I’m conflicted. On the one hand, Spider-Man 3 had super cool special effects, totally solid acting by all of the secondary characters, a decent amount of action, and an ambitiously complex plot.
But you can probably tell from what I just said where I felt the film came up short. Tobey Maquire? Kirsten Dunst? Plot is TOO ambitious? Action a little lacking? Yep, that sums it up fairly well.
My biggest beef is with the storyline. We’re treated to ANOTHER film about how Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson have an unstable relationship, and the extent of their love for each other is tested. Give me a break, Sam Raimi (director). That should NOT have been focused on so much, even if we DO get a bit of a different twist on that story this third time around.
Unfortunately, because their relationship IS such a big focus of Spider-Man 3, I didn’t get to see as much of Spider-Man as I wanted to. When I did see Spidey doing his superhero thing, I was happy. And the villains were pretty great. But because Mary Jane and Peter keep having to work the kinks out of their relationship, Venom and Sandman and the Green Gobblin’ have just about zero time to develop as villains. No sooner does Venom show up than he’s forged an alliance with Sandman and set off to destroy Spider-Man (and no, the hows and whys of Sandman working with Venom are not explained). Sandman, in particular, gets screwed. Thomas Haden Church does a fantastic job in the movie, and Sandman is a great character in the beginning of the movie. And then… well… nothing really happens in his character arc. In fact, he doesn’t have an arc at all. As awesome as his special effects are (except, what the fuck, Sandman can fly?!), someone apparently forgot that it would be more worthwhile to spend more time on him as a character than, say, on Harry Osborn (AGAIN, because we ALREADY went through all of that stuff in the second damn movie) or Eddie Brock (which I could accept, if not for the fact that he gets about five minutes of screen time once he’s become an actual villain). Gah. There was a lot of wasted potential there, I felt.
Also, Tobey looks ridiculous when he has a crying scene in this movie. And he looks ridiculous when he styles his hair all Emo n’ stuff and acts like a badass while looking like a dork (which is intentionally done, I think. See, Peter is turned to the Dark Side by a creepy alien goo… but Peter is so naturally a good guy and a nerd that the sludge cannot turn him into an actual BAD bad guy. You know, a guy so bad that he looks cool doing it? That’s just not Peter Parker).
The debate over Spider-Man 3’s merits and failures may rage on forever, but this review will not. The movie was totally worthwhile to watch, merely disappointing lacking in fresh substance. Definitely check it out if you liked the other films (I think I still like Spider-Man 2 the most), if only for Bruce Campbell’s HILARIOUS and awesome role as a Maître d’. Bigger and better than his other Spider-Man roles by far. Hell, it’s a bigger and better role than Venom gets.
Shit, I almost left out the part that explains the picture! Well, it shouldn’t be hard to figure out, but lemme lay it out for you: Those three guys spend WAY too much time out of their masks in the movie. And I’m just talking about when their characters are wearing the entire rest of their outfit – Spider-Man goes around dressed up as Spider-Man, but without his mask on. A LOT. Where ordinary people could easily SEE him, even. The “New Goblin” has some sort of helmet thing (which, of course, retracts and folds away all sci-fi and shit into NOTHINGNESS), but he’s apparently too cool to use it (wear your helmets, kids!) longer than a couple of seconds. Venom, as short as his screentime already is, goes around looking like Topher Grace half of the time. Just in case, you know, we FORGOT what the faces of these actors look like. Because we totally might have done that if they didn’t always fight unmasked. Hell, Sandman probably spends the most time not actually looking like the actor who portrays him (well, because he looks like sand. Y’know).Annoying.