Monday night. My birthday. For real. What did I do? Oh, Michelle took me to the premiere of Spider-Man 3 in Queens, that's all. Black carpet, celebrities, executives, rabid fans. No big deal.
This is the black carpet area. Black carpet? Yes. You see, since Spider-Man changes from a red costume to a black one in this movie, they celebrated with a black carpet instead of a red one. Anyway. The black carpet. It was really, really long and there were lots and lots of people there to see who'd be walking down it.
Ticket holders like ourselves got to stand in this other, equally enormous line to get in through a different entrance. At first we were like "how in the world are all these people going to fit in one movie theater?" But, duh, we weren't all going to fit in one movie theater. We were going to fit in every single theater at the cineplex!
Inside the theater our cameras and cellphones were efficiently taken from us and bagged. There was free popcorn and beverages and assigned seats and all the theater workers were very friendly and excited (I guess they don't get too many huge premieres in Astoria). Before the movie started I saw the man who played the thug that killed Uncle Ben in the first movie, Uncle Ben (who looked incredibly old in real life), Bill Paxton and his Dad (his Dad plays Harry Osborn's butler), and Professor Connors (you know, Peter's one armed scientist friend).
Then, at about 8:32 (just an hour after the advertised start time) the lights in our theater dimmed and the movie began. With all the excitement of being there, it was easy to forget that we were getting a movie too. At the end of this post you'll find my completely spoiler-free review of the film.
After the movie our phones and cameras were efficiently returned to us (in what was really a marvel of efficiency, really). Before getting my camera back we saw James Franco (Harry Osborn), Topher Grace (Eddie Brock), James Cromwell (who plays Captain Stacy), and Aunt May.
The black carpet, post-chaos.
We caught director Sam Raimi signing autographs outside, making this my almost-only "celebrity" photo of the night.
Our tickets didn't include invitations to the afterparty, but we walked by it on the way home.
Outside the party we saw James Cromwell with the Paxtons, making this my other celebrity photo of the night.
In short, it was a very awesome way to celebrate my birthday and an experience that will be difficult to top.
And now, my brief, spoiler-free thoughts on Spider-Man 3:
First, Spider-Man 3 is good. I think Spider-Man 2 was better, but Spider-Man 3 is definitely not a disappointment.
Second, I know concern exists over the fact that the movie features three villains, new supporting cast members, and the introduction of Spider-Man's black suit. Doesn't this all stretch the movie too thin? No. Although there were times that I wondered if the movie was going to spiral out of control, it all comes together by the end.
Some thoughts on the cast, characters, and other stuff:
Peter Parker--With the addition of his black suit, Peter steps into some Anakin Skywalker territory, so this movie is like what if Anakin eventually made the right decisions and didn't join the dark side. Still, the movie is nearly ridiculous when it shows what it means to be a "bad" Peter Parker. You know, making girls bake you cookies, acting like Ron Burgundy in a jazz club.
Sandman--I really didn't know how they were going to handle this character and had wondered why they even picked him for the movie but Thomas Haden Church does a great job (like, a really great job) playing him and his role and importance become clear.
Harry Osborn--Probably my favorite character in the movie? For a while things are good between Peter and Harry and Mary Jane in the movie and, for the first time in the three movies, Harry is really likable (and funny) and you can see why he and Peter were/are best friends.
Harry's Butler--I don't even remember if he was in the other movies, but I liked him in this one.
Stan Lee--Just when you thought you were tired of him popping up in all the Marvel movies he drops his best cameo yet. There were cheers in the audience.
Eddie Brock--Andy from the Office and what would happen if he hadn't gone to anger management. This movie wasn't so much about its villains. Sure, they were there and they were important, but it wasn't just a movie about "Oh no, will Spider-Man save the day?" UPDATE Also, keep your eyes peeled for when Brock pulls out the same Leica as I've got.
The Action Sequences--Quite harrowing, even more acrobatic and intense than before. It's like they've got a brain trust working on these action sequences nonstop so that you'll never get tired of what one fellow can do when swinging from building to building.
I could probably go on for far too long. But it's a movie you should be excited to see and I look forward to seeing it a second time (which would be: Saturday morning at 10 at the IMAX by Lincoln Center with 1/2 the people who read this blog).