AEYOB and I, as you might guess, see a lot of movies. Consequently, we see a lot of movie trailers. We’ve been seeing the trailer for Spiderman 3 for weeks now.
“That movie looks hot!” I say every time it comes on.
“No it doesn’t,” AEYOB says. AEYOB doesn’t like spiders.
“There won’t be any spiders in it,” I tell him. “There had to be a spider in the first one because he got bitten by a spider. That’s how he became Spiderman. There were no spiders in Spiderman 2, and there won’t be any in this one.”
That’s the thing about trailers though. They always make the movie look good. Bamboozled again. I don’t suppose I need to rehash the back-story for you, do I? It’s a superhero movie, you can fill in the blanks. So I’ll get right to it.
I dragged AEYOB to the theater. During the opening credits they showed scenes from the first two movies, including the one where he got bitten by the spider. Strike one.
A few hours rolled by (it was a long movie). AEYOB reminded me that he didn’t want to see this movie in the first place. Too much dialogue, not enough action. Strike two.
At last the final battle came. The Not-Spiderman-Guy had creepy scary teeth and tended to get very cranky. It was scary. AEYOB spent the last half-hour or so with his face buried in the crook of my arm. Strike three and you’re out, Spidey.
That’s why AEYOB didn’t like it. Let me tell you why I didn’t.
First, I counted four (4) subplots. It was about three (3) too many. One involved a new villain, Sandman, a.k.a. Flint Marco (Thomas Hayden Church). Marco is an escaped prisoner who has an unfortunate accident at the local nuclear power plant (don’t you hate it when that happens?). He has a dying daughter, which is why he keeps robbing people and getting into trouble. Sandman was a pretty darn cool bad guy, in fact this was the one storyline I could get into.
The other plots involved Peter Parker/Spiderman (Tobey McGuire) having issues with girlfriend Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst), and having issues with best friend/nemesis Harry Osborn (James Franco--do yourself a favor by the way, and rent Freaks and Geeks on DVD. His portrayal of freak/stoner/loser Daniel Desario is an inspiration!). This time around there was someone else he had issues with, rival photographer Eddie Brock (Topher Grace). There is also an alien life form that takes the shape of clingy black goop and makes Peter Parker walk around looking like the guy from The Cure. Did you get all that?
I couldn’t put my finger on what I really found distasteful about this whole thing until the very end. Here it is: I don’t like Kirsten Dunst/Mary Jane Watson. (You might want to stand back, I’ll be ranting shortly).
At first I thought it might be because of her snaggleteeth, or perhaps the expression on her face (is it just me or does she always look high?). I even entertained the possibility that I was jealous that she got to make out with Orlando Bloom in Elizabethtown and I didn’t. But that isn’t it. I don’t like Kirsten/Mary Jane because she’s a one-dimensional, no-personality little nothing. She’s always the victim. She’s always in dire need of a rescue. She never fights back. She does nothing except stand around looking pretty, alternately getting abused (emotionally and, now, physically) and coveted by all of the men in her life (remember her father from Spiderman 1?). I hate that this is being marketed to young people.
If the creators/directors/screenwriters/whoever’s that are responsible for Spiderman 3 are out there, they should listen carefully. This, Sirs, is the 21st century. Women are over the “damsel in distress formula.” We stopped waiting for Prince Charming to rescue us a long time ago, because guess what? He ain’t coming. And someone really ought to take you aside and explain to you how a young woman ought to react when she gets backhanded by her boyfriend. I’ll give you a hint: laying on the floor, looking sad and whispering “who are you?” is not it.
You’ve been warned. I found Spiderman 3 to be boring, overly-complicated and misogynistic. Now that I think about it, my daughter will be skipping the whole franchise unless and until Mary Jane Watson gets a life. Until then when we are in need of a good superhero flick we’ll be renting X-Men. The X-Women in that series kick butt.