Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Mary Jane Watson needs to seriously, and I mean seriously rethink this whole Spider-Man as a boyfriend thing.  Three movies and three completely insane super-villains have done everything in their power to kill her dead.  None of these things would have befallen the young woman had she simply not known Spider-Man.  I know love is a powerful thing and all, but there are limits to everything, you know what I’m saying?


Seriously though, writing a review for ‘Spider-Man 3’ is about as pointless as say, making a movie about how bad fast food is for you.  It doesn’t matter what anybody says, you are going to go, and you know it.  You’ve been waiting to see this movie for three years, and you’re going to listen to some pompous film critic advise you NOT to see ‘Spider-Man 3’?  Please.  To the converse, if you one of the two or three people who don’t want to see the new Spider-man movie, maybe because you’re the type of cat who’s waiting for ‘My Left Foot 2’ or ‘The Return of My Beautiful Launderette’, no amount of praise for this film is going make you put on a jacket, grab your keys and stand in line to view the web-slingers latest exploits.  I'm just happy Sony Pictures chose to screen the damn thing so I could get to see it early and for free.  It’s always about me.


Things are simply hunky dory for good old Spider-Man, aka Peter Parker (Toby Maguire).  The city of New York simply loves him to death, he’s found love with the girl of his dreams, the aforementioned Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst) who herself is finding her own dreams coming true by starring in a Broadway musical, and Aunt May (Rosemary Harris) hasn’t keeled over yet.  Harry Osborne (James Franco) still wants him dead, but other than that, things couldn’t get better.  Oh but if you know Peter Parker, you know that he and good fortune are not the best of friends and it’s only a matter of time.  Peter has become a bit full of himself, Mary Jane’s career has floundered much to Peter’s complete ignorance, Harry has taken over his father’s lab

and has become the revenge minded super-human Hobgoblin, a new villain has popped up in habitual criminal Flint Marko (Thomas Haden-Church) who through a weird science experiment has turned into the lethal Sandman, the Daily Globe has a new freelance photographer named Eddie Brock (Topher Grace) bucking for Peter’s gig, and worst of all there’s a strange alien symbiont crawling around Mr. Parkers beat down apartment just waiting…


‘Spiderman 3’ is a good movie, I guess, but not a great one.  The visuals in this thing are simply spectacular, as one would imagine them to be considering that rumor has it this is THE most expensive movie ever made.  The opening credits alone looked as if they dropped a cool twenty million dollars on them.  The action scenes were high flying, intense, frenetic and thrilling.  ‘Spiderman 3’ and director Sam Raimi even managed to do something to me that even horror movies haven’t been able to pull off recently and that’s make me jump a bit with a couple of good shock scares, mostly involving the hideous Venom.  ‘Spiderman 3’ literally has it all.  Seriously, it has it all.  There’s action, romance, horror, heartbreak, tragedy, melodrama (oh my is there melodrama) and high flying, leg kicking dance numbers.  Yup, ‘Spiderman 3’ actually turned into ‘Guys and Dolls’ at one point.   I’m assuming that Sam Raimi had always dreamed of directing a musical, and given his unlimited budget, dude just went for it.  The movie opens with a musical number, Peter Parker turns into a piano playing Fred Astaire in the middle of the film, and it closes with a musical number.  Silly?  Perhaps, but entertaining nonethless.


It is probably all of these different elements that Raimi, along with his screenwriting partner and brother Ivan Raimi piled in this film that keep ‘Spiderman 3’ from metamorphosing from ‘merely good’ into ‘transcendent’.  One moment we’re watching Peter drone on melodramatically about something or another with a still not dead Aunt May, and the next moment we’re thrust into this crazy, breathless action sequence, infused with personal melodrama between Peter Parker and the Hobglobin, only to be dropped into Peter and Harry droning on melodramatically in a hospital room.  This is followed by more Peter and Mary Jane melodrama, then toss in some Mary Jane and Harry melodrama, and then Flint Marko’s melodramatic scenes with his wife and sick daughter, melodrama between Peter, Flint Marko and their big ‘secret’, melodrama between Peter Parker, the newly introduced Gwen Stacey and Eddie Brock and an ending that was so overly melodramatic, that there were chuckles sprinkled throughout the theater for a scene that was supposed to be heart wrenching.  For a moment there I thought I was watching ‘The Young and the Restless’, which actually made the film feel way longer than it actually was.


It was good that they reintroduced Gwen Stacey though.  As followers of the Spiderman comic well know, Gwen Stacey was Peter Parker's original girlfriend before she was tragically killed by the Green Goblin.  The purist felt she should have been the girlfriend in the first film instead of Mary Jane, who of course was Harry’s girl.  The purists also felt that actress Bryce Dallas Howard (Lady in the Water) was a bad choice to play Gwen Stacey since she wasn’t good looking enough or blonde enough.  The purists have obviously never heard of wigs and makeup.  Freaking purists.


Of course writing this ‘review’ was simply a typing exercise since something has to go in this spot pertaining to this movie.  Hell, you’re probably in line to see it even as we speak.  When you finally get in the theater, watch the movie and go home, you will have seen a spectacular, amazing, thrilling display of technical wizardry, some song and dance, and a whole lot of worthless melodrama.  Chances are you will enjoy the ‘dark’ Peter Parker’ scenes probably because they were humorous, well acted by Maguire and contained the least amount of melodrama.  And least we forget a brilliant turn by the legendary Bruce Campbell as a French Maitre d’.  ‘Spiderman 3’ is still in the top five of superhero movies, far better than say ‘Ghost Rider’, ‘Daredevil’ and even ‘Superman Returns’, but not as quite at level set by it’s predecessor ‘Spiderman 2’ or the original ‘Superman’.  A good movie, I guess, but just not a great one.

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