I just got back from seeing Spider-Man 3, and while I’d want to watch it a few times on DVD or whatever before writing any kind of full-on analysis, I’m going to share two little things that made a big difference for my enjoyment of the film.
Spoilers ahead, naturally. Come back later if you haven’t seen the movie, and don’t want to know anything about it ahead of time.
One of the subplots of Spider-Man 3 concerns the ways in which Venom alters Peter’s behavior while he’s…uh…wearing…him? It? Oh, comics! Anyway. Essentially, Peter (Tobey Maguire) starts wearing the black suit which is actually an evil alien parasite, and he turns into a total jerk. During this phase, he takes Gwen Stacy (Bryce Dallas Howard) out to dinner at the jazz café where his at-that-point-ex-girlfriend MJ (Kirsten Dunst) works, in a really obvious attempt to make MJ feel like crap. In case just showing up won’t do the trick, he totally upstages MJ’s singing act with some piano playing and then some over-the-top dancing (dude, dancing? Why?).
This part of the movie is actually profoundly silly. But the awesome bit is that, as soon as Gwen realizes what’s going on, she 1) lets Peter know that she thinks his behavior is appalling and 2) tells MJ that she’s sorry about it. Yes! Take that, budding love triangle!
It’s obvious that Gwen digs Peter, and, primed by a lifetime of movies and television, I was totally expecting her to go from “you’re doing this for her?” to “I hate her!” – but, instead, I got to see a woman being frustrated with the person who’s actually causing the mess. I only wish this wasn’t so damn refreshing in a movie.
The other little detail that made me a particularly happy moviegoer is this:
Later on in the movie, while MJ is doing the damsel-in-distress thing, she totally beans Venom with a cinder block. This is not anywhere near as cool as any one of the many things Peter gets to do (or even Harry. Or both of them together! I would’ve happily watched a whole movie’s worth of just that, I swear it) while fighting bad guys, but it’s way better than just hanging out and passively waiting to get rescued.
Maybe next time, MJ could get, like, two cinder blocks, or something.