- Directed by Sam Raimi
- April 16, 2007 (Roppongi Hills Mori Tower) / May 4, 2007 (US)
Planning to propose to Mary Jane, a strange entity from the stars bonds with Peter and causes turmoil as he must contend with new villains.
There are good parts and bad parts to Spider-Man 3. I cannot say it is entirely bad but there is definitely more bad here than good. This is a clear example of not only how studio interference can negatively affect a film but how a director, spiteful over that, will screw the film up. Reportedly Raimi reportedly did not want Venom in this movie. He wanted to focus on Sandman but the studio insisted on Venom and so we got what we got here.
The problem is there is just too much going on in this movie. There are so many stories competing for attention that they all suffer. Not only that but there are just too many characters here. Everybody that was in the last two films by this point had to return otherwise fans would have been complaining that they were not in it even though they may not have added anything to this story.
Everything just moved so fast here. It was boom boom boom boom and then the finale. For example in the space of less than two hours Harry Osborn (James Franco) went from villain to good guy to villain to good guy. It was a redemptive story arc for the character, but that waffle did nothing good for Spider-Man 3’s narrative.
Peter is wanting to marry MJ but is getting wrapped up in his celebrity as Spider-Man. This causes friction between the two and she briefly goes back to Harry. Harry is vengeance minded and using variations on his father’s Green Goblin tech to kill Peter. The Sandman is robbing banks to help his daughter out. Coincidentally the Sandman is really responsible and the dude that Spider-Man sent out a window was not. Not only that but Peter gets bonded to an alien symbiote that when it comes to Earth, Peter and MJ just miss seeing. And Peter starts flirting with another woman. That is way too much and sends the story all over the place.
I cannot condone under any circumstances that stupid dance thing that evil Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) does. Or should I say jerky Peter does. More often than not Peter was a jerk and not actually evil or dark after the bonding. Until I rewatched this I thought the whole hurting feelings thing being a sign of evil was new but apparently not.
This movie overall had more comedic moments than the last two films. There were more jokes usually at the expense of J Jonah Jamison (JK Simmons) than there were before. And the bits with J Jonah Jamison felt like filler rather than an actual part of the story. You could have cut JK Simmons out of the movie and still tell the story of Peter Parker and Eddie Brock and everything else. Previously he had some importance to the film.
The Spider-Man action is much better here than in the previous two films, yet they still miss the spider banter. That is an important aspect of the character that was never really used. Raimi is reportedly a fan and was said to own original art, yet he skips something like the banter?
Sam Raimi had an eye for casting people that more often than not physically fit the image of the comic book character they were portraying and were also talented. I know there were obviously some tweaks done to their appearance but Thomas Hayden church is the spitting image of the Sandman. Plus the guy that I only knew from Wings turned in a fairly decent dramatic performance here.
The connection of Sandman to the death of Uncle Ben felt genuinely out of left field. And who can forget Peter forgiving the Sandman after getting a sob story and his trashing of a downtown construction site. Huh? That was a serious change of heart in comparison to the two characters interactions prior in the story.
There are good moments when Sandman is by himself as well when the Venom/Eddie Brock character is by himself. But when the two interact in the climactic battle at the end it just does not work. That whole bit came off as rather goofy.
Bryce Dallas Howard’s Gwen Stacy was just extraneous. She is a plot device and not an actual character. I am not sure how it would have worked had they done a fourth Spider-Man movie but in the way that The Amazing Spider-Man introduced her first they should have also done that here. Otherwise they should have completely skipped the character.
Gwen Stacey was the first great love of Peter Parker’s life. Her death was a tragedy that haunted him and had reverberations for a very long time. She was important. Here she is rather inconsequential.
Topher Grace as Eddie Brock was genuinely creepy. The only other thing I know him from is That 70s Show and that is a show I did not really care for. It lost me after about three seasons and I was not a strong viewer during those. His character struck me as a whiney bitch and I just never really cared for him. He goes in a completely different direction and creates a genuinely unsettling character.
Spider-Man 3 has more wrong than it does right. It has some enjoyable parts but on the whole is a bit of a confused mess. I think you can skip this one. Parts one and two form a complete story on their own and you will not miss anything by not watching this.