Spider-Man 3: Hope it DeliversIt was incredibly important to me to see Spider-Man 3 this weekend, and not just because I'm into Spider-Man. For me, sci-fi, comic book and other monkey-ass flicks are cinematic grilled cheese: comforting, and they don't have to be but so well done. As long as a few key elements are in place, everyone's happy. But there's more than that afoot with the Spider-Man franchise.
I'm taking a terrific risk by telling you this. The forces of the world work in mysterious ways, and they hate to have their movements broadcasted. But time is short and the need for content is constant , so:
Spider-Man films tend to wreak tremendous, much-needed changes on my life. They are the harbingers of change, the engine that pulls my stalled situation up the next hill one chink-chink-chink at a time. If the past two films are any indication, I'm in for a ride. Take a look:
I live in Richmond, VA in a small, crumbling townhouse. A homeless, mentally disabled Vietnam vet frequents our front porch, demanding to hear Rick James' Ghetto Life several times a week. A stray cat named Brad climbs into my screenless bedroom window and onto my sleeping face several nights a week, stopping in the music room to urinate on some guitar cords before investigating our garbage.
I work in the basement of a shoe store for a struggling multimedia startup. My boss compulsively scratches his crotch, sometimes rubbing it on the back of my chair -- while I am sitting in it. My coworker and I discover his secret cache of teen porn on the office network, Photoshop moustaches onto some of the "models", then prepare our resumes.
Shortly after seeing Spider-Man, I am inspired to sell all my stuff and go to Australia. The experience melts my personality down and recasts it into a more adult form, teaching me painful and true things about love, work, and adventure.
I am back from Australia, penniless and living with my parents. I have recently completed a stint pouring concrete. My boss, though generous and fair to his employees, keeps a loaded Glock tucked into the back of his shorts at all times. The foreman has a braided mullet that gently dusts his the tanned top of his exposed ass and uses the term "doo-doo hole" with a straight face. A LOT. When I politely decline to smoke pot at 7:30 a.m. with my co-workers, saying "I'm about to operate a jackhammer, guys, I probably shouldn't," I get a lot of funny looks.
I take a temp job at a real-estate firm in a Virginia Beach strip mall, training one of the accountants to use Photoshop. We share a desk, phone, and computer. When my chair breaks, we share a chair, too. Somebody brings fresh doughnuts from Krispy Kreme to leave in the break room every day.
The high point of my day is entering the empty break room and biting into a fresh doughnut, still hot from its grease bath and glaze shower. The day's low point occurs immediately afterwards, when I realize exactly why it is that everyone in the office is overweight apart from me: I'm the new guy and the doughnuts are everyone's high point. Given enough time, I'll fit right in. I begin chewing the doughnuts in the empty break room for flavor and spitting them into the trash can when nobody is around. Eventually this feels normal.
I see Spider-Man 2 with a good friend who is going through a divorce at the age of 25. By the end of the summer, she is engaged and I am moving to start my first office job. Although I have technically held a salaried position before, it was in 1999 at a dot-com art gallery. Our trash can was a milk crate with a plastic bag in it. This job in DC has an unmistakable air of validity and I am thrilled.
Although visually devastating, the story was a little disappointing. I like emotion and high drama as much as the next guy, having engineered more than my fair share in real life, but seeing heroes, villains and love interests all weeping in the same shot is hardly what I want from a summer blockbuster. That whole part in the middle where Peter Parker looked like Jared Leto and acted like something four very tired guys cooked up to move the plot along was for the freaking birds, and no Spider-Man film should have a single dance sequence in it. Spider-Man 3 had two. Cool fight scenes, though.
I could be wrong -- probably am (he says, in a nod to the all-powerful forces that have bound Spider-Man films to career development) -- but I don't think the Universe cares if the Spider-Man movies are any good or not. They just have to happen in order to pull the plunger on life's pinball machine way back and send the ball careening forward. At least I hope so. I'm not looking to sink a skill shot here, but man, I need that table to light up a little again. Something tells me it will -- I just hope my patience holds out.