Sunday, May 6, 2007

Spider-Man's World ROCKS!

I have a bit of a confession to make. I, K, am a bit of a nerd. Yes, I know, it’s completely shocking. While I might be all cool prose and witty barbs on the surface, underneath is a dork that loves superhero movie franchises: Spiderman, X-Men, and Batman…in that order!

What? Forgot Superman? Nope, I didn’t. I loathe Superman. To be a true superhero, you have to be an underdog, a martyr and a well, human. Superman is just an alien that can’t even learn human customs…underwear OVER the costume, dude, you save children for Christ’s sakes.

But I digress. I entered the theater with expectations of mediocrity, because I’d read a couple reviews, and heard that there wasn’t much of a story left, so they stuffed the movie with villains, strange alien goo, and LOTS of action. Ten minutes into the movie, I realized, HELLO, it’s Spiderman, there’s supposed to be villains/action/goo. It’s a movie intended for kids and nerds like me.

I loved the movie. Tobey Maguire is and always will be the best Peter Parker. He’s adorable, a fabulous actor, and also kinda cute. He gives the perfect amount of humanity and humor to our friendly neighborhood Spiderman. This movie, while admittedly not as strong in story as the previous two, it is a stellar end to the franchise. (While I loved it, making another one would tarnish the other two). Without spoiling the plot, I will say that Peter Parker’s life finally seems to be in order. That pesky tragic luck of his is finally on the upswing. The city loves Spiderman and has embraced him as their official hero. Crime is down. And Parker wants to marry Mary Jane, played by the replaceable Kirsten Dunst. (Regardless of her predicting that the movie would “flop” without her, I’d see it twice if she was replaced. She’s not a bad actress, just an annoying one.) Of course, problems arise, a criminal’s molecules are scrambled and bonded with sand or gassed with green ‘roids, a meteor filled with space goo crashes to earth, and leeches onto the nearest host, and New York is caught in a sandstorm of mayhem.

Suddenly, Spider/Parker is a disco-dancing badass who’s going blow-for-blow with his best bud Harry aka Goblin Jr. in ‘roid rage mode (I’m glad that they finally cashed in on the fortune of James Franco and made him bulk up…ditto to Topher Grace), Sandman—an amazing feat of both CGI and imagination—and his own amped up aggression. There’s some closure to the entire story, and while some questions were left purposely unanswered in hopes to setting up a fourth edition to the franchise, it felt like an ending. If it is, Spiderman is the best superhero movie franchise in the history of the genre (apparently fans think so to. According to CNN, it made an estimated $148 million domestic, and $375 million worldwide. It's already paid for itself plus $117 million. This box office record.). It is the only film that puts the audience into a live-action comic book. There’s a certain imaginative simplicity to “Spiderman’s” characters, setting and villains. It is colorful and special, and the movies are a testament to what I believe Stan Lee created. In Spidey’s world, the rules are simple:

1. Villains dance and dance well! Dr. Doc was probably groovin’ in his secret lair. And it’s rumored that Hob Goblin loved to do the cabbage patch to get himself psyched to attack Spidey.
2. Despite his superpowers and muscles in the first film, Parker is a true nerd and will never be anything less.
3. It’s not that hard to get bitten by a genetically altered spider or fall into a molecule-changing machine or huff toxic super-strength gas, BE CAREFUL!

All in all, I enjoyed the movie. It was a bit too over-the-top and under-developed characaters/storylines, but it was more than decent end to a heroic epic.

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