So here we are, one day before the highest anticipated film of 2007, Spider-Man 3, gets released into a record 4,252 theaters. I, just like about a billion other fans, couldn’t wait to see this flick, mostly because this is the film where we get the infamous Venom as a villain, along with a laundry list of other storylines. But before I get too deep into that, lets break it down. Usually when reviewing comic book movies, I like to break the critique down into three separate sections: the Acting, the Story, and the FX.
Lets begin with my least favorite part of the entire film: the acting. Now I may be a bit jaded, but I’ve never really got into having Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker. This is where doing a book or comic adaptation gets funky, because originally the character’s voice and overall demeanor is up to their interpretation. A perfect example of this is the [[[Harry Potter]]] film franchise. The casting of those films were almost spot-on with the fan’s interpretation of the characters, and they didn’t even have the visual aids that comic books have.
With that said, in my head Spidey was the nerdy, quiet kid before bitten by the radioactive/genetically enhanced spider, but then gains self-confidence while still keeping his puerile attitude towards life. This is how we get the wisecracking interpretation in modern books. But with Maguire’s performance, we are constantly treated to the somber, “woe is me” Spider-Man who, granted, still jumps, swings, and does whatever a spider can, but in between those periods is constantly in a state of teary-eyed misery. Even in the second film where he is convinced that being Spider-Man is a curse, and trashes the costume, he still looks like at any moment, he could burst into tears. Some could attribute this to Maguire’s incredible range, but if I wanted that, I’d go see Seabiscuit again.
Spider-Man is the comic relief of the New Avengers, and even in the Ultimate books, he may cry, but when he’s in the suit, he’s a regular swinging Henny Youngman. The same goes for this film, in the times that the mask isn’t on (which is way too much to begin with), his eyes are constantly filled with tears.
Moving on to our leading lady, Kirsten Dunst, I have a whole different problem. In the first film, I was starting to get into the idea of having a non-supermodel quality Mary Jane Watson and by the end of the second film, I was completely sold, though she looked like she hadn’t eaten since Jumanji. And just then, as if it was her master plan to get us all to love her, and then crush us, in a press junket for Spider-Man 2, Dunst was quoted in saying that her ideal plot for another sequel would be where our webbed hero dies in the first act, and the rest of the film is about Mary Jane coping in the modern world with an unborn Spider-Baby as a single mother. Some of you remember this quote as “The Day We Started to Hate Kirsten Dunst.” I don’t know what it is about female actors and preaching their ideas when the majority of the audience paying attention to them are people who could care less about them. We go to superhero movies to see [[[superheroes]]], not their girlfriends.