Monday, May 23, 2005

Spiderman 3 - News & Views

Yahoo! Movies had a little blurb today about how Topher Grace has joined the cast of Spiderman 3. This news comes not too long after the announcement that Thomas Hayden Church will also be in Spiderman 3, portraying a villain, exactly which villain in the Spiderman universe remains to be seen. (Speculation abounds about exactly which villain he will portray. I myself would like to see Venom, but have heard that probably won’t happen)
By the way, call me a naysayer if you must, but I wasn’t exactly thrilled when I heard that Thomas Hayden Church was playing the lead bad guy in the third installment of this franchise. I thought he was fairly overrated in Sideways (I certainly couldn’t believe that he got an oscar nod, and Giamatti didn’t...) Willam DeFoe was a little hammy as the Green Goblin in the first film, but I still think he is a fantastic actor. Alfred Molina is another really strong versatile actor, who I thought was great as Doc Oc. If you ask me Church has two tough acts to follow.

I have a lot of curiosity about Spiderman 3. First off I wonder what role/character it is that Topher will play. A villain? Hopefully not another love interest of Mary Kate’s. There is a small part of me that worries they may go the predictable route of Peter Parker getting so wrapped up in his Spiderman job that he neglects Mary Kate again, and she becomes lonely and reaches out to her cute friendly neighbor. Played by Topher?
What’s funny is I think of Topher Grace as being the same “type” as Toby Maguire. They are both in the slightly dorky, almost too skinny but cute and smart catagory. Maybe Grace will play some sort of alternate universe version of Peter Parker who enters on the scene and tries to steal Spiderman’s legacy or life away. This is all pure speculation of course. I think Topher Grace is funny, and a pretty solid actor, so in my opinion he is a welcome addition to the cast.

In many ways, I think this film is going to present the biggest challenge out of the “trilogy” to the film makers. I was one of those folk who thought the second Spiderman was much stronger than the first chapter. For me the first hour of Spiderman, where Parker was just discovering his powers, and inventing himself as this new Superhero was very clever. But then I thought the plot got mired in the crazy Green Goblin stuff, and just became a series of blandly directed action sequences. It lacked a thematic throughline to properly meld the first half of the movie with the second half.

I thought Spiderman 2 was a good exploration of all the reasons why a superhero wouldn’t want to be a superhero...and yet ultimately why and how they must embrace that piece of their identity. I thought the script for “2” was stronger, and since less time needed to be spent establishing things, it allowed the story to go right into the meat of the characters. Also it seemed that with the success of the first film Sony loosened the riegns on Raimi who was able to do more creatively with the film on his end of things. Hopefully, now that he also has the sequel to back his work up, Raimi will be given even further creative control.

Alvin Sargent, one of the writers who worked on the second film, is writing the screenplay for the third film. Sargent has been around for eons and has an impressive resume of over twenty five films which run the genre gamit from Drama to Comedy, which bodes very well for Spidy 3.

Still, how does one wrap up this trilogy? This is Peter Parker’s (ostensibly) final stage of growth. He has discovered his powers, learned to harness them, and he’s made the decision to act responsibly and use them for the greater good. Parker has also already gone through the trauma of giving these powers up, only to have them start to actually slip away from him and then restored anew in the final hour.

Where to go from here?

He’s already won the girl, and come to terms with his identity. They’re really going to have to pull out the stops to go the next level with the third one.
Otherwise I fear it will fall into the trap that the first one did a little bit, which is to teeter on the edge of becoming a bland action film with a series of big fight sequences.

2007. Seems like a long enough time from now. They should be able to come up with something by then...


Blogger Mike said...

I assumed that Dr. Curt Connors (played by the always great Dylan Baker) would play a role in the third movie (the Lizard) - or perhaps they're just using him to populate the universe rather than setting him up as a villain.

Also, I've read that Sam Raimi really dislikes the character of Venom, but I think he may be stuck with it. The studio is no doubt aware of how popular Venom would be as a villain. Although the third movie will no doubt make $$$, having Venom could make it potentially push it to $$$$.

I'm assuming there's no way they would do a Spidey-Venom-Carnage free-for-all picture. I'd love to see it, but it might just come off as lazy writing to a general population.

3:45 PM  
Blogger The New Yorker said...

Yeah, I've heard the thing about Raimi not diggin' Venon as well, which I don't really get. I wonder if he dislikes him because of the actual characteristics of the villain, or if its because venom has gotten somewhat overexposed. Yeah you're right on the Venom-Carnage thing - not gonna happen. Also I have a gut feeling that topher is going to end up playing a villain (i could be totally off) and can you imagine him in an incarnation of carnage? Now THAT would be funny.

3:51 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

They actually said that Topher will be playing a villain, they just didn't specify who. I could reasonably see him as a Venom for the reasons you mention. He's of a similar body-type and geek level; I suppose they could write a story wherein he's jealous of Spider-Man and gets his chance to be #1 with the Venom suit, only to have it overpower him, but I think that would be a pretty ho-hum movie. Church would play Kraven, who hunts them both.

I really, really hope that we don't get a return of Green Goblin (or Hobgoblin), like they hinted at during the second movie. Best case scenario: The X-Men and Spider-Man team up to fight Apocalypse and Spidey learns a valuable lesson about bigotry.

5:29 PM  
Blogger The New Yorker said...

I actually think hobgoblin is bound to come into things. (they'll make him like the son of hobgoblin)
i think its in the cards because they've been building up james franco's character to slowly become more bitter and frustrated, and i think he will become the next villain in a way too. so crazy though, this movie is going to be villain packed. would'nt it be cool, if randomly another superhero joined spidy to help him fight all three villains. i'm pulling for batman to make a special appearence.

1:30 PM  

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