Spider-Man 3

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Movie Review by Dr Kuma

Starring: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Thomas Haden Church

Director: Sam Raimi

Going into this film, one question came to mind – could Sam Raimi rather than Peter Parker still weave a web strong enough to capture a fresh audience? The answer is yes, despite parts of this film playing like a soap opera rather than an all out action bonanza. SPIDER-MAN 3 is big in every spidey sense, including its running time. Although there seems to be more emphasis in the comic of comic strip, the whole thing is as dizzying as a trip via spidey wrist web as it sweeps you from building to building.

The story revolves around the fact that this time everything seems to be going well for Peter Parker (Spider-Man/Toby Maguire) -so much so that he has finally plucked up the courage to ask the love of his life Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) to marry him. However, on the night that she falls into his web to wed a strange meteor crashes to earth near to where the couple are star spotting from a web tree hammock. In a way very similar to THE BLOB, the alien life force attaches itself to Peter’s trusty old Vespa and hitches a ride back to Peters pad, where it morphs with his spidey suite, bonding him with the alien symbiote. This change thrives on Peter’s dark side, reflected in the fact that Spider-Man is now as black as the Dark Knight. Once he finds out his uncle’s real killer is still alive he seeks revenge but unluckily for him, than man in question Marko (the always excellent Thomas Haden Church of SIDEWAYS fame) turns out to have been handily transformed into The Sandman! If that wasn’t enough to be getting on with his ex best friend Harry Osborn (James Franco) becomes the New Goblin intent of killing him and stealing his girl. Along with all this Peter has to deal with manipulative new photographer Eddie Brock (Topher Grace) who is intent on stealing Peter’s job. Unlike Peter, the dark alien goo takes to Eddie, transforming him to Venom- a very nasty character, who joins up with Sandman to rid Manhattan of its beloved hero!!

All this and the inclusion of Gwen Stacy (Bryce Dallas Howard) as another love interest and you can see that the extended running time is perhaps down to the fact that this film could well have been parts 3-6! As said it’s all very entertaining but because of the amount of story it’s trying to cram in, it comes across very disjointed in parts. Fans will no doubt love it and the appearance of Bruce Campbell will only add to the name checking (he is easily the best thing in this film bar Maguire). The scenery chewing of Willem Dafoe got laughs when it shouldn’t have, as did the really awful performance of James Franco – perhaps overacting runs in the Goblin family. Flattening his hair and applying mascara to show his dark side does not make Toby Maguire cool either – it just makes him look more like a geek than before.

All in all this is great fun but Raimi (of whom I’m a huge fan) needs to reign back a bit for part 4 – less is more and this is just TOO much.

Dr Kuma’s verdict: This time the rollercoaster ride is slightly too long and like some of the dialogue may leave you a little nauseous, but go and see it for the superb Sandman effects, they are simply faultless.

4 out of 6 stars