Just this last weekend I found myself on an international flight over both the Atlantic Ocean and mainland America. With over fourteen hours of flight time, I had plenty of time on my hands. Seeing as I finished the book I brought somewhere over Greenland, and the nearest bookstore was 35,000 feet below and two million miles behind me, I was faced with the daunting decision of either watching Spiderman 3, or picking lint from my belly button.
I choose to watch the movie. Although an hour in to the film I found myself casting uneasy glances at my umbilicus, wondering if I had in fact made a grave error in judgment.
Never being one to give up on a commitment, I devoted myself to sticking with Spiderman 3 for its entire 140 minute running time, no matter how bad it got.
It got bad. Really bad.
Let's see, where do I start? Ah yes, plot. In short, there wasn't one. There were at least three hundred and twenty seven sub-plots, but for the life of me, I could never figure out where the movie was going. It was like watching a series of short films, all with the same characters.
The primary protagonist is our old friend Peter Parker, aka Spiderman, who was played by that same guy who was made famous in those movies where he was a Hobbit carrying a ring around. What's that you say? That was a different guy? Really? Hum, that's too bad. This movie could have been greatly improved with the addition of an actual POINT. As well as some orcs, wizards and elves thrown in for good measure.
Other characters include good old Mary Jane, the requisite love interest. Then there's some rich dude who keeps showing up in all these movies. He plays the triple role of being either Peter's friend, Peter's enemy, or the third leg of the cliche love triangle, depending on the immediate needs of the scene.
Oh, and there are two other bad guys as well. One is a two-bit hack photographer turned homicidal maniac and the other an escaped convict turned monstrous sand-creature. But the director saw fit to hardly include them until the very end and offered virtually nothing in the way of development, so by merely mentioning them I've already spent proportionately more time discussing them than is necessary.
This movie also has about ten thousand instances of deus ex machina, which turns out to be close to the total number of frames in the film reel as well. I suspect that is some sort of record.
One of the overt examples of a dues ex machina include the random dropping of a meteor near Peter and MJ, which happens to contain a mysterious symbiont/spidey-suit. This fortunate event will come in handy at various random points in the movie. Actually, it's something that likely happens more often than you'd suspect in New York. Where do you think cab drivers come from?
Then there's the "Super Secret Ultra High Energy Photon Particle Experiment" the one bad guy just happens to run in to while being chased by the police outside the city. This experiment is so dangerous and so secret, it's carefully guarded by no fewer than six feet of chain-link fence. No explanation is given for the experiment at all. The Sandman just gets transformed in to a nasty, albeit somewhat dry bad guy and all mention of the experimental facility is summarily dropped. How convenient.
And lastly, before I go have the memory of this cinematic atrocity scrubbed from my cerebral cortex, I have to mention the series of scenes in which Peter starts acting, well, not quite himself. Influenced by the unexplained meteor suit, Peter goes from cocky and arrogant to a cocky, arrogant, well dressed, suave, stylishly groomed, ladies man with a emo-style comb over. Again, I find little reason to believe a meteor could not land in New York and unleash such a horrible effect on an unsuspecting member of the city. Haven't you seen Donald Trump lately?
However, I do have a hard time deciding which was the most absurd aspect of this "character development". Was it the ability to tell which Peter was being portrayed simply by the haircut? Bangs up = Good Peter. Bangs down = Bad Peter. Was it the curious pseudo hipster, wanna-be beatnik, finger snapping walk down the street which oddly enough caused all the women he passed to snap their necks around to stare at our newly transformed little Hobbit? Maybe it was the Jazz Bar scene where Bad Peter, in the span of two agonizing minutes, puts on a performance which mimics such a wide array of films as Bill Murray in Groundhog Day (playing the piano), Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing, any music video by Michael Jackson, and John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever.
By the end of that scene I had completely bypassed the notion of turning my attention to my bellybutton, and started glancing around the airplane cabin, looking for a parachute.
So I bet at this point you're wondering if I would recommend this film. If you have the option of doing anything else with your time, or watching this movie, I'd go with "anything else" in 98.45% of cases. In case you're curious, the 1.55% of the time I would choose to watch this film would be when I would otherwise be forced to swim with man-eating sharks - an event with surprisingly didn't randomly happen in this movie.