By Zeff Davies
It’s been a long time since I’ve heard so many instant disses of a movie as I heard on Monday about Spiderman 3. My 15-year-old son: “awful.” An actor friend: “appalling.” A guest on CBC Radio, who digressed from being interviewed to pronounce, “That is one bad movie.” The host of a hip cable TV show, who actually shuddered when he said, “Save your $12.”
Not even George Clooney’s version of Batman provoked that sort of revulsion.
And to all of you who flocked to the opening weekend — all 382 million dollars worth of you worldwide — I say: you got just what you deserved. That’s right, you heard me. What is the matter with you? It’s a movie about a spider man. What were you thinking? Does that sound like something worth dropping everything to run off and see the moment it opens? A movie about a guy who shoots webs out of his wrists? When D.W. Griffith was helping to invent the cinema back in 1915, do you really think this was what he had in mind?
I blame Pauline Kael and Roger Ebert. Kael, because, great film critic though she was, she gave Richard Donner’s Superman back in 1978 not only a good review but a respectful one. She gave comic book movies cred. And Ebert because he’s given just about every one to come out since then a thumbs way-up. (Still recovering from surgery, Ebert has not yet reviewed Spiderman 3, so there’s hope for it yet.)
Perhaps this outpouring of scorn spells the end of moviemaking’s idiot period. Then again, given that the movie grossed $382 million in three days, perhaps it doesn’t. But let’s wait and see what the box-office is like this weekend, now that word-of-mouth has spread, like halitosis. If it takes in under, say, $100 million, we might at least be spared the threatened Spiderman 4, 5 & 6.
On the other hand, if it grosses another $382 million, I plan to jump off the nearest tall building. And I don’t expect to fly.