When I grabbed a copy of Pirates of the Caribbean yesterday, I also grabbed a copy of Spiderman 3. It seems that everyone’s lining up to whack Spiderman with a rolled-up newspaper. Let’s go through the list.
- Peter’s former friend, Harry, comes after him, but in the ensuing fight loses his memory. This wipes the slate clean until the shadow of his father restores them. Harry destroys Peter’s shaky relationship with MJ, but he has to face Black Spiderman (I’ll explain anon) and gets himself blown up. Later, Red Spiderman comes to Harry for help saving MJ and fighting the two supervillains. He demurs, but then changes his mind and gets skewered on his anti-grav surf board saving Peter. His Dad went the same way, but there was less “saving” on that occasion.
- The first supervillain is the Sandman who starts out as the ordinary criminal who killed Peter’s uncle (the one who said “With great power comes a large electricity bill”). As he flees from the police, he falls into some hole which is being used for some sort of experiment on sand. It involves that philosopher’s stone of the comic book universe, radiation. One of the scientists note that there appears to be something in the area where the experiment is being conducted, but no one checks and there are no CCTV cameras. The experiment proceeds and our ordinary felon is turned into a creature of sand. Red Spiderman doesn’t know what to do with him, but Black Spiderman works out that Sandman’s nemesis is water. Well, sort of.
- Meanwhile, Peter has been being dogged by some annoying photographer who’s after his job. The editor of The Daily Bugle, who still thinks Spiderman, red or black, is a criminal says that the man who can get an incriminating picture of Spiderman will get the job. The new boy, Eddie, fakes a photo, but Peter, who’s still in his Black Spiderman phase, blows the lid on the scam. Bye bye, Eddie. Eddie, who needs to look up the words “irony” and “hypocrisy” in a dictionary, goes to church and prays to God for a means of destroying Spiderman. God must have a sense of humour of a sort, because he grants Eddie that means when it turns out that Black Spiderman who, by a huge coincidence happens to turn up in the same church, finds is vulnerable to bells. The slime creature transfers itself from Spiderman to Eddie, and seems to take much of Spiderman’s essence with it somehow. In addition, God, who always likes to squeeze out as many laughs from a gag as he can, turns Eddie into a real monster.
- Sandman and Eddieman kidnap MJ so that they can have another go hitting Spiderman with a rolled-up newspaper. With Harry’s help he manages to destroy Eddieman by dispelling the creature from Eddie’s body using some handy tubular bells. Unfortunately, just as Spiderman chucks a grenade at the slime creature, Eddie dives back in to the morass and is completely annihilated. The Sandman resumes his normal human form and explains himself to Spiderman who, having been a bit bad himself lately, forgives him. Sandman disappears off on the breeze.
- As for the slime creature, early on in the film Peter and MJ are having a snog in a cobweb hammock when a meteor comes plummeting to Earth. Our of the red-hot glowing rock emerges the slime creature which hitches a lift on Peter’s scooter and eventually bonds with him. But the questions are a.) How a creature that could survive being superheated in a rock could succumb to a mere grenade? and b.) Who would be so oblivious that they wouldn’t hear a meteor screaming through the Earth’s atmosphere and slamming into the ground? Besides, where were all the black helicoptors that usually turn up to such events?
As you can see, there’s a lot happening in S3. The plot isn’t as convoluted as the latest ep. of Pirates of the Caribbean, but it’s another film where there are at least two films in one. As my description reveals, there are more than a few gaping holes in the plot. Yeah, I know. Suspension of disbelief and all that. (Lazy writing, sez I.) Was it not also in Superman 3 that we had evil Superman? (Lex Luthor attempted to synthesise kryptonite and added cigarette ash as the unknown element, didn’t he?) I guess we had to have Black Spiderman sooner or later.
Last film in the series? Who knows? But when we start getting to Part 3, that’s about the point at which the original stars say, “Enough” and you suddenly get a bunch of B-movies with C-movie-sized budgets, D-movie quality sets, and E-list stars.