Written by Sam Raimi & Ivan Raimi
Directed by Sam Raimi
Running Time: 2:20
for sequences of intense action violence.
Spider-Man 3 was a rambling mess of a movie that had few compelling spots and actors who looked like they'd rather be elsewhere.
Peter and Mary Jane are now happy together in the big city. Peter has come to terms with his supernatural abilities and embraces them. Mary Jane is about to open on Broadway in a new musical, which is what she has always dreamt of. Harry still wants to kill Peter of course, but that's to be expected. Things are going well for everyone, until suddenly their worlds are turned upside down. Mary Jane's career doesn't take off like she imagined, and Peter isn't there for her, since he also has to take off to save the innocent. A young photographer named Eddie Brock is trying to take over Peter's job, Harry realizes that he still needs to kill Peter, and a prison escapee just needs money to save his daughter. And black goo from another world lands a few feet from Peter and eventually takes over his body. Soon everyone is trying to kill Spider-Man, while his girl leaves him and Eddie takes his job. But with the black goo leading him on, Spider-Man becomes darker and more dangerous than ever. It slowly starts to not only take over his body, but his personality and his soul. Spider-Man, and Peter, needs to fight back against the goo in order to protect Mary Jane from the clutches of Sandman and Venom, before they all perish.
I can't say I was ever a huge fan of the Spider-Man movies. The first one was fun because it was new and different. The second one fell off a little bit and now Spider-Man 3 has completely collapsed. I'm not sure what happened but beyond a few scenes where I couldn't help but laugh, I didn't leave the theater with any happy memories of the film. First off, the story just rambled on going this way and that way without any rhyme or reason. We're introduced to the Sandman character for a few seconds, then he would disappear for 30 to 40 minutes before reappearing for a couple more minutes. In fact, every new character was just thrown into the mix with a quick two line introduction but no development. I understand this is a superhero action-adventure movie (or at least it's supposed to be) but the previous two films at least had story lines that were compelling. And that's really what set them apart. Instead of just being about action, they were action filled but with stories. This time around they seem to have forgotten about both elements.
Wait, there was a story. The movie, on the whole, was really a romantic comedy about a struggling actress and a guy with a secret. The running time of the film was around 140 minutes, and I'd say maybe 100 minutes was spent dealing with Peter and Mary Jane's relationship. Not for nothing, but I don't really care *that* much about them. Yes, their relationship sort of controls everything that Peter does, but there were scenes, long scenes, where we saw people dancing. Whether it was Mary Jane and Harry in the kitchen or Peter and the bubbly blond Gwen Stacy in the bar, I felt like I was watching Dancing With the Stars for a while. For the first time, the movie felt too long and while the length of the film isn't horrible, it felt long because they spent too much time focusing on the wrong things. With Sandman and Venom there was an opportunity to have a very cool film, but instead these characters were almost afterthoughts and that's not the way a superhero movie should be.
I was never very impressed with the special effects in the films. They always looked like computer games and Spider-Man 3 was no different. In each fight scene you could clearly see that half the time the actors were replaced in favor of CGI. I can understand how the budget of the film ballooned to $250M because no fight scene could just be man vs. man. It had to be CGI man vs. CGI man. And at times it just looked awful. I will say however that there were two CGI effects that stood out. The Sandman visuals were, for the most part, impressive. We've seen sand effects before, but they did a good job capturing Thomas Haden Church within the gigantic man of sand. And the scene where the crane starts taking out the building was done rather well. But the rest of the effects, whether it was the New Goblin flying around or Venom and Spider-Man fighting on a rooftop, just felt too fake for its own good.
For a superhero action-adventure film, there sure was a lot of crying. One of the most hysterical scenes, at least by audience reaction, was when Mary Jane and Peter are talking on a bridge and Peter starts to cry. Tobey Maguire is not a good crier. It was almost painful to watch and the audience erupted in laughter. In fact, the only scene where there was more laughter was earlier in the film in a scene with J. Jonah Jameson. Although he doesn't appear all that often in these films, J.K. Simmons always steals his scenes. I think they should form some sort of spin-off just for him. But back to the crying. I think Peter/Spider-Man must have broken down at least 6-7 times in the film. Harry cried, Mary Jane cried. It was one big sob fest. Maybe the actors were crying because they knew the material wasn't up to snuff. I swear I could see in each of their eyes, complete boredom at having to go through this again. None of these actors are newcomers. They all had careers before Spider-Man and they'll all have careers afterwards. What that means is that they're not tied to these characters, and I have to imagine that coming back to them again for the third time was one time too many. I know there's been talk about a fourth movie, but I can not see any of the leads coming back again. And if they did, it would only be because of the money, not because of any passion to see the Spider-Man films live on.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I thought Spider-Man 3 was almost a complete disaster. There was simply nothing entertaining about the film, and way too many times where I felt like I wanted to yell at the screen to just get on with it. If this is the end of Spider-Man, it is not a happy way to go out.
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