Friday, May 4, 2007

Spider-licious -- by J.O.B.

I was at the midnight showing last night, which means I'm pretty tired right now (why am I awake again?) Anyway, a couple of buddies and I got tickets for a Superscreen showing (seems pretty identical to IMAX, but without the name.) I'll start by saying that I'm a huge Spider-Man fan and was a regular buyer of the comic when the symbiote was first introduced, as well as when Venom first came along, however I'm realistic enough and mature enough to understand that movies can't always, and often times shouldn't mirror their source material to a tee. You can call this a review if you like and my goal is to stay spoiler free, outside of common knowledge (i.e. we all know Spidey dons a black suit, etc.)

While I found the movie entertaining, I really wish they would have figured out the behind-the-scenes contract business side well enough to push this into two movies instead of trying to develop so much in one. I guess when you're doing a third movie, it's not the time to leave audiences hanging and waiting for a fourth, but why not? As you probably already know, there are a number of characters interweaving in this and the movie tries it's best to give as much storyline for each as possible. This means fitting in development for Flint Marko, Harry Osborn, Gwen Stacy, Eddie Brock, Mary Jane, Peter, the symbiote, and even Aunt May. Seriously, each of these characters have their own situations and issues going on, somewhat independent of each other, with each of their issues aimed at being interwoven at different points. The attempt is amicable, and the final payoff is quality; it's just the road to get there that seems rushed and a little forced.

As the movie moved forward (and briskly for it's 2 hour-plus running time,) I found myself saying, "wow, that developed pretty quick." From the escalation of Mary Jane and Peter's issues with each other, to Peter's experience as the black Spider-Man, it all seemed like we were missing a lot of contributing story that must have been happening between one scene and the next. Not that there were plot holes, but as an example, for a couple that has known each other as long and seems to be as in love as Peter and Mary Jane, their relationship troubles enlarged rather quickly. Also, some of "Emo Peter's" scenes (it'll make sense when you see it) seemed over the top to get across the effect of the symbiote, when having more time to really explain what was happening to him would have been better.

Still, overall I was very entertained. THC as Sandman was awesome and Topher Grace is really, really good. I've never checked imdb to see what else he does, but the character who plays J. Jonah Jameson should get more work. If nothing else, Marvel would be smart to at least give him a little screen time in any movie that has action anywhere near New York. I'll never like Kirsten Dunst and will always hate the fact that she got this part over Elisha Cuthbert, especially since all she does is complain about it. Franco kind of hams a little bit, but does a solid job of separating his moods in his storyline (it'll make sense when you see it.) I really thought that Tobey gave a role defining performance here. He put on a show that would make it hard for anyone else to play Spider-Man, if they do a fourth.

It's got replay-ability, which means I could definitely sit through it again in the theater in the next week. Like I said, it's extremely entertaining, moves at a fairly brisk pace; I just wish they would have stretched this and made it into three and four. I give it a three-quarter thumbs up.

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