Monday, May 14, 2007

Vile Buddies

After extended bouts of chronic procrastination I finally dragged my slothful buns towards the neighborhood mall to watch Spiderman 3 and from hereon shall wage a rabid campaign to have Sam Raimi immortalized through commemorative postage stamps as the living poster boy of wince-inducing morality.

Spiderman 3 is your three-hour celluloid equivalent of high-octane toothache. The fight scenes are dazzling, the screenplay trifling, and the unavoidable add on is you get lectured on ethics and the inviolate principles of humanity’s preference for sleek, mega-action dreck.

I love Spiderman 3 because you not only get assaulted with kickass effects and high-gloss art direction, but it also essays an interesting theory: that reality and Hollywood are INDEED two entirely mutually alien concepts. Hollywood still persists on an archaic school of thought that goodness kicks evil’s butt. Call center agents will convulse hysterically with laughter on the same idea.

As a franchise, we follow the saga of Peter Parker, his dreamy girlfriend, MJ, his recently-evil-minted best pal, Harry, his eternal hang up on his uncle’s death and three new villains from the Geek’s High-Camp.

With the exception of a secluded Nepalese sub-tribe it’s safe to assume everyone in a civilized postmodern locale has seen the movie so it spares me the task of summarizing the plot. This is a relief because there is not much to summarize, anyway. Why let a story crimp the public’s appetite for prodigious junkfest action sequences? Stories are for Sundance, not your summer weekend blockbuster bet.

On this third installment we meet villains who aren’t Martha Stewart, George Bush and Britney Spears' vagina. Let’s begin with the most familiar: Harry aka the second generation Green Goblin heir. He is debonair, gifted, privileged, an ace airborne surfer, and possesed of the most compelling power: a disarming smile. Aside from being a genius with omelets, he can spontaneously erupt into gyrating moves of The Twist without looking like Ricky Martin on a Miami White Party or The Chelsea Pride Night. If THAT is evil, I certainly want some.

His being gripped with impassioned, malevolent vengeance and final slide to abomination is succinctly manifested in one raised eyebrow. The more wicked he becomes the more he glows, like as if malice and ill will is a prime component of a special Spa and facial package rolled into one. Harry is hell-bent to avenge his dead father and when he emerges from the mutation chamber in nothing but clingy underwear the two gay folks behind me squealed like hyenas on mating call. I stared at the edible spectacle and almost yelled, “Now THAT’S a terrible thing to waste!”

Sandman, on the other hand strikes me not as a man who is conflicted between need and evil but as Arnold Swarzenneger on the state of total incomprehension on how to run California. He is revealed to be the actual felon who shot Peter’s uncle. “I am not a bad person,” he protests, “Only a man who got bad luck!” or something to that effect. I totally sympathize with him. He’s like Erap Estrada on reverse. While eluding authorities he accidentally fell on an atomic testing site which altered his molecular configuration into sand particles. This is very exciting because aside from the fact that similar concept was already seen in The Mummy, the idea of recreating the Sahara in the middle of Manhattan is something novel. Especially if the Sahara in question can single-handedly pound five skyscrapers into Ground Zero in less than three seconds flat.

To show that Sandman is not entirely evil, he is portrayed as a loving father whose very sick daughter drove him to petty felony which escalated into unplanned murder and now, mass terrorism. And to show that he’s not getting any better in the luck department, he is cruelly made to wear drab khakis and a permanent muscle shirt in moss green stripes by the wardrobe department. So it’s totally understandable that his rage goes out of hand.

Then there is the Symbiote, an alien, murky blob, which eventually became a full-pledge villain. This foreign life form clings upon a host and triggers the host to breakpoint or berserk behavior, a concept not far from Kevin Federline living it off Britney Spears, which in due course resulted in a hostile Vagina-flashing, effectively terrorizing clerics and prudes everywhere.

Adhering itself into Peter Parker, the thing slowly corrupts our Hero into fiery fits of violence. We know he is crossing over the dark side and becoming depraved and evil because he not only got subtle highlights, he dons on fringed bangs. His total corruption ripened when he strolled all over Madison Avenue like he’s working on the grand chorus in The Golden Nugget or Hairspray if the choreography was directed by whoever dreamed the steps in a P. Diddy music video.

The blob ultimately grew up into Venom, played by ambitious Topher Grace, which screeches into a high-pitch irritant voice, much like Regine Velasquez who is having clitoral crises. "I LOVE BEING MAD!" he scowls, which made me think how come Borgy Manotoc didn't snag this role?

These villains, although well-versed in evilmongering and violent action sequences had me thinking. Why can’t there be an honest villain. I mean, NOT honest to goodness, but honest as in their power lies in valid, unfeigned terror most people can really get terrified of.

Why can’t there be something like The Memorist whose perverse capability lies in flashing baby pictures and all existing snapshots taken during the height of 80s fashion? (The teased hair! The acid washed Jeans! The high-cut shoes!)

Why can’t there be a Guilt Man, a potent combination of a Jewish Spinster Aunt, A Fundamentalist Born Again Christian, A televised evangelist, Your Mother and a Mormon who will screech unpunctuated litanies on your sinful history and the impending destiny that you are beyond salvation? Then brings out a really huge bag for donations/love offerings?

Why can’t there be SonicMan/Banshee gifted with the inflamed larynx of April Boy Regino, Aegis, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Imelda Papin and Manoling Morato with a very bad lisp?

Why can’t there be a Flashlight Man/The Magnifier who can highlight anyone’s most unpleasant overgrowths, cellulite deposits, or worse, underdeveloped, unprepossessing features, anatomical deficiencies, and project them for public viewing? This will surely prompt Piolo Pascual into commissioning X-Ray resistant briefs?

In the same vein I think that superheroes are a fantastic mass delusion. But if you ask my illiterate opinion, the only truthful superhero is what I’d call The Tastemen. It’s a colorful quintet, a merry cabal of sophisticates who will fling on pastel cashmeres around their necks, storm into people’s homes and chorus: “We have come to rescue you from that hideous lamp, oversized wooden spoon and fork AND those Middle East rugs featuring bulldogs playing billiards and poker!”

No, wait! Isn’t that the cast of Queer Eye?

Who cares. They would be naturals in spandex.

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