Spider-Man 3 (2007)

Action, Adventure
Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Thomas Haden Church
A strange black entity from another world bonds with Peter Parker and causes inner turmoil as he contends with new villains, temptations, and revenge.
Though there are more characters and plotlines, and the action sequences still dazzle, Spider-Man 3 nonetheless isn't quite as refined as the first two.
  • Sony Pictures Company:
  • PG-13 Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 04 May 2007 Released:
  • 30 Oct 2007 DVD Release:
  • $336.5M Box office:

All subtitles:

Trailer:

A Let Down.3/10
There are some things that work really well, like the goofy comedy that's also present in the other movies. The movie starts off nicely with a great looking action sequence that implies how great the rest of it could be. The special effects are fantastic. Unfortunately, the movie is so convoluted that anything like a coherent plot is lost, as well as any significant character development further than Harry, Mary Jane or Peter himself.

Peter's "transformation" into a darker self when he dons the dark suit is laughable. You're not sure whether you're watching a comedy, a drama, or a purposefully ridiculous B movie. Peter's actions are so over the top that you just want to laugh at the script rather than WITH it.

The main villains get only a short amount of screen time, and by the "big" ending you're just wondering when Dawson's Creek is going to end and when Spiderman 3 will begin. 90% of the film consists of Peter Parker walking around, crying, and making a fool of himself in various over-the-top ways. Perhaps I went in with too many expectations, such as the possibility of an atmosphere to the film that would fit with what was happening.

As a fan of the old cartoon, and a real fan of Venom, I was incredibly let down by the amount of time spent on his character, as well as the fact that Topher Grace is essentially Eric from That 70's Show, and I don't mean that it's the same actor. He's the same scrawny, sarcastic joker that he always plays, which, if you're familiar with the comic or the cartoon, Eddie Brock was NOT. Even if you've never heard of Venom or aren't a big fan, the villain has a total of about fifteen minutes on screen and isn't very exciting, nor is anything about him explained. He's simply suddenly THERE, as if thrown into the movie only to get butts in the seats. So feels the entire movie. It all seems like filler, even as the end credits start.

There was a point about halfway through the movie that I simply gave up trying to justify the movie, and realized that it was just plain bad. They tried to do too much, and by having so many villains, weren't able to make a single one very deep. And the whole "inner conflict" theme is a joke. Literally. Peter's "dark side" is more comedy than anything else.

I recommend waiting for this to come out on video and giving it a rent if you're really that much of a fan. Overall, it's a big let down considering the expectations and hype surrounding it.
The worst Spidey yet. I LOVED IT!9/10
This film is deeply flawed in certain ways. It's much more convoluted than its predecessors, and nowhere near as cohesive. It seems like Sam has tried to fit too much into the film. Three villains as well as Peter's own inner demons, tension with MJ, problems at the Bugle...how much can one superhero handle? Sure, everyone has their own part to play...but introducing all those new characters, and having their individual arcs play out to a satisfying extent - it's a big job, and one that doesn't quite pay off - or, at least, pays off at the expense of smooth narrative flow. We end up with some terribly clunky lines of expository dialogue – such as Eddie Brock's line to Chief Stacy, which goes something like 'I'm the new photographer at the Bugle...oh, and I'm dating your daughter' - that will make you spit goo in annoyance (or, whatever it is you do when you're annoyed - I spit goo) The many mental/emotional shifts Harry (poor, poor Harry) goes through are handled in a pretty ham-fisted way, too. I can see what Sam is trying to do...but it just seems a bit...well, the word 'clunky' keeps coming to mind. There are also a couple of very 'sequelly' bits, which seem a little inconsistent with the other films. I'm not talking about the whole 'Flint-Marko-killed-Uncle-Ben' thing – that was actually handled surprisingly well. The most memorable example of what I mean is Bernard's little word in Harry's ear concerning Norman's cause of death. Umm...so, why couldn't he have mentioned it EARLIER?! Like, y'know, at the start of Spidey 2 for instance! It would have saved Harry a LOT of grief - not to mention Pete and MJ.

Narrative flaws and rough edges aside, however, this succeeds in being far-and-away the most entertaining film of the three, based purely on action and laughs. It is the darkest, the most action-packed, and by far the FUNNIEST Spider-Man yet. This, I suppose, is the upshot of Sam Raimi himself writing the screenplay (with brother and Army of Darkness co-scribe Ivan). The sequence in which Peter turns into the lamest bad-boy in history is a total crack-up. The looks on the faces of the 'laydeez' as he struts along the street like a nerdy, emo-midget Travolta are absolutely priceless.

The chase/fight sequence between Peter and Gobby Jr. is brilliant. We fly and fall through the air, not knowing which way is up half the time. Only Sam Raimi could disorient an audience to that extent while still allowing us to keep up with what's going on - AND manage to inject the scene with such style, humour and gravity, all at the same time.

Both Sandman and Venom are great to watch. Yes, the special effects are awesome, but it mainly comes down to the fact that both characters are so well cast (no surprise really, given the casting in the previous films). Thomas Haden Church (a very BUFF Thomas Haden Church, I might add) brings real humanity to Flint Marko. We actually empathise with him. Topher Grace is great, too. He has fantastic comic timing, and gives us a very slick, smarmy, but perversely likable Eddie/Venom. He gets some of the best lines (as well as some of the worst).

The established cast are all as good as ever, and have now grown nicely into their roles. They all seem comfortable, with the possible exception of James Franco - just because his character has been messed with a bit. But he does a good job considering.

And then there's Gwen.

Bryce Dallas Howard.

(*Sighs*)

Nothing much to say, really.

I suppose I could say that Gwen would never make it as a model, because she's far too healthy-looking and altogether too attractive.

But that might be a little cynical of me.

Bryce has a big future in movies. She's a very capable actor, and is obviously extremely photogenic. She just needs to stop doing bad M. Night Shyamalan films. And keep doing good Sam Raimi ones.

Speaking of capable, extremely photogenic actors who keep doing Sam Raimi movies, it's good to see Bruce Campbell in a slightly more memorable part this time. I'd never imagined him playing a cheesy French Maitre'D, but he gives a hilarious turn in a classic scene.

Yes, this film has problems, but if you just sit back and soak it up, they don't really matter that much. The movie looks great, will make you laugh, and will thrill you as well as move you.

Possibly.

I can't really speak for everyone. I mean, you might be one of those unfortunate people without a soul.

But I love it, in spite of its flaws, and I still think Sam Raimi is one of the best high-profile directors in Hollywood - because he's all about having fun. And that's what it all comes down to with Spider-Man 3.

Fun.
BEST effects, yet WORST movie6/10
I enjoyed Spider-Man 3 quite a lot. However, there were so many problems with it that I ended up only "liking" it instead of loving it like the first two films.

Let me get to the pros vs the cons:

THE GOOD

The Effects: Birth of Sandman is the coolest effect on any film I can remember. Amazing! The fight scenes were also incredibly well realized.

The Humor: J.Jonah.Jameson had some hilarious moments - especially his first scene. Bruce Campbell plays a waiter (Maitre D really) in a French restaurant, and it is probably the best scene in the whole movie! Peter dancing!

The Action: The first Sandman vs Spidey scene was very exciting. Maybe the best battle sequence from all three films. CGI-Venom looked great in the whole four-minutes of screen time he got. All the fight-scenes were EXCELLENT, well choreographed and exciting.

The Acting: James Franco has improved much as Harry. Gwen Stacey was much better used than I expected. (And she was beautiful!) Thomas Haden Church was perfect for Sandman! Topher Grace did a fine job as Brock, not so great as Venom.

I guess that is a good intro for...

THE BAD

Venom has WAY too little screen time. His story was too rushed. Sandman is made to look like a good guy, then bad, and at some points we're not sure what to think. Do we feel sorry for him? Fear him? The filmmakers couldn't decide, and it shows.

The Costumes: Harry's mask was just ridiculous! Seeing Brock's face in the Venom suit looked stupid. And the Dark Spidey suit wasn't "alive" enough. It just looked like a suit, not a living organism.

The Score (music): Some parts were OK but some parts were SO bad it ruined the scene! An example is the over-scoring of the first Dark-Spidey scene (where he's hanging upside down looking at himself in a building window). It was painfully bad, screaming out for the audience to be amazed. Like holding up an applause sign. Tacky. Then there were plenty of similar moments, mostly in other action scenes.

American Cheese: Spidey landing in front of a HUGE, randomly placed, waving American flag. The camera panning back from a crying MJ and Peter atop a huge building, to make sure we see a sunset in the background, etc. Manipulative tripe.

The evil-dudes team-up in the end was very contrived. I didn't buy it. How Spidey deals with Sandman in the end was also quite silly. Not cool at all.

The biggest problem is trying to squeeze too much into one film. Spider-Man 3 should have been about Sandman and Harry/Goblin. Venom should have been held back for the next one. The fourth film could have been all about Venom, giving him more screen time and the treatment he deserves.

I know this was Sam Raimi's original plan (not to include Venom in this film) but Avi Arad convinced him to add Venom into the story, for the fans, since everybody loves Venom.

Too bad Sam didn't follow his plan. I doubt he'll come back for more now. Let's just hope he gets to make The Hobbit (unless by some miracle Peter Jackson gets to do it after all).

Thanks for reading! :)
I'm so sorry, Spidey...5/10
As I was walking down the stairs and out of the theater, I was trying as hard as I could to pull a smile out of my face. My friends tensely asked if I liked it, I said "Yes, of course!!" They nodded weakly in response. On the way home, I kept thinking to myself. "You liked it! C'mon! It's Spiderman!" Now, it's two days later, the euphoria of waiting for Spidey to come out has subsided, and I've begun to look at this flick a bit more (shall I say it?) critically.

It's plain to see that Sam Raimi is a fantastic director. He knows when to do what and realizes that he is making a superhero movie, which is why the Spider-man movies have done so well. It's not like the recent Batman and Superman who try to hide the fact that they're just fun superhero films. Raimi knows his material and embraces it. The effects were astounding as usual. Spiderman's one-on-one fight with the Sandman and the crane scene being the major highlights. I thought these features would outbalance the weaker spots of the film, but unfortunately they did not.

As far as acting goes, I'm surprised to say that Topher Grace stole the show. I remember how outraged everyone was when he was chosen, but obviously someone knew what they were doing when they let him on as Venom. James Franco and Kirsten Dunst played their usual selves (I can't help but think of Dunst dreaming of getting back to work with Sofia Coppola while doing these films). However, Tobey Maguire REALLY disappointed me. I've always thought he was so great at Spidey, which is undeniable in the first two films and even in this one...when he has his red suit on. Maguire is a one note actor, at least as far as Spidey goes. He just could not pull off the black suit; he wasn't good at being bad. Then came the horrific bridge scene with MJ. Along with most other people I've talked to, my entire theater erupted in laughter when he started crying. It was just...sad...and not in the way the writers intended it.

Speaking of the writing, I hate to be beating a dead horse, but c'mon: 3 villains, Sandman's background, trouble with MJ, Harry's changing attitudes, 2 different Spidermans, competition at the Bugle, Gwen Stacy, etc. It was just WAY TOO MUCH! Even if you had four hours, it's just too much to cram into the audience in one sitting. The great thing about Spiderman 2 (the best of the trilogy) is how focused it was. You had the inner struggle, the villain and his relationship with MJ. There it was! Beautifully filmed and written. From the first 15 minutes of Spiderman 3, I knew that all these parallel story lines were going to crash within the next two hours. The sequence that shows how far they've fallen from part two is the whole emo/hair in the eyes/eyeliner/oh so cool "bad" Spiderman scenes. The first few minutes of this was funny in the same way that the "Raindrops are Falling on my Head" scene in part two was great, but this time they stretched a good thing way too far. This whole sequence is what sticks in my mind and refuses to let me think that the film was just as great as the rest.

I tried to like it! I really did! I just can't fool myself any longer. Some critics like Peter Travers for Rolling Stone are saying that we can let this one slide because it's Spiderman, but I couldn't disagree more. Spiderman 3 missed the mark and, deep down inside, we all know it.
Spider-Man 3 is adequate, but adequate just isn't enough.6/10
My feelings after watching the third film are somewhere in the neighborhood of satisfied, but that feeling is fairly disappointing. Satisfied more or less means adequate and to follow a sequel that I consider excellent with a film that's only adequate is a certainly a step down. Positively, Spider-Man 3 does reasonably well at maintaining a feeling similar to that of the first two films. I never felt like I wasn't seeing the same world or characters and that's important to me. Continuity in tone really helps hold a series together. The Matrix Reloaded never felt to me like I was witnessing the continuation of the story and world presented in the first installment. The scenery and characters felt like weak and dull recreations and that really bugged me. The New-York of Spider-Man 3 is about the same as before, as is Peter's apartment, The Daily Bugle offices, etc. Peter, Harry, Mary Jane, Aunt May, etc. also carry over well and it's easy to jump back into their lives. Where it doesn't feel like its predecessors is in its pacing and scope. The film tries to tell a lot of story for one film, much more than either the previous installments. This makes it messy. If you took Spider-Man 1 and 2's stories, wove them together and compressed them into one 2 hour film, you'd have a mess pretty similar to Spider-Man 3. A lot of this has to do with poor exposition and the decision to include three villains. In good exposition, events lead to other events and it all seems to flow naturally. Some films end up feeling like a story wasn't really even written, but instead a series of well-crafted scenes that don't necessarily fit well together. A bunch of smaller scenes are then written to connect those scenes. These scenes can feel very forced because they often rely heavily on coincidence. The Matrix Reloaded is full of these contrived scenes and so is Spider-Man 3. They're frustrating because they act like speed bumps where the plot suddenly feels awkward and my enjoyment of the film drops. One scene sticks out particularly in Spider-Man 3 as too awkward. Venom, one of the super-villains, is swinging through alleyways when he is ambushed by the Sandman, another villain. Venom proposes they team to get Spider-Man together, Sandman agrees, end scene. This scene is needed to set up the final, huge battle of the film but just seems poorly worked in. For one it's very short, and two the characters don't know each other and have completely different motives for being villains. That the two would decide that quickly to become partners after coincidentally running into each other is just sloppy to watch.

Despite how it seems, I didn't hate the film. I was just disappointed in its flow as a narrative and thought it aimed much higher than it should have in terms of what to include plot wise. Regardless though, many scenes were very enjoyable to watch and I don't just mean action scenes. The Daily Bugle scenes, as always, were great and funny. The addition of Topher Grace as Peter's photographer rival, Eddie Brock, was great casting. His line delivery works perfectly with his character's sleazy personality and his scenes with Peter are some of the best. The character Harry Osborne returns and becomes one of the film's three villains: a new Green Goblin that takes over where the Goblin of the first film left off. Harry and Peter's relationship is probably the most interesting part of the story. Their struggle between being friends and enemies makes for some tense moments. One of my favorite scenes in the film is a verbal confrontation in a diner between Peter and Harry. Playing off Peter's presumption that he and Harry are back on good terms, Harry orchestrates a bit of nasty drama that sticks a knife in Pete's love life. He has Peter meet him in a diner just to drive the knife in a little further. As Pete storms out, Harry is awash in sadistic joy with himself before making a fast and creepy exit. Harry is really the best handled villain of the film. Not only as the Green Goblin Jr. fighting Spider-Man in the sky much the way his father did, but as Harry, Peter's estranged friend, using their friendship as a pretty sharp weapon against him. The villain I could have done without was the Sandman. His character was interesting but his place in the film as a main character seemed unnecessary and forced. He's an escaped convict running from the police who accidentally falls into a big science experiment and becomes the Sandman. He is also apparently the actual killer of Peter's uncle Ben thus giving Peter motivation to go after him. This reworking of the first film's story seems very far fetched and unnecessary. The computer effects used to create Sandman are terrific as is the performance by Thomas Hayden-Church, but I think the film would have improved without him. More time could then have been given to the conflicts with Harry and Eddie and likewise Goblin and Venom. Venom is particularly nice because he's the only villain not the product of some crazy experiment gone wrong. His creation is almost entirely Peter's fault. Venom acts as a slimy toothy grinning anti-Spider-Man, who hates Spider-Man on a personal level after Eddie Brock loses his job and girlfriend and holds Peter responsible. Two villains definitely would've been enough for one film, especially two villains that feel wronged by Peter personally, not just Peter as Spider-Man. I don't really want them to continue this series, but since it seems like they may anyway, I hope some lesson is learned with number three that less really can be more. If the time that was spent awkwardly packing too many stories into one film was instead spent working on one good story so that it flowed naturally, Spider-Man 3 could have excelled the way number two did.