Kirsten Dunst and Tobey Maguire in Spider-man 3.
With 3 different villains, numerous subplots and a running time of just 2 hours and 15 minutes, there's just too much of everything and not enough of anything in Spider-man 3. Oh, don't get me wrong, it, like its predecessors, is a great super-hero movie, but it could have benefited greatly if it had focused more on just a couple of the plot threads.
Although there has been no official word, it is widely assumed that this will be the last of the Spider-man movies in its current incarnation. Either some or all of the stars probably won't be back and perhaps neither will director Sam Raimi. It is therefore reasonable to expect that this movie will provide some emotional closure for the characters. Since the two biggest loose threads are, what's Harry going to do to get revenge on Spider-man for defeating his father, the Green Goblin, in the first movie? And, now that Mary Jane knows that Peter is Spider-man, how is that going to affect their relationship? Just those two ideas right there, which are explored in-depth, would have been enough for a movie.
On top of those two plots however, another is added that deals with an alien life-form that crashes in a meteorite and hitches a ride on Peter's moped. A black ooze, it adheres itself to the spider-suit and, when worn, enhances Spider-man's powers and penchant for violence. Since this rise in power coincides with Spider-man's rise in popularity and his distancing himself from those around him, it adds to the story nicely. It also, as Peter grows ever more cocky, provides some of the movie's lightest moments as he finds himself literally strutting down the street trying to charm the ladies. In fact, this storyline is probably my favorite in the whole movie.
Okay, so we've got dealing with Harry's lust for revenge, Peter and Mary Jane's relationship, and dealing with an alien, mood altering black ooze. Surely, that's enough for a movie?
No, no, no. Obviously, the movie needs to bring in a story about an escaped convict (who was only in jail because he was trying to steal money to pay for medicine for his sick daughter) who ends up caught in an experiment that transforms him into the powerful Sandman. A being made up entirely of sand, who is able to grow and transform his shape as well as be carried along like sand on the breeze. And just for good measure, let's dredge up the death of Peter's Uncle Ben and add a little bit of revisionist history by connecting Sandman to his murder.
Now you can't tell me that isn't enough to make a movie! But hey, what if we throw in a rival photographer (played well by Topher Grace) at the Daily Bugle, a girl for Mary Jane to be jealous of, problems for Mary Jane with her latest Broadway show, and how about temporary amnesia for Harry?
Enough already! Even if this is going to be the last Spider-man movie this group makes, they don't have to throw in every unused idea that they have!
If I were editing this movie, the first thing I would have done is chop out the Sandman storyline completely. Then, they could actually have expanded upon some of the other parts of the story and kept it the same running time.
Apart from there just being too much crammed into the movie, the rest of it is what we've come to expect from this franchise. A strong cast of characters played by talented and likable actors, with a strong hand and sharp mind behind the camera, and a script that often tends to stray into the soap opera, melodrama area. The special effects are all top notch and keep getting better with each installment. It's become increasingly difficult to tell when Spider-man goes from CGI to Tobey Maguire. In other words, this is a very good super-hero movie.
If you enjoyed the first two Spider-man movies (and let's face it, who didn't?), then you'll enjoy this one. I just wish they hadn't tried to throw everything (there's probably even a kitchen sink in there somewhere if you look closely enough) in to it at once.
James Franco in Spider-man 3.
Spider-Man 3 is another winner. Yes, it seems a bit crammed with ideas and the story bogs down in places, but overall it is another successful entry in the superhero genre.
The fight scenes were actually my least favorite part of this movie. There seem to be fewer of them than in the first 2 installments even though this movie has 3 villains. The final battle is way over-the-top even by today's CGI anything-is-possible standards. But that is what the audience expects from this type of movie and Sam Raimi clearly knows his audience.
The acting is all around good as it has been throughout the entire series. Tobey Maguire really handles the comedy aspects well. Like Scott I enjoyed his newfound cocky ladies man version of Peter Parker. He actually seems to be channeling Jerry Lewis' Buddy Love from The Nutty Professor in the scene at the jazz club. It is the funniest scene in the entire series.
A nice finish to a memorable movie franchise.
Topher Grace in Spider-man 3.
Scott, the kitchen sink is clearly visible in Peter's apartment when Aunt May visits. So much is going on in this movie that it is hard to let any of it sink in. How can I emotionally invest myself in the plot about Harry when so much time is spent with the plot about Mary Jane? Why should I feel anything for The Sandman's personal issues when the movie keeps giving so much time to Venom?
With so much going on the movie loses track of itself. In one scene, Peter picks up the alien and he somehow takes it to his apartment. For whatever reason, it just lingers around his place until it finally decides to latch on to Peter, while dressed in his Spidey costume. Why did it wait so long to do that? Harry gets half his face burnt, but the next time we see him he has scars on his face that look months old? Mary Jane was in a hit Broadway play in the second movie but after one bad review in another play, she is back to waitressing?
Usually after watching a movie, a scene or a performance stands out. Yet, after just seeing Spiderman 3, nothing comes to mind. So much happens in this film that it is all a jumbled memory. OK, this may sound weird, but the one thing I do remember clearly, is that the last the song Dunst sings, very badly, at the end of the movie is the same song Marilyn Monroe sang near the end of Some Like it Hot.
It probably reads like I have a bad opinion of this movie. I don't, completely. The effects are the best of the series. Harry looks cools in his costume. Tobey is hysterical as “dark Peter.” It is just that this should have been two movies instead of one.
Photos © Copyright Sony Pictures (2007)