Monday, October 29, 2012

5th Monday Ugh: Spider-Man 3 (Movie)

This promo photo just screams "coolness."
As promised, on fifth Mondays I will be "reviewing" artworks which I consider "terrible".  This is the first installment.  I understand that most of the people reading this blog already consider Spider-Man 3 (2007) to be a terrible film, but maybe some of you don't fully realize just how bad it is.  I'm not going to dwell on the fact that the acting is bad, the dialog is bad, or that the action scenes have an inexplicable Three-Stoogesque quality; you already know those things.  My focus is on the level of coincidence involved with the plot.  I'm going to go ahead make an unsubstantiated claim here which I wouldn't be surprised if it's true: Spider-Man 3 is the most coincidental non-farce ever created.  It probably goes without saying, but if you want to avoid spoilers for the movie don't read on.

It would be too complex to try to list the coincidences in a logical order--such as chronological or stupidilogical--so I'm just going to state some of them and let you sort them out yourselves.  First off, let's set the stage.  All of the coincidences in the film are compounded by the fact that the events take place in one of the most populous cities on Earth.  New York has over eight million residents.  Keep that in mind.

Disclaimer:  I understand that every specific situation (even in real life) is made up of unlikelihoods, such as a train that might arrive between 12:15 to 12:20 is less likely to arrive at 12:17 then from 12:15-12:16.  But I doubt the filmmakers are going to claim that this list of coincidences (which I lovingly call "coince-ables") was created in the spirit of life's unpredictability.

1.  The meteorite that carried Venom to the earth landed about thirty yards from Peter (one of only two super-people in the city at that time), hopped on to his moped and followed him home.  It could have landed next to anyone, it could have gone home with Mary-Jane, but it didn't.  It followed Peter.  Then, it didn't do anything until the plot required further action.

2.  The man that (apparently) killed Peter's uncle landed in an unexplained atomic sand-pit during his escape, becoming the third super-person in the city.  What are the odds that someone so intimately connected to one of the two super-people in the city becomes the third?  The sand-pit operators heard the warning sound alerting them of foreign matter in their pit, but assumed it was a bird that would fly away when the experiment started.  It seemed there were no cameras to allow them to monitor whatever the heck it was they were doing in that pit, and none of their super high-tech sensors could differentiate between a large human male and a bird that would fly away.

3.  Peter's almost-flame, Gwen Stacy, knows Peter from school, but she is also the almost-girlfriend of Eddie Brock, Peter's number-one work rival.  She does not know Peter through her almost-boyfriend, nor does Eddie know Peter through her.

"The greatest battle lies within" is another way of saying, "This film's greatest enemy is it's script."
4.  Gwen's father, Captain Stacy, is the investigator in charge of Uncle Ben's murder investigation.  How unlikely is it that the man in charge of your uncle's murder investigation is the father of a girl you know from school?  How unlikely is it that the man in charge of your uncle's murder investigation knows your number-one rival?  How unlikely is it that both are true?

5.  Just as the problems with Venom and Sandman are ramping-up, Harry remembers that he hates Peter and wants revenge on him.  Why this moment?

6.  When things get really bad for Spidey, Harry's butler tells Harry that Peter didn't kill his father.  He's known this for years, but has never said anything until just that moment.  Why?

*7.  On Peter's first date with Gwen Stacey they unknowingly go to the same bar where Mary Jane has just started working.  Perhaps you are starting to see a pattern here; this is not likely.

8.  The moment before Peter proposes to Mary Jane, Gwen walks up to their table.  Not only is it coincidental that she would even be in the same restaurant as them, but she could have approached the two and any point during their date.  Instead, she just happens to walk up at the exact point of almost-proposal.

9.  Eddie Brock is in the same church that Peter is on top of when he removes Venom from his body.  He is the only person in the building who responds to Peter's loud grunting and stands directly below him as venom drips down, becoming the forth super-person in the city.  Also coincidentally, he had just been praying for Spider-Man's death.

I'm sure there's more to add to this list; post any others you notice in the comments!

Lastly, I know it has been claimed that one of the biggest failings of this film is the fact that it had three villians, but this is simply not true.  One of the biggest failings of this film is the fact that it had four: Green Goblin, Sandman, Venom, and Eddie Brock, who wanted Peter dead before Venom even touched him.  Four.  Get it right.

-MA 10.29.2012

*Contested, see comments


  1. Ryan Martineau said:
    Haven't seen it recently enough to add anything. As for #7, I thought that Peter took Gwen to that bar on purpose. Maybe the movie was so bad that I didn't pay attention, but I also didn't realize that Sandman was Uncle Ben's killer, I thought he was just some other criminal. Anyway, I doubt I'll see it again.

    1. In the first movie is was some other criminal, but in this one they retroactively changed who the killer was. The Wikipedia plot summary also takes the stance that Pete's bar choice was intentional, but I just recently watched it and he looks pretty surprised; I guess that one can be listed as "contested".