Sam Raimi is back for his third instalment in his Spider-Man franchise with Spider-Man 3. For Peter Parker life is good, Spider-Man is a hero; he is in a relationship with Mary Jane who is staring in an off Broadway musical and he has found the balance in his life that he struggled with in the previous movie. The happiness cannot last though as Peter is attacked by a New Goblin, this time it is his friend Harry who during the conflict hits his head and loses his memory. Peter also learns that the man who really murdered his uncle has escaped from prison and has gained the power to turn into a sand monster. As Spider-Man battles his new opponents and Peter Parker is confronted by new rivals and challenges. Everything changes when a meteorite crashes into Central Park carrying the symbiote that attaches itself to Peter putting everything he stands for in jeopardy. Spider-Man 3 sees the return of Tobey Maguire, James Franco Kirsten Dunst, Rosemary Leslie and JK Simmons with new comers, Topher Grace, Bryce Dallas Howard and Thomas Haden Church joining the franchise.
It is amazing how clever the first two are and how lazy this movie is and how everything they did right in the first movies they did wrong in the third movie. In my previous review I commented on how the first two movies only have one villain, meaning the villain is fleshed out and the conflict makes sense. This movie throws that out with three ridiculous and underdeveloped bad guys that are more there to hinder Spider-Man than act as villains. Rather than furthering the story of Peter Parker balancing the duty of being Spider-Man and having a relationship with MJ we get a ridiculous soap opera with two people who look like they can’t stand each other. Perhaps one of the biggest let downs is the lack of story development and explanation of what is happening. I don’t understand the symbiote works. It is said to amplify characteristics in its host but turns Peter emo, makes women more attracted to him, makes him awkwardly dance and gives him uncontrollable rage. In simple words he becomes a dick. When the symbiote pairs with Eddie Brock to create venom he just becomes a bad guy, that’s it. This is just further proof that this movie did not handle its story or its characters at all.
This is perhaps the biggest issue I take with this movie is just how unlikeable the characters are in Spider-Man 3. You take these characters the audience has grown to love over two movies and remove all the positive traits and good will that had been built up. Peter starts out as an arrogant and ungracious hero in love with his fame. People think the character loses it when he becomes emo Peter Parker but that character was hard to watch from the beginning. For some unknown reason Sam Raimi decided that this was going to be the movie that Mary Jane became a main character. Which would be perfectly fine if not for the fact her story arch is pointless and annoying. When Peter tries to help she snaps at him, she doesn’t tell him about losing her job then goes and kisses Harry. The film also tries to build sympathy for her because people say she can’t sing but Kirsten Dunst can’t sing, so I agree with the critics. They weren’t being rude they were stating a fact. The second movie teased Harry, following in his fathers footsteps and becoming the Goblin and that is what happens, but we also get a melodramatic performance from James Franco. He felt that he was in the same soap opera that Mary Jane was in. He loses his memory only to fall in love with his best friends girlfriend before learning his best friend killed his father, just a tad soap operatic. None of the original characters offer positives that the audience fell in love with in the first film.
Eddie Brock is a new character that tries to build sympathy with the audience after he was fired for faking a photo. He did the completely wrong thing and we are meant to feel bad that his life fell apart. For someone playing a major Spider-Man villain in Venom, his motivations and character were underdeveloped. Gwen Stacy is another character the audience just won’t care about She is just in this movie to make Brock and Mary Jane jealous and that’s it. Gwen Stacy is meant to be a great friend and love of Peter Parker but this just felt like she was put in to build relationship drama. There’s not a lot to say about the Sandman, there is a back story about his daughter that is a typical story but it is underdone, and he is also shoe horned into the story as being the other killer of Uncle Ben. They just lost momentum trying to bring it all back together.
Clearly this shows that Raimi had some great ideas, as this was at least 2 or 3 stories rolled into one. We have the story of the symbiote with Black Spider-Man, emo Peter Parker and Venom. We get The Sandman story line with a new connection to the death of Uncle Ben and then we get whatever soap opera Mary Jane and Harry are in. This is one of those movies you look back on and think there was good in here before everything got thrown in. The Venom story could have worked if the characters were fleshed out, the Sandman could have worked if we got to know the players. The Mary Jane and Harry story would not work though as it was just dumb and a pointless attempt to insert drama into what had been a sophisticated look at the life of being a superhero.
Sometimes you remember a movie a certain way and when you revisit it you realise it wasn’t the same as you remember it. That is not the case with Spider-Man 3. I remembered this movie being bad and it is as bad as I remembered it. From the first moment the movie started the graphics did not look as good in this as the two previous films despite having access to newer technology. The characters are nowhere near as strong or likeable in this version and the movie seems to have lost what made the first two so special.
Skip it. This movie does not offer any conclusion to the franchise, will not give you anything more than the previous two movies. It is sad but true.
Thanks for reading my reviews of Spider-Man 3. What do you think of the movie? Let me know in the comments below.