Saturday, August 11, 2007

Those movies in May...

I was thinking I should probably write a positive post, sooner or later, just because. This is supposed to be it, although I make no promises.

So, in April, there were only two things on anyone's mind (okay, my mind, at least): Spiderman 3 and Pirates of the Caribbean 3. By June, it was generally agreed that May was a pretty disappointing month, with many people going so far as to say the above movies were bad. Personally, I think that's very harsh and though neither movie managed to be the best in their respective trilogies, neither movie was the worst, either.

Let's start by taking a look at Spiderman 3. Alright, everyone had really high expectations for this movie. When it came out, Spiderman 2 was almost undoubtedly the best comic book movie ever... until Batman Begins came out the following summer, of course. So, it had a lot to live up to. And, it most definitely didn't live up to it's successor. It was convoluted and long and busy and just very soap opera-ish. The dialogue was hokey and we had to tolerate an extended scene of Peter Parker being emo and thinking it made him cool. Really, there was a lot to be disappointed by.

But, does it really deserve to be derided? I don't think so. For one, it continued the tradition of having awesome villains, with a fun take on the Sandman, another great performance by James Franco, and Venom was undoubtedly cool (except when they did that stupid thing where we had to see Topher Grace's face instead of Venom's giant tongue). Also, Sam Raimi had just as interesting things to say in Spiderman 3 as Spiderman 2, even if they didn't come out as well, so at least it was aspiring to be something special, which is worth points in my book. On an unrelated note, it managed to prove that Bryce Dallas Howard is actually ridiculously hot, M. Night Shyamalan just wasn't treating her right. In short, I agree that it isn't Spiderman 2, but it has positives.

Compare that to the first Spiderman movie. If you remember really liking it, but you haven't seen it in a while, don't. Seriously, keep the happy memories because repeated viewings will destroy them. That movie is bad. It suffers from many of the same failings as Spiderman 3, but has none of the positives. All it has going for it is the excitement of discovering the powers. Everything else, from the cheesy dialogue to the silly acting and the lamest villain of the series (although Willem Dafoe is still awesome), pretty much sucks.

So, how about Pirates 3? Personally, I really liked this one. I know it's talky. But, hey, with Jack Sparrow, talky is way better than stupid action-y. To me, Dead Man's Chest is all about the most ridiculous action set pieces they could come up with, at the cost of completely destroy the mere appearance of a plot going forward. It's a little depressing to be watching a movie and realize you've already seen people going through a crowded forest hill in a rolling object. It's even more depressing when you remember that you thought it was kind of lame the first time. So much of that movie was a waste of time, I remember being so disappointed with the movie I was just stunned. It was like the people involved had no idea why everyone liked the first movie. We had to sit through so many pointless scenes of people who were not Jack Sparrow failing miserably at entertaining us, it was almost insulting.

And then they made the third movie and it made up for all those terrible short comings of the previous movie. This movie worshipped Jack Sparrow. He was crazy and that was not only okay, but absolutely necessary. And I loved it. I loved watching Jack talk, whip, eat, and kill himself. This movie totally recognized why we all loved the first movie and gave us exactly what we wanted: Jack Sparrow. In fact, it did even better. It got rid of the two pointless characters nobody cared about (that would be the Turner couple). I came out of that movie hoping, even wishing, they'd someday make a fourth movie to let us all bask in the glory of Jack Sparrow again.

And yet, so many people complain that At World's End isn't as good as the first movie. I don't know, but it never even occurred to me that it could be. That first movie was incredibly lucky. I mean, we're talking catching lightning in a bottle lucky. How do you go into a movie expecting that kind of luck, again? The first movie is unreproducible, and to get something just as good is hopeless. This movie was at least smart enough to recognize what made the first movie awesome and actually let us experience it some more. And, to be honest, that's definitely a fair deal.

That is all.


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