Movie Review: Spider-Man 3

Spider-Man 3 (2007)–**1/2

Spider-Man 3What is it about the third movie in great superhero franchises? From Superman III to Batman Forever to X-Men: The Last Stand, entry number three always pales in comparison to its predecessors. Spider-Man 3 is no exception.

With Sam Raimi again at the helm, Spider-Man 3 didn’t suffer from being handed over to another director like other threequels. Something else went wrong with this one. After making a fresh, exciting superhero film and the big B-movie he wanted to make, Raimi appears to have made a movie he had to make. It’s not without heart. It’s not without action. But for the first time in the series, it is without real passion.

Even Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) is losing her passion in this third movie. As Spider-Man (Tobey Maguire) grows in popularity, she watches her boyfriend Peter Parker (also Spidey) receive the attention she wants as an aspiring actress. She begins to push away from the man who spends his time swinging through New York.

As the love goes out, in comes the hate. The son of the Green Goblin, Harry Osborn (James Franco), has reworked his dad’s old toys and goes on the hunt for Spider-Man, who Harry believes killed his father. Parker likewise becomes hate-filled after learning that the man who murdered his uncle has escaped from jail. Toss an alien symbiote into the equation (one that fell from a meteor, followed Parker home and joined with a Spidey suit) and you get an even angrier Spidey. Drama ensues.

Oh, there are two villains in the film, as well, which is two more than the film really needed. One is Flint Marko (Thomas Hayden Church) who also happens to be the guy who killed Parker’s uncle. He’s a bad guy who beats and robs his way to saving his dying daughter. Tear. His molecular structure is fused with sand after a sloppily conceived accident.

There’s also Venom. He’s the result of Spider-Man tearing the symbiote off of his body and the symbiote landing on a rival photographer with a grudge named Eddie Brock (Topher Grace). There’s not much emotion behind Brock’s story except the above mentioned hate.

Between these two villains who serve two conflicting purposes and the Mary Jane/Harry arch, there’s so much to this convoluted third Spider-Man film that it’s hard to either love or hate it. Spider-Man 3 has the summer movie superhero action, no more or less impressive than the average Marvel movies such as Fantastic Four. It has the Raimi humor, with an especially hilarious Bruce Campbell as a maître d’.

Amazing Spider-Man Complete Comic Book CollectionYet, the coincidences and conveniences leading up to all the events are nothing more than dispassionate plot propellants. Alvin Sargent, who wrote the pitch-perfect screenplay to Spider-Man 2, seems overwhelmed by the immensity of the project, so much so that Raimi and his brother Ivan are also credited as writers. As all three pack in the epic Venom storyline into the continuing soap opera that is the dance of Peter and Harry, something finally gives.

Maybe it’s because Raimi’s Spider-Man films, unlike other superhero films, have never aspired to be epics. Just as I wrote in my review of the first Spider-Man, the Raimi films have been about “a boy and a girl, about family, friendship.” Like Spidey himself, they’ve also never aspired to be anything grand, but manage to be blockbusters anyway. Spider-Man 3 betrays that humble ideal and the result is your average ordinary summer movie.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *