Starring: Tobey Maguire & Kirsten Dunst.
Story: Peter Parker tries to balance the adoration he receives as Spider-Man with various crises in his day-to-day existence. He's broke, his job's at risk, his best friend hates him and he's pushing his girlfriend away. In the middle of it all, he has to deal with a supervillain bitten by some radioactive sand, wrestle his own costume (which has been taken over by an alien) and survive a nasty outbreak of romantic comedy...
Comments: I saw a trailer for Superhero Movie the other day. Its attempt to parody the superhero genre seemed to mainly involve taking the original Spider-Man film and adding lots of extra falling over. On first sight, this seemed a little lame, considering the number of overblown superhero films we've had in recent years. Maybe, though, it's a dig at the fact that Spider-Man is the template from which the others have been created. Batman started the whole miserable, conflicted superhero thing but that has plenty of gadgets, action and Jack Nicholson. It's Spider-Man that made the angst as central as the action and then upped the spectacle with vast amounts of computer-generated mayhem to compensate for the tedium. This has infected everything from Hulk to The Fantastic Four. Even the new Superman and Batman have angst. Take the mick out of Spider-Man and you take the mick out of them all.
I want to sit the makers of superhero movies down and force them to watch a dozen episodes of Ben 10. It's a cartoon about Ben Tennyson, a ten-year-old boy who discovers a watch that can turn him into various superpowered aliens, allowing him to save the world. The episodes are full of explosions and adventure but, because Ben is ten, he doesn't have angst - when he's not fighting villains he uses his powers to play pranks on his cousin. He actually likes being a superhero. It's refreshing.
Interestingly, the live-action Ben 10: Race against Time movie features Ben returning home from his summer-long villain fighting vacation. He has to deal with fitting back into school, concealing his powers and not being popular. He even has to come up with an act for the school variety show. In short, he gets lumbered with a whole load of angst. In compensation for this tedium, there's some very impressive computer-generated mayhem.
It's all just too upsetting...
Predictably, Spider-Man 3 doesn't mess with the formula and continues where the other two left off. Yep, excellent computer-animated action sequences are padded out with a little romance, a touch of slapstick and a large amount of angst as Peter Parker tries to work out who he is as his 9 to 5 life goes down the tubes. (Again.)
The script is somehow both stuffed full of plot and quite plodding. This results in lots going on but poor character development. Half an hour of cringe-worthy comedy and heart-to-heart conversations could be lost without making the motivations of most of the characters seem any less plausible than they already are.
All in all, Spider-Man 3 will do. The cast manage OK with what they're given and the action (particularly with Sandman) is great but this is getting tired. If there's going to be another Spider-Man movie, it really needs to take itself less seriously, spread out the action and cut down on the soul-searching. I've said it before and I'll no doubt have to say it again:
Less angst, more smashing.
Conclusion: A bit more falling over and the franchise would be a parody of itself.
Wise-cracking: Almost none.
Swinging from roof tops: Not enough.
Main characters being slapped about for stupidity: Definitely not enough.
Villains: A small puddle of tar, big pile of sand and a large dose of self-absorbed idiocy.