WHEN: Started at 10:05am on January 20th.  Paused at 11:11am to take a shower.  Started watching again at 11:29am… naked.

WHERE: My apartment in Portland, ME, commonly known as Alderaan.

FORMAT: Blu-Ray on a Vizio 47″ LCD HDTV

COMPANY: Roommate Elliot sat in for a moment during his morning-time routine.

PHYSICAL AND MENTAL STATE: Very relaxed.  Got home early in the morning and realized I had several hours ahead of me before work, and said hey, why the hell not?  Also, again, naked.

REACTIONS OF NOTE:

  • I wish Jim Parsons played Spider-Man.  Tobey Maguire doesn’t really do it for me as “nerd.”
  • When Peter sings along at Mary Jane’s performance, he’s totally not mouthing the right words and it’s hilarious.
  • Eddie Brock is the single most annoying thing about this movie, but Venom is so cool.  I wish they would feature more of the actual villain and less of Topher Grace’s snarky gullet.
  • The smartest human in this movie is the little boy who tells Spider-Man not to kiss Gwen Stacy.
  • You guys knew this was coming, but how did the fucking jazz club scene actually make it through several layers of big-budget production without someone saying “NO”?  God, everything that has ever been lampooned on MST3K is more forgivable than this.
  • This time, I started getting really bored when Aunt May and Peter Parker were talking about whether or not Flint Marko deserved to live.  That’s a little farther, folks!
  • I find myself weirdly getting into Harry’s story line as this progresses.  I am like, “No, his life is *not* worth Peter Parker’s safety!” as I throw my coffee cup at the screen.

THOUGHTS:

Bill’s prediction rings true – I’m tempted to read more Spider-Man.  I say this because as I was watching, I mentioned to Elliot that Dr. Connors might be the most well-acted character in the whole movie (despite Bruce Campbell’s enigma character, of course).  Elliot said, “Hey, doesn’t he become Lizard?”  Knowing so little of Spider-Man as a whole, but liking this guy and wanting to know what he is like with scales, I am stopping at the comic book store on my way home to pick up The Gauntlet, Vol. 5, where the Lizard grapples with his personal non-demon Dr. Connors (so says Wikipedia).

I think a huge problem with the whole Spider-Man franchise is it has no goddamn balls.  This troubles me, because ostensibly the Spider-Man story is supposed to be how a nerd becomes a hero.  But I don’t like the idea that a nerd hero will inevitably end up a soft little hero, who is constantly letting his doe-eyes morally question every scenario and get in the way of his ass-kicking.  For chrissakes, his intense trilogy ends with him staring longingly at the redhead while fucking Snow Patrol gets ready to jam all over the credits.  Shouldn’t there be some awesome hint at a future villain or an iconic image of him floating over the city?

I guess the whole Dark Spidey situation might have been an attempt to remedy this, but it was done in such a sad, comical way that it had no real effect.  But the whole issue got me thinking.  Am I really to expect dark, bad-ass character analysis from my superheroes, or is this just something I have come to crave due to the Nolanization of the genre?  Some of the dorky shit that is included in Spider-Man 3 is frankly okay, due to the fact that it’s a comic book movie.  There’s a certain level of goofiness that is allowed.

However, let me state my next thought clearly and in its own paragraph (so it catches your eye): Spider-Man 3 far exceeds the acceptable level of goofiness.

For your convenience and my sanity as this progresses, I have sorted out the things that I think are totally acceptable.  Silly little plot conveniences or jokes that happen in comics, so they might as well happen in comic book movies.  Following that is a list of the shit that is totally not acceptable.

Hey, it’s okay!  We’re in a magical comic book universe!

– The symbiote Venom just falls out of the air and lands on Spider-Man’s bike?  Okay.  I’m fine with that.  A lot of odd little things that make you say, “Well, that certainly is convenient,” are necessary in order to pseudo-scientifically explain the amazing occurrences in the superhero world.  In order to buy that Peter Parker just happened to stumble upon a radioactive spider, and just happened to have his uncle shot soon after to set him on a crusade of superhero justice, and that all of the super-powered villains in the universe happened to hole up next to NYC to fight him… yeah, you kind of have to buy that an alien symbiote could just happen to fall on the back of his bike.

– The “attempted” to “obviously weak” scientific explanation for Sandman.  He just happens to be chased into a nuclear testing site, where the particles in his body are somehow broken down and bonded with radioactive sand.  Sure.  Sounds cool.  I don’t even care.  How come his clothes break down too?  How come he sometimes gets bigger?  Where does all that sand come from?  Don’t care!  It’s a comic book movie and seeing that stripey-shirted fellow sand-punch skyscrapers is all I need.  It’s neat!

– The dorky comedic interludes.  When Miss Brant buzzes into J. Jonah Jameson’s office, it’s annoying as hell, but I get it.  Spider-Man has always sort of been known for the little puns and silly jokes.  When I was a kid, I remember watching The Amazing Spider-Man as opposed to Batman: The Animated Series.  TAS was too dry and boring for my little tastes, despite my current persona as a devout Batgirl.  That humor is great for kids, and introducing kids to dense moral questions through the context of ass-kicking is the fundamental purpose of comic books.  So, okay.  I hate it, but it’s forgiven.

– Silly little side characters that don’t matter for now, but might come up later.  Some of you may watch the Nostalgia Critic, and he does an awesome, cynical review of all three Spider-Man movies where this issue comes up.  But honestly, that shit just doesn’t bother me.  Random characters which serve only to move the story forward by a *second* pop up in comic books ALL THE TIME.  It’s okay.  I will, however, second the Critic’s criticism:

I don’t care if everyone is wearing masks, that just doesn’t make sense!

– Watch Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies.  See that sparkling chemistry between Lucius Fox and Bruce Wayne?  See how their brief exchanges of dialogue convey deep, mutual understanding and years of partnership?  And even though Rachel Dawes goes through two actresses, you still can sense the complicated relationship between her and Bruce Wayne, and buy it?  How come I don’t feel anything of that between Harry, Mary Jane and Peter?  Peter and Harry are supposed to be best friends, but their exchanges are as awkward as freshman roommates in college.  Harry and Mary Jane have known each other most of their lives, but their fucking omelet scenario feels like a first date you’d have with someone you met online.  Really?  You’re going to do the twist right now?  Fuck you.

– Eddie Brock.  With all of my apologies about undeveloped side characters aside, Eddie Brock is poorly written, poorly acted, poorly motivated, and just way better when his mask is on.  Never would a comic book let the stupid person behind the mask get in the way of the kick-ass mask.

– The inconsistency of New Goblin.  I begin to root for him at the end, but as a whole, this character just doesn’t make sense.  He seems to be inherently good, but he turns bad because of his father, and then seeks cold-blooded vengeance on his best friend.  Then (!) gets amnesia, acts like a fucking idiot, hits on his best friend’s girlfriend before turning evil, turns evil again because sudden memory regain, begins a manipulative emotional scheme, fights his best friend, turns solemn and scarred, finds out one small piece of information and suddenly cracks jokes, becomes a buddy for like ten minutes and then becomes a martyr?

– Normally, I would put “different evil appearance” under “totally acceptable,” because yeah.  When Batman is going through a dark place, sometimes his eyes go red or his ears get pointier or whatever.  But Spider-Man’s evil appearance goes down in history as a disgusting joke and it totally does not necessitate dancing.

– Character inconsistency.  I focused on New Goblin’s, but there is a ton, both in terms of character motivation, development and just plain logic.  For example, at the jazz club, Spider-Man slips a waitress a wad of dough.  Isn’t he supposed to be the poor, working-class hero?  And Eddie Brock establishes himself as dating Gwen Stacy, and then we found out that they just got coffee?  But Gwen still seems to like and flirt with Eddie.  And later she goes out with Peter?  Does she like Eddie?  Did she ever like Eddie?  I think the movie just assumes that because *we* don’t like Eddie, she must not.  But she got coffee with him!  And she’s open to the possibility of another date!  Also, Sandman’s motivations are unclear.  He just wants money, apparently, so he punches everything with giant sandfists and is after Spidey 100% of the time?  I just don’t get his motivations…

Now, next week, I am planning a triple marathon of all three.  I plan to delve deeper into Harry’s character motivations and also take note of how many unnecessary characters build up.