Yup, it's "let's criticize a movie on the internet" time! Not everything is completely negative, though, so I've got that going for me, which is nice.
- So, was the main goal of the movie to make me kind of hate Mary Jane Watson? Because if so, mission accomplished. Whiny, needy, vain, jealous, fragile, and willing to throw herself into the arms of the first dude who comes along the second things get slightly difficult. Honestly, she was practically the unbilled fourth villain; it's like this was a campaign film for the pro-Gwen segment of Spider-fandom.
- And Gwen was awesome in this movie, though the modeling thing came out of left field. It's not enough that's she's smart, nice, and looks good in a headband? Weird how she had some sort of independent connection to just about everyone else in the movie, though; Erin suggested playing "Six Degrees of Gwen Stacy." I'm hoping they bring her back whenever they get around to Spidey , though, as she didn't have nearly enough to do here.
- Neither did her father. If you're going to go to the trouble of hiring an actor the caliber of James Cromwell, maybe give him more than a half-dozen lines?
- Okay, almost nobody had enough to do, because they tried to cram in entirely too much stuff and didn't give any plotline the time it deserved to really grow. Except the MJ/Peter strife, which they pounded into the ground. Even at 2 hours and change, you can't cram in 3 villains (or 4), two different love triangles, the MJ/Peter stuff, the Harry/Peter stuff, the city's mercurial relationship with Spidey, the Daily Bugle stuff, the rise and fall of Eddie Brock, the arrival and seduction of the black costume, Sandman's family, the truth of Uncle Ben's murder, the origin of Venom, and the long-awaited return of the Cake Girl* into one movie and hope to do justice to any of it. I thought they tried to shoehorn too many characters and storylines into the first X-Men movie, but Spidey 3 takes the cake.
- How does Spider-Man even have a secret identity at this point in the movies? He's never in the damn mask! We're not paying to see Tobey Maguire fail to emote, we're paying to see Spider-Man. If he's in costume, he's in the mask, plain and simple. He gets enough face time as Peter Parker that he doesn't need it when he's supposed to be Spidey, too.
- I was happily surprised that Topher Grace was actually pretty good as Venom. Not that he had enough to do either, though. And did they ever get around to calling him Venom?
- Hey, for once, they didn't kill every villain by the movie's ending. Sandman just kinda gets to float away ("So, I sort of accidentally killed your uncle that time, but we're cool now, right? Because I've got this thing and... yeah, I'm just gonna go."), and while it's implied that Eddie and the symbiote vaporize, we never do see a body.
- Has the movie version of Doctor Connors always just had the one arm? I didn't notice in the previous movies. Nice nod to the comics, there. I hope we do eventually get the Lizard in one of these movies as a result.
- Bruce Campbell is still awesome, and once again, one of the true highlights of the movie. Is it too much to hope they bring him in a bigger role somewhere down the line? He'd be the best Mysterio ever.
- I know it was almost universally panned, but the whole "Spidey Night Fever" sequence was probably my favorite part of the whole movie. It made suffering through all the Emo Pete bits worthwhile.
- Entirely too little of J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson, but the bit with Betty reminding him about his blood pressure meds was pretty damn funny.
In the end, while I wouldn't call it a good movie by any stretch of the imagination, it did a few things well, so at least it ended up being more fun than not. Not by a lot, admittedly, but still. In terms of superhero movie comparison, I'd say I liked it less than the first Fantastic Four movie, but more than the second. Damning with faint praise, to be sure, but there ya go.
* But I kid Cake Girl; she didn't actually seem quite so ponderously extraneous this time. Way to go, Cake Girl!