Despite two relatively successful entries into the "Spider-Man" series, with high marks going towards "2", the third and now final entry of this part of the franchise is a bust. It has its moments and its still a fun watch, but it never touches the impact that the first two were able to pull. The details are all there, its just the foundations for "Spider-Man 3" that are faulty.
Peter Parker (Maguire) is finally finding a balance with his double life as Spider-Man. New York roots for him as a crime fighter. His grades are way up. And Mary Jane (Dunst) knows his secret and chose to stay with him. Things are looking solid. When a weird black substance adheres to his Spidey suit though, he starts seeing things a whole new way. With a few new villains sitting on the horizon, one an old friend (Franco) and one a new thief made of sand (Church) he might find himself going down a darker path with his life. With his life suddenly coming apart, he realizes he has an even bigger enemy to fight, himself.
There is a lot going on with "Spider-Man 3". Pushed to the brink of absurd pacing, the filmmakers tried to make this entry so big and so epic that they forgot what made the first two great - a good story. There are so many plots and subplots going on in this film, its no wonder when they tried to weave it together it didn't stick. With so many ways to make this film good (focusing on the forgiveness aspect of the character arcs for one), "Spider-Man 3" leaps over the good parts to get to the more exciting ones. Not that the action isn't good, if you love motion sickness, but for the glitz and visual style of Raimi to work then there has to be a good story to build on. That just isn't present here.
Part of this poorly constructed foundation is built on its lack of building new characters. We are introduced to a slew of new faces and none of them have the proper time on screen to actually give us anything. Sandman is a great villain whose obsession with finding a cure for his daughter should provoke some sort of empathy from the audience and make a great duel morality issue. They don't use that though! They also add in Franco as a secondary villain and in the last act they bring in Venom/Eddie Brock (Grace) to make three. Its way too fucking much for them to build on. What made the first two films so good were their focuses on the hero/villain relationship and how it builds on the characters and Spider-Man's story. They completely ignore this with this film and its insanely frustrating.
Other than its substandard plot and story, this film isn't THAT bad. It's a fun watch with Raimi doing his visual feast for the eyes and bringing out all of that great awkward humor (don't even ask me about the 'bad' Parker sequence...that shit is just annoying) and the action is breathtaking at times if somewhat at its most unrealistic.
The film is fun, quirky, and still a great watch for the family, but "Spider-Man 3" collapses under the weight of some serious issues in its storytelling and plot. Compared to the second film its basic and utter crap even if it has some redeeming qualities. It's even sadder that it was the final one when it brings up some very cool new ideas and places for the series to go. Easily the worst in the series.
Written By Matt Reifschneider
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