Sunday, May 06, 2007

Superhero gabbery

Spiderman 3
So if you've been following the comments in the previous post you would have gotten the general feel of my friends and my opinion regarding Spiderman 3. If you haven't, here's what you need to know:

As much as it pains me to admit this, Spiderman 3 spread itself too thin in a way bloated running time, delivering an 'okay' film where it had the makings of a masterpiece. It doesn't quite classify as an atrocity, but given the previous two instalments that successfully balanced the pressures of financial success and comic book-realm geekery, the third film surely left a bitter taste in what could have been an epic trilogy. If this is indeed the last film for the franchise (although I doubt it because IMDb has Spiderman 4 down for a 2009 release), it is surely a lousy way to bow out of the scene.

Where did it go wrong?
i. The introduction of additional villians at the cost of their character development.
According to the articles I've been reading, the producers, in so many words, forced Sam Raimi to implement the character of Venom. The excuse given was that "the fans wanted it". While I do think the idea of Eddie Brock/Venom makes a great foil to Peter Parker, he had to contend with Goblin Jr. and Sandman for screen time. Not forgetting the whole relationship aspect of Peter Parker and MJ Watson that the film went into great detail too. This meant that what we saw of Brock was really quite one-dimensional. Had he been taken out of the equation and perhaps introduced in film no. 4 or had his character been laid the groundwork in Spiderman 3 and expanded in no. 4, maybe the franchise would have done him justice.

ii. Gwen Stacy
As above, only applied to the romantic part of the movie.

iii. Excessiveness
There were a lot of scenes that could have been cut short - including the action scenes, the romantic scenes and the comedy scenes. They might have been intended to add to the momentum of the story but in the long run it added to the excessively long running time. Not even halfway into the movie, I started checking the time. And that NEVER happens. If this is the standard for the summer movies to come, the kids of America are going to go back to school in the Fall pasty and overweight.

iv. Pacing and tone of the film
Part of the problem was the pacing of the film. While before it blended comedy and action seamlessly, in Spiderman 3 the erratic tone of the movie that swung from bizarre to hilarious in nanoseconds had me quite unsettled. Were we supposed to take Peter Parker seriously after he did what he did down the street? I want to attribute this problem to the script, but I suspect editing had a play in it as well.

v. Deux ex machina
For the most part I find the use of deux ex machina to be the most lazy way of ending a story or a plot point. It's heavy handed, unsubtle and frankly, insulting to the movie-going public who has coughed up fifteen bucks to watch a film. I'm trying to keep this review spoiler-free so I won't mention anything further except for this, you'll know it when you've seen it. Then you'll want to throw rocks at Sam Raimi, his brother and the other dude who are the writers of the film.

vi. My dad
My dad's quip ruined many scenes for me. I think a couple other people probably felt the same way as my dad because people started laughing inappropriately in certain scenes. Tsk. I knew I shouldn't have asked him what he thought of it.

That being said, there are of course good points to the film. The action scenes were jaw-droppingly fantastic and the comedy scenes (or at least the scenes I find comedic) definitely brought out the chuckles as well. For the most part, the cast did what they could do with the material and delivered. J.K. Simmons, who plays Jonah Jameson, is a stand out, brilliant as per usual. Is the film worth watching? Well, given the subject material (comic book adaptation) I don't see how it's worse than other fare. But if you want to keep only good memories of the film franchise? Mull on it for a little while.

Fantastic Four: The Unnecessary Sequel
The four main cast members of the movie came down to Melbourne for the movie premiere. Having nothing to do on a Friday night, Ad and I decided to go for it. Also, we had never been to the Southland shopping mall where the premiere was held and figured we'd kill two birds with one stone in that trip. Bear in mind that neither of us are particularly huge fans of the film or the cast. We were hoping that Doug Jones, who is one of the most prolific 'movement actors' (he plays the Silver Surfer in FanFourTwo, was Hellboy in Hellboy, the faun in Pan's Labyrinth) in the industry, would show up for a surprise visit but he didn't. Nonetheless, we stuck around for funsies.

Someone's got to do the job
Someone's got to do the dirty job.

Ad and I set up camp at around 5 right up front at the barricades. We thought we were bring slightly freaky but the crowd had already started to swell by the time we got there. We were also slightly mortified to discover that the average age of the crowd was 15. Luckily opposite us and by our right were adults. They were slated to arrive at 6.30 pm. After much fake cries and false alarms, they showed up at 6.45 pm. The crowd that was largely there for Jessica Alba went ape-shit crazy.

Michael Chiklis
First out: Michael Chiklis.

Ad and I decided that since everyone was cheering for Alba, we would cheer for Michael Chiklis. It's a process of elimination really. Alba = too many fanboys/girls, Chris Evans = ditto, Ioan Gruffudd = we didn't know how to pronounce his name.

Jesscica Alba
School girl on my right: "Oh my god!!! I'm going to cry!!!!!!!!"

I didn't really understand her logic but it certainly made me laugh at a time when my ribs were pressed up to the barricades and I was being pushed from everywhere by autograph hounds. Jessica Alba is really quite pretty. And she asked the crowd to give space to a little kid who was being crushed by the crowd.

Chris Evans
He is really as pretty as Jessica Alba.

Ad and I agreed that he wasn't as tall as we expected. I guess it's no secret that IMDb lies about height. Which makes me wonder.. Just how tall exactly is Seth Green?

Ioan Gruffudd and I
Gratuitous shot of celebrity and me.

He is so nice! He and Michael Chiklis were the only ones who really obliged to the crowd request. He was the last one in and although his minders were telling him to get a move on, he still said okay when I requested a picture with him. He was the only one Ad and I requested a picture with and he obliged on both accounts. What a legend. This makes me wish I was a fan.

Full cast autograph
Spoils of the night.

I can't say I was terribly star struck. I think I was left truly gap-mouthed when I met Danny Boyle earlier this year at the early premiere of Sunshine. I was actually embarrassingly enough tongue-tied!

Question: Would I be terribly awful if for all my male friend's 21st this year I blow up all the pictures I took of Jessica Alba and give it to them as a present?