Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Skip If You Have Yet To See Spider-Man 3

I entered the theater at 9:40 A. M., May 1 for Spider-Man 3’s first Philippine screening with two vital questions in mind: (1) Marko, the Sandman, he doesn’t really look like the bad guy Spider-Man killed in the first movie—believe me, I’ve seen Spider-Man hundreds of times. Why do the police say he is Uncle Ben’s killer? (2) Spider-Man has three enemies: the New Goblin, the Sandman, and Venom. And the list doesn’t even include Spider-Man himself, the one they referred to as the enemy within. How in the world will our boy defeat them all?

Of course in due time all the answers to my questions were revealed. But before I proceed to my spoilers, allow me to pour in my insights.

The third installment to the Spider-Man series of commercial success is by far the best one yet. The first Spider-Man lacked the Spidey action fans are longing to see. I get the notion that Tobey Maguire’s Spidey suits can be sold at a good price for being slightly used. Apart from the one they ripped for the final scenes, the other suits must have been as good as new. The second follow-up was the worst. It was too gory, if not violent, for kids to watch. I mean, what were they thinking being too graphic with that scene where DocOc wakes up and attacks doctors? And there’s too much of MJ’s screaming. It’s absolutely irritating!

Spider-Man 3 starts out light. Everything’s going along perfectly well in our hero’s life. His “constituents” love him, he has a girlfriend, he’s fine with his job, and he remains at the top of his class. Slowly, the villains enter Peter’s utopic world. “Where do they come from?” Peter couldn’t help but ask.

Harry attacks Peter but after a simple string—well in Pete’s case, web—trip maneuver he stops his best friend from killing him. Harry incurs a concussion and ends up forgetting everything that drove him to assume his dad’s Green Goblin throne. Harry is suddenly at peace. And the serenity of his spirit reflects on his smiling face earning him cute points from the lady audiences.

Now we meet Marko, the fugitive. His case is so Pinoy. He was desperate to save his ailing daughter so he steals. And the guy Spider-Man killed in the first movie is just his accomplice. Sufficient flashbacks will explain what Pete thought happened then later still, what really happened. Those are just some of the things to watch out for.

A symbiote falls from the sky. It seems especially attracted to Peter. In Pete’s moment of weakness, the alien thing takes over him. Pete wakes up attached to a building dressed in a less familiar suit—a black costume which gave him extra strength and, unfortunately, extra attitude. After satisfyingly rebellious Peter drives almost everyone he loves out of his life, he musters the guts to rip the black suit to free the old him. But Brock, Pete’s rival photographer in the Daily Bugle, catches the symbiote which helps him do what he was in church for: asking God to kill Peter Parker. Thus he turns into Venom.

The Sandman and Venom work together to destroy Spider-Man. And who do they use as bait? MJ, of course! Peter turns to his best friend, Harry, for help. Harry who after regaining his memory lost a fight with the black Spider-Man in the most undignified way. Harry says no. What after the Black Spider-Man barbecued his face? Anyone would do as he did. But Harry “surprises” us in the end which isn’t really surprising because, as established in the earlier part of the movie, we already know what Harry is capable of doing.

MJ, the hostage victim, make that perennial hostage victim, is less passive this time around. She now knows how to maneuver herself to keep away from the falling bricks, cab, and I think, even a truck. And as I have said earlier, she doesn’t scream as much now as before. At least her presence of mind and limited laryngeal activity takes some weight off Spider-Man’s shoulders.

Stan Lee, makes his appearance with the line, “one man can make a difference.” He may be referring to Spider-Man. Then again, Spider-Man and the difference he’s made is already a given. Therefore Stan Lee’s line can be viewed a foreshadowing tool to that guy who’d step up and help make a difference. I know, it’s obvious by this time but I’d rather not say who that guy is.

Spider-Man is as all American as Superman. He even poses in front of a proud American flag as if saying “of course I’m a hero. I’m an American!” But I’d let that pass. After all, I’m a fan. I watched those Spider-Man cartoons when I was younger. I especially like Pete’s witty remarks when least expected. He made me laugh. Add to Pete’s charisma is his being “normal.” Just like most of us, he is struggling, too. He strives to pay his bills, juggles his time, caught in between his priorities, in constant battle with himself—things we, normal people, deal with on a daily basis. But unlike Superman, Spider-Man can’t do things on his own. He counts on other people, too. In a way, he doesn’t spoil the people whom he is protecting. It goes to show that the people in New York are more pro-active than those in Metropolis. They do their share in protecting their fellow preys as well as their hero as seen in Spider-Man 2.

Spider-Man 3 is a lot entertaining than the previous Spider-Mans. The heavy parts are effectively balanced by lighter scenes. Even the Chief isn’t as hot-tempered as he used to be. Actually he has no choice but to control his blood pressure, but still he makes a good comic relief. We see enough of the goody-goody Pete, and the naughty and overly confident Pete. He even dances for us! Also, it really means so much to me, seeing Tobey Maguire’s head peering out of the body clothed with the Spidey suit. It affirms that it really is he inside that body-hugging suit. And for some reason, I have a fixation over Spider-Man’s costume. God, I want to touch it with or without Tobey Maguire inside! I mean, aren’t you any bit curious with what it is made of?

So maybe I was one of the first people in the world to see Spider-Man 3. Even 3 days ahead of American viewers—that is, not including the time difference here and there. But the Spidey experience, I hope people will get to feel it, too. Kind of makes me want to see it again and again. I wonder if there’ll be a fourth or a fifth.

Hmm…I wonder.

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