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Spidey blacks out

Nicola Mostyn enjoys swinging with Spider-Man 3

Published on May 11th 2007.


Spidey blacks out

All is well in Peter Parker’s world. He has the girl of his dreams, he’s studying science at college and…oh yeah, he’s Spider-Man, darling of the people. Not bad for a geeky boy from Queens.

That Parker is revelling in his new-found adoration means you know it’s only a matter of minutes before it all goes horribly wrong. And so it does. In true split-personality style, his complacency impacts both worlds: on the emotional front, Parker’s self-satisfaction threatens to drive a wedge between him and Mary Jane, whose acting career is not scaling quite the equivalent heights. As Spider Man, things become more complex than ‘good trounces evil’ when Parker discovers the man thought to have killed his uncle - a man he watched die – might not have been guilty. Enter Sandman, a tragic sandpit in human form who’s killing, stealing and stomping people, but only to help his sick daughter. Then there’s the ambitious photographer trying to muscle in on Parker’s job and best friend, Harry, who’s vacillating between murderous goblin and the all round good guy that Peter and MJ love.

The line between good and evil is fuzzy, to say the least - the perfect time, then, for the black stringy stuff (expelled by a meteor and hiding under Parker’s bed) to strike, turning your friendly neighbourhood Spiderman into dark Spidey. This is made clear by the cool black costume and by the loss of the nerdy side-parting in favour of an emo fringe and some black eyeliner. The world should be very afraid…

Spider-Man 3 cost 500 million dollars, so expectations are, naturally, high. So is the running time which is half an hour too long perhaps. Maybe they felt the need for every one of those 140 minutes to do justice to the action, characters and plentiful plot strands that director Sam Raimi has crammed in to this film.

Having introduced and developed characters and motivations in the first two films, Raimi’s third outing has the ambitious task of making sense of it all: the uneasy triangle of MJ, Peter and Harry; the father-son pact between Goblin senior and Goblin junior; the guilt and hate Parker feels at his uncle’s death.

Whilst tackling all of this, Spider-Man 3 doesn’t shirk on the visuals. The special effects are impressive (particular those involving the human dust cloud that is Sandman) and the fight scenes will have you protecting your head, even without watching the IMAX version. There is some distinctly cheesy dialogue, but let’s hope this was done with a cheeky wink. The same goes for the hokey moral messages which must (it’s the law) underlie all Superhero films, but which are offset here with plenty of knowing humour.

The scenes in which Parker gets his mojo, courtesy of the black stuff, tip between hilarious and embarrassing and are delivered with gusto by the always excellent Tobey Maguire (though we could all have done without the dance sequence…). As usual, any scene containing permanently apoplectic Bugle editor J. Jonah Jameson is an absolute joy. Overall, it’s a hugely enjoyable cinema experience.

Still, the good must be balanced with the bad, and the bad is that, whilst this is certainly the biggest and most ambitious Spider Man film to date, its virtues are also its defects. The high villain count and eventful plot make for gripping viewing but the much-anticipated character of Venom feels like an add on, and while the action is piled high, it dilutes the intensity and ultimately makes the film less memorable once you’re out in the blinking light.

Still, Raimi’s given us even better effects, new villains, more romantic complications, a Peter Parker with attitude, tears, laughs and a two and a half hour film which flies by - perhaps it’s expecting super-human skills to ask for a sequel which would also bear repeated viewings.

You can Spidey at just about every cinema in world at half hour intervals.

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johnMay 11th 2007.

are you kidding me? spidey 3 is the worst so far. Just give me a villain who is downright evil, enough of the villain's back stories to give me sympathy with them! Is it now politically incorrect to have a villain who just doesnt give a toss and wants to kill everyone?If you go and see one film this year, make it the masterpiece that is This is England, not this overlong mess.

GordoMay 11th 2007.

I saw this movie the other day, its a cracker. Go.

spidey de bestMay 11th 2007.

spidey-3 is the best so far. its really cool n has got some of the best actions

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