Villain-o-rama – A Spider-Man 3 Review

[[image:dualityspidey01.jpg:The black costume:center:0]]

As previously reported, we caught Spider-Man 3 at Digi IMAX theatre on opening night. But first a non-spoilery rundown of the movie based on early press releases and trailers.

Peter will be asking MJ to marry him, but before that there are a few small problem.

First, of course, is continuing the tale across the last two movies is Harry Osborn’s desire for revenge against Spider-Man for his father Norman Osborn’s (a.k.a. the Green Goblin) death.

Then there’s Eddie Brock, a rival photographer who will stoop to nasty methods to frame Spider-Man for a position as the Daily Bugle’s staff photographer. His character starts out as a nice guy but a series of unfortunate circumstances slowly strip away the guise and finally reveal himself for what he truly is.

In the midst of it, Flint Marko an escaped convict on the run who unwittingly finds himself in a particle physics experiment, after which he finds himself with the ability to turn his body and reshape it into sand. But for this movie, he’s revealed as the actual killer of Peter’s Uncle Ben, something that diverges from the comic book story.

Finally, a viscous black fluid follows Peter back to his apartment and bonds with his costume as he sleeps. He discovers that the new black costume gives him even more enhanced strength and agility, but unfortunately it amplifies his aggression, where it affects the previously mentioned elements of the story in unfortunate ways.

Now some spoilery thoughts on the movie.

And I mean, SPOILERS!

[[image:dualityspidey02.jpg:Gwen Stacy- Richie Cunningham’s daughter:left:0]] SPOILERS, I said.

Any movie with supers beating each other to a pulp and smashing buildings around them is a thumbs-up in my book. And do we have a bunch of bashing supers in this movie.


First, there’s Peter Parker a.k.a. Spider-Man, who’s shed his angtsy shell from the last two movies and embraced the fact that the whole of New York (sans one J. Jonah Jameson) loves him. Well, in the beginning at least, then he gets the alien symbiote on and he goes into furrowed-brow, bad attitude, sidewalk strutting and pelvis-grinding mode. Which can be fun, except that it’s causing strain in his relationships. Then he goes back into angst mode. But only for a short while until he gets back to his red-and-blue costume.

I was hoping for a much more wise-cracking Spidey when he’s in costume and cutting loose as Spider-Man like in the comics, but I guess that’s not at the top of the filmmakers to-do list for this movie.

Harry Osborn is the so-named “New Goblin” after exposing himself to OsCorp’s performance enhancers which his father had stashed somewhere in his house. This dramatic and crucial scene lasts .05 microseconds. With a new costume and sky slide, the “New Goblin” brings the character along a different route from the comics where Harry actually takes his on father’s alter ego and costume. He still has the whirr-clicky and blinky pumpkin bombs from the first movie though.

New actors that add to the movie universe are Thomas Hayden Church and Topher Grace play more villains Flint Marko a.k.a. Sandman and Eddie Brock respectively, while Bryce Dallas Howard (or is it Dallas Bryce? I can never remember…) and James Cromwell bring Gwendolyne Stacy and her police captiain father George Stacy to life from out of the comic pages.

I see what they wanted to do with Sandman, but I thought his overall story arc was distributed badly across the entire movie storyline. He appears quite late in the movie, disappears for a long time and returns prior to the final battle. I guess it’s a result of having too many balls in the air to juggle. His coda was a bit too forced. Sure, Peter forgave him for killing Ben Parker, but what of his dying child? Isn’t that the reason he’s on a crime spree? The reason still stands and they both just part ways all teary(sandy)-eyed? In any case, with the drama concerning his shooting of Uncle Ben and his kid, perhaps the writers overdosed the Sandman a bit with the “misunderstood bad guy” schtick.

I love Topher Grace’s performance of Eddie Brock. Not the muscled up nut he is in the comics, Eddie here at first glance appears to be the perfect young man a lady might take home to meet her parents. But slowly, he reveals his under-handed, unscrupulousness at work, and finally when he prays to God to “kill Peter Parker”, you know that this guy is a sociopath.

The Venom symbiote’s origins would be too convoluted to tell with its Secret Wars origin, so it’s simplified down to the creature coming down riding a small meteorite, which crashes unnoticed in Central Park. When it goes into full Venom mode with Eddie, it gives me the shivers to see its head an exact copy of the original Todd McFarlane design. I hope he returns somehow in future movies.


The Stacys were criminally underused, if you’re aware of their tragic story arc, the end of which still reverberates throughout Spider-Man’s storylines in the comics. I was half expecting (and hoping) Mary Jane would be killed off here branching away from the comics so Peter would finally be happy with Gwen. Anyway I thought Gwen was going to be a rival with Mary Jane for Peter’s affections. It’s substantially less than that even though she did give MJ a run for her money for a little bit.

In the topic of Mary Jane Watson, how many times has she been abducted publicly by supervillians? Someone should have guessed something is up with her, with the added fact that her boyfriend Peter is Spider-Man’s unofficial photographer. Make the connection people. Just a couple of dots are missing. But you should be able to make out the general shape of the puzzle.

Curt Connors also get the same amount of screen time as per Spider-Man 2. One scene in class and another scene talking to Peter about the piece of the symbiote that Peter brought. It’s already been two movies (three if you count the name dropping in the first movie); when will this guy get to turn into the Lizard?

Mr. Ditkovitch (undoubtedly named after Spider-Man’s illustrator and co-creator Steve Ditko) and her daughter Ursula also had more stuff to do in this movie, and surprised me with some good scenes, and the line, “He’s a good boy. He must be in some sort of trouble.” Bruce Campbell returns once again, this time as an unnamed maître d’ of a fancy restaurant where Peter plans to propose to Mary Jane. Although the dinner was a total disaster for Peter, Bruce helps balance it out with some humour for the audience. Too bad he didn’t have a chainsaw for a hand here.

Spider-Man co-creator Stan Lee gets to say his famous iconic line “Nuff said!” on screen when he talks to Peter on the street. Two hundred awesome points there.

And Flash Thompson from the first movie appears in the end in a non-speaking role. Good effort on the filmmakers for visual continuity.


Finally we return to Harry, who rounds off his story arc surprising me again by coming to Peter’s rescue in the final battle, and redeems himself in battle. One element of the story that doesn’t flow well is why he suddenly became good? His butler, Bill Paxton’s dad (It’s true, he is!) confirms to him that his father died of stab wounds from his own goblin glider… but it could might just as well meant that Spider-Man stabbed Norman with his own glider. Plus I also thought that the performance enhancers made Norman and Harry insane with rage (note the grimace, et. al.), via chemically imbalanced body. How could he just turn into a good guy on a dime without the use of an antidote? All griping aside, the scenes where Peter and Harry joined forces to take down Sandman and Venom were spectacular.

Overall, I liked it, though I prefer Spider-Man 2 more, mostly because I like the balance between Peter’s civilian life and Spider-Man better, and Aunt May’s fantastic words of wisdom. I’d rate Spider-Man 2 4.5 out of 5 Liz Allans. The effects are outstanding, particularly the crawling motion symbiote and the sand effects of the Sandman. The scene where he first attempts to reform his body is just amazing. If the filmmakers did a better job balancing out all the story threads in the movie it would have been a perfect 5 out of 5 Felicia Hardys. As it is I’ll give it 4.125 out of 5 Julia Carpenters.

Posted in Movie Review and tagged , , , .

Khairul Hisham J. is a tabletop RPG artist, writer, proofreader, translator, teacher, grad student and learner-in-general.

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