Feature film’s future

Recently, a lot of debate’s arisen over the state of modern cinema and whether it can provide the kind of quality people are prepared to pay for and sit in an auditorium with other people.

Personally, I find this is still the best way to watch a feature for numerous reasons. Mainly because doing it alone is still fun, but it’s even better when there are other people involved. It’s a better way to gauge the reaction from the audience, and if a film’s good, you find yourself feeling it together. And that’s what cinema has the power to do; bring people together.

Gone With the Wind is the highest-grossing film when adjusted for inflation, meaning that it’s the feature film people were most interested in seeing. To this day, no other feature has beaten the number of tickets sold. But that was 1939, and the industry’s moved-on since then. Now, cinema has to compete with television and videogames. Nobody expected videogames to become popular enough to legitimately challenge entertainment consumers’ attentions. Within three days of release, Grand Theft Auto V became the highest-selling and fastest-selling entertainment product. And that was only two years ago. Television is also now a legitimate threat; Games of the XXIX Olympiad is officially the highest-rated television broadcast, with an estimated peak of five billion viewers – nearly seventy percent of Humanity. Compare that with Floyd Mayweather, Jr. vs Manny Pacquiao, which became the highest-grossing pay-per-view television event, to the point that Avengers: age of Ultron, the fourth highest-grossing feature film of all time and third highest-grossing feature film of 2015, opened to less numbers than expected because of the audience divide caused by television.

So what’s to be done? Is the public going to be divided into those that game, watch television or go to cinemas? Will cinema become less of the phenomenon that it once was, and now becomes smaller compared to the competitive media? The answer to that is to be determined by whether cinema can be innovative than those other three. Whereas before different distributors and feature films would compete with each-other for what would generate the highest opening weekend, cinema itself is if anything united by the other media it needs to compete against. Cinema needs to offer something videogames and television cannot, or… television and video games themselves.

My local cinema allows customers to book console parties, where they can bring a games console and a video-game and play on the big screen. And it’s been announced that Sherlock Special will be livestreamed in cinemas worldwide. But it’s more than that. People are no longer able to just experience feature films, television and video-games in cinemas, because cinema is adapting those things into feature films. This April, Focus Features brings us Ratchet & Clank, based on the PlayStation 2 video-game Ratchet & Clank. And this month will be closed-out with Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, based on the television series Mission: Impossible. But is there anything that’s soon to exist across all three media? Is there a feature film coming soon that’s also a videogame and television series?

Probably not. But there are still adaptations of at least one of those things. Coming soon is:

  • Warner Bros. Pictures’ The man From U.N.C.L.E. (Guy Ritchie) based on NBC’s The man From U.N.C.L.E.
  • 20th Century Fox’s Hitman: Agent 47 (Aleksander Bach) based on Square Enix’s Hitman: Codename 47
  • Universal Pictures’ Jem and the Holograms (Jon M. Chu) based on Claster Television’s Jem
  • BBC Films’ Dad’s Army (Oliver Parker) based on BBC One’s Dad’s Army
  • Columbia Pictures’ The Angry Birds Movie (Clay Kertis and Fergal Reilly) based on Rovio Entertainment’s Angry Birds
  • Columbia Pictures’ Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune based on Sony Computer Entertainment’s Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune
  • Universal Pictures’ Warcraft (Duncan Jones) based on Blizzard Entertainment’s Warcraft: Orcs and Humans
  • Paramount Pictures’ Star Trek Beyond (Justin Lin) based on NBC’s Star Trek
  • 20th Century Fox’s Assassin’s Creed (Justin Kurzel) based on Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed
  • Lionsgate’s Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (Dean Israelite) based on FOX’s Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
  • Paramount Pictures’ Baywatch (Seth Gordon) based on NBC’s Baywatch
  • Farscape creator Rockne S. O’Bannon has said he’s adapting the Nine Network series.
  • Battlestar Galactica (Bryan Singer) based on ABC’s Battlestar Galactica.

So where does this leave us? Is the future of feature films in adaptations of video-games and television? It’s not as if it’s anything new, but is it the future? That will be determined by the relative success of these feature films, and nowhere else than 2016. The current dominating trend in feature films is comic book adaptations, Fantastic Four (Josh Trank) being the next upcoming release. But in 2016, with Warcraft and Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune currently releasing on the same weekend, it’s an in important question, especially given the upcoming Hitman: Agent 47, coming out in the same month as Fantastic Four. All trends end, but in their place something new will begin. What’s more interesting is the behind-the-scenes story. How do these videogames and television series make it to being a feature film, and what kind of brand recognition is required for it to work?

One of the major differences between directing a television episode and a feature film is the creative control a director has. In television, the showrunners have that control, in feature films, the director generally has control and will be hired based on his vision, which he’ll create for the producers. In a Breaking Bad episode, the director will have been overseen by showrunner Vince Gilligan, whereas a feature film would give the director more control (although in Breaking Bad‘s case, Gilligan would probably be directing anyway). If a television series is to be adapted well, it requires a director with cinematic creativity, who won’t just direct a feature-length episode. Universal Pictures’ Serenity (based on Fox’s Firefly) scored high critic ratings but low grossing, despite being directed by creator Joss Whedon. A popular choice of adaptation amongst television audiences is The CW’s Supernatural, and Ron Howard claims to have been signed to direct a feature film of Netflix’s Arrested Development. The BBC One series Doctor Who‘s already had two feature film adaptations: Dr. Who and the Daleks and Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. (directed by Gordon Flemyng), but at eighty minutes, these were arguably not feature-length. Nevertheless, they were adaptations of two original serials, rather than connected to the television continuity. This is often seen as necessary in feature film adaptations, as it would be the best way of being accessible to a wider audience not familiar with the television series. That said, some Game of Thrones fans claim that a feature film set during the early years of the show’s mythology could be so far removed from the television continuity that it wouldn’t matter, while also introducing new audiences to the television series. But it would still require a cinematic director to work.

In terms of videogames, popular selections to become feature films include Dead SpaceAlan WakeTomb Raider and The Last of UsTomb Raider‘s already been adapted into Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (Simon West) and Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life (Jan de Bont) with a reboot planned by GF Films after the videogame series was rebooted with Tomb Raider, and an adaptation of The Last of Us has already been announced by Sony and Screen Gems.

What this is doing is putting the feature in a similar situation to the early 2000s, when comic book adaptations were on the rise. The comic book adaptation is the highest box office draw currently; Marvel’s the Avengers (Joss Whedon) is the highest-grossing of them. Spider-Man 2 (Sam Raimi) and The Dark Knight (Christopher Nolan) are those often considered the best. But this was not always the case. There was a time when comic book adaptations were considered a bad idea. But this wasn’t out of ignorance. The track record showed why – Howard the Duck (Willard Huyck), Superman IV: the Quest for Peace (Sidney J. Furie), Batman and Robin (Joel Schumacher) – Catwoman (Pitof)! But comic book feature films are now, arguably, the most anticipated.

Video game feature films currently hold the reputation once shared with comic book feature films. Alone in the Dark (Uwe Boll), for instance, is considered the worst of them all. The two Tomb Raiders are also thought of as being inferior to the source material. No video game adaptation has ever been successful. But there’s hope yet. WarcraftHitman: Agent 47Assassin’s Creed and Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune is amongst those coming out soon. Pixels may have underperformed and yes, The Angry Birds Movie will probably be horrible, but the rich source material of these adaptations have such potential that eventually all videogames will be trying to get themselves adapted.

With comic book fans wondering what the next line to be adapted will be, eventually video gamers will be anticipating the announcement of their favourite video game’s adaptation. I myself have an idea for how to adapt Grand Theft Auto V, which I’d love to write into a treatment for the property’s Rockstar owners. The series itself is becoming the subject of a feature film, Game Changer, about creator Dan Houser and the video game lawyer who accused him of making them too violent. If there’s a popular video game, it will be adapted into a feature film, and it will probably be good. Jones is a very good director, and someone like him working on Warcraft is a good sign. All that’s required is for publishers to understand that a feature film adaptation will make even more money when it’s good. Yes, filmmaking is an art, but cinema is a business. And if those two things can be combined, drawing from the interactive art that is video games, feature films could be transformed.

And as for television? That looks less certain. A feature film is a different style of storytelling, which requires a narrative to be established, developed and resolved in some form between ninety and one-hundred-and-fifty minutes. Ninety minutes is generally considered the minimum duration to be “feature length”, but that doesn’t mean a television series can create two episodes and just combine them. This year, we’ve had

  • Warner Bros. Pictures’ Entourage (Doug Ellin) from HBO’s Entourage
  • 20th Century Fox’s Spooks: the Greater Good (Bharat Nalluri) from BBC One’s Spooks
  • Paramount Pictures’ The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge out of Water (Paul Tibbitt) from Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob Squarepants
  • StudioCanal’s Shaun the Sheep (Richard Starzak and Mark Burton) from CBBC’s Shaun the Sheep.

But the reason so many television series aren’t adapted into feature films is because there needs to be enough substance. Most television series wouldn’t work as feature films, and many that do are already part of a franchise that includes the feature film medium.

Rotten Tomatoes criticised Entourage for feeling “less like a film than a particularly shallow, cameo-studded extended episode of the show”. Of note is that the television series had already been cancelled, and that was for a reason. That’s a good point, and one that Wittertainment’s Mark Kermode said of comedy actor Harry Hill vehicle The Harry Hill Movie (Steven Bendelack): “It is funny how small screen comedy works on the small screen, and when you take it and transpose it up on to the big screen, it’s like watching an articulated lorry trying to do a three-point turn. There’s something about the mechanism of cinema, which is so much weightier … just to do with the scale. All that stuff that Harry Hill does – the asides, the strange little surreal interludes, the puppets, the catchphrases – all that stuff is perfectly suited to the medium of television, on which he does brilliant, and on which he is, and quite rightly so, very successful. In the case of a film, it was just like going behind a tapestry and seeing all the bits hanging out from behind it. It was suddenly, you become crushingly aware of the mechanism.”

Spooks: the Greater Good was met with more positive reviews, but still received a mixed response. Many critics felt that its weakness was in the elements carried-over from the television series. Scotsman’s Alistair Harkness said, “The big screen proves an unforgiving canvas: for both the show’s hitherto high-end production values and its topical urgency”. The Express‘ Allan Hunter said, “it does not feel much different from an above-par television episode but then that is probably no bad thing”. Radio Times‘ Andrew Collins said, “the first big-screen spin-off, which revisits familiar Central London locations and similar dramatic territory, is essentially an extended bonus episode that will please fans but may leave cinemagoers spoilt by Bond and Bourne”. IGN’s Leigh Singer said that it was, “neither big nor smart enough to justify its big screen incarnation”. List Film’s Angie Errigo said, “this is very enjoyable, but cinematically pedestrian, looking and feeling like a long TV episode”. And that’s the main problem with Spooks: the Greater Good – in a world where Spectre‘s released next October and Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation‘s released next week, a television series in the same genre can’t justify itself just for being in that same genre – it actually has to be good. A Game of Thrones feature film could happen, but it would need to work as a fantasy piece capable or rivalling The Lord of the Rings. Just because something’s the best of a genre on television, remove the medium from the equation and it just comes across as weak imitator.

And of The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge out of Water, Rotten Tomatoes said, “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water won’t win over many viewers who aren’t fans of the show”.

And yet, Shaun the Sheep scored 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, with Irish Times’ Tara Brady saying “The gorgeous big-screen version of Aardman’s TV hit has been carried off with faultless professionalism”.

Clearly, then, television feature films are rarely of a quality to be considered legitimate in their own right. Unlike video game adaptations, which are considered to just be bad films. Television feature films are more common, but video game feature films are going to become the next trend based on the expected quality of Hitman: Agent 47Warcraft and Assassin’s Creed. The difference is that television is already a motion picture, and therefore has a guaranteed level of quality, even if it isn’t very high, whereas videogames are interactive motion pictures, and that’s the difference. With a television feature film adaptation, the way it’s consumed is only a difference of situation; you have to pay for a ticket and go to a cinema, and watch it on a big screen with other people. Video game feature film adaptations don’t have that interactivity, but the desire to recreate it is often the downfall. There are video game “movie”s on YouTube which are perfect playthroughs in feature-length videos, but that’s not what a motion picture should be. It’s like comparing a novel with a comic book – totally different thing.

But there’s still no denying that video games and television series are now challenging feature films, and to catch-up, there’s going to be a lot of adapting to do. But there’s nothing wrong with that. Art builds on art, and since the largest feature film draw was from a novel, it’s clearly what the people want. And what the people want is what the feature film needs…

What the Marvel/Sony deal could, does and should mean…

Marvel Entertainment released a press statement today, confirming that, after a long series of negotiations with Sony Pictures Entertainment, who own Spider-Man’s live-action rights, the character was finally to appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, alongside characters such as Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America and the Guardians of the Galaxy.

First, it’s been confirmed that this Spider-Man will be a new incarnation, which will likely require a recasting. The top names reported are Logan Lerman – Sony’s second choice after incumbent Andrew Garfield – and Zac Efron, though America’s Matt Smith, Donald Glover, is a popular choice as well. If Glover were cast, it’s possible Sony would have chosen to start a new Spider-Man series with the Miles Morales identity rather than Parker. Personally, I find that unlikely, since it’s probably a soft reboot with little continuity than the basics, and that would mean the new Spider-Man will still be Parker. Which isn’t to say the series won’t develop into Morales being involved, but that’s only likely to happen once the new Parker’s already established. If Morales were to be featured eventually, I wouldn’t say no to Glover being cast. But I would protest to him being cast as Parker, because he’s much more suited as an actor to Morales. He’s a much more interesting character, and Glover’s probably a decent actor, so it would be a shame to miss that opportunity for combination by wasting the potential just to cast Glover as the de facto Spider-Man, rather than a character far more suited to him. Regardless of who’s cast as Spider-Man, there are a lot of actors capable of doing it. Someone we’ve seen before isn’t necessarily a stunt cast, but could help ease the transition to a new version. And a name we haven’t heard before could work, but Sony might not expect the audience to accept a completely new face. SPE Motion Picture Group President Doug Belgrad said,

“This new level of collaboration is the perfect way to take Peter Parker’s story into the future”,

implying Parker will still be the cinema version of the character.

But that doesn’t mean we’ll have to experience his origin story for a third time. The press release states the new Spider-Man will first be seen in a Marvel Studios production as part of the Cinematic Universe. The implication seems to be that he’ll debut in the solo release of another character. The next MCU release, Joss Whedon‘s Avengers: Age of Ultron, has finished principal photography, so it’s likely this appearance will be in Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely‘s Captain America: Civil War. Leaked Sony emails reveal negotiations were already in place for Spider-Man to appear at that point, given his significant role in the comic book storyline Civil War. As these negotiations have finalised, it’s likely to still be the case, especially as it isn’t too late to rewrite the screenplay. Black Panther’s already been confirmed to debut there as well, as it was speculated that the character’s presence was a Spider-Man substitute. Would there be space to add Spider-Man as well? Maybe not and maybe so, but if it turns out to be true, it would be interesting to see how accurately it follows the source material. From what I hear, Civil War‘s major event is Spider-Man revealing his secret identity to the press, which would be a difficult event to reverse if Sony change their mind. What is confirmed about this release is that it’s going to happen before the 28th July 2017, which means, if not Captain America: Civil War, it would be either Jon Spaihts‘ Doctor Strange or James Gunn‘s Guardians of the Galaxy 2. Making his debut Doctor Strange would be a good idea, as Benedict Cumberbatch would already have attracted audiences, and that would provide maximum exposure. I honestly can’t see it being Guardians of the Galaxy 2, which takes place throughout the Milky Way and far from Earth. I like to think they won’t come to Earth because we already lots of other characters for that. Doctor Strange would be the most effective, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 would be the most unlikely, Captain America: Civil War would be the most likely, but there’s still the possibility of a post-credits cameo in Avengers: Age of Ultron. If the MCU Spider-Man’s pre-established, he’ll have already experienced his origin story. But there should still be one for clarity’s sake, and a post-credits sequence would be the best opportunity for that. We’d be able to see it, it would officially introduce the character, but it wouldn’t take up any unnecessary time in his solo release.

Which is what the 28th July 2017 date’s now reserved for, shunting future MCU releases along futher into the future. There was a five year wait between Sam RaimiIvan Raimi and Alvin Sargent‘s Spider-Man 3 and Steve VanderbiltAlvin Sargent and Steve Kloves‘ The Amazing Spider-Man. Following Alex KurtzmanRoberto Orci and Jeff Pinkner‘s The Amazing Spider-Man 2, there’s now a five year wait again. As it happens, we’ve only discovered this with two of those remaining, so that’s something. Plus, Marvel Studios are very efficient at manufacturing an assembly line of releases, and two years seems like a good length of time before releasing it, because that’s the average between announcement and release.

What’s pleasing is that Spider-Man‘s being produced by Marvel’s Kevin Feige and Sony’s Amy Pascal. They tend to be the equivalents of each other in their respective companies, and actually having a face to the discussions is comforting. I already know them, and respect them, and the fact that this blog post is even being written is testament to their ability to work together.

That being said, Sony still own the character’s cinema rights, and will be financing and majorly controlling future cinema releases for Spider-Man, which is slightly worrying. Sony aren’t as big a company as Disney, and from the way the agreement’s worded, it sounds as if Disney legally can’t fund any Spider-Mans because of Sony’s ownership. If Disney fund it, that gives them a right to grossing shares, and that changes their agreement. The last thing that needs to happen at this stage is for Marvel to violate that agreement, even in a small way, because that would give Sony the power to revoke their agreement. And the fact that Sony still own the character is quite disappointing, but then that’s how it would inevitably turn-out. Spider-Man’s the highest-grossing fictional character, and the MCU’s the highest-grossing cinematic series. It makes sense to unite them. But it’s for that same reason that Sony wouldn’t want to just give up the character, so them coming out of negotiations still owning him makes sense, even if I wish they’d just leave it alone and let Marvel use him how they want without having to stick to any guidelines. It’s this same agreement that says Marvel can’t fund it. And even worse, there’s Sony’s ability to overrule Marvel on any decisions made regarding the character. How Marvel expect to ingratiate the character into their own continuity while also letting Sony have the final say on that character’s releases’ creative decisions is worrying. Can this really work? I don’t know. But I’m just hoping it does. Generally, I think, since Sony need this investment, but Marvel are better at handling their properties, Sony’s only interest will be in making money. So that should mean that the only decisions they’ll be overriding are ones they think will compromise a Spider-Man‘s grossing. But given Marvel’s also a part of it, I can’t see them making the kind of decision that would do that. Hopefully, this will be a case of Sony letting Marvel do their own thing, but overruling them whenever they consider it necessary. And that kind of relationship works for me. If Sony are wise, they’ll use their major creative control to let Marvel do what they know they should.

Interestingly, the agreement specifies that Sony will only have that control over the new Spider-Man series. What that sounds like to me is that whenever Spider-Man appears in a non-Spider-Man, Marvel can use him how they like. So when Spider-Man appears in his debut, which will be part of another series, Marvel have full control. The solo release will then be controlled by Sony, but if Spider-Man then goes on to feature in Avengers: Infinity War — Part I, Sony won’t be involved in that. Which also works for me. A character in the MCU is two things – their own character, and crossover potential. Marvel are likely to care about the crossover potential more than that character’s own solo outings, which makes their compromise more satisfying than it could have been, and also more realistic.

The release also states other MCU characters will appear in the Spider-Man series. How this works between Sony and Marvel is anyone’s guess, but it could be the reverse of what we already have here. Meaning that if Sony wanted to include Antony Stark in Spider-Man 2 (which would be a good move, he’s the MCU’s highest-grossing individual character), he’d only appear on Marvel’s terms. I don’t really see that being a problem, since this agreement has already happened, and I believe in the combined power of Feige and Pascal. They’re like the Infinity Gems and the Infinity Gauntlet – put them together, and you unlock literally endless possibilities.

Spider-Man 3 — review

Adapted by Alvin Sargent, Ivan Raimi and Sam Raimi from Amazing Spider-Man by Stan Lee.

 

What made Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2 so great was Peter Parker’s character development, and how that transcended the story to become relatable for all of us, while also running parallel with other characters, who were experiencing their own equivalent. It also felt natural, with everything a discrete progression in line with what Uncle Ben said in Spider-Man of these years in Parker’s life being what will turn him into the man he’ll be for the rest of his life. And so, because Sony weren’t sure whether Spider-Man 4 would happen, Spider-Man 3 was written as the conclusion to a trilogy. In doing so, it attempted to wrap everything up rather than do what the previous two had done, which was to just make an enjoyable story. Spider-Man 2 doesn’t completely wrap things up, but it could have made its duology. Spider-Man 3, however, rushed itself to include everything it wanted to, even if most of those things weren’t needed at all.

The main thing about Spider-Man 3 is Venom, as he’s the person who takes Parker to the dark side. Venom then becomes Eddie Brock, who’s like a darker Parker himself. That formula was a good one to start with, and had the story been about Parker and Venom/Brock, it could have been an interesting character piece. But Venom’s relevance is as a manifestation of a person’s darker side. Curt Connors even explains that it amplifies a person’s traits, and so Parker becomes a vengeful vigilante, and learns that he isn’t above these people, who aren’t heartless. But that was already apparent from his relationship with Otto Octavius in Spider-Man 2; what made Octavius such a popular villain is the way he was treated as a real person, and that’s what made Spider-Man 2 great for everybody, as did the way it balanced the light and the dark. Whereas Spider-Man 3 is almost trying too hard to be dark, and isn’t trying hard enough to be light. It’s almost as if Venom is bringing out the darker side of the trilogy itself.

So while Venom’s inclusion is based on recycled ideas, it would have still been a clever continuation of the trilogy’s dualistic themes. It could even ended with Brock becoming Spider-Man – that would have really added something to the story in motion and kept it new. But instead, Flint Marko’s Sandman’s added as well, and that’s the main problem with Spider-Man 3: it doesn’t know how to handle multiple villains. The same criticism is given of Akiva Goldsman’s Batman & Robin, which included Victor “Mr. Freeze” Fries, Pamela “Poison Ivey” Isley and Antonio “Bane” Diego. But multiple villains isn’t the problem with either Spider-Man 3 or Batman & Robin, it’s that neither can handle them. The Nolans’ The Dark Knight features The Joker, Two-Face and Salvatore Maroni, yet balances them in a way that makes it considered the best Batman adaptation. Multiple villains isn’t what makes Spider-Man 3 just not work, but the lack of cohesion in them.

Marko contributes absolutely nothing. He’s introduced completely separately to the story, just so we can see his family background and understand what kind of a person he is. And his transformation into Sandman also has nothing to do with Spider-Man. And ultimately, all he does with Spider-Man is just cause a few public disturbances. It’s explained that he killed Uncle Ben, but the way it’s done shows just how much of a retcon this is – that it was never a plan, and was only included just make the same point being made by Venom. And yet Venom gets much less screentime than desired because of it.

And yet, Marko isn’t even defeated. He just explains to Parker what happened, and Parker forgives him, like it was an accident. But it wasn’t an accident – he killed Uncle Ben because he has a really itchy trigger finger. And then Marko just goes away and is never seen again. When the tertiary villain isn’t defeated, clearly, he doesn’t need to be there. But instead, he makes a verbal point to Parker about forgiveness, even though this would have been much more subtle if the story had the confidence to stick with Venom, and what it meant for Parker rather than giving him a straight-out lecture. It’s as if the creative team had suddenly forgotten how to write Spider-Man and tried to compensate for it by being unexpectedly dark. But it isn’t really that dark, because Venom’s screentime is taken-up by a villain who’s only there because he was clumsily retconned into the trilogy in order to do exactly the same thing as the very villain he’s replacing.

And then there’s Harry Osborn. Great God, Harry Osborn. People say the worst thing about Spider-Man 3 is “emo Peter Parker” and his dancing, but it isn’t. Because at least there he’s being affected be Venom (of course, dark doesn’t equal emo, and emos don’t tend to dance to jazz music, but whatever). No. The actual worst thing about Spider-Man 3 is Harry Osborn and “that bit in the kitchen” in-which he dances with Mary Watson. It’s absolutely awful, because it’s totally out of character. I wonder if James Franco, a wonderfully charismatic actor, really hates Sam Raimi now. Probably not, to be honest, since Raimi himself admits Spider-Man 3 sucks. And if the director says that, there really is no hope for it.

Not to mention that Osborn has a horrible conclusion to his plotline. With Venom and Marko already pushing each-other out of the doorway to the story, Osborn is sidelined in the quickest (and unimaginable) way possible: he’s given amnesia. We begin with him chasing Parker through New York, even though he shouldn’t really hate him anymore. He’s discovered his father was Green Goblin, so it makes sense for him to understand why he had to die. But apparently not. Then he’s ejected into hospital with no memory of anything, until his butler reveals that Norman Osborn was killed by his own glider. Why he’s waited this long to tell him really makes no sense. And his butler knew all this time that Norman Osborn was Green Goblin? And he never said? So finally, he forgives Parker and sacrifices himself to save him by taking the bullet, even though the clear third option was just to take-on Venom himself. Or to maybe deal with Marko.

All of this happens in a very haphazard third act that looks more like fanfiction than anything else. Everyone’s teamed-up to stop Marko, though Marko himself has no qualification to be here and ultimately isn’t stopped anyway. I’d make some sort of conclusion about it, but the multiple plot arcs have no cohesion and there isn’t a through-line to anything. It really just isn’t very good.

 

Spider-Man 3: wrong choices and no cohesion 2/10.

Screenplay by Sam Raimi & Ivan Raimi and Alving Sargent