Saturday, October 27, 2007

Spider-Man 3

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Touchy-Feely Spidey Sequel Out on DVD

Director Sam Raimi has upped the ante in terms of just about every aspect of his latest installment of the storied Marvel Comics franchise. This translates into plenty of twists, more intense fight sequences, more implausible cartoon physics, the next-generation of dazzling computer-generated special effects, increasingly inscrutable adversaries, a new romantic interest, an evil Spidey alter ego, a couple of love triangles, zanier comic relief, and even several singing performances.
The upshot is that what we’re dealing with here is a scatterplotted production which cost close to a quarter-billion dollars to make and needed 140 minutes to introduce, develop and mesh all the additional material. Yet, what’s most remarkable about this unorthodox adventure is the inordinate amount of attention it devotes to the ensemble’s emotional states.
At the point of departure, we find Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) and Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst) right where we last left them, blissfully in love. She has just landed the starring role in a Broadway musical, while he’s dividing his time between fighting crime and his freelance job as a photographer for the Daily Bugle.
The critics pan MJ’s opening night performance, and tensions between the couple arise after well-meaning Peter fails to offer the shoulder she needs to lean on. So later, his secret plan to propose to MJ at a fancy restaurant goes awry.
Meanwhile, a new archenemy, Sandman (Thomas Haden Church), materializes after police chase a perpetrator into a demollecularization sand pit during a scientific experiment gone horribly wrong. Of course, it falls to Spider-Man to deal this menace, when not addressing any of several other sidebars or wrestling with his demons.
Just remember, Spidey is agonizing, introspective and second-guessing himself every step of the way, like Woody Allen in a mask and stretchy pants. Your friendly neurotic Spider-Man.

Very good (3 stars)
PG-13 for intense action sequences.
Running time: 140 minutes
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
2-Disc DVD Extras: Audio commentary, outtakes, a music video, a half-dozen featurettes and more.

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