Today is Free Comic Book Day. I meant to mention it yesterday so I hope a lot of you went to your friendly neighbourhood comic book store and picked up a few comics.
Sadly, I have no comic book store to hit, so I've chosen to mark the day by reading a recently arrived graphic novel (The Secret Six: Secret Degrees of Devastation, which was quite good) and to go and see Spider-Man 3 at the local cinemas.
We should have known better. Seeing popular movies on opening weekend in Iqaluit can just be a nightmare. I suppose I shouldn't blame just the people up here. I've come close to homicide a few times when I used to review movies with The Express from annoying audience members.
This evening we dealt with one cell phone, two little girls who didn't stop talking throughout the movie right behind us, parents who thought it would be an excellent idea to take a three year old to a two hour, 20 minute, and some kid up front who kept yelling at the movie.
Myself and Cathy were wondering the other day why we hardly go see any movies at the theatre any more. Nothing like a friendly reminder.
To some degree I can understand. The audience was restless because the movie was deeply flawed. Among other things it's about 20 minutes too long, has one villain too many (Venom is completely unnecessary), one subplot too many (the alien black costume) and sags badly in the middle.
I understand the appeal of making Parker a bad guy for a little bit in the middle. And the whole idea of watching a geek like Parker trying to be bad must have seemed like a good idea on paper. And hey, I understand the idea of what would a geek going bad would look like. But that's doesn't make it all that entertaining to watch.
I'm beginning to get an idea why movies like Spider-Man 3 and X-Men 3 haven't worked as well as you might hope. Both movie really hit their stride in the second movies - no longer tied to having to explaining who these people are and what motivates them, it opens open the story options for the director.
But in the case of the third movie, they seem compelled to top what worked in the second. X-Men tried to cram the legendary Phoenix storyline in with the cure storyline. And it managed to feel like too much and not enough at the same time.
Spider-Man 3 tries to cram in Venom's origins, the rise of the Sandman and the ongoing story with the Goblin legacy in one movie. At least X-Men was brief. This movie went on way, way too long.
Are there highlights? Sure. The first fight between Goblin and Spider-Man is top notch. The final fight is entertaining. The stuff with Sandman actually has some nice poignancy. Would that there was more of that and none of the stuff with Venom and the black costume, this movie would have worked a lot better.
And hey, when it comes out on DVD, get yourself a bottle of whiskey and a shot glass. Every time Peter cries or takes off/loses his mask, do a shot. You should be so shit-faced by the half way mark that you likely won't notice the flaws.
Then again, Spider-Man 2 is a tough legacy to live up to. Rotten Tomatoes did their complete list of comic book related movie. Go here to see their take on things.
Considering where Spider-Man 2 ranks in that list, it was probably inevitable there was going to be a letdown. It's just a pity it's as big of one as it is.
By the way, not that what I matters means squat. Take a look at how much it made just on Friday alone.