Spider-Man 3 (2007) - Review

The Spider-Man films have been a huge box office success, and I don’t believe there is any film more anticipated this summer than Spider-Man 3. I have tried to stay away from the reviews of the film, and go into it with only my own expectations to contend with…I managed to stay away from anything specific from the reviews, but couldn’t help but notice the overwhelmingly negative responses from several different outlets. So going in, I couldn’t help but be a little worried that this film wasn’t going to live up to previous two films, and the source material it was inspired by.

I am sad to say that my worries were well founded. Spider-Man 3 is, without a doubt, going to be the biggest disappointment of the summer. Maybe the year. The movie fails on so many levels, but before you get your pitch forks out, let me explain a little…and THEN you can get out your sharp pointy hay bailing weapons…

Ye Be Warned…Thar Be Spoilers Ahead….

I think the first problem with this movie, is that it tried to cram about 200 issues worth of comics into 3 hours – plus tie up all the loose ends from the previous two films. It was too much story to tell, and ultimately the entire film suffered. On top of that, you can literally see TWO films in this movie. There is the movie Sam Rami wanted to make (which was the story of the second Green Goblin), and the story the producers demanded be told (Venom). It is very clear which story Rami was interested in, and which one he wasn’t.

The story of the “New Goblin” as he’s called on all the merchandise, would have made a great movie on its own. As it stands in this film, it feels rushed, schizophrenic, and completely unfocused. One second Harry is on a mad quest for revenge…then he bumps his head and forgets about it for about 45 minutes…then, after MJ decides to head over to his house and flirt with him for an evening (because she and Peter are fighting, and if MJ is anything in these films…it’s loose), she caps the night off by kissing him then running out of the place. Well, evidently that set him off, because then “daddy” started talking to him, telling him he had to rip Peter’s life apart…so by the time MJ gets home, Gobby Jr is there threatening to kill Peter if she doesn’t break it off.

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So she does. She leaves Peter, then Harry tells Peter that he’s the person she’s been seeing, and they’re going to be together…obviously Peter is devastated. Ultimately it leads to a knock down drag out between Harry and Emo Peter (that’s Parker under the influence of the black suit…and apparently The Cure), where Emo Pete ends up letting a pumpkin bomb off on Harry’s face.

Now…after ALL of that…once Pete is back to normal and Venom is on the loose with Sandman (and they, of course, capture MJ to lure Spidey in)…not 15 minutes of the movie has passed, and Peter is in Harry’s house asking for help….and of course, Harry comes around and saves the day, giving his life, with his friends beside him when he finally bites it…

Now…ahem…what the hell?

If they had managed to pace that out over 3 hours as a story unto itself, I think it might have worked, but as it is, I don’t have clue one as to why Peter would go to a guy who he’s just almost killed, and ask for help. I just don’t get it. It was poorly constructed, and poorly executed.

The Venom story is almost not there. It’s as close to not there as Rami could get it, and still have him in the movie. The black costume doesn’t even come into play until about halfway through the movie, and once it does, little to no time is spent explaining what it is, what it does, or how “the power” that it gives the wearer works.

It is also AMAZING how in all the world, a meteor carrying the symbiote just HAPPENs to land next to Peter in Central Park…and Eddie Brock HAPPENS to walk into the same church as Peter, at the same TIME as Peter, to acquire the symbiote.

The character of Venom is in the movie for a total of maybe 15 minutes. Never once to do you get a really good look at him…it’s all quick cuts…he never uses the term “we” – and every time he talks, they pull the Venom mask away and reveal Topher’s face…so we don’t even really get to see him that much. He’s reduced to a “B” to “C” level threat in this film, compared to how he has always been portrayed in other media.

Topher Grace is severely wasted in this film. Having him play Venom was a HUGE mistake…because Topher SHOULD be playing Spider-Man. If Sony was looking to replace Tobey in a 4th installment…Topher Grace should have been the #1 choice. He would have been PERFECT…but, instead, he was wasted on Venom – a character that wasn’t even given a chance to matter in this movie.

Another wasted character is Gwen Stacy. The second most important woman in Peter Parker’s entire history is reduced to a girl Peter takes out on date to make MJ jealous. That’s it. It’s a complete waste of the character.

Then there is the Sandman. His character really goes no where, and only seems to serve as an interesting and costly set of special effects. His back story is interesting, and would have served as a great subplot in either a Goblin focused film, or a Venom focused film, but here it feels like a shoddy third wheel that will only take you in a circle. It doesn’t go anywhere…and having him be the one who shot Uncle Ben is completely unnecessary and ridiculous. Not only does it add unnecessary plot to the film (and I understand it was to fuel Peter’s hatred, but that could have been done in other ways, OR it could have turned out that Sandman DIDN’T do it in the end, as it is…it’s completely unnecessary), but it fundamentally changes Spider-man’s origin for no reason.

Now, before we wrap this up, let’s talk about some stylistic choices. The Saturday Night Fever bit in the middle of the film, I assume, is supposed to play the same way that “Rain Drops Keep Fallin” did in the second film. It doesn’t work. It is a stupid bit of comedy at at a time in the film where it is neither needed nor useful…and the Jazz Club scene was something straight out of The Mask. It was poorly done, and when put togther – these two scenes create a complete mockery of the effect the black costume is supposed to be having on Peter.

If you can’t tell by now…I didn’t like it. I don’t recommend you go see it, and I won’t be buying the DVD. I am extremely disappointed in this film.

Grade: D-

Want a different view of the film? Then take a look at what Filmsy had to say about it by clicking here.

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