While I am getting ready to start my short movie project, and bring this blog to real life, this post brings you my thoughts about “Spiderman 3″ and the problems the writers perhaps had with the story design – which lead to the movie we have today and in all eternity. Why do I write it now? Don’t even try to ask…
After sitting and watching ‘Spiderman 3′ for this two and a half hours I thought that the movie had BIG potential (and a ridiculously BIG budget) but fell flat because of certain circumstances. If you are not living on the moon you should either have seen the movie or at least heard of the fan reactions if not the normal moviegoer, therefore I spare you with the plot details of the movie. If you want, you can read the thoughts/reviews of NYC Film Critic, splatr, Marcus Nohlberg and mrsauer. I you want, you can go to the Rotten Tomatoes page of “Spiderman 3″ and see the meta score of the movie, to see that it is a movie in the middle. Not entirely bad, but also not the top of the tops.
The Problem of being the third
Although I can feel with the audience being deceived in a way or another and, on the other hand, loving the movie, I also can somehow understand the problems Sam Raimi and his co-writers must have had to complete the movie and the saga. Admitted, this movie has a lot of flaws, bigger and smaller, but I concentrate this post on the bigger picture of the story. So let’s get to the point:
The main problem of the third installation of the franchise is the fact, that there was no other way to solve or end it. Now, before you question my mind, let me explain.
If you look at the three movies you can see that the hate-friend relationship between Peter Parker/Spiderman and Harry Osborn/Goblin always played a big role. And because of that, this substory had to be resolved in this three movie franchise. But there was or is a problem: the first movie already has this villain: the Green Goblin impersonated by Harry’s father. Because if this fact, it is more or less impossible to let Peter deal with the New Goblin alone, because the audience would have been felt cheated of this story repetition. Granted, there would have been many differences, but also many similarities.
The way out of the trap? A triangular relationship.
Concerning this, the writers had to something. The only way out of this was to add a new villain to mix things up, to get a triangular relationship. In this triangular you could say that that the New Goblin presents a villain born from the past and in some way his personal life (Harry knows Peter and at the end of movie two his secret). Therefore the best villain would be someone or something which is born from the exterior and the present. Now, as the NYC Film Critic states, the third movie deals on the macro story level with the fact, that a hero himself can become “evil” – for example arrogant. What could be better than to use Venom – a symbiont that feeds and enhances negative feelings. (Another point that speaks for Venom is the fact, that they didn’t have to create a backstory for the character. The symbiont part of Venom was always what it was.)
But how should they “kill” Venom at the end? I think it is here, where they made a forced mistake: In order to please the fans and to bring Venom to an end, they had to add another character. A person who triggers the negative side of Peter on the one hand and becomes the REAL Venom on the other. The big mouthed baddie. So they added another character who becomes the new photograph for the daily bugle.
It gets complicated…
But now, there was another problem: with the New Goblin AND Venom, they had two villains at the end of the movie (since they wanted to keep everything for the climax). But two villains would have become ‘unrealistic’: even Spiderman would have had problems to deal with two bad guys at once.
So, what was the best way for the authors to get out of this problem? In order to give Harry Osborne a good ending, they decided to make him change his mind. To realize his error/mistake that is to say to realize the truth. (I think this change of character was added later in the writing because of the fact, that he learns the truth through his butler. It is not the best way to do so, but there was no other option, I think. And in a way, it was someone from the past, who told him) But now, there was again the same problem, only reversed. With Harry/Goblin being on the good side, it wouldn’t have been interesting to throw two good guys against one bad guy. The audience wouldn’t believe it or not invest their emotions anymore. Therefore they had to even things out AGAIN. This time, by adding another villain to the mix.
Now it REALLY gets complicated…
Ok, since they had someone from the past and someone from the present, they added someone from the present who also is a factor from the past (the uncle-killing story arc) – Marko/Sandman. You could say that he was the one who started everything hero-wise. This addition gave the authors not only the last villain who made the two “teams” even but also the CG-Team the chance to show their special effects talent and to provide many shots for marketing and making-of’s.
Problems solved and created…
So, from a story design viewpoint you can see, why Spiderman 3 had to become so full of main and supporting characters. In a sense there was no other way to get out of this trap if the writers wanted to end all storylines they established years ago.
As you can see, the writers had to solve all these story issues, which is – I believe – the reason that they tried to solve these first and foremost without thinking too much about creating a good and powerful plot. In other words: they had design problems all the time. When they finally got around all the main design problems of their story (countless rewrites guaranteed) there wasn’t enough time anymore for them to rewrite this thing for another half year to create a masterpiece out of a potential.
Well, that’s at least what I think about the reasons why “Spiderman 3″ became what it is now…