jazz bar not enough to convince us of his slide into the dark side? As if the bad emo haircut and eyeliner weren’t enough, that is. One can almost hear the cops: “”Don’t shoot, fellas: it’s the bass player from Fall Out Boy!”

I don’t know which was more unbearable – seeing Kirsten Dunst sing (not just once but twice), emo Peter Parker, seeing Tobey Maguire dance through the streets like he’s MC Skat Kat from that Paula Abdul video, or the part when Peter Parker goes to a jazz club and dances (again) like he’s Jim Carrey from The Mask.


And the effects – this is the third time they’ve done this. How come they still look bad?

There are some things in cinema that will be pondered for ages. Like David Lynch’s Lost Highway for example – what the hell is that movie about and why do I like it when I do not understand it? Early film students ponder the meaning of “Rosebud” in Citizen Kane and will probably do so as long as film schools exist. Some even contemplate over which story in Kurosawa’s Rashomon was the real one.

I will not be contemplating these things. Instead, I will ponder what made the Spider-Man films so damn lovable (and bankable). They are indeed comic films made for comic fans, but, were the Spider-Man comics this bad? I find it hard to believe. And, if this film really is a faithful adaptation, then it’s clear that the comic wasn’t meant to translate well to film.

Part of the great thing about adapting something is using your skill as a writer to make things more cinematic. Raimi wrote this film (with his brother and some other guy) and it’s evidently clear too. Spider-Man 3 is a lot more slapsticky than the previous entries, like he watched the Evil Dead trilogy a lot while writing this or something. One thing he needs to learn is that slapstick is indeed funny (especially when violence is involved, ala Evil Dead 2). It’s just not funny here.

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  1. Professor Tom says:

    I’m surprised that you didn’t download purchase Photoshop a long time ago. Photoshop is the de facto standard of image editing.

  2. Michael Ferraro says:

    I have photoshop and OS X. No paint program at all. Illustrator is paint, technically, but with a s**t load of bells and whistles. I am just now learning the craft. The pirate picture is proof that my skills are increasing.

  3. Professor Tom says:

    You can have a shout out any time. As for Macs, I don’t work with them or I would have already sent you solutions…you could download Photoshop *cough* *cough* I’m sure there’s a similar included utility with OS X reminicent of Paint.

  4. Professor Tom says:

    On the staying at home thing, I have been telling my co-workers that at the onset of the year I thought it was going to be a stellar year. What surprised me was the amount of good films that we got in the first quarter…I should have known better. It’s been all downhill ever since that abortion of a movie Ghostrider came out. Recently I’ve been telling my coworkers that this would be a good year to sign up for Netficks.

    As to the charge that Pirates II was just a set up for the third, I’m not entirely sure I buy all of that. Yes, the movie did not have any resolution in the hopes of people wanting to see the last installment of the trilogy in droves. The first forty-five minutes was difficult to watch because they recycled all the jokes from the first movie. The second time around there was only like what, two jokes that made you smirk? The writers need to be pulled. I know I’m going to go see Pirates just because I want to know how the damned thing ends (and console myself with Johnny, Keira and Geoffrey). Unless they actually did clean up their act, I think it will blow just as bad as the Spiderman saga.

    As for the Spiderman saga, I just don’t get it. Raimi had plenty of opportunity in all three movies to tighten up the writing. Immensly. I freely admit that I’m not a comic fan/follower and that I’ve never read Spiderman and will give the benefit of the doubt that the original material was just as loose, but I have to believe that a competent director who knew that he was going to get budges over $200 mil would have actually worked for the money and tightened up the Goddamned writing!

    Spiderman 3 tried to mix the action, family, romantic comedy and superhero genres all into one movie. Raimi proved he isn’t capable.

    The real confusion comes in when one considers that:
    • Sony has signed to three more Spider Man movies
    • Superman Two will be made
    • Fantastic Four is getting a sequel
    • The studio system has screwed itself by releasing all the comic book movies at once, thus wearing out the public.
    • The studio system has screwed itself by releasing all of their better ideas for computer animated films.
    • People pay hundreds of millions of dollars to watch shitty movies and Hollywood thinks that the money they receive for their s**t is reward for doing a good job
    • There are two few good writers and ideas left.

  5. thania says:

    i disagree with everyone here.
    although i agree with the emo haircut, i really think that this movie is a good movie.
    it has a lot of heart, a lot of conflict that many superheroes movies dont have.

  6. Jeff says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more. And I mean the original post. Here here, I raise my Foster’s to ya. I am one of the few people I know who didn’t like part 1, enjoyed part 2, and despised part 3. I would’ve written the same review only I woulda talked a LOT More trash about those HORRIBLE special effects. COME ON Sony image works. $230 million and THAT’s the bullshit you guys think will pass? If I wanted to see a bad CG cartoon I’d have gone to Doogal.

  7. Michael Ferraro says:

    When your summer film options include another f*****g Spider-Man film and a PG-13 Die Hard, you have to just take what you can get.

    All I am saying is that any ten minutes of a Pirate movie is better than the entire Spider-Man trilogy.

  8. Professor Tom says:

    You were right this movie blew. And what the hell was up with the Godaweful comb-over?

    I’m not expecting great things from Pirates either.

  9. Felix Vasquez Jr. says:

    “Dead Man’s Chest” WAS nothing but a cheap preamble to the third movie. It was two and a half hours of stunts, CGI, and events that did nothing but lead into the third movie.

    It was a con.

    I’m not seeing “At World’s End” any time soon.

  10. Dave Lawler says:

    I’m not excited about the new “Pirates”; I was incensed at the first sequel being nothing more than a lead-in to a third installment, and I didn’t much care for the first one.

    Before “Grindhouse”, I think the last time I went to the movies was “King Kong” or “The Devil’s Rejects”, which ever came first.

  11. Nathaniel says:

    I don’t even really care about going to the movies anymore. I would prefer just to stay home and watch something on DVD, Turner Classic Movies or the Independent Film Channel.

  12. Michael Ferraro says:

    Pirates? I guess I am kind of excited. I like the second one alright, though it was quite long and felt like the first one again (see the entire Spider-Man franchise).

    Staying home? I partially agree with you. Between all the text-messaging a******s and talkers/narrators, I don’t blame you. But I am a theater junkie. I love seeing s**t on the big screen.

  13. Professor Tom says:

    Michael, you gotta help me. I couldn’t get excited about this film (even though I’m probably going to get stuck watching it twice this week) and your review isn’t helping. I can’t get excited about the upcoming Pirates installment either. And since when does a movie have to franchise into a trilogy?

    Are you excited about World’s End?

  14. Dave Lawler says:

    It goes back to the “Maverick” argument; will you remember “Spiderman 3” in a little over ten years?

    I enjoyed the first movie for what it was: a series of animated drawings made on a computer by a bunch of overpaid techies – which is to say I didn’t enjoy it very much.

    The second movie was better, but only by the margin we should expect from movies – it had a better story, but jeez, it was way overblown and also had the air of overpaid geeks pushing a mouse on a computer. Like the “Matrix” movies.

    I’m guessing “3” will be the same.

    I don’t there’s ever been a perfect adaptation of a comic book made (short of “Batman Begins” which haunts me; Nolan made it his own, he made it as a film).

    Is it worth the tremendous, apparently bottomless pit of production money to make movies people will barely remember?

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