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'Spider-Man 3' - A decent movie, but it ain't the comic

May 08, 2007|by BRAD SMITH

Comic book fans' favorite webhead is back again in the third installment in the epic Spider-Man movie franchise.

"Spider-Man 3" picks up pretty much where "Spider-Man 2" left off. Peter Parker is getting through college no problem, and he's with the love of his life - Mary Jane Watson. So, life is good.

But while on a date with Mary Jane, a meteorite crashes nearby. From the meteorite comes a strange black goo that attaches itself to Parker's moped. This black goo later attaches itself to Parker and forms a new, black costume. This, in turn, starts a chain of events leading toward a downfall.

All of the Spider-Man movies are based, of course, on the Spider-Man comic books. But the third one feels more like a Spider-Man comic than the others do. As soon as the beginning credits go by, we are thrown into a story that has seemingly already started - as with many comic books.

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This trick doesn't work.

There isn't any calm before the storm. There isn't time to get situated in the Spider-Man universe before you are bombarded with pumpkin bombs (the primary weapon of New Goblin, one of the movie's villains). Not five minutes into the movie Peter gets attacked by New Goblin. There is no time taken to set up the action.

One of the biggest additions to this series this time around is Spidey's new black suit. Though not trying to give anything away, the way it possesses him and changes his personality is true to the original comic. This was a struggle that spanned many, many issues and went throughout all of the comic series at that time.

The major disappointment is that this is the only part that stays true. In the comic books, the suit is all black, with a big white spider that stretches from front to back. Appearance is not the only problem with it. In the comic book, the suit has powers to transform into different types of clothing and to react to Spider-Man's thoughts. All Parker has to do is think about it, and his daytime clothes turn into his Spidey costume.

It is upsetting that the filmmakers don't use this costume idea to its full potential.

"Spider-Man 3" takes a step up from its previous installments with not just one, but three villains - Sandman, New Goblin and, my personal favorite, Venom. It is good to see Venom on the big screen, except for the fact that he is really only present for the last half-hour of the movie. There could be a movie with just Venom as the bad guy. Instead, he shares the screen with two other bad guys.

I know I sound negative about all this. Don't get me wrong, I love "Spider-Man 3," and it is easily my favorite of the three. But because I am a fan of the comics, I have to point out every little thing filmmakers changed from the original and say how it should have been done.

But take solace in the fact that the rumors are true. This is not the end for our web-slinging friend. Both Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios have confirmed that there will be at least three more Spider-Man films. Granted, these last few films probably will involve a recasting, but at least we know that the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man will return to theaters.

As a movie fan, I give "Spider-Man 3," 9 men in black tights out of 10, but as a comic fan I can only give it 8 men in red tights out of 10.

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