Saturday, May 05, 2007

Reviews: Spider-man 3 and Hot Fuzz

Spider-man 3.

This movie was pretty-good. It wasn’t great, but I enjoyed the hell out of it. It just wasn’t as good as Spider-man 2. The difference is in the script, clearly. Spider-man 2 built to a very careful and calculated climax in an extremely logical manner. Spider-man 3 headed in that direction, but as soon as the 3rd act rolled around, it seemed as though they realized they were out of time, so each character seemed to have one single scene where they turn 180 degrees to justify the final showdown.

It seemed a little silly and it almost felt as though a reel was missing between act 2 and act 3. The film needed Eddie Brock learning his Venom powers and Sandman needed more time to hate Spider-man and Harry needed more time to forgive him. I hate saying this of a film that’s almost three hours long already, but it needed another 15 or 20 minutes to set up the ending better.

As far as all of the individual things in the movie, there is so much to geek out about. I really liked the handling of Gwen Stacy and her father (although I was expecting at least one of them to die) and I now have a crush on Opie’s daughter. Bruce Campbell’s cameo was bloody genius. The fight sequences, across the board, were breathtaking. James Franco was stupendous (that kid is going places, I assure you.) Emo Peter was great. The rivalry between Eddie Brock and Peter was dynamite. Thomas Haden Church was dead-on with Sandman and was able to participate in some of the coolest sequences ever brought to life on film. J. Jonah Jameson was brilliantly brought to life once more by J.K. Simmons.

I could go on geeking out like this for hours, but overall I really think the film needed to be a little longer to set up the ending better.

And damn all the critics who couldn’t get behind Emo Peter’s dance number. I thought it worked in all the right ways. Yes it was cheesy, but God-damn it it was supposed to be.

There was way more good to this film than there was bad, but it just couldn’t top the pure excellence of Spider-man 2.

My number grades on a scale of 1-10 for the whole Spider-man trilogy would have to be as follows:

Spider-man: 6-7
Spider-man 2: 11-12
Spider-man 3: 7-8

Hot Fuzz.

What can I say about this film? I’ve seen it three times now and it’s extremely enjoyable.

I really think these guys need to name themselves as a group. “The guys who did Shaun of the Dead” is a mouthful. There really isn’t any reason they can’t find something hilarious to call themselves that’s less of a mouthful. And they really are a group of guys (okay, it’s like three of them, Edgar Wright, Nick Frost and Simon Pegg) that seem in the tradition of Monty Python or Broken Lizard or The Lonely Island.

What I like most about Hot Fuzz is the level of sophistication of the satire and the subtlety of other movie references. From Spaghetti Westerns to Lynch’s Lost Highway and Point Break to Bad Boys II, these guys are able to make obscure film references believable and not a bit cheesy. Hilarious, to be sure, but not cheesy.

I think the thing I enjoyed most about this film is how well put together the script was, how it was able to keep you guessing and wrap you up in the story and then unload like a preposterous 80’s action movie in a completely realistic and convincing way. And how 99% of every set up was paid off ten fold. The only complaint my brother had (I didn’t even notice, he had to point it out to me) was that every question Danny asks Nicholas about being a cop ended up happening by the end of the film save one: “Is it true that there is a place on a man’s head that if you shoot it, it will blow up.” That was it, everything else had a payoff and everything else was great.

A spot of filmmaking I particularly appreciated were the transitions. They were excellent and kept the story moving quickly and must have taken a lot of careful planning to make sure they worked right. Keep an eye out for them when you watch the film.

I also admired the all-star character actor cast. When your supporting character line-up includes Jim Broadbent, Timothy Dalton, Steve Coogan, Bill Nighy, Cate Blanchett, Peter Jackson and the guy who played Belloch in Raiders of the Lost Ark, a good time will be had by all. And the guys who played the Andy’s were great.

I really, really enjoyed this film. If I had to put it on a scale from 1-10 it would really be somewhere in the ballpark of an 8 or a 9.


mike weber/fairportfan said...

When i heard that Venom was going to be in #3 i was, shall we say, less than happyjoyed.

I don't like Venom; i coined the term "Swiss Army Villain" for Venom.

Before the days of webcomics, a guy i knew did a limited-circulation satirical comic that he printed on a ditto machine; one of his heroes was named "Deus ex Machina Man". Whatever the problem, whatever the totally unescapable death trap his heroes might be in, DEM Man would show up at the least minute and just happen to have the exact power needed to save the day.

Venom is the villain equivalent of that. Whatever the writer needs a villain to do, Venom can do it, and he doesn't even need a credible motivation, because he's crazy.

I do plan to see Hot Fuzz at some point (i don't know if it's playing here in Gainesville GA), but i'm going to see Spidey this afternoon, i think.

Bryan said...

Yeah, I was never a big fan of Venom myself.

I always thought he was a weak villain that was created out of that "We're in the 90's and we need a badass, hard core villain with an irreverent attitude" problem.

Steven said...

I liked Spiderman 3 a lot.

I'm kind of on the border about maybe calling it just as good as Spiderman 2. Or maybe even better.

I gotta tell you though, Spiderman 3 with Peter's "turn to the dark side" was a little better than Star Wars Episode 3.

Ohhh! Bryan! Let's fight!

Bryan said...

It's okay Steve, you're wrong about plenty of things. Why should this be any different?

Steven said...


Why don't you start a blog talking about how wrong I am?

Oh, wait...

Stenar said...

I had no interest in seeing Spider-Man 3, but was dragged to see it by my mother-in-law. It was okay, but nothing I'd go see normally.

I didn't want Parker's friend to die at the end, especially since they'd finally made up and all... and he's much cuter than Tobey.

I was surprised they were only on #3. It seems like it should have been Spider-Man 5 or 6. It seems like this franchise has been around forever and outlived its usefulness.

Anonymous said...

i luv spida man 3