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...or not. :D

But I figured that if I didn't actually write my own review for Spider-Man 3, that my friends list might wonder. I mean, the uber-Spidey-fangirl not reviewing it? ohnoes!

I had a great time last night, a lot of it due to seeing it with a fellow Spidey fanfic writer (jenn_1), but before I go to the LJ-cut, I want to make a few things clear.

1) The movie was not as good as Spider-Man 2 (the film that thrust me into the fanfic world), but I still enjoyed it very much.

2) I am an unrepentant Peter/MJ shipper - this bias is very much in place as I review.

3) I came to Spidey through the movies, but have since become a huge comics reader. Except for portions of the 1990s (the clone saga particularly), I am quite familiar with all of the major storylines, and I read every Spidey title (except Marvel Adventures) religiously each month.

4) I completely spoilerfied myself for this movie - I looked at every pic I could, I read the novel, and reread sections many times. I read every review I could find before seeing it. This tends to ruin movies for some folks. Not me. I find I enjoy things more.

But even so, I question my feelings about the movie, knowing my biases. I waited impatiently and excitedly for three years, immersed myself in all the hype, and became as knowledgeable about the subject as I knew how to. So I present this review aware of my tendencies as a fan, trying to weigh both the good and the bad. So here goes, and not at all as organized as I hoped:

The opening scenes were brighter and more campy than I expected - but I believe it made sense with Peter's good feelings about the world. Peter is no longer an angsty loner - he's got a girl, the city loves him, his school career is back on track... But it did seem a little at odds with the tone of the last film.

Harry:
The Peter/Harry storyline is the one I was looking forward to the most. Anyone who has read my movieverse trilogy probably realizes that Peter/MJ is only slightly higher in my esteem than the Harry/Peter conflict. I am really glad that care was taken with this part of the story. I do think that the Goblin serum affected Harry slightly differently than Norman. We see in Spider-Man 1 that Norman was already a driven narcissist, and these tendencies were amplified after becoming the Goblin. With Harry, he only has his need to avenge his father. So his insanity comes out in the voice of his father in his mind, as well as his need to destroy Peter. I would be appalled if he had turned into a mini-Norman.

I really adored the Harry-amnesia scenes. All of Harry's conflict over his relationship with his father and with Peter were simply erased. He remembered being friends with MJ and Peter, but he had obviously blocked out all the bad because of his trauma. So he was a happier version of himself than we had ever seen - almost artificially happy. But when it all comes tumbling back to him, it is so poignantly sad.

But by far, the best part for me was when Harry played MJ against Peter. He pretends to still be in the dark during the coffee shop scene, after he has forced MJ to break up with Peter. And then the "How was the pie?" "Soooo good." lines made me squee with fangirlish glee! I must make/beg for an icon of that look on his face ASAP. This whole section was shades of "Enquiring Minds"... Booyah!

I did really like the Harry and Peter showdown in the mansion, although it was a little too one-liner-ish in places. What really rocked my socks was seeing the two of them fight out of costume, no holds barred. The increasing of Bernard's (the butler) role in the film was good as well. He only appeared briefly in the other two (enough that I used him just as briefly in my fics), but here it was obvious that he had been watching the Osborns with a keener eye than expected.

Finally, did anyone else thrill at seeing Peter and Harry working together in the Battle Royale? The moment when Peter is riding the glider with him, the camaraderie - *twirls* Even though I knew it was coming, I couldn't help cheering inside. And I knew of his death as well... and one of my disappointments was that some of the conversation between Peter, MJ and Harry from the book was cut out here. Especially where Peter says, "Don't leave us, pal. We need you. MJ needs you." And Harry replies, "It's you she loves. It's only, ever, been you." (Which sounds a little familiar to me... *wink*) The conversation between Peter and Sandman actually happens in the book before Harry is pierced through with the glider. In the film, it's aggravating that Peter wastes time doing that when his friend is dying! I am not sure why that was changed. :(

MJ:
I thought Mary Jane's Broadway performance was beautiful and that she did a lovely job - but the novel made it more clear that Peter was viewing her performance with rose-colored glasses. So it was more of a shock when she was fired in the movie, than in the book. However, I wanted to whack her both during the movie and the book for not coming out and telling Peter why she was so upset. I do understand that she wanted to keep Peter's special day as special as possible... but still. *whack*

I loved the whole idea of Spidey Day, and it really was a great scene until the kiss with Gwen! Really bad judgement on Peter's part. I loved the little boy saying "Don't do it!" though. He had different reasons for it, but at least one person in the crowd scene shared my opinion! I thought that MJ actually handled it very well - who wouldn't be upset?

One review I read recently was very anti-MJ, saying that she was whiny and selfish, that they should ditch the character and go with Gwen, who is sweet and hot. Hello? So all superhero girlfriends have to be arm candy who worship their men - and are not allowed to have flaws? Sheesh. It reminds me of the whole anti-Lois rants after Superman Returns. Bravo, MJ, for actually having a personality. As upset and peevish as she was, she realized that she was behaving that way, and was trying to be understanding. But a girl can only take so much. I appreciated that their relationship was not all sunshine and roses... they do have to get through this adjustment period before they can commit to each other in marriage.

Flint Marko/Sandman:
Yes, I am just as unhappy about the retconning of Uncle Ben's death as everyone else is. When this news leaked out a year ago, I was more than a little horrified. But I also know that Sam Raimi has a need to tie every single villain to Peter Parker's personal life, not just his crimefighting life. So I was willing to look at it with an open mind.

In the novel, there are several scenes that were cut from the movie. There was a lot more of Flint trying to save his daughter, even going to a scientist with the loads of cash he stole to help find a cure. He appears to his daughter in the playground as a sand castle, and Penny and her mother come to the construction site because she realizes this is her daddy doing this. It's Penny that begs Flint to realize what he's doing is not worth it - that the doctor tried and couldn't help her. She's the one who asks Spider-Man to forgive Flint. And the little family tries to deal with everything while Peter rushes off to continue battling Venom. I'm not sure why this is different in the movie - because it would have been a lot more believable than what did happen. I really enjoyed Marko's story in the novelization, and in the film it's just not as well-explained as it should have been. No wonder everyone is asking "What happened to Penny?"

Eddie/Venom:
I expected to gleefully hate Eddie, and I did, but I also loved his smarmy cockiness. Every scene with him in it was fun and interesting - and he played the selfish outsider very well. It is unfortunate that Eddie and Venom was saved for the final section only - but I don't mind that, not being a big Venom fan. Instead we were treated to an awful lot more of:

Black Suited Peter:
I warred between utter delight and utter embarrassment during all of these scenes. I was completely looking forward to seeing Peter strut his stuff and the Jazz Room dance scene (which was even MORE embarrassing in the book than in the film). I want to watch that bit over and over and over again now. The "Dig on This" line as a close up of his lips was to die for... I am disappointed that they didn't show Peter playing the piano at May's apartment earlier in the film, in order to explain why he could suddenly play the piano, but eh.

Other random notes:
**Yes, I agree that May should have come out and said she knows he's Spider-Man. What are they waiting for? Come on!
**And yes, there were too many storylines and villains.
**There were a lot more corny lines than there should have been, but I generally liked the humorous parts a lot.
**Gwen - I thought I would hate her, just as a gut reaction to her stepping in on MJ's man, but she was nice and her apology to MJ makes up for everything. If I write a fic post-SM3, she will definitely have a big part to play.
**I liked the increasing of Dr. Connors' role - but I want more. Yet another character that will be featured in any fic I write.

Okay, I think I'll stop. I probably have more thoughts... but I can't think of them now. I almost feel as if this review is an apologia for the movie, but I do see the points of everyone who didn't like the movie or certain parts of it.

Read the novelization. It will answer so many questions that people are having. And Peter David's novelizations rock. 'Nuff said. (Why did I not guess that Stan Lee would say that!)

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Comments

( 65 comments — Leave a comment )
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jenn_1
May. 5th, 2007 10:09 pm (UTC)
Well, I really don't need to leave a review to the movie do I? You pretty much said it all. I agree with nearly everything you said.

It was so much fun seeing this, wonderful time.
htbthomas
May. 6th, 2007 12:08 am (UTC)
LOL! Don't need to review? I suppose not. I did pretty much cover our discussion, didn't I?

I had a great time, too! *hugs*
jenna_knight
May. 5th, 2007 10:14 pm (UTC)
I've been waiting for your review. Like you I could probably write a novel about my thoughts!

I think I hate it a little less right now and I should probably go out and buy the novel. I was afraid last year that reading the SR novel beforehand might have made me enjoy it less but now I think that it only enhanced my experience.

One thing that I had a problem with was MJ's lines seemed like such a cliche. "You're not listening to me." "Try to imagine how I feel." Clearly written by a man. Apparently those are the only things we say or get upset about. But I think Kirsten did a pretty good job with what she was given and I haven't always been a huge fan of hers.

I am glad that you had such a great time! I bet I would have enjoyed it much more if I'd been with you guys.
htbthomas
May. 6th, 2007 12:20 am (UTC)
I'm glad you hate it a little less. I completely agree with you that reading the SR novel before the movie enhanced my experience greatly. And I can definitely say the same thing here.

jen_in_japan had the same thought you did in my earlier spoiler thread - the script was written by a man. That's always a difficulty in superhero writing. The women are often not written well. But I swear to you these lines do not seem cliched in Peter David's treatment.

I wish you had been with us, too. *sniff*
sarah531
May. 5th, 2007 10:28 pm (UTC)
I agree with pretty much all of this. :D Bloody wicked movie. I want a fandom for this trilogy, dammit, no matter how small...
htbthomas
May. 6th, 2007 12:21 am (UTC)
Again, we'll make the fandom! I think there was enough to play with that there will be some great fanfic out of this movie... :)
rogue_lane
May. 5th, 2007 11:14 pm (UTC)
I agree 100% with this review. This has the Mara!Seal of Approval.

*stamps*
htbthomas
May. 6th, 2007 12:33 am (UTC)
Glad you approve! Hee.
bistyboo1974
May. 5th, 2007 11:32 pm (UTC)
The opening scenes were brighter and more campy than I expected...

I had that thought, too. The novelization opens with talk of near-death experiences and whatnot...quite different from the 'I'm just your friendly, neighborhood...well, you know' beginning that we got in the film.

But by far, the best part for me was when Harry played MJ against Peter.

Guh, the attack on poor Pete's heart! You know I've yet to actually finish the novelization, so tell me this...does it share what Harry says to MJ to get her to agree to break up with Peter? In the film, we see Harry in MJ's apartment (in Goblin attire), then Pete gets the call to meet her on the bridge in the park. I'm just curious to know what Harry said to her. I mean, I can certainly imagine what he said, but I was just wondering if that was something I'd get to read when I go back to the book.

This whole section was shades of "Enquiring Minds"... Booyah!

I know, right?!! *hi-fives you*

I did really like the Harry and Peter showdown in the mansion, although it was a little too one-liner-ish in places.

Yep, and despite all that, that scene remains one of my favorites! :D Hee!

Finally, did anyone else thrill at seeing Peter and Harry working together in the Battle Royale?

Yes!! But before the whole battle began, I was thinking Pete was takin' his sweet precious time getting there! I'm all, 'Jeez, Peter! MJ is in mortal peril. Could you get that suit on a little quicker? And then you're gonna stop by Casa de Osborn as well? That taxi cab's not gonna hold out forever!!' *snerk*

I loved the little boy saying "Don't do it!" though.

Me, too! Me, too! That bit got a HUGE laugh out of my audience! I'd love an icon of that kid!! *giggles*

No wonder everyone is asking "What happened to Penny?"

Can't wait to read about all of the Marko stuff that was cut from the film. I was one of those people, scratching my head over what happened to that poor little girl!

I expected to gleefully hate Eddie, and I did, but I also loved his smarmy cockiness.

Topher Grace played him to perfection, didn't he? Brock was a right git, but a VERY entertaining one!

I am disappointed that they didn't show Peter playing the piano at May's apartment earlier in the film, in order to explain why he could suddenly play the piano, but eh.

Like I told you on the phone, I'd forgotten all about Pete playing Clair de Lune at May's place. It'd have been nice not to wonder if the symbiote, as you said, gave him musical ability as a side-effect! I mean, as if turning him into a Giant Jack@$$ wasn't enough...now he can kick it jazz-style on the piano, too! *lol*

Gwen - I thought I would hate her, just as a gut reaction to her stepping in on MJ's man, but she was nice and her apology to MJ makes up for everything.

Ditto!! I shared a very similar sentiment in my LJ! Yay for Gwen!
htbthomas
May. 5th, 2007 11:45 pm (UTC)
does it share what Harry says to MJ to get her to agree to break up with Peter? -- It does, but only a little bit more. It's on page 251 and into the next chapter a little.

I was thinking Pete was takin' his sweet precious time getting there! -- I know, right?? I guess he was trying to get everything together, but... *shakes head*

I'd love an icon of that kid!! -- I'll SO get you the cap if one of my downloads turns out good quality.

It'd have been nice not to wonder if the symbiote, as you said, gave him musical ability as a side-effect! I mean, as if turning him into a Giant Jack@$$ wasn't enough...now he can kick it jazz-style on the piano, too! *lol* -- LOL!
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misseri44
May. 6th, 2007 12:37 am (UTC)
I haven't seen the movie yet but i don't mind being spoiled in this case, your review was really good, and helpful, because now i know what i'll see when i go to the cinema to watch the movie
htbthomas
May. 6th, 2007 12:44 am (UTC)
Oh, thanks! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. :)
chickadilly
May. 6th, 2007 02:04 am (UTC)
Oh gosh. I'm breaking down on this ... Everyone keeps talking about it and now I'm curious. What REALLY sold me though was the rumour of a certain trailer being attached. True? ;D

And if I never saw the second one (*hides from your look*) will I be able to follow this? I actually put the second one on my Netflix queue and meant to tell you. LOL



htbthomas
May. 6th, 2007 02:48 am (UTC)
The certain trailer was not attached to our copy. Sorry. :(

But you should totally see the second one before this one. Seriously. Go to the video store and rent it. Jameson tells you to go now!!
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elliania
May. 6th, 2007 02:10 am (UTC)
Oh! This is longer than I expected!! ^^; haha! I'll read it tomorrow and give you a proper comment! *smooches*
htbthomas
May. 6th, 2007 02:55 am (UTC)
After all that? No just kidding. I'll look forward to your thoughts tomorrow. :D
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htbthomas
May. 6th, 2007 03:48 am (UTC)
how long ago was it she was having "our kiss" with John Jameson? -- That's a good question. It seemed to me that they'd been together for at least a few months... maybe six? It would definitely be enough time for MJ to audition for and rehearse for a Broadway show, at any rate.

So where do you feel they came up short (not challenging your statement, btw)? Making Peter too guilty? Or MJ not receiving enough blame? Both of them seemed to hurt each other plenty in this film.

I did really like Gwen, even though I will never convert to a Peter/Gwen shipper. She was very sympathetic, though.
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rinnuninnu
May. 6th, 2007 06:36 am (UTC)
I loved it and I agree with most parts.

I loved the final battle, Harry and Peter side by side, goose bumps,

Flint Markö's change to Sandman, when he rises from the sand, so beautifully done. The music was perfect.

The French restaurant bit with Campbell, hilarious.

JK Simmons and Elizabeth Banks in the office: Blood pressure Mr. Jameson.

Peter's dance scene, that was so hot and sexy!

So many wonderful scenes, I liked it and will see it again.:)
htbthomas
May. 6th, 2007 11:45 am (UTC)
I definitely loved all of those scenes! I can't wait to see it again...
the_pending
May. 7th, 2007 06:11 am (UTC)
I'm jumpy and jittery all over again-- you brought back the memories of some of my favorite parts of the movie. I swear, I absolutely *bolted* from the theater to keep the fanboy wangsting from ruining things for me. My way to long response:

Peter/MJ: Amen. Part of the reason MJ was the love interest who stood the test of time is that she was the only one who wasn't willing to cut Peter hero-slack. There's a great scene in the comics after Spider-man's been unmasked when MJ is at rehearsal, and starts chewing Peter out over the phone over some normal thing; after she hangs up she realizes everybody's gathered around her and goes "What?" They're all "Um, that was your husband, right? Don't you think you should go easy on him? He's Spider-man, right?" With a 'don't you think he has enough to worry about?' subtext. She looks at them with a shocked expression, like the thought had never occurred to her.

Venom: Topher Grace was perfect. He brought all the smarmy 'Eric Foreman' characteristics that everybody's familiar with, and made them evil and creepy. It was infinitely scarier than Venom's usual "I'll eat your brains" shtick. I'm going to have nightmares forever about his faux-friendly "c'mon buddy, whaddya say?" delivery with those teeth.

Gwen: Raimi got her character pitch perfect, and Howard (forgetting her first name) nailed it. Gwen is cotton candy perfect (all sugar, no substance) but still with enough genuine person to her that you feel for her. In the Jazz club scene, she's genuinely hurt, and genuinely hurt for MJ.

Already gone on way too long considering that I agree with you on all points, so in short: right on!
htbthomas
May. 7th, 2007 10:16 pm (UTC)
I absolutely *bolted* from the theater to keep the fanboy wangsting from ruining things for me. -- I know what you mean! I'm terrified of finding out what my fanboy friends thought.

There's a great scene in the comics after Spider-man's been unmasked when MJ is at rehearsal, and starts chewing Peter out over the phone over some normal thing -- One of the SSM's recently, right? I really enjoyed all of MJ's appearance in that comic. Aguirre-Sacasa is doing a great job with the women.

Yes, Topher and Bryce were perfect. I think some of the complaints are people who don't really know the characters well. Too bad, but, yeah.

Glad you agreed!
touchstonesart
May. 7th, 2007 03:13 pm (UTC)
What really rocked my socks was seeing the two of them fight out of costume, no holds barred.

One of my favorite scenes too-as well as the break-up/pie scene....

I loved that we saw Spidey fight as PETER more-without costume (in the beginning with Harry, at the mansion with Harry) or with his mask off, made the fights more realistic to me, seeing the faces and expressions.
htbthomas
May. 7th, 2007 10:19 pm (UTC)
Oh, LOVE the break-up/pie scene. Haven't loaded my icon for that yet, or I'd use it.

I agree - I love the maskless fights. One of my male friends hates it, but it's a total thrill for me.
lastwordslinger
May. 7th, 2007 04:08 pm (UTC)
For someone I know to be a huge Spidey fan, your review is very objective. Which is a good thing, definitely!

I was a little disappointed, but I think it was due to the fact that I went in unprepared and unspoiled. I expected more than was delivered. I wanted more focus on Harry and Venom, and what was there rocked me, but the Sandman stuff just seemed to bog the movie down for me.

Harry ruled that film with an iron fist. I've been in love with him since the first film, but Peter always took first place for me. Unbelievably, Harry bumped Pete to second here.

And I need pics of scarred-Harry, stat! :p
htbthomas
May. 7th, 2007 10:21 pm (UTC)
You think I was objective? Rock on! I did try, especially after a bunch of my f-list both hated and loved it, so I tried to be fair.

But Sandman? Novel explains all. I wished that much detail had been put into the film version.

I have a pic of scarred Harry in my picspam - if you can't find it, let me know! I'll reply with the pic embedded.
(no subject) - lastwordslinger - May. 7th, 2007 11:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
seraphkre
May. 8th, 2007 02:30 pm (UTC)
GREAT REVIEW!!! Your thoroughness brought back most of those point in the movie for me - I actually have a very sketchy memory of it because the IDIOTS I ended up sitting next to kept pulling me out of the story (a crowd of rowdy 15-year-olds). I definitely need to see it again - maybe in a matinee or something - so that I can actually focus. Due to that, I can actually say that I still don't have an opinion of this movie. I agree that it wasn't as good as 2, but standing alone? No clue. I DID enjoy it, but a repeat viewing is most definitely in order.

One of the things that stands out in my memory is Peter doing "the strut." Oh, I was laughing. I thought that part was truly hilarious, just because it showed how awkward he still was, even though he was convinced he was "the s**t." AHAHAHAHAHA!! I think Raimi might have been taking a stab at fanboys, there. ;) Corny? Yes. Cheezy? Absolutely. Dead on? 100%.

I'm so glad to have read your review first, now I can insulate myself against other reviews. I'm curious about what Roger Ebert had to say, just because he LOVED Spidey 2. (The man actually has a soft spot for superhero movies - w00t!)

I think I'll be checking out the novelization, too.
seraphkre
May. 8th, 2007 02:33 pm (UTC)
P.S. The "Order of the Phoenix" trailer was on our copy. It was teh awesome!
(no subject) - htbthomas - May. 9th, 2007 09:37 am (UTC) - Expand
sydgill
May. 9th, 2007 12:18 am (UTC)
Great review! Hee Hee! Very, umm...in depth! So i get to see it tomorrow! Yay!!

I just sent your copy of New Moon Special Edition yesterday - you should get it by Friday or possibly Monday!! Yay!
htbthomas
May. 9th, 2007 09:44 am (UTC)
Great, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

And thank you so much for sending the book. I REALLY appreciate it. And so will alphielj and bistyboo1974! ;)

I did listen to the music you recommended... Although, I'm still not sure that the Lydia I have is the same one. What I heard was okay, and Within Temptation wasn't bad either...

...but Three Days Grace? *hugs you tightly* Oh my, that is ANGRY!music, hon. I don't think I've ever been so angry at life that I would agree with any of those lyrics! *hugs you again*

Interestingly, my iPod shuffed one of my all-time fave bands right after a Three Days Grace song, and it had everything I love about a good rock song. "Sentimental Song" by The Choir. The song was released about 15 years ago, but if I sent it, would you take a listen?
(no subject) - sydgill - May. 9th, 2007 04:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - htbthomas - May. 9th, 2007 08:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
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