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Saturday, May 05, 2007

Spider-Man 3 - /* who are you ? */ - Spider-Man embraces the dark side

Remember "jeezus Parker, you are a freak"?
Welcome back. Still the nerd and hard working college genius, Spider-Man 3 never strays from the motifs of destiny, sacrifice and choice - but the tables have turned. Your friendly neighbourhood you know emerges as a hero more popular than ever riding the crest of popularity - a far cry from riding the arc of the early days human spider and the amazing spider-man saga of "with great power comes great responsibility." Meanwhile Mary Jane Watson's star is in descent - after the first day of her Broadway deubt in Manhattan Memories when it gives Kirsten Dunst's MJ the chance to look dazzling on stage and a chance to sing on screen again - she is replaced in the play. Unlike Spider-Man the 1, Spider-Man in 3 is not there to take care of her and provide solace - he's not there for her heart and soul.

MJ, who was once the girl of his dreams almost becomes taken for granted even - the girl who unlocks his secret in the second film, though he sets out to marry her his ego begins to take over as he begins to get used to the aspects of becoming a hero but maintaining the magic relationship on the go - as Spider-Man's popularity ascends and the movie takes a very dark turn for her - a turn that probably would not induce Kirsten Dunst to return to a Spider-Man 4. Another complication for Mary Jane Watson and Parker is the presence of Gwen Stacy who is given the sexy panache and used as a foil by the darker side of Peter Parker. Not only are the college labmates, Spider-Man saves Gwen Stacy - the daughter of the police commissioner - at an incident at a tall tower. Spider-Man is given the key to the city - and at a heady moment at the ceremony the iconic kiss that was MJ and Spider-man's is duplicated between Spider-Man and Gwen! which furthers the slide of Mary Jane. Harry Osborn knowing Spider-Man's secret and in his heart of heart trying to do the right thing by avenging his father [ even though he wrong in the facts ] - naturally still carries his grudge from his discovery in Spider-Man 2. The melodrama gets even darker with the genesis of the new Goblin which sets his eyes on Spider-man. The aftermath of the first encounter leaves Harry in a hospital bed with a form of amnesia that takes him back to the days when Parker, MJ, says Harry in his words "they're my best friends. I would give my life for them." How prophetic this would be.

Also in the mix during a night of relative bliss watching the stars, a meteor lands nearby which releases a black gooey substance that infuses itself into Parker. The symbiote that landed takes over and consumes him and brings on the new costume and the new persona that he readily embraces. "This feels good." He makes his choice. He embraces the black. In the meantime, Mary Jane on a down day phones Harry up looking for a friendly voice to turn to. In a twist of fate, Mary Jane makes a tragic mistake with Harry [which provides great boos from the audience], and the consequences of the new Goblin and Spider-Man feud lead Mary Jane to make the ultimate sacrifice and forsake Peter Parker. Parker's actions lead Mary Jane to openly question Parker at the club: "What have you become? Who are you?"

The black gives Parker additional arrogance, aggression and attitude which helps him up the social scale, but alienates him from the world. Yet the black costume is not an encumbrance as he is forced to deal with the new foe that has come into Gotham City: Sandman. Sandman is a tragic villain - innermost he is not a bad man, just someone who has been cursed with bad luck who is doing what he can to save his dying daughter, Penny. The problems only get worse with the anti-Spider-man with the creation of Venom himself, who wreaks maximum carnage side by side with Sandman at the apocalyptic ending.

Sam Raimi and his crew have done a tremendous job doing this treacherous walk of setting Spider-Man against the world, against not just one villain but three [ or four ] with introspective character study and outward strut of comedy in Parker's response to wearing the black - combined with even better effects that give you a swingaround look during the battle sequences, and making sure there is balance at the end as the best friends fight side by side at the end.

The Raimi clan of Sam and Ian write the screenplay this time and they seem to try to say through Rosemary Harris's Aunt May all their feelings about that which is human yet noble and responsible about Spider-Man. With great power comes great responsibility, and everyone has a choice. While trying to draw the franchise to a close at the end of it all, MJ on stage at her jazz club waitressing and singing job declares that she is through with love, but Parker reaches out one more time to his girl, and as with all the Spider-Man movies Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson face a nebulous future facing the daunting balance of living with a hero and trying to stay together.

And will there be a Spider-Man 4 for either of them?

This is my gift, my curse. Who am I?