Anthony's Film Review
Spider-Man 3 (2007)
Sadly, this movie cannot decide what's most important for the story...
Sam Raimi did a good job as the director of the first two Spider-Man movies. Naturally, you would think that he could carry this momentum into Spider-Man 3, or at least not fall so short of the first two. Well, I hate to say it. He really disappoints with the third entry in the series. It's not that he had no more good story ideas. No, it's the opposite. He actually had TOO MANY story ideas. This is a case where the whole is not greater than the sum of its parts.
To illustrate, I'm going to break the movie down into its individual plotlines, of which there are four. Basically, you have what I like to call the New Goblin plotline, the Sandman plotline, the Venom plotline, and the Peter Parker plotline. A typical Spider-Man story features the Peter Parker plotline and one villain plotline. For some reason, Raimi had the grandiose idea of running three villain plotlines alongside the Peter Parker plotline. Even if the movie is 2 hours and 20 minutes long, the whole story still ends up being so underdeveloped.
So what happens in these plotlines? Well, in the New Goblin plotline, Harry Osborn (James Franco) follows his father's footsteps and becomes the New Goblin. He fights Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Toby Maguire) in an aerial fight that leaves Osborn with amnesia. This plotline is not revisited until much later when Osborn remembers his mission to kill Spider-Man. Meanwhile, a fugitive named Flint Marko (Thomas Haden Church) is on the run from the police but ends up in a freak accident at a physics testing facility. He becomes the Sandman, wreaks havoc in two later scenes, and is not seen again for about an hour of movie running time.
And if that's not enough, you have the even more surprising third villain plotline. In the beginning of the movie, a blob of black venom from outer space lands on Earth and winds up in Peter's apartment. The venom is not seen taking control of Peter and driving him mad until about halfway through the movie. From there, Peter Parker and Spider-Man act more selfishly and vengefully. Once Spider-Man frees himself from the venom, another character, a reporter named Eddie Brock (Topher Grace), becomes possessed by the venom and becomes the supervillain known as Venom. What's really unusual here is that the supervillain arises (believe it or not) 40 minutes before the movie is over.
Yet, even with three villain plotlines, the Peter Parker plotline seems to take up more time than anything else. I have no problem with secondary scenes that illustrate a character's private life, but when this takes up more time than the main story, the movie really goes off track. Here, we see Peter Parker's ongoing relationship with Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) as it seems to be going well. But, to my surprise, Peter, in his Spider-Man disguise, kisses another woman. I always liked Peter in the first two movies because he has a good heart, so to see this is totally out of character. On top of this, Peter is competing with Eddie Brock at the Daily Bugle and learns more about his uncle's death.
The end result is that the movie jumps from one plot to another without giving the audience a chance to fully absorb even one storyline. Spider-Man 3 would be so much better if it just focused on the New Goblin, the Sandman, or Venom but not more than one. Plus, it shouldn't focus so much on Peter Parker's personal life that it becomes a romantic drama rather than a superhero movie. Film critic Richard Roeper summed the movie up nicely by saying that it suffers from an identity crisis. I think he's right. Honestly, you might as well ignore Spider-Man 3 while recognizing the existence of the first two movies, which are much better.
For more information about Spider-Man 3, visit the Internet Movie Database.
In addition, check out my reviews of Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2.