Spider-Man 3 (2007) – movie review

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Movie Review by EDF

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

Director: Sam Raimi

The ever popular SPIDER-MAN series rolls on with number 3 and the question that everyone will want to know is if it manages to progress and improve on the first two. SPIDER-MAN 3 will be the first in a long line of summer blockbuster movies that will have hordes of people flocking to the cinema regardless of quality. While part one was exciting enough and took in a lot of money at the box office to guarantee a second movie, there was enough time for those involved to tweak out the rough edges from the first movie. The second movie was co-written by SMALLVILLE creators Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, who installed more depth, emotion and excitement and it showed in the finished product. Even though the story for the third movie was written by the Raimi brothers, Sam and Ivan, they did not have a finished script by the time shooting commenced.

Beginning with a montage of the first two movies, we find Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) enjoying life with Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) as he plans to propose marriage to her. Mary Jane is about to star in a Broadway musical and things could not be any better for Parker. Meanwhile Harry Osborn (James Franco) is planning to avenge his father’s death by destroying Parker. So its business as usual when Harry, dressed as the new Goblin, goes after Parker and he is injured during his skirmish with Spidey. This results in Harry losing his memory with all thoughts of revenge wiped clean and Harry is friendly with Parker once again.

Flint Marko (Thomas Haden Church) escapes from prison and while attempting to avoid the police, he trespasses onto a testing facility, where he gets caught up in an experiment that breaks down his molecular structure and his cells become mixed in with sand. Now known as Sandman, he proceeds to rob banks and armoured cars in an attempt to make his family financially secure. As Spider-Man thwarts the Sandman’s efforts at every turn, Sandman will need some help to defeat Spider-Man.

Meanwhile a meteorite falls to earth and a crawling black substance attaches itself to Spider-Man, turning his suit black. Feeling more powerful and ruthless, Parker keeps the new black suit on under his clothes and goes about humiliating Mary Jane who has just dumped Parker. With Parker now latching himself onto rival photographer Eddie Brock’s (Topher Grace) girlfriend, Gwen Stacy (Bryce Dallas Howard), Parker realises his behaviour is hurting others. Parker somehow dumps the ever clinging black suit that just happens to find a more willing host who will use his new powers to get revenge on Parker. With the world seemingly against him, who can help Spider-Man in his hour of need?

There is something about the third episode of a franchise that brings about a slight dip in quality. From STAR WARS to X-MEN, and even the BATMAN series from the 1990’s, they just don’t seem to carry the same excitement as before. Whether it is just the familiarity of the characters or the writers getting lazy and sticking with a formula, it is difficult to single out exactly what’s to blame. Regardless, this is quite a good superhero movie but compared to the previous two, there are times where dramatically it nearly becomes the worst out of the three. The good points are Thomas Haden Church’s performance and of course Bruce Campbell’s cameo that nearly steals the show. The action sequences are dazzlingly well executed and exciting but there is a creeping air of convenience that seems to tie certain events in the movie together and this is where you kind of slap yourself on the forehead in disbelief. One example is Harry’s butler, where did he come from all of a sudden? There is no doubt that this will be a huge hit paving the way for SPIDER-MAN 4. Right now, Sam Raimi is a bit too comfortable helming this series. If Raimi is to make SPIDER-MAN 4, maybe he should consider shooting EVIL DEAD 4 first and get his edge back, which is sorely missing from SPIDER-MAN 3.

4 out of 6 stars