By Christian DiMartino
Spider-Man 2 is a tremendous film, and it’s among the best in the genre. So of course there was a lot of hype for Spider-Man 3. It managed to be the #1 film of the summer that year, but it was an undeniable letdown. It isn’t necessarily a good film, but I’ll be damned if I didn’t enjoy it, and still do. Let’s call it a guilty pleasure.
Let’s begin. This time, we see Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire in his final outing in the role) continuing his Spider-Man business as usual. He has a wonderful girlfriend, Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst), and so on. Peter also plans on proposing.
Things between him and his former friend Harry (James Franco) are on bad terms, considering, well, Harry believes that he killed his father, the evil Norman (Willem Dafoe). So Peter must deal with this, as Harry is hellbent on steel-toeing his Spider-Ass back to Kentucky.
To add to the mix, Peter finds out that a convict named Flint (Thomas Hayden Church) was also involved in his Uncle Ben’s murder. Flint stumbles across some… experiment… thing and ladi-dadi-da he ends up The Sandman, notorious for… getting in your eyes? I think?
Also, to add to the mix, Peter must also deal with a douchebag named Eddie (Topher Grace), who poses a threat towards his job at The Daily Bugle. THEN Peter must also deal with this black alien goo that possesses him and turns him into a smarmy emo douchebag. Which also effects Eddie, and Peter’s relationship with Mary Jane and… everyone. AH!
Sound like a lot to take in? Well, it is. Spider-Man 3 is a mess, yes, I will admit it. Director Sam Raimi, who worked such wonders on the first two, tries cramming so much into one film that by the end, you’re left panting.
Also, Franco is bad for half the movie. Particularly, when he has amnesia. Remember in Tropic Thunder when Robert Downey Jr. said to never go “full retard?” Well, Franco goes full retard, and yikes.
Also, the moments with Maguire trying to act cool are occasionally cringe-worthy. It is also too long. It is also miscasted. And… and… and…
Okay, so it sounds like I don’t like it. I will say that it isn’t necessarily a good movie. But I still like it. Why? Well I think that for all its missteps, it is still a better film than The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which made the exact same mistakes.
For me, it manages to hit its marks. The action sequences are a knockout. The visual effects team is on fire here. The side characters played by J.K. Simmons, Rosemary Harris, and so on get it right. There are some funny moments. Most of all, it is richly entertaining, and fun, even if by the end of the movie, I sort of rooted for Spider-Man to die.
This isn’t a conventional review, I realize. I felt like I beep-bopped and scatted all over Spider-Man 3. I have good reason, even if I do like it. It’s a mess, but I admire Raimi’s ambition, and I think it’s a shame that the series came to an end, just for them to make another series… that also came to an end. Maybe Spidey’s teaming with The Avengers is the right choice. Either way, it was a fun trilogy while it lasted.