on May 4, 2007
Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) has finally found a balance between his life as Spider-Man and another with his long-time girlfriend M.J. Watson (Kirsten Dunst). However, his former long-time friend Harry Osbourne (James Franco), is still upset after finding out that Peter killed his father (Willem Dafoe), and donning his father's Goblin outfits, he plans to do anything possible to see him reduced to patheticness. Of course, Peter recently found out the real man behind his Uncle Ben's (Cliff Robertson) death: ex-con Flint Marko (Thomas Haden Church), who was recently involved in an experiment gone wrong, and has become the Sandman. And a symbiote from space has infected Peter, turning him into an arrogant, overly confident punk who gets frisky with the New York captain's (James Cromwell) daughter Gwen Stacy (Bryce Dallas Howard) and embarasses co-worker Eddie Brock (Topher Grace) to the point of revenge. Eventually, a bit from the symbiote has also turned Eddie into the monstrous Venom. So Peter must make up with M.J., quench Harry's thirst for revenge, stop the symbiote from taking over, and discover why Marko killed Ben.
Right up there with Bryan Singer's "X-Men", the "Spider-Man" movies have been the epitome of superhero movies since it started. Throwing in high-quality acting talent, a twisted sense of humor (from the likes of J.K. Simmons as arrogant Daily Bugle chief J. Jonah Jameson and Bruce Campbell playing different roles), affecting drama, slick special effects, and slam-bang action, director Sam Raimi has created a treat for the eyes and the heart that would lead up to "Spider-Man 3". In work since "Spider-Man 2", this is Raimi's most ambitious, expensive (the budget comes in at a whopping $250 million) project. And the wait was worth it.
It's also long. Clocking in at two hours AND thirty minutes, "SM3" is loaded with everything. Raimi includes another batch of villains to the process, which include New Goblin, Sandman, and Venom, with aliases of misunderstood chums (Harry Osbourne is filled with passion to kill Peter Parker/Spider-Man, whom he believes to be his father's killer; Flint Marko is an ex-con who does whatever it takes to help his ailing daughter, even though his wife totally despises him; Eddie Brock is upset at Peter Parker for exposing him of a fraud, and a symbiote from Peter's suit turns him into the maniacal Venom). Raimi doesn't mind letting the viewer care for them, even though they're doing awful things (the Marko subplot is the most effective).
Of course, he throws in a bunch of useless subplots. The revealing of Marko as the man who killed Uncle Ben, while weaving into the story, doesn't seem satisfactory. The Gwen Stacy subplot seems like an attempt of soap opera ridiculousness, something that the series knew well of steering clear from. And Mary Jane Watson still has no luck keeping a job (this whole subplot is getting old fast, even though Dunst manages to leave with a shred of dignity thanks to some effective line-readings). It seems like Raimi was afraid that his iconic franchise might come to an end (which it fitfully does), considering rumors going about, that he decided to throw everything but the kitch sink. Sharp line readings and good story-telling aside, maybe they should've saved some of that stuff for the recent video game adaptation.
As usual, star Tobey Maguire is sharp and intense as he's ever been. With Peter Parker faced with alot of drama in his life - losing M.J., turning into an egomaniac that would put Tom Cruise to shame, and fighting off his enemies - the actor helps all of Parker's actions ring true. While he does overplay his hand with a dose of weepy scenes, that doesn't mean he continues sharing great chemistry with co-star Dunst (who still works her magic, but that ain't no surpris).
The rest of the cast fares well. James Franco, coming off a series of bombs ("Annapolis", "Flyboys", and "Tristan & Isolde"), reclaims his powerful, brooding performance as Harry. Topher Grace, J.K. Simmons, and Bruce Campbell (now playing a French waiter) provide plenty of comic relief in their roles. Thomas Haden Church, known for playing the cocky friend of Paul Giamatti's character in "Sideways", is affecting in his role as an ex-con who may or may not have purposely killed Uncle Ben. Other memorable performances also come from smaller roles played by Elizabeth Banks (Betty Brandt) and Bill Nunn (Robbie) among others.
I'll go out on a limb here and say that "SM3" is a delgiht. The film ends on a note that the trilogy has come full circle, which probably explains why so many characters and subplots have been added. If so, hat's off to Raimi for making one of the best comic book movies of all time.
on August 13, 2012
I want start off by saying that I like this movie. Probally more than you do. With that said, I'll also add that it does serve its purpose, which is to prove that any Spider-Man movie will have great special effects, fine character development, okay acting, and make a shitload of money. Spider-Man 3 is a good film in its own right, but only a decent one when put in the tall dark shadow of its amazing, and incredibly revolutionary predecessors. It does not add much of value to the franchise, aside from introducing some of the most popular characters in Spidey's publication history. That said, those characters aren't given the attention and respect they deserve. They feel more like late additions that were shoehorned in. Overall the movie was not terrible though. It was definitely better than both of the Fantastic 4 movies, Ghost Rider, Elektra, and Daredevil, as well as some other less than savory comic book adaptations. The only thing that really held this movie down were the, not one, but two unnecessary dance scenes, and underdeveloped characters. The worst of the two dance scenes was Peter walking down the street like he was in a music video. The second dance scene reminded me of the jazz flute scene in Anchorman. That should never be. Those scenes made me feel like Sam Raimi was too comfortable with the fact that the movie would make alot of money, and there was no major competition in the superhero/comic book movie department, besides a few hits and a couple of upcoming challengers.
That may have been passable in the summer of 2007, but now we have The Avengers saga and The Dark Knight trilogy that have set the bar so high that movies like them should be treated with the utmost respect and care. The addition of Gwen Stacy seemed rather pointless to me, unless they planned on ellaborating on the love triangle between her, Peter, and Mary Jane from the comics in later installments that never came to fruition. The running time was noticably longer than the previous two films, and it felt like a bloated Thanksgiving turkey. There's no reason the two dance scenes should have made the final cut. Some editors and directors don't understand what truly qualifies as a "Deleted Scene". Aside from the dance scenes, perhaps the biggest issue I have with this film is the treatment of my all-time favorite Spidey villain, Venom. Venom was so obviously a late addition to the script that it made me mad. And in addition to that, he was not the towering, manacing presence that we know him as. I must admit though, I loved the wonderful, yet very predictable team-ups of Spider-Man and the New Goblin versus Sandman and Venom. That really brought something to the movie when it was in desperate need of a kick-start. Spidey 3 was not the disaster it has so often been called by geeks and armchair critics alike, but it wasn't an achievement either.
Now for the Blu-ray treatment of this rather mid-level, if slightly above average comic book film. Simply put, it's reference quality. The audio and video transfers are pretty much flawless. Unlike the re-releases of the first two films, this one actually loses great extras that were on the first releases. Because of that, I have to dock it considerably in the extras department. All said, I Recommend it, but get the first release.
"Spiderman 3" falls victim to a common ailment of most hero movie franchises. If one villain is good, then two would be great, But if two would be great, then three would be fabulous! (Think the horribly overstuffed "Batman & Robin" or "Superman III.") So while I really enjoyed the third installment in the Spiderman series, I kept getting the feeling that I was watching what would have made two great movies crammed into a single average one.
For instance, is Thomas Haden Church's Sandman necessary to this film? Granted he lets the dark Spiderman loose for a bit, but both The New Goblin and Venom get their turns as bad spidey bait. It also sucked points away by convoluting plot points and weakly re-writing the circumstances of Uncle Ben's death. The movie's pace would have significantly improved had the conflicts been more limited to Peter, Harry and Eddie Brock. Since the main focus was on Harry and Peter's attention to Mary Jane and Eddie's anger at losing his girl to Peter, it would have tightened the story if Sandman had been saved for later.
The conflict also gives Tobey Maguire a chance to goof around with the role. His moments as Dark Peter Parker are some of the film's funniest (following J.K. Simmons as J. Johah Jameson), and his antics in the jazz-cafe were the ones that got the big reaction in the theater I was watching this. I also found it amusing that when Peter gets bad his bangs suddenly fall down his face and he looks like he should be joining a Fall Out Boy/My Chemical Romance concert.
What all this crowding does accomplish is a shortchanging of character development. How Sandman and Venom form an alliance in zero seconds flat is whiplash inducing as is the almost total lack of development in Topher Grace's character. He's brought in so quickly you wonder how he became so angry so fast in his evolution into Venom. Aunt May is barely in the plot at all; Peter's apartment manager and daughter get more significance. Harry/The New Goblin plays a major role throughout, but his character stages are done so abruptly that, once again, you end up wondering what the heck just happened here.
This probably won't distract you from all the action, and Sam Raimi again delivers the goods. The flights, fights and special effects are astonishing as ever. Spiderman's suits are as sleek and cool as before, and all the gimmicks will keep your eyes on the screen. So will the obligatory Stan Lee cameo. All told, "Spiderman 3" is not a bad movie, but given that both one and two were amazing, it is still a minor let-down.
on March 12, 2008
I just wrote a scathing review of Seinfeld season 9 before I came to this review. And how much happier I am for it. The basis for my critical review of Seinfeld was the elitism present in the cast away from the camera. How much nicer is it to see Tobey McGuire and this talented cast. I'm quite certain that Tobey McGuire is a nice guy (very much like Peter Parker) and that's a good thing. As for the movie itself: it really grows on you. The first time I viewed it was at a movie theater and, like many, I thought they tried to do too much. But the second time I saw it, it got better. The third time I viewed it, better still. I don't think they tried to do too much at all now. As someone that never read the comic books I didn't really know much about some of the villains in this movie (Sandman...the whole Black Spidey thing, etc). I remember seeing, in passing at local 7-Elevens, the black spider-man on the front cover of the comic books. But I never took the time to learn about it. So it was kinda nice (as a casual fan of what spider-man is all about) to learn a bit about its history.
Again, Tobey McGuire was the absolute perfect choice for Peter Parker, well done guys.
on May 4, 2007
While I may not have the credibility of some of the other reviewers listed (this is the 1st review I've ever done for ANYTHING) I do know what I like (The Spidey Series, X-men Series, and Blade 1 and 2) and dislike (Daredevil, Ghost Rider and Friggin Cat Woman, OH. MY. GOD.).
With the amount of character content that was introduced in this latest installment, I think Sam Raimi did an outstanding job. He gave the fans exactly what they had been looking and asking for. Of course, any one of the villains this time out could have had their own Spidey film (and perhaps should have) but again, the fans had spoken and to me, it was handled marvelously.
The character and story progression was handled very well. The action was just what you've come to expect from Raimi (and he didn't disappoint!)and the pacing was just enough that I didn't find myself restless at anytime due to the length of the film. I think that Raimi presented us with one of the truest presentations of comic-to-film adaptations possible, and no one can take that away from him (THE most true to date - TO ME - was SIN CITY, Rodriguez just dumped the film straight from the comic to the screen with that one). I loved the Goblin upgrade. I loved the Sandman CGI and battle sequences with our hero. I loved Venom (although, admittedly, wished that there could have been more time with him) and the over-all satisfaction and relief I felt after 1st hearing that there was even going to BE an S3 (you kind of get a little worried about sequel disappointment - "awww maaann, they should have stopped at 2" Blade 3 anyone?).
Of course it was far from a flawless film but the things that I would pick on that I didn't like would probably be glossed over by someone else (I LIKED the little dance number Peter had and the Travolta, 'Saturday Night Fever' shout out Raimi added)so I won't bore you with what I felt were shortcomings and let you make your own decisions.
What it boils down to is Yeah, I'd recommend this film to my pickiest friends with a cheese eating grin on my face and two thumbs way the heck up. I could get into some of the other unfolding story and character points but honestly feel that you'd like to see what they are for yourself (and hope you won't think me a sucky reviewer after seeing it). Go. There's nothing stopping you...
on August 27, 2012
With the first two Spiderman films both a critical & financial success, Spiderman 3 had big shoes to fill. Does it live up? To me, it not only lives up but it surpasses my expectations. Unfortunately, many others were so appalled by this movie that they really went out of their way to say it ruined the whole Spiderman franchise. Appalled by what exactly? A goofy dance scene, a dark looking hair style that makes Spiderman look emo (when he really wasn't), a small scene that involves crying or the much awaited Venom only has three minutes of screen time? Sadly, those were the reasons. I knew so many people that were so butt hurt that Venom didn't have big screen time, that they would actually lecture me on why this movie "sucked". It's sad really, because that's not what I was looking for in this film. I expected an epic action movie that still kept all the traditional traits of the heart & soul of Spiderman. That's what I got. This movie was action packed, emotional, fast paced and FUN above all else. It takes a very big risk by having more than one villain (three in fact) in this film. I thought it was a great choice to do this because it gives the film a quicker pace and Spiderman more to do instead of discovering how to use his powers again. I feel like this film had a million ideas and used them all. The casting it still fantastic and still remains spot on.
Tobey Maguire is still fantastic as Spiderman. He looks like he is having more fun this time around. He plays Peter Parker much more comfortably now just as much as the character is more comfortable with being Spiderman now. He still has moments that make his life difficult such as his girlfriend MJ having problems with him, Harry losing his memory, a competitive photographer joins The Daily Bugle and realizing that uncle killer is still out there. Like the first two films, it shows us how human he is and it's still a difficult life being a superhero. He gets even more interesting when wears the black suit which makes him more violent and more full of himself. Tobey has much more screen time than before and he really carries the film. Not once is he boring to watch, because he's always working. It was great to see the title superhero take center stage rather than having an iconic villain steal the film from the rest of the actors *cough Dark Knight*.
James Franco as Harry Osborn is now a fully developed character along with Peter Parker. In the 1st film, he was a neglected son who was trying to impress his father. In the 2nd, he was cocky/ vengeful millionaire who was still living in the shadow of his father. This time, he is a full blown villain who wants vengeance on Spiderman now knowing it's his best friend Peter. Like Maguire, Franco really makes this film shine. He is unpredictable character who has a charm to him. For awhile, he loses his memory after a fantastic fight scene in the beginning of the movie. Even then his is quite charming and funny to watch because he almost acts like an innocent kid again. But things fade fast and he's back to wanting Spiderman dead. Like Spiderman, Harry is a character that is also human. He faces a tough time choosing between revenge and forgiveness. It was great to see another character go through a change from the first film.
Kristen Dunst is still great as Mary Jane. She has much more screen time than the first and she's matured as well. MJ is also facing a tough point from getting fired from the theater to having a boyfriend (Parker) who's bit full of himself like a celebrity. She may come off as a whiny b.... to some viewers, she is still human. We've come to the point in life where we grow jealous of someone we care about. It adds to her character instead of making her a ditsy teenager like in the first movie or even the comics.
Thomas Haden Church was awesome as Sandman. Following the footsteps of both William Defoe's Green Goblin & Alfred Molina's Doc Ock, he does a fine job filling those shoes. He is a sympathetic character who only commits crimes to save his daughter. But things are much harder on him when Parker learns he apparently killed Uncle Ben and is now out for vengeance. I was happy to hear that Sandman was finally going to have a spot in a movie; he is such an overlooked villain. How can anybody not like a guy made of sand? There was so much that could be done with him from making hammer arms to becoming a giant sand monster. I've never seen such an unlimited character since the T-1000 from Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The CGI on Sandman looked amazing and it's one of the only few times I'll say it's CG used right. He has some really good fight scenes with Spiderman like the scene in the subway which really showed us what Sandman could do. He is sadly overlooked and many fanboys think some like Rhino should be in this movie. Yeah, people want a villain whose only specialty is running through walls instead of an unlimited villain who can do anything.
Topher Grace is a fine Eddie Brock. Many fanboys were so angry that he wasn't a steroid looking character like in the comics. Honestly, I liked it better that he was skinny because it makes him like a shadow of Peter Parker. This is exactly what he is from the comics. His character is everything opposite of Parker. He's selfish, desperate, and a sore loser which is what the character of Eddie Brock is meant to be. Grace really pulls off being a character that is full of BS and was willing to do anything to get big. It all backfires both badly & gloriously. By the end of the movie, he obtains the black suit and becomes Venom. Many fanboys had their feelings hurt to see Venom only in the movie for the last half hour. I thought it was handled fine because it made an epic climax for this movie. The character is still true to the comics as in his hatred for Spiderman and being an opposite of him. He is an evil messed up character who I actually enjoyed watching regardless of how long his screen time was.
The rest of the characters are still fantasic as always. J.K. Simmons always shines as J. Jonah Jameson along with his crew of The Daily Bugle (Ted Raimi, Elizabeth Banks, etc.). Rosemary Harris still plays Aunt May straight and perfect. She was to the first Spiderman films as to what Michael Gough (RIP) was to the first Batman films. Bryce Dallas Howard was fine (and good looking)as Gwen Stacy, although I do kind of agree she was just there. Elya Baskin as Mr. Ditkovich is still a funny random character who's slightly more sympathetic this time around but still press Peter on paying his rent. Of course this wouldn't be complete without Bruce Campbell as the French waiter who tries to help Parker purpose to MJ. I love Bruce Campbell and this film wouldn't be complete without him.
The actions scenes are a show stealer in this movie. All of them are fun to watch and each of them have a story to back them up. The first fight between Peter & Harry was fantastic and emotional. How often do you see Spiderman fight without his costume? It's rare, not even the Nolan Batman films really do that. But the major theme of the film is revenge! Every character wants revenge in some shape or form. Spiderman wants revenge on Sandman for killing his uncle, Harry aka New Goblin want revenge on Parker for killing his father and Eddie Brock wants revenge for being screwed over. But either way, it comes back on Spiderman who is at the center of it all. Even though this film is action packed, it has it's share of funny moments like the Jameson scenes, the dinner scene with Bruce Campbell and the night club scene. The film doesn't go overboard with either it's silliness or it's darkness. It does a fine job keeping a balance.
But there are it's share of negative moments. I feel like so bits were rushed like the intro of the black suit. I think Gwen Stacy was a pointless character who was their to add to the love triangle of Peter, Harry & Mj. I also think the some of the dance scenes could have been cut. But that's a minor issue because I enjoyed that scene.
Overall, give this film a big chance and don't listen to fanboys who are butthurt the film wasn't all about Venom. It highly enjoyed this movie and it made a fine yet unexpected climax to the original trilogy. It saddens me to think that this film is considered to be the "Batman & Robin" of the Spiderman films. It was barley given a chance before fanboys cried for a reboot. It more saddens me that fanboys will now talk so much trash about the original trilogy's legacy because they got the reboot they cried & whined for. Forget about the original's having state of the art special effects for the time. Forget about the original's basically beginning the superhero genre going strong today. Forget about the fine acting for dialogue of the first three films. To the fanboys, it's all about "Venom only in the movie for 3 mins. I won't remember this films for that. I'll remember them for it's clever writing, awesome action scenes, fine acting, ground breaking camera work and more. This film is no different. It was an action packed movie that never got boring or slowed down. It was what movies should be, FUN. I hope someday, people will look back at this movie with fond memories and give this movie a better review. Much like how Batman Returns was back in 92. It was panned at first but is now looked back as a classic film.
on July 11, 2012
There are very few films that everyone in my family can enjoy, and a film that my father isn't complaining at the end of is one of the rarest things I can think of. Spider-Man 3 was one of the very VERY few films my father not only isn't complaining about, but actually praises and will watch again and again and recommend it to other people. Even I loved it, and I am beginning to get tired of most of these monotonous effects-driven sci fi movies. Spider-Man 3 was anything but monotonous and effects-driven, having an original plot and a look unique to it's own self. I could actually point this movie out in a crowd, which is more than I can say about many other sci fi movies these days. The special effects were not the only decent things in this film, and even with the INCREDIBLY HIGH EXPECTATIONS everyone in our family has, every single one of us loved it. One of the most remarkable effects in my opinion was the large robot that the villain controlled. It was absolutely frightening. Tobey Maguire may not be the handsomest guy, but he's a good actor, I think, in this film. My father especially loves that "I knew you'd say that" line that Tobey Maguire keeps letting out with-and it is, in fact, one of our little family sayings. I would recommend anyone to watch this, if they craved a visually stupendous, action-packed film with an smart and original storyline-and had the intelligence to appreciate it.
on May 4, 2007
I went to see "Spider-Man 3" tonight after reading several not-so-great reviews earlier today from local newspapers. So I had some doubts going into the theater. Well I'm sure glad I went anyway, because this movie was a BLAST. The critics need to lighten up. No, it wasn't a perfect film, and if one insists on being a hardass they can nit-pick it and find some valid faults. But overall, it was one of the most exciting and *fun* movies I've seen in quite some time.
One of the complaints seems to be that too many villains are in it. I thought this may be the case before seeing it, but I thought the film handled their screen time quite well, even if Venom didn't get to do much (although he does have a very good showdown with Spider-Man during the final confrontation scene). But I gotta say that the Sandman grabbed my attention the most, especially his fight scenes with Spider-Man and others. To me, seeing the Sandman in the final confrontation was worth the price of admission. The special effects for his character were simply outstanding - they were fairly standard CGI for the others.
As with the other 2 movies, the scenes of humor were well timed and executed, without compromising the tone of the film. I do wish that Kirsten Dunst hadn't gotten suspended high in the air yet again, because we all know that Spider-Man is going to save her from falling, yet again. But I suppose that's a minor irritation I can live with. Performance-wise, I liked everyone in their roles. We already knew what to expect from Maguire and Dunst, so there were no surprises there. Thomas Haden Church put in a good show as the Sandman. And although I wish they had let Bryce Dallas Howard be her lovely redheaded self, she still looked mighty fine, and I'm glad she got a considerable amount of screen time.
IMO the first "Spider-Man" film was decent but not much more than that. And I'd rate the second film along with this third installment as superb, just in different ways. Part 2 was great due to the solid story and overall script. While part 3 lacks some of that, it more than makes up for it with better and bolder action and pure entertainment level. I was originally going to give this 4 stars but decided to go all the way to 5 mainly because I had such a great time with it. Think of this film as the nitro-charged extension of part 2 and I'll bet you'll find yourself more than pumped by the time the end credits roll.
on November 8, 2007
Anyone who has been to Target recently and has perused their DVD section will know that Target has been going all out in the "Exclusive" edition craze. A special edition of season 4 of Nip/Tuck, an awesome transforming DVD case for the 2-Disc Transformers DVD and now an exclusive Spider-Man 3 DVD. I'll admit, I've fallen for all 3 exclusives, and have enjoyed them very much.
Whenever you get a bonus disc or extra booklet with a movie, you always think "Cool!" and this is one case where "Coll!" is very appropriate. The bonus booklet that comes with this set is comprised of: production notes, character/actor bios and more. This is the gem of the set (besides the awesome box) because it gives you little details that you might not otherwise find in the making-of featurettes. I always find that pleasing since I like trivia.
If you can still find this, get it, it's cool. What more needs to be said?
on May 5, 2007
This movie is a "must see" for all superhero fans, action movie fans, and especially Spider-Man fans. There were many negative reviews floating around about this movie, but also many reviews claiming it was excellent as well. The range of different opinions was really surprising.
Modern special effects really do Spider-Man justice, and it is clear that a lot of thought went into this movie, as well as a lot of hard work with the computer animation effects. They are very high quality and truly seem real. There was so much going on, really a lot to sink your teeth into. It's complicated but still manages to be understandable throughout. It's around 2 1/2 hours long, but time flies because you are having fun. Some complained that there was not enough time with Venom, which is a valid point, but I'm sure that the movie in it's entirety will make up for that. All I can say is if you fit into one of the said categories, give this movie a chance. You will not regret it.