What The Film?! is a new weekly column exclusive to Under The Gun Review that brings to light the plot holes Hollywood hoped you’d never notice. Written by comedy writer Dane Sager, this column shows no mercy to films that try and pull the proverbial wool over our eyes.
If you know a film with major plot holes that you feel needs to be exposed, tell us! Email email@example.com with the subject “What The Film” and we’ll try to get your suggestion featured on the site.
This Week’s Movie: 2007’s Spider-Man 3
I have been a massive Christopher Nolan fan since I saw Memento when I was fourteen. When he was picked to direct 2005’s Batman Begins, I had never been more excited for a director being hired for a project. I had spent much of my youth (and adult hood) reading Batman comics and had been waiting for a director to make the dark realistic Batman I’ve been dreaming of. As far back as I can remember, I’ve always been a huge fan of Batman and dinosaurs.
While Batman Begins was amazing and The Dark Knight definitely earned every single dollar of its $1,001,921,825 box office sales (done without a four dollar 3D charge added to almost every ticket price, 2009’s Avatar, I’m looking at you), I’m horrified about this summer’s The Dark Knight Rises. Why is that? Because with the exception of Men In Black 3, I honestly can’t think of a third movie in a comic book series that was any good. 2006’s X-Men 3: The Last Stand was awful and should have never been made, 1983’s Superman III is almost bad enough to be funny (almost), and even as a child, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: Turtles In Time wasn’t tolerable. Hell, it’s hard to even think of a good part 3 in any movie series period.
This week’s What The Film?! almost came out a week ago, but UTG’s Justin Proper wrote an editorial called “Why the new Spider-Man is a good thing” which is what this WTFilm was originally going to be called going to be called. There was some definite overlap with our shared ideas, (a shared desire to see a new style of Spidey brought to the screen, our arrogant but awesome writing style, I also think we have the same underwear) but the majority of why I thought rebooting Spider-Man is a good idea is because Spider-Man 3 is just awful and should be forgotten.
For those who don’t know who Spider-Man is, let me break this down for you: Spider-Man is the alter-ego of perpetual High School/College student Peter Parker who was bit by a radioactive spider and then given super powers because of it. I’ve replicated this experiment many times and all it has given me is a bunch of dead teenagers that I am in dire need of getting rid of (you can find my Craigslist posting under the catagories “Free” and also under “Food”).
Initially, Peter uses his powers for his own benefit, trying to win money in a wrestling rings, but the person in charge gives Peter only $100 of the $3,000 promised. An armed robber shows up and steals the rest of man in charge’s money and Peter spitefully allows him to leave rather than do anything about it. Later, Peter discovers that that very same robber killed his Uncle Ben (the closest thing he had to a father), causing Peter to feel responsible for his death. Peter then uses this guilt to devote his life to using his powers for good, fighting crime, and being a total unlikable dick to everyone in Spider-Man 3.
Spider-Man 3 does what most movies do in their third installment: cram it full of as much crap as possible and hope it’s coherent (it isn’t). The big draw in Spider-Man 3 is the introduction of Venom, a villain that Spidey fans have been wanting to see since the film franchise started. Venom is almost like Spider-Man’s Joker or Darth Vader. He is not a character that you can half-ass (well, you can half ass it, they totally did, but you shouldn’t). Venom could have easily been put into two movies, the build up needed to establish the character (as his origin would require more time than Spidey’s did in Spider-Man 1) and finally lighting the fuse you could have laid in the prior movie. Spider-Man 2 and 3 introduced Dr. Curt Connors as Peter Parker’s physics professor, someone Sam Raimi wanted to return to in his canceled Spider-Man 4.
They didn’t do that, they crammed all of Venom’s long and delicate origin in one movie leaving Spider-Man very little to do in the first two acts so they poorly shoehorned in a subplot with the Spider-Man villain Sandman.
Sandman was portrayed as best as he could, given the script, by Thomas Haden Church. They gave him a more human/emotional side by having him steal money to pay for his sick daughter’s medical treatment, making an emotional anti-villain out of what started out as Marvel making their own cheap variation on Batman’s Clayface.
Many people complained about the treatment of Venom or Peter Parker being a totally unlikable douche throughout the entire movie. Both of these are very bad and poorly executed ideas that should have been thought about, but here’s the biggest problem: they changed Sandman’s origin so he is the one who killed Uncle Ben. Spider-Man fights crime due to his guilt from feeling responsible for his Uncle’s death. Spider-Man 3 completely unravels that. Congratulations, Peter, your motivation is gone, you have no reason to fight crime anymore other than maybe for fun. Spider-Man 3 totally invalidates Spider-Man’s reason for being. This is like having a plot twist in The Dark Knight Rises where Thomas and Martha Wayne are alive. It’s hard for Spider-Man to move forward when his reason to do so has been taken away.