Bad Movies I Love #2: “Spiderman 3”

Introduction

I love bad movies.

            Does that surprise you?

            Well it shouldn’t. If you’ve read any of my work I’d like to think it’d be obvious. The influences of the bad, as in wonderful schlock filmmakers, permeates the pages of all of my creations. The works of Roger Corman, the British Hammer Horror Films, even that wonderfully insane genius Ed Wood entertain the shit out of me. Let me make it very clear, if it was fodder for the Original incarnations of Mystery Science Theater 3000 (The KTMA, Comedy Central, Sci-Fi Channel years) then it’s in my comfort zone.

            This series of ten essays is not about those films.

            Lot’s of people love those movies and they’ve been talked about far more eloquently than I will ever be able to. Besides they aren’t the movies I WANT to talk about. I want to talk about the movies people hate, not love to hate I mean the ones they fucking HATE!

            Why?

            Because I love these movies and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

            These are the movies critics hate. These are the movies rated so low they might as well not exist. Some of these movies, if I hadn’t seen them with my own eyes, I wouldn’t believe could be as bad as they are. These movies do not deserve to be real things but they are.

            So join me as I talk about my favorite legitimately bad movies. I’ll discuss why they are bad and why I love them anyway. There’s no order to this list, these are just my ten favorite flicks everyone seems to hate.

 

– Josh

The Movie

Right now there are hundreds, okay maybe a dozen, of geeks and nerds groaning in pain. The third installment of the Spiderman franchise is universally reviled as one of the worst superhero movies of the twenty first century and I’ll be upfront and say I completely get why people hate it, the conundrum is that I actually kinda like it… within reason.

Set a span of months following the events of Spiderman 2, Spiderman 3 once more picks up the tale of poor Peter Parker as played by Seabiscuit. As the third installment unfolds before us Spiderman has become a celebrity, while Mary Jane continues her Broadway career, and Harry Osborn is seeking retribution for his father’s death.

In the magical land of plot convenience, Seabiscuit apparently plans to propose to Mary Jane, who just made her Broadway musical debut. But all those plans are for naught when a convenient meteorite lands near the two in Central Park and an extraterrestrial symbiote, really the most adorable blob of evil goo ever imagined, attaches itself to Seabiscuit’s bike.

Meanwhile, still in the magical land of plot convenience, escaped prisoner Flint Marko, played by Thomas Hayden Church, falls into an experimental particle accelerator (Because they’re all experimental and easy as hell to break into. I still question when, not if, CERN will kill us all) which fuses his body with the surrounding sand allowing him to shape shift at will as the Sandman. Unfortunately this Sandman is more about rampaging and stealing as opposed to helping children into the land of dreams.

So what is Harry Osborn (the amazing and sexy Doctor James Franco), Seabiscuit’s best friend who knows Seabiscuit is Spider-Man and holds him responsible for his father’s death, doing during all of this? In classic villain fashion he attacks Seabiscuit as the new Green Goblin (In a much better costume than poor Defoe). During the battle Dr. James Franco conveniently hits his head giving him amnesia and making him forget Seabiscuit is Spiderman. Okay stupid amnesia bullshit aside, Dr. Franco is an awesome Green Goblin. Someone clearly got how badly they fucked up William Defoe as the first Green Goblin. Seriously you cast one of the most expressive facial actors alive as the goblin and put a helmet that would embarrass the Power Rangers on him?!?!

During a very convenient festival honoring Spiderman, because yeah New York apparently worships Spidey now, Sandman robs an armored car. And I have to just to stop and say right now that the Sandman is epic, THC does a fantastic job and the effects are the best in the movie. That said, in even more plot convenience, NYPD Captain George Stacy tells Seabiscuit and Aunt May that THC was Uncle Ben’s killer as opposed to the guy we clearly see is guilty in the first movie. While proto emo Seabiscuit sleeps the adorable alien goo ball of death bonds with him… in a totally not gay way thus bringing black suit Spidey into existence. Long story short angry emo Spiderman hunts down the Sandman and beats on him learning water is his kryptonite, thank you M. Night Shyamalan, turning him into mud.

Then we get to the shit most people hate about this movie, a lot of forced relationship stuff. New Seabiscuit bothers MJ, MJ’s career goes into the toilet, and Amnesia Dr. Franco and MJ spend a lot of time together. Dr. Franco gets his memory back, his dead daddy makes him break up Seabiscuit and MJ, and then Gwen Stacy is shoehorned into the movie just so Seabiscuit can treat her like a piece of meat.

Under the adorable ball of goo’s influence Seabiscuit exposes Eddie Brock, a rival photographer at The Daily Bugle played by Eric Foreman himself, Topher Grace, as opposed to the guy who played him in the first movie (seriously why do people keep getting the Billy Dee Williams treatment in this series?), as a scumbag who posts doctored photos of Spidey. Furious at having to print a retraction J. Jonah Jameson shitcans Eddie who clearly needs a foot up his ass.

I will say it now and defend it until I get tired of it and move on to some other cause du jour, I like Topher Grace as Eddie Brock. No, he’s not the hardboiled, muscle-bound, and slightly sociopathic Eddie Brock from the comics but he’s still damn good. He’s the mirror image of Peter Parker, plucky and driven but without any of the ethics and morals that exemplify Seabiscuit’s performance. And when Eric Foreman is bonded with the adorable ball of alien goo he gives a genuinely scary performance.

In a very transparent effort to make Mary Jane jealous, Seabiscuit brings Gwen to the nightclub where Mary Jane works but after the most unnecessary dance sequence ever, Gwen catches on and storms out. Thus we are all witness to the waste of one of the best and most iconic Spiderman characters ever. Pissed off at no nookie, or something equally stupid, Seabiscuit brawls with the bouncers and, after accidentally hitting Mary Jane, he realizes the adorable ball of goo is changing him. Whiny Seabiscuit hides in a church bell tower where he finds he cannot remove the suit. However in a Deus Ex Machina of turtlenecks and nerve gas proportions, he learns that the alien weakens when the bells ring. Seabiscuit tears the symbiote off and it falls to the lower tower, landing on Eric Foreman, who is conveniently down there praying for Seabiscuit’s death. The symbiote attaches itself to him thus transforming him into Venom.

Then Venom finds Sandman and offers to join forces. Seriously they just decide to team up like it’s the most natural thing in the world… *Head Desk*

Venom hijacks MJ’s taxi and hangs it hundreds of feet above a sand-filled construction site (Gee I wonder what might be in there). Seabiscuit seeks Dr. James Franco’s help, but is rejected because he still believes Seabiscuit killed his daddy. However while Seabiscuit clashes with Eric Foreman, Dr. James Franco once more travels to the land of plot convenience and learns the truth about his father’s death so of course he goes to help Seabiscuit.

Entering the fray in the most awesome and epic scene in the entire movie. Dr. James Franco subdues a gigantic incarnation of the Sandman, while Seabiscuit fights Eric Foreman. Eric Foreman almost impales Seabiscuit with Dr. James Franco’s glider, but Dr. James Franco jumps in the way, and he is stabbed instead. Fighting the adorable ball of alien goo, Seabiscuit recalls how the church bells weakened it. He grabs pipes and creates a ring around the symbiote, creating a wall of sonic vibrations. The adorable ball of alien goo releases Eric Foreman, and Seabiscuit uses his webs to pull Eric Foreman from it. However, the symbiote has gained enough power from Seabiscuit and Eric Foreman, to live on its own without a host. Seabiscuit throws a pumpkin bomb at the symbiote from Dr. James Franco’s glider, but Eric Foreman jumps in to rebond with it, and both are killed by the explosion.

Weak sauce ending to what was a decent fight.

After the fight THC explains to Seabiscuit that he never intended to kill Ben, but only wanted his car and shot him accidentally when Dennis grabbed his arm. He claims Ben’s death has haunted him since. Seabiscuit forgives THC, who dissipates and floats away. Seabiscuit and Dr. James Franco forgive each other, and Dr. James Franco dies with Mary Jane and Seabiscuit at his side. Mary Jane returns to the nightclub and sees Seabiscuit while giving a song. The two dance, reconciling their relationship.

And Now, the Dancing

Let’s address the elephant in the room, let us take a deep breath and talk about the dancing… oh the dancing. Dancing seems to be a theme in this movie for reasons that still escape me. That being said I am going to concentrate on two scenes the first being the Emo Peter dance sequence as he struts around town and the second his douchbag dance with Gwen in the club. People hate the dancing. Following the initial release of the movie I expected comparisons of Seabiscuit and Heinrich Himmler. Luckily that never happened but still the hatred of the dancing flowed like a Star Wars Fanboy talking about Jim-Jam Bonks.

I love the Emo Peter dance around town. I don’t care if it was needed or added anything to the plot of the movie because the entire sequence is just fun. Seabiscuit dancing around Manhattan and was the one scene in the entire movie where I think everyone had a good time. I can imagine the cast and crew behind the camera loving every second of this scene. Something missing from a lot of superhero movies before Marvel began their cinematic universe was the lack of fun. Everything had to be so damn serious and dark because they were afraid the audiences wouldn’t take any of it seriously.

This is the example that proves them sadly wrong.

Unfortunately they had to bookended the awesomeness of that dance sequence with the tinfoil biting quality of the one in the club. The dance in the club is long, boring, pointless, and not even sexy. Why did this scene have to happen? I get the need for a monkey touches the monolith moment for Seabiscuit to realize the adorable ball of alien goo is evil, although if you know any of the comics that’s not actually true, but this was a dumbass way to do it. Seriously I agree with the masses, fuck this scene.

Conclusions

Despite the errors and fuck ups in this movie I still like it. The number one problem with this movie is it’s too big. There was no need for two villains, there was no need split up MJ and Seabiscuit, and there was no need for the introductions of the Gwen Stacy and Captain Stacy characters. They were important characters in the comics and what was done to them in this movie is borderline criminal.

All of that being said… yeah I like this one.

Next time we move on to an even more hated movie than Emo Spiderman. I won’t give you the title but I will say this… that’s a lot of fish.

 

            – Josh

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Josh Hilden

When I was born on August 3, 1976 in the great state of Michigan the hills shook and the sky was swept with fire. These were portents of the greatness for my future that was written in the stars ... I'm still waiting for that greatness. My name is Josh Hilden and I am many things. I am a husband, a father, a son, a friend. These are all important things but at my core I am an artist and the medium that I work in is words. I am a writer of Horror, Science Fiction, Drama, and Role Playing Games. I worked for Palladium Books (www.palladiumbooks.com) and Third Eye Games (www.thirdeyegames.net) before striking out on my own and founding a small press publishing company Gorillas with Scissors Press (www.gwspress.com). I also work for Fat Goblin Games (www.fatgoblingames.com). In the everyday world I can be found spending time with my family and friends. I have been married to my lovely wife Karen since 1996 and we have six amazing children. We tend to be a family of unabashed geeks and gamers who were geek before geek was chic. If you are really interested in me I am very active online with a personal and a writing blog along with a plethora of social media outlets. If you have any questions or just want to chat hit me up!