Friday, May 04, 2007

Sam Raimi killed one of my favorite movie franchises

Somewhere along the line, Sam Raimi went insane.

In movies like Spider-Man 3, you really have to wonder whether there was some internal struggle. Because in the first two films, there was a well-though-out plot, few holes, a spectacular message, love, hate, inner turmoil, self sacrifice, etc.

In this movie? There's playing. It makes me feel like I'm seven and I have a Spider-Man action figure set.

And I don't even have to make up the "hang on buddy!" lines when I stick the Spider-Man action figure on the Green Goblin's SNOWBOARD?!?!. Whoever penned this piece of sludge did it for me.

I should have known the minute Stan Lee appeared, in his "obligatory" cameo. But this time he had lines. Did he learn nothing from The Hulk? Nothing from X-Men 3? DON'T SPEAK, Mr. Lee. I'm pretty sure No Doubt wrote that just for you.

"Well, I guess one man really can make a difference. That's all." That's all? WTF? You're some dude who walked up to Peter Parker reading a marquis. What's all? Who are you talking to you old codger?

But no, my tired brain just decided to let it pass. It's the final film, maybe Spider-Man held a special place in Lee's heart. Maybe he just wanted to impart that last piece of wisdom.

The whole film--Wait, I can't call it a film. It's a movie. This whole movie just felt like they packed it full of the "obligatory" scenes. You know, the obligatory Bruce Campbell scene, the obligatory Spider-Man-in-front-of-a-huge-American-flag scene (seriously, Raimi, what the FUCK was up with that?).

I wasted 2 1/2 hours of my life, and dammit, I want them back.

Don't even get me started on how the filmmakers obviously lost so much hope in their audience they had to make Harry Osbourne's face half-scarred, ala Janus, ala Harvey Dent/Twoface, ala Sean Bean in Goldeneye.

Oh wait, I just got me started.

OK a big problem I had with this piece of crap was the message behind it. Nowhere in the film did Peter Parker utter the Golden Rule of the Spider-Man universe. The one thing, if he only took one thing from his Uncle, he believed in. With great power comes great responsibility.

In Spider-Man 3, with great power comes great big booms.

That's the problem. In the first movie, love saved Spider-Man. The Green Goblin was beating the crap out of him, but he mentions Mary Jane, and somewhere inside Peter Parker something explodes. It may have been slightly cheesy, but that something is the superhero in all of us. The deep human element. The one that's behind all those movie plots: Self-sacrifice to save the person we love.

We will die trying, and because we love that person so much, we inexplicably win.

Peter Parker's humanity saved him in the first film. And he turned around and buried those feelings in one of the most moving, self-sacrificing scenes I know. And it's perfect and I loved Raimi for it. Then and there he had my trust to do right by the franchise. And now he delivers this?

In the second film, love again saves the day. Love and the humanity buried within Dr. Octopus. "I will not die a monster," he yells, as he expends his last ounce of strength to pull to the bottom of the river the monstrosity he created.

So what saved the day in No. 3? Bombs. Missiles. Explosions. The Green Goblin comes to the rescue, all Han Solo-like (really? stealing from a 30-year-old movie, Raimi?), and starts whipping out the pyrotechnics.

Even in the end, Venom's destroyed by a pumpkin bomb. Where's the message in that? "Shoot crap at your enemies, kids, they'll burst into flames, writhe around, and it'll be cool."

And why in the name of all that is good in the universe would you give Harry Osbourne a SNOWBOARD!?! What the heck is up with that? Not only a snowboard, but a glowing green ninja sword??

Anyone else see this movie's made for kids?

And the newscaster? Really? You've reduced yourself to telling the narrative through a cliche? The audience gets updates via a fake, 16:9 news channel? Plus the reporter's being all Soledad O'Brien about it. "It's a tragic, tragic situation." Really? 'Cause I thought a giant sand monster and missiles was just another birthday party.

I am so disappointed in this movie it isn't even expressible. I would have walked out had it not been for the five overly plump movie patrons between me and the aisle.

"Find us some shade, babe."

I think that's a good idea, actually. Find a very, very dark corner of the film vault, and hide this there. Maybe someday people will look back on it and laugh. But for now, I'm resisting the urge to hurl.

For those, like me, who've seen the movie, I offer this open letter. Feel free to print it out, sign it, slap a stamp on that bad boy and send it off to Raimi & Co.

To: Sam Raimi, et al.
In re: Notification of intent to file suit should demands not be met

Sir or Madam:

I recently attended a midnight showing of your new movie, Spider-Man 3. I respectfully demand my $8 returned to me, and also request you give me back 2 1/2 hours of my life, as I feel I have wasted them on your jetsam of a motion picture.

Should these requests fall on deaf ears or fail to be met, I will be filing suit and asking for punitive damages for the horror I endured.

The movie was horrible, and I wish shame on you, your family and friends. I feel alienated by your departure from the story line and characters you carefully built up in Nos. 1 & 2 of the franchise.

I will hereby be boycotting all things Marvel-, Sony-, and Raimi-related until my demands are met.


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