Directed by Sam Raimi.
Written by Sam Raimi, Ivan Raimi, and Alvin Sargent. Based on the comic book by Stan Lee
Starring Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Thomas Haden
Church and Topher Grace.
Release Year: 2007
Review Date: 5/6/07
I liked "Spider-Man", I loved
2"...but, I was very unimpressed by "Spider-Man 3." That came
early, was repeated often, and during a shocking stretch at the
three-quarters mark, I didn't know what this film had turned into.
Truly a creature of excess, "Spider-Man 3"
has a number of problems that I'm sure many of you identified even
in the trailers for this movie. The movie itself follows our
man Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man (Tobey Maguire), as he tries to pin
down the funds for an engagement ring to offer to his babe, Mary
Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst). This is tricky because 1) he's
only a lowly photographer for the Daily Bugle, 2) he's always in
class trying to earn a degree, and 3) he's always at home listening
to his police scanner because he's out fighting crime literally all
the time now. (This is a lot of places to "always" be.)
MJ is a struggling actress on Broadway and is having a hard time
figuring out Peter's commitments. While all of the romantic
struggles are going on, Spidey's got bigger problems: an escaped
convict named Flint Marko (Thomas Haden Church, by far this film's
best consistent human asset) is on the run and considered dangerous
because he likes to rob banks; and, a rival photographer at the
Bugle, Eddie Brock (Topher Grace), loses his job and eventually
wants Parker dead for ratting him out at the paper. Oh, shit,
wait...there's a third bad guy, too, in the form of Peter's best
friend Harry (James Franco), who is STILL pissed off that Peter--who
Harry knows is Spider-Man--killed Harry's dad (Willem Dafoe) in the first movie.
Dubbing himself New Goblin, he uses some of his dad's leftover
technology and comes after Peter, too.
There are backstories behind the bad guys
that you'll see in the movie, and of course, the romantic angle
between Peter and MJ takes up a good portion of this very long
movie. I'm leaving it out because in the scheme of things, it
didn't really matter in this movie--I just wasn't having it during
my screening on Friday afternoon, and neither was my sold-out
audience, which was quiet throughout the film's running time.
I'll give director Sam Raimi credit--he
clearly had the approval of studio management to spend and write
whatever he wanted, and this turns the film into an opus that is
very un-big-summer-movie-y; you can tell from the script that Raimi
set out to make a film that is very different from the norm and in
some ways, he succeeds, especially in establishing the Marko
character. But as the script derails (more on that in a
second), the action really takes a hit in "Spider-Man 3", in almost
all areas: the overblown Spidey-flies-all-over-town-with-his-web
sequences are just tired now; fight scenes between Peter and Harry
don't feel right and the hyper-cut editing is oftentimes blinding; the filmmakers give us many more Spidey-shoots-web-bullets
numbers and those don't feel right; the end sequence is nothing
short of awful; most of the Marko-as-Sandman action scenes LOOK
really cool but aren't very interesting. The action in
"Spider-Man 2" was a marked improvement over the first film, but
that is all lost in this newest sequel.
And, since the action is mostly no good--plus
we get a script that is darker and more serious than the first film--it
is an absolute revelation when we get our requisite Bruce Campbell
cameo mid-film because it's one of the only funny things in this
movie. (Note: I know that people suck because I was the only
one in the theater laughing when Campbell appeared onscreen--he's
the maitre d' at the French restaurant), indicating to me that NO
ONE knows who this guy is. Most people have probably never
even seen any of Campbell's other films; his most famous films are
the "Evil Dead" flicks, but he makes random appearances all the time
in films, mostly B-level action/horror/comedies. Anyway, once
this sequence is out the window, you have to prepare yourself for
lots of sores on your ass as you wait out the final hour-plus of
this ridiculous opus.
None of this film is as ridiculous as the
aforementioned sequence of events where, three-quarters of the way
through the movie, Peter falls in love with the Venom costume and
its effects on his psyche...needless to say, you will either love
this bit or you really, REALLY won't. My theater was shocked
into submission by this bit; by the time Peter is strolling down the
street with his "dark" hairdo (nothing more than some bangs over his
right eye) and making eyes at various women on the street, you
almost can't believe someone allowed this sequence into the movie.
There are many other corny bits in this film (my friend Schmoove did
remind me this week how bad that British news reporter is near the
end...), but none can top this 10-minute stretch and it kills
whatever love you still had for "Spider-Man 3."
At $250 million, "Spider-Man 3" is far and
away the most expensive movie of our time...and, far from the best.
Luckily, it's making a shit-ton of money at the box office.
Too bad it's mostly dogshit, save for those above-average special
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard