Spider-Man 3 Review

Posted: May 9, 2014 by moviebuff801 in Barrage of the Blockbusters, moviebuff801's Movie Reviews, Time Capsule Reviews

*This review contains spoilers.

Release Date: May 4th, 2007

Running Time: 2 hours and 19 minutes

Written by: Sam Raimi & Ivan Raimi and Alvin Sargent

Directed by: Sam Raimi

Starring: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Thomas Haden Church, Topher Grace

By: Michael “MovieBuff801” Dennos

Ten Ways To Ruin Your Film, according to Spider-Man 3, in no particular order:

1. Over-stuff your plot. So, first of all, you’ve got Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tobey Maguire) experiencing some rare peace and balance in his life. He’s finally got his girl Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst), his job is holding steadily and the duties of Spider-Man aren’t interfering whatsoever. But of course, that means a new villain has to emerge onto the scene to cause mayhem. This time, it’s The Sandman (Thomas Haden Church), an escaped con recently exposed to some super-scientific experiment, of which its scientists seem woefully uninterested in dealing with possible problems like a human being stumbling into said experiment, and dumb enough to confuse a person with a bird (um … what?). Anyway, the radiation turns him into a literal sand man, able to turn into the stuff at will and have punches go through him one moment, but actually hit him the next. He goes on a bank robbing spree to help pay for his sick daughter’s medical treatments. Meanwhile, Mary Jane starts experiencing hard times when she’s fired from a big Broadway play. And this is while Harry (James Franco) has taken up the mantle of The Green Goblin and has vowed to make Peter pay for the death of his father … until he gets amnesia and can’t remember any of it.

On top of that, an ambitious and snarky new photographer named Eddie Brock (Topher Grace) tries to muscle in on Peter’s territory. Eddie will later lose his job as a result, blame Peter for it and become Venom by way of a mysterious black goo that landed in New York, first affected Peter and — oh, you get the picture. 2 hours and 19 minutes isn’t nearly enough time to cover all of this.

2. Make your lead characters unlikable. Peter has let success go to his head, which in turn makes him alarmingly insensitive to his girlfriend most of the time. His idea of comfort in this movie seems to be a simple “Hey, buck up, kid!” look that he gives Mary Jane right before putting on his mask and swinging away to go crime-fighting. Even worse, he re-enacts his and Mary Jane’s first special kiss together with another girl even when he knows Mary Jane is in the crowd watching. And we’re supposed to be rooting for this guy? Oh, and that’s not to mention the Symbiote from space affecting him by making him more of a dick, and somehow dying his hair black in the process, which is more laughable than dramatic. I mean, as if eating milk and cookies while pretending to listen to someone on the other end of a phone call is in any way badass. But Mary Jane isn’t guilt-free here, either. She spends most of the movie whining and complaining and contributing next to nothing about anything except the stupidity that is the running theme of all these people’s actions.

3. Give the characters flimsy motivations. This is most obvious in Flint Marko, a.k.a. The Sandman, who seems to think he’s the only person in the world who has a sick child, because he continually uses that as an excuse for everything he does. Um, newsflash, Flint: nobody’s gonna say, “Ohhh, your daughter’s sick. Well, go right ahead and cause all kinds of damage to the city in that case!” or “Well, because you had a sick daughter, I can forgive you for killing my Uncle.” Waaaaaaaaaaait a minute …

Eddie Brock wants revenge on Peter for exposing him … for fraud he knowingly committed. Did I miss something here? You dug that hole yourself, Eddie. And then there’s Mary Jane, whose problems as a character in this film relate to Item 6 on this list …

4. Have a bland and uninteresting villain(s). After the last Item, I think this is pretty self-explanatory, don’t you?

5. Hurriedly introduce a popular fan-favorite villain in the Third Act … and then kill him off just as quickly. Gee, it’s almost like Sam Raimi didn’t even want to include Venom in the first place. Oh, that’s right — he didn’t.

6. Keep finding dumb excuses to actually have your characters sit down and talk out their problems. Okay, so Mary Jane is the biggest offender here. All throughout the movie, she complains how she and Peter are growing apart, and yet never puts forth an effort to actually sit down and talk about their issues as a couple. It’s like she’s magically wishing to go away, just like a little kid who doesn’t know any better would do. And then there’s the scene after Harry gets his memories back where she breaks up with Peter at Harry’s order, otherwise he’ll kill Peter.

Um, okay, obvious answer: why doesn’t she just tell Peter, “Hey, Harry got his memory back and he wants to kill you again! He’s making me do this! By the way, he’s over there behind that tree. Go over and kick his ass!”

7. Squeeze too many characters into the story. Building off Reason #1, there are too many characters here vying for screentime, and not enough screentime to properly utilize them all. Spider-Man 3 almost feels like three movies rolled into one, with none of those three movies being all that good, either. Sam Raimi’s reach definitely far exceeded his grasp this time.

8. Reveal at the end of the Second Act that a side character knew vital information all along that could have prevented conflict from arising between two main characters in the first place. Even the little things go a long way. But if you think about this one, it’s really pretty big. Ever since the end of Spider-Man 2, Harry has been seeking revenge on Peter for supposedly killing his father. Well, toward the end of the film, after Peter and Harry have a serious throwdown, in comes the family butler Bernard, who picks that moment to reveal that the fatal wounds suffered by Norman/Green Goblin in the first film appeared to have come from Norman’s own glider. Gee, couldn’t Bernard have revealed that little tidbit to Harry like, I don’t know, before Harry started plotting to kill his best friend and things got too far? If I were Harry, I’d fire dumb old Bernard for such a dick move. Harry could’ve most likely avoided getting amnesia, having his face scarred and probably even dying if Bernard had come forth in the second movie.

9. Create a very indistinct tone throughout. One minute, it can be light and fun, spouting cheesy one-liners left and right and then the next, it’s all dark, serious and sad; the tone of Spider-Man 3 is all over the place. For example, take the nightclub scene. This leads me to the next item …

10. Include a stupid dance scene that completely undermines any drama. Okay, movie, you can’t just put in a random dance scene in a nightclub where Emo Peter is showing off his moves to make Mary Jane jealous — something that feels like it’d be more at home in Anchorman, I might add — and then go straight to him slapping down Mary Jane, followed by him crouched atop a church as Spider-Man in the middle of a rainstorm, brooding over his actions, in basically the blink of an eye. Are we really supposed to feel bad for the guy who was acting like a dorky jerk not ten seconds beforehand? Nope, it doesn’t work that way. Also, this is Spider-Man, not a musical. We get not one, but two separate and eye-rollingly silly dance scenes in addition to a musical number in the First Act. No wonder they turned Spider-Man into a Broadway musical.

P.S., I’m sure this movie has a few positives, but at the moment, I’m hard-pressed to think of them.

*1/2 /****

NEXT WEEK: Space … the final frontier … in a galaxy far, far away …

  1. CMrok93 says:

    Such a damn mess. It has some fun moments scattered throughout, but it’s really hard to look at any of them and be happy. Good review.

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