Kevin G Hare

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Spider-man 3: Dark Webs

Oh that wonderful turmoil.  The dark cloud that swirls around Peter Parker’s spider-sense and gums up the works with confusion and lost values.  The same dark cloud that hangs over his head and reminds him that although he has fantastic abilities, he lives in an all-too-real world.

With the build-up of the symbiote costume, I was in awe about seeing it on the big screen.  After watching the film though, well, truthfully I am at odds about it.  It was a great movie with a fantastic storyline.  It balanced well the weight of action, suspense, thrill and romance and again topped box-office records.  This was Raimi’s greatest challenge in the Spidey franchise.  How did he do?  Let’s sum it up…

We got to see our beloved hero at the top of his game.  He’s loved by all and seems to have finally gotten his life together.  We already know this is the build-up to the looming dark cloud – and dark it got.  Did you notice that opening sequence?  Classic comic continuum to rehash earlier events with the subtle weaving of the symbiote goo.

Then enters the Sandman.  Flint Marko does have an ulterior motive to do what he does.  Powerfully driven to do whatever he can to make his daughter better.  He is not a man guided by greed or some excuse to lash out at society because life didn’t give him a fair shake.  He had purpose, he just had no other means to do things right.  Kudos to Thomas Haiden Church, I was impressed by a great performance.

We are then quickly thrust into an ongoing theme of exacting revenge as Harry Osborne sucks back some green smoke and takes to the skies on a jet powered snowboard and an arsenal of nifty gear.  He snatches Parker from the streets (not setting off the infamous spidey-sense) and an enthralling battle follows through the claustrophobic alleys of New York.

After this, everything really starts to go south.  Parker and MJ have a falling out, he learns that Marko is responsible for Uncle Ben’s death and Edward Brock Jr. is moving in on Pete’s staff position, making out heavily with JJJ’s butt to get there.  And that’s when the symbiote gets him and things turn weird.  With the influence of the symbiote, Pete feels that with greater power comes a great lack of responsibility.

Again, I’ll stress for those who know me that I will never watch this movie and feel the comfort I would have experienced had Sam used the true black and white suit and not this oily mockery of the traditional red and blue.  That said, the alien did enhance Parker’s spider powers but on the down side, it turned him into the nerd version of Danny Zuko.  Daft!  I could have done without that vision stuck in my head!

So the revelation finally hits him that the suit isn’t doing him any good after he cleans Harry’s clock and hits MJ.  He finds a way to peel it off atop the church tower, but as the good-to-bad-then-back-to-good goes, the symbiote finds Edward Brock Jr. and alas – we have Venom.  Now this look isn’t so bad.  It’s a bit Hollywood but at least it was blazoned with the (almost) white spider on the torso and the eyes were that jagged edge design I was hoping for.

Okay, here it comes… however… the character of Venom lost his appeal as a major baddie a couple of times over.  He was not the hulking monster that poses a serious threat to our tiny wall-crawler.  He was not the overpowering menace that looked as though he could bring Spidey’s webs down with one hand.  And I found it a bit disturbing every time Venom got close to speak to Pete, the face peeled back and Foreman popped his head out!  Now, Topher Grace is a great actor and I bought him as he played Brock Jr., I just had a hard time with him as Venom.  His fierceness was further diluted when the first thing he did as Venom was track down Marko for help.  Venom never wanted help.  Venom kicked other bad guys’ butts so he could torture Spidey all alone.  As I watched Venom asking for help I couldn’t help but think, bye-bye fear factor!

The characters did make for a great grand finale of a battle scene as our heroes overcome their dark sides and found a reason to fight.  What hero wouldn’t have trouble against a sixty-foot sandman and a teeny tiny Venom?  I hope I’m not the only one asking either – where did Venom go at the end?  Tell me Raimi didn’t kill him off?  You don’t put so much hype into a character, finally bring him in during the last half hour of the movie then kill off the all time baddest Spidey baddy!  Unless you plan not to make any more movies that is.  A sad run for a great character if that is the case.

Or - and I know what you’re thinking – that little piece of gooey badness that Doc Connors has right?  But what about Brock Jr.?  Brock was Venom, that’s the way it is.  My guess?  There was a bit of stress on the ‘Jr.’ part.  Could we see an enraged and larger Brock Sr. come into play and don the larger mantle?  Perhaps, but that’s another web to weave.