“Spider-Man 3” is directed by Sam Raimi and stars Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Topher Grace, Thomas Haden Church, along with Bryce Dallas Howard and this is the third and most recent installment in Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man” series. This film takes place at a time when Peter Parker is still in college, he seems to have his life altogether, right now he’s dating the girl of his dreams, Mary Jane. However, he’s still having problems with his now former companion, Harry Osborn. When this is all going down, a black substance bonds with Peter and it causes inner turmoil while at the same time, needing to save the city of the New York.
I had no idea about this until over half a decade after this film came out, but there are a lot of people who consider this the worst “Spider-Man” film to date. A lot of people are now saying that about “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” but we’ll probably talk more about that when we get to my review for that film. If you want to know where I stand with this film, I’d say that AS A MOVIE, it is the worst crafted in Sam Raimi’s trilogy. However personally, AS FAR AS ENTERTAINMENT VALUE GOES, I’d say this personally is more entertaining than the original Sam Raimi film. Not as much as the second one, but still, this is where I stand with it. Some of you might hate me for saying all of this, but it’s my opinion, not yours? Want to share your opinion? Either leave a comment or do your own review. With that out of the way, let’s dive into some characters.
Tobey Maguire is in this film once again as Peter Parker. One thing I’m sure you’ll agree with me on if you’ve seen all the “Spider-Man” films is that when it comes to Peter’s story, this is the worst of them all. I mean, Tobey Maguire, did a fine job as Parker, but there’s one gigantic thing shown in this movie that just made me think of Peter Parker as emo. I mean, it’s symbolic during the movie and I can tell why it’s there, but it’s a little weird to look at while watching the film. If you are halfway through the movie, just look at Peter’s hair, tell me that doesn’t look emo.
Speaking of Peter’s story, part of it involves Harry Osborn, who is once again played by James Franco. In this movie, Peter and Harry are not getting along, and now Harry has a plan to kill Peter to get him back for “killing Harry’s father.” So now he’s the New Goblin and he’s using similar equipment to what the Green Goblin used in the original “Spider-Man.” Although I will say an improvement this time around is the costume.
If you look at the costume for the New Goblin it looks a little more realistic than what we’ve got with the Green Goblin. It’s not as colorful, but I don’t really care. If you remember the Green Goblin, it wasn’t a TERRIBLE costume, but if you look at it hard enough, you could probably think of it as a costume you’d see on some villain from “Power Rangers” or something.
On the subject of villains, one common complaint I’ve heard about this film is that it has three villains. Personally, I don’t mind the idea of having three villains, but I will say that the idea could have been executed better. Would I rather have one villain in the film as opposed to three? Sure, we might get to that eventually.
The villain we’re gonna talk about now is Sandman, played by Thomas Haden Church. The first scene with this guy actually also introduces his wife, who seems to hate him and his daughter, who seems to miss him. His other identity is Flint Marko, and he escaped from prison. I also will say that every single fight with this guy was fun to watch, especially the train sequence, which actually makes me want to say something. The “Spider-Man” film before this one also had an action sequence which took place on a train, is this one as good as that one? No. Although I will admit, the scene does a good job at showing the characters’ powers, especially Sandman’s, and it reveals a key difference between regular Spidey and black Spidey, at least from what I noticed, which was executed quite well if you ask me.
The last of the villains we’ll talk about is Venom. Out of all the villains in this film, this was the weakest of the bunch, and he really didn’t need to be in this film. By the way, spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen this movie. A character in this film who goes by the name of Edward Brock Jr is actually under Venom’s mask, this happens by Peter struggling to take his black suit off, a black suit which was formed by a symbiotic life form bonding to him, but being right near a church bell will do the trick. While this may have made having the black suit plot somewhat necessary, I would have been fine with a black suit story with Venom out of the picture. I will admit that Venom is scary at some points in the film, but it doesn’t change how useless he is. Want to know something else? One thing I noticed throughout this film is that the villains all are never referred to by their villainous name. Parker already knows their real names so he uses those in conversation with them. I mean, as far as I remember, Parker also never referred to Doc Ock or the Green Goblin by villainous names either, but at least other people in the previous “Spider-Man” movies did so someone would know who they were as a villain. I do remember Spidey calling the Green Goblin “Gobby” one time and he also once referred to the same guy as “Goblin” later on, but that’s all I recall.
Let’s also talk about Flint Marko’s transformation into Sandman, I won’t go into detail, but before it happens, Marko falls into a pit of sand and a machine is turning on above him. We then cut to a shot in a lab containing a bunch of scientists, they say that there is something in the pit, one person assumes that it is a bird and it’ll probably fly away when the machine is engaged. OK, I just want to know, have you EVER confused a human being for a bird? Maybe if Big Bird from “Sesame Street” was in that pit I’d understand but as far as I know Big Bird doesn’t fly!
Bryce Dallas Howard is also in this movie, and she plays Gwen Stacy. As far as her performance goes, it’s not that bad. In this movie, she goes to college with Peter and the two are lab partners. The movie never goes any deeper into that but that is part of a relationship drama subplot that’s thrown into this film between Peter and Mary Jane. Now that I admit it, this movie does have a lot of stories to tell and wrap up all at once. I admit, the way it all wrapped up was OK to me, I can’t say I’m mad about it.
Speaking of Mary Jane, I’m surprised I haven’t talked about her yet. MJ starts off in this film as a star in a play. Unfortunately, when critics go see her on stage during the play, one critic said in a newspaper said Mary Jane was a little too quiet while performing for everyone to hear. MJ gets frustrated by this and she feels down on herself. She actually comes by Peter’s apartment to share the news, Peter points out that this guy is a critic and his opinion doesn’t matter and she’s talented. I will say that as a critic, I know I sometimes give some flak to people or movies on here, but at the end of the day, I may as well just be an asshole who watches movies. My opinion doesn’t really matter, it’s just out there for everyone to see.
Once again, I gotta talk about J Jonah Jameson, because why the heck not? I mentioned before that JK Simmons, the guy who plays this character, is my favorite actor ever. I’m willing to bet that even if you didn’t like this movie, you will still say JK Simmons was great in it just like in the two earlier “Spider-Man” films. In this movie, my favorite scene with Jameson was the one where he had to take a pill. Betty Brant, played by Elizabeth Banks, sends him an alert to take his pill through an intercom. This is actually set off by a buzzer, and it’s the same buzzer you hear in “Spider-Man 2” for the same device although this time it actually vibrates the desk whenever going off. Jameson gets a couple of alerts not to take a certain pill he’s about to pick up. He points to one container of pills which has the one he’s supposed to take, Brant nods signaling Jameson has the right pill, then the buzzer goes off again as he’s about to take it and the desk shakes once more, and this time, some of the pills just go flying out of the container just before Brant says “Drink plenty of water.” It’s hysterical.
Now if you have paid attention paragraphs ago, I mentioned that this movie doesn’t really need Venom. I think this movie could have been slightly better if this film introduced no villain and just had Peter and Harry go toe to toe, or if Harry and Sandman are the villains. All the other characters can exist too, they don’t have to, but they can, just as long as nobody turns into Venom, all will be OK. With the first idea, it can start out the same way, be carried out in similar ways throughout the film, but it should all end with an emotional battle between Harry and Peter, maybe Harry sacrifices himself in the end after realizing what he’s doing isn’t worth fighting for. With the second idea, the same thing could happen, although this time, Harry lives, realizes what he’s doing isn’t worth fighting for, the two are friends again like old times, reports of Sandman are spreading like crazy, maybe Sandman is approaching an area where the two are, and now the two have to take him down together. In this circumstance, I wouldn’t care what happens to Harry, he could live, he could die, whatever.
Also, Danny Elfman is back for this film, although this time around, he’s not the composer, Christopher Young is taking that part instead. Danny Elfman actually composed music for the previous two “Spider-Man” films, which was magnificent in both films, but it doesn’t mean I don’t love Young’s score. Some of my favorite pieces throughout the film include the music playing during the first fight between Harry and Peter, the music used for when black Spidey’s introduced and the train fight music. Also, once again, we have another “Spider-Man” film with 3 minute long opening credits, which once again, I don’t mind. I love watching them and they have great music behind them so I really don’t care.
If you ask me, I wouldn’t entirely blame Sam Raimi for the final product we received, because he even mentions that he didn’t originally want Venom in the movie simply because Raimi himself wasn’t fascinated with the character, Sony wanted this to happen and so Raimi shoehorned him in. Also, as I mentioned, a lot of people don’t like this movie, and you know what? Sam Raimi doesn’t like it either. Here’s an actual quote spoken by Sam Raimi on a Nerdist podcast with Chris Hardwick concerning “Spider-Man 3”: “It’s a movie that just didn’t work very well. I tried to make it work, but I didn’t really believe in all the characters, so that couldn’t be hidden from people who loved Spider-Man. If the director doesn’t love something, it’s wrong of them to make it when so many other people love it. I think [raising the stakes after Spider-Man 2] was the thinking going into it, and I think that’s what doomed us. I should’ve just stuck with the characters and the relationships and progressed them to the next step and not tried to top the bar.”
Also, one thing I didn’t like about this movie is that it didn’t show Peter’s spider-sense tingling, this is a minor complaint, but I just like hearing the sound of the spider-sense.
Another minor complaint I have about this movie is the jazz club scene, I mean, based one what I’m witnessing in the movie, the scene flows naturally and doesn’t cause any holes in the story, but the whole vibe of the scene doesn’t really fit in a “Spider-Man” movie. You know the auction scene in “Batman & Robin?” This isn’t as cringey as that or anything, but it’s just somewhat out of place. The end of this scene is kind of important, but you have to wait four or so minutes to get through this out of place scene to get to that.
In the end, I don’t really hate this movie, I know a lot of people do, I know some people can’t stand this. I get it, but to me, it’s not that bad. I said it once, and I’ll say it once more, as a movie, it’s the worst crafted in Sam Raimi’s trilogy, as a piece of entertainment, this is better than the original film from my perspective, so I’ll say that “Spider-Man 3” gets a 7/10. This movie has problems, for sure, but when I watch this film I notice way more positives as opposed to negatives. Thanks for reading this review, as far as upcoming reviews go I’m hoping to go see “The Circle” sometime soon and perhaps “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.” Also guys, if you want to read my other “Spider-Man” related reviews, I have links to them down below. Next month I’m gonna be tackling “The Amazing Spider-Man” which is the first of the two Marc Webb Spider-Man films. Stay tuned for that along with other great content coming soon! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!
“SPIDER-MAN” REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/03/18/spider-man-your-friendly-neighborhood-2002-movie/?frame-nonce=34b7344400
“SPIDER-MAN 2” REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/04/14/spider-man-2-best-superhero-movie-to-date-spoilers-for-this-movie-spider-man-1/?frame-nonce=34b7344400