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PopEntertainment.com > Reviews > Movie Reviews > Spider-Man 3

MOVIE REVIEWS

SPIDER-MAN 3 (2007)

Starring Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Thomas Haden Church, Topher Grace, James Franco, Dylan Baker, Elizabeth Banks, Bryce Dallas Howard, Theresa Russell, James Cromwell, Rosemary Harris, Mageina Tovah, Cliff Robertson, J.K. Simmons, Bill Nunn, Willem Dafoe, Elya Baskin and Stan Lee.

Screenplay by Sam & Ivan Raimi and Alvin Sargent.

Directed by Sam Raimi.

Distributed by Sony Pictures.  140 minutes.  Rated PG-13.

Spider-Man 3

Third movies in a sagas are notoriously hard to pull off and as it is released, Spider-Man 3 is getting slammed by critics in a way that the first two movies never experienced.  Some of this is not quite deserved.  While Spider-Man 3 definitely is not on a level of the first two acts, it basically is a pretty good (if definitely flawed) chapter.

It starts off pretty well, though.  Spider-Man 3 has fun with the cult of personality, making the web-slinger suddenly a media darling and a New York hero.  He is finally openly dating the girl that he loves (Kirsten Dunst), and she has her first role in a Broadway musical.  A timely case of amnesia even has his best friend (James Franco) back in his life after years of estrangement.

Of course, when things are going well in a superhero movie you know that it's just the calm before the storm.  Quickly Spidey and his Peter Parker alter-ego are bombarded by problems. 

MJ loses her role and becomes jealous of Peter's model friend (Bryce Newton Howard).  A young hotshot photographer (Topher Grace) is gunning for Peter's job.  And, in the most unlikely plot twist in a movie sadly stuffed with them, some kind of slimy outer space creature hitches a ride on Parker's scooter and then turns him into the black Spider-Man, which is sort of the id Spidey, stronger but more dangerously unpredictable.  This makes him ruled by his baser instincts of greed, pride and revenge, not the good that drove him before.

Also, not one, but three super-villains have their sights on Spider-Man the Sandman, Venom an even more evil black Spider-Man look-alike and the return of the son of the Green Goblin.

The character of the Sandman (Thomas Haden Church of Wings and Sideways) particularly makes little sense.  He is given a tragic back story about an estranged wife and a sickly daughter.  There are periodic scenes where he swears he is not a bad guy, just a victim of circumstance.  Okay, that's fine as far as it goes.  However, he keeps doing bad things putting people in grave danger, stealing and targeting Spider-Man all the while that he proclaims his innocence. 

Obviously if your molecular structure has been altered to give you the consistency of sand you will be a complicated character however his explanations and his actions are directly contradictory.  Methinks the Sandman doth protest too much.

All in all, Spider-Man 3 is enjoyable but it just has too much on its plate.  With three villains (four if you count the space slime which creates evil Spider-Man), two women in his life (three if you count his extremely flirtatious relationship with J. Jonah Jameson's secretary, played by Elizabeth Banks of Invincible) and two Spider-Men (good=red, bad=black) Peter Parker's life is just overstuffed with plot.  Add to this him coming to terms with fame, a threat to his photographic career and reliving the deaths of his beloved uncle and his mentor-turned-enemy and neither Spider-Man nor the audience get the chance to take a breath. 

Spider-Man 3 is a good movie, but it could have been great had they just streamlined it a bit.  Some of this stuff could have probably been held back for the inevitable Spider-Man 4.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright 2007   PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: May 13, 2007.

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Copyright 2007   PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: May 13, 2007.