Spider-Man 3 (2007)

24 Mar

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Smith’s Verdict: **

Reviewed by Tanner Smith

Where do I even begin with “Spider-Man 3?” Maybe I can start by saying that there are too many plotlines and villains for one superhero movie. But the problem is that I didn’t care much for either of them. Whereas “Spider-Man 2” knew what to focus on and how to make me care for what was happening, “Spider-Man 3” is all over the map. So, all I had out of this movie were a few nicely-done special-effects action sequences…and not much else.

There are so many problems with this movie that I hardly know where to start. I guess I should start with Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson, two of the most boring characters to come around in a superhero movie. While they were likable, charismatic characters in the previous films, they’re just dull saps here. And is it really time for Peter to propose after only a few kisses? Their romance is so uninteresting that the waiter (Bruce Campbell) is the best thing about a romantic scene. And he’s the comic relief.

Now let’s look at them individually. Peter (Tobey Maguire) is still Spider-Man, but while he was conquering his demons in the previous films, everything just seems so hunky-dory for him that it just gets to his head so much that I’m not convinced when he supposedly “has a moment.” This is the movie in which Tobey Maguire did what he didn’t in the previous films as Peter Parker and that was, bore me. Then, we have Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst). What is her deal? She’s a somewhat talented actress who is constantly having an on-again/off-again relationship with Peter (oh, did I forget to mention THAT). Could she just pick and develop an emotion? After seeing her, I realized I would’ve loved to see more of Gwen Stacy (Bryce Dallas Howard), Peter’s pretty science lab partner who is put in jeopardy so Spider-Man can save her and make Mary Jane jealous!

Then, there’s the villain…and the other villain…and a third villain! That’s right—there are three villains in “Spider-Man 3.” Not one of them are developed or interesting enough. In action movies, it’s better to have an interesting villain to go with an interesting hero. But the hero isn’t interesting in this movie and neither are the villains. First, we have Flint Marko (Thomas Haden Church), an escaped convict who wants to make things better for himself and for his family. While running from the police, he winds up…some sort of testing area that isn’t explained. I guess the radiation and the sand in that pit mixed with him and transformed him into half-man, half-sand. This gives him the nickname The Sandman. Do we ever know how he feels? Does he have a personality? Is he excused from a contrived plot point, such as killing Peter’s uncle? The answer to all three questions is no. We never know how he feels, whether turning into a dust storm or becoming a gigantic sand mutant in the street. In “Spider-Man 2,” we always knew how the villain Doc Ock felt. We know very little about the Sandman in this movie.

Then, there’s Peter’s former best friend Harry Osborn (James Franco). If you recall from the previous film, Harry discovered that his buddy was Spider-Man and believes he killed his father, who was the Green Goblin in the first film. Now, there is a new suit and glider left for him (I suppose) so he can become the next Green Goblin, or whatever. There are a couple fights between him and Peter—only one of them is well-done on an action-packed level. But don’t people see these unmasked flying men fighting through New York? Nobody looks out their windows to see what the commotion is about? The second fight is…a fistfight. That’s right—a fistfight. This isn’t a “Spider-Man” movie—it’s an Abbott and Costello knockoff.

Then, there’s Venom, which should have been the most interesting part of the movie. It has enough back story to make its own movie. But it isn’t used well—and when it is, it’s not used well ENOUGH. You see, it begins when a slimy, black alien organism lands on Earth and follows Peter home—how did Peter not notice it with his spidey-sense? But I digress. Apparently, it’s some sort of parasite that attaches itself to a host and takes over a part of its mind. So it attaches itself to the Spidey suit, turning it black and changing Peter’s attitude. Peter suddenly believes he’s cool and struts down the city sidewalk, pointing and smiling as people pass by. Good grief—Peter isn’t even a convincing bad boy; he just seems like a dork. And then—I’m not kidding—he dances at a club. He dances all over the place—like I said, not a regular “Spider-Man” movie.

And then once Peter takes the alien slime off of himself and it lands on Eddie Brock (Topher Grace), who conveniently (or inconveniently) happens to be Peter’s arch nemesis as photographer for the Daily Bugle. Now, he turns into Venom and sets out to kill Peter. This whole subplot could’ve been its own movie and could’ve been right. But no. Instead of a serious look at this otherworldly substance taking over an individual, we get that weird dance I mentioned in the above paragraph.

Have I left anything out? I sure hope not because I’m tired of writing this review and listing all of these faults. Oh, I suppose I should list some positive things about “Spider-Man 3.” The special effects do look great—I love the sequence involving an out-of-control crane. And a few people may see the film as a silly action picture. I enjoy silly action pictures, but this is pushing it for me. To wrap up this review, I’ll sum up “Spider-Man 3” in one noun—mess!

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