With the imminent release of The Amazing Spider-Man #2, here is what we thought of Spider-Man 3. This is essentially the review that we wrote back then, with the addition of just a couple of (slight) alterations, as well as a postscript of sorts.
With great marketing come endless sequels
By Robert J. Sodaro
Directed by: Sam Raimi
Well, at the time, it was the biggest opening for a film ever, nearly a two-and-a-half-hour runtime jam-packed full of state-of-the-art slam-bang SPFX and villains stacked up like cordwood. Yep, that’s what triquels are all about (or so we’ve been told). Bigger, badder, and further over the top. OK, OK, you all recall the story, Peter Parker (Maguire) is riding through his glory days with his webbed alter ego as the hero of the Big Apple. Spidey is beloved by the inhabitants of the City, and nothing can go wrong…or can it?
Peter wants to marry MJ (Dunst) and seeks his Aunt’s blessing, only, before he can pop the question, he is attacked by a new Goblin, who is none other than his best friend Harry (Franco), son of the original Goblin, Norman Osborn. As if that isn’t enough he is also beset by an alien symbiote fallen from space, as well as a new foeman, Flint Marko (Haden Church) who is calling himself Sandman because he can alter his bodily form into sand, and a rival photographer named Eddie Brock, Jr. (Grace) who is gunning for his spot as The Bugle staff photog. Not to mention there is a new girl in his life, Gwen Stacy (Bryce Dallas Howard).
Yeah, this film has everything including the kitchen sink (not to mention the requisite cameo by co-creator Stan “The Man” Lee. Only, that was (if you are to listen to some — not, however, this reviewer) part of the problem. There has been some speculation that this is not the film that Director Sam Rami wanted to make, but was “forced” to by the pressures of, well going bigger, bolder, and farther.
Thus, we have several things going all at once. There is the soap-opera melodrama of MJ as the scorned Broadway starlet vs. Gwen the up-and-coming model and Peter’s beautiful blonde lab partner. There is Flint Marko’s attempt to steal enough money to pay for treatment for his sick daughter gone bad (not once but twice) as well as his implication in the death of dear old Uncle Ben (way back in Spidey 1). We also have Harry attempting to seek revenge on Peter for the death of his own father presumably at the hands of Peter. Then, just to make things really interesting, we have the whole Eddie Brock/alien symbiote brouhaha (who, by the way doesn’t show up until way past half way through the film and is never actually called Venom during the course of the film).
Nope, this really isn’t the way that Rami would have preferred to have made this film, unfortunately this is the one that we were given. We also have the mile-mannered Peter personality being overshadowed by the aggressive nature of the symbiote and we get to see the nerdy Peter go all John Travolta/Saturday Night Fever on us (trust us, as a reader of the comic for over 45 years; we could have lived quite happily without ever having seen this.)
Forced to choose between the seductive power of his new black suit and the compassionate hero he used to be, Peter must overcome his own personal demons come to threaten not only Peter but everyone he loves. Sure, we’re objective enough to admit that the film has problems, but, truth to tell, there is more good stuff in this film than bad stuff, and it was still the blockbuster film of the Summer of ‘07 that we all went to see, and see again. Needless to say, we are feeling that the next Spider-Man film is either going to be Superman Quest for Peace (universally accepted as a dog) or Batman Begins (universally hailed as one of the best comicbook films turned to film ever made).
Unfortunately, neither was quite true. Still, in retrospect. This film simply doesn’t hold up as well as does either the initial Spidey film or the Second outing with Doc Ock, and while we did admittedly have issues with the re-boot of the character in The Amazing Spider-Man, we are still hopeful enough to still be looking forward to this weekend and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 will be everything that Spider-Man 3 and Amazing 1 weren’t.
Robert J. Sodaro has been reviewing films for some 30 years. During that time, his movie reviews and articles have appeared in numerous print publications, as well as on the web. Subscribe to receive regular articles and movie reviews.