Tickets to the Bardo: Spider-Man 3

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Warning: This review contains SPOILERS.

I dragged my non-nerd wife to the latest Spider-Man film, expecting exactly what I got: a no-brainer popcorn flick with too many thwipin’ villains, unresolved plots, and not so-amazing leading ladies.

That’s not to say I didn’t like it. I liked it, but I didn’t love it. I’ve always had a thing with the Spider-Man movies. In general, they’re good, but there’re certain parts that don’t fit in the movie. For example, there are two dance sequences in this movie—not one, two. One’s between Mary Jane and Harry Osborn in the kitchen, cooking omelets; the other between Gwen Stacy and Emo-Peter Parker in a Jazz club. Both are off-color, unnecessary, and just plain silly.

The other thing is that people cry—lots. Seriously, I couldn’t help but notice how many tears there were in the movie. Sandman cries like a little girl with a skinned knee, Aunt May weeps, Spidey bawls, Harry Osborn’s dead eye leaks, and Mary Jane has the sniffles. And there are tons of unnecessary cameos, ranging from Stan Lee to Sam Raimi’s son.

All of this coupled with the money fighting scenes, and the clever character development of our main hero, gives the feeling that somehow the scales are not balanced correctly. Very weird. It’s square pegs, round holes.

Now, everyone knows that this movie’s great theme is about inner demons. Peter Parker has a lot of hate trapped in his web, becomes Emo-Spidey, and then reverts back to good ol’ nerd Spidey. Harry Osborn has daddy issues, becomes Black Goblin, gets half his face blown off, loves everyone. And let’s not forget about Eddie Brock.

First of all, Topher Grace kinda sucked. I mean, yeah, funny, dry dialogue. But Eddie Brock—really? Anyways, back to the whole “inner demon” transformation thing. Eddie Brock is a dick, gets the black goo attached to him, kicks some ass, and then gets blown up. Mary Jane and Gwen Stacey don’t really have inner demons though…Venom definitely needed more screen time. Hell, all of the villains needed more screen time.

Which brings me to my next qualm. I knew there were just too many villains in this movie. Dammit, I knew it. I remember thinking when they announced that Spider-Man 3 was going to have three villains: I hope this isn’t going to have a Batman & Robin feel to it. You know, where it’s no longer about Spider-Man, but the shiny rogue gallery. However, Sam Raimi proved me wrong: he did an excellent job of flushing out Peter Parker, and his web-slinging alter ego. But it was the villains that kind of got the shaft. And honestly, either the villains or web-head was destined to not have enough screen time. It just happened to be the former. Venom was really just special effects filler, yet had so much potential.

Every time I saw Sandman, I wanted more. I just felt that he deserved to be developed. One of the very best parts of the movie is when he wills himself back into being after being broken down to a molecular level during a scientific-induced sandstorm of sorts. It’s actually a really well done bit. Again, I just wanted more.


Goblin Jr. was all right, but I kept thinking about snowboards and snowboarding video games. With knives and pumpkin bombs, of course. Although, I will give him this: the fight scene between Peter Parker and Goblin Jr. at the beginning of the movie was awesome. I enjoyed it more than the climatic end battle. It’s upsetting that Venom died like a bitch. But what can you do? Have Aunt May kill him? If anything, it should have been Venom and Sandman, and cut Goblin Jr. from the roster. But oh well.

Now out of all the leading ladies, Peter’s Russian neighbor is perhaps the most convincing. And Aunt May. But then again Aunt May always rocks with her little words of wisdom. I guess I’m a little biased since I can’t stand Kirsten Dunst. I always see a pale little vampire whenever I catch a glimpse of her. In the movie she gets dumped on by critics, and is shadowed by Spider-Man’s newfound fame.

She spends most of the movie feeling sorry for herself, and not doing anything about it. Except by getting captured at the end of the movie, only to get Goblin Jr. killed. Way to go, tiger.

Sure, I got a few thrills of excitement from this movie. A few moments on the edge of my seat. I got a kick ever time J.K. Simons was on the screen. Man was born to play J. Jonah Jameson.

It was a summer movie through-and-through folks: high action, a few memorable parts, but nothing to get terribly excited about. Kids will love it, and it’s already made more money than what I have in my savings account. So, I guess it did what it was supposed to do… right? Thwip! Thwip!

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