>Well, it’s not nearly as great as the gold standard of comic book movies, Spider-Man 2.
That said, I still enjoyed Spider-Man 3 for what it was–a solid, entertaining summer blockbuster that was a nice way to spend two and a half hours. The movie brought the franchise storylines full circle and could serve as a nice end point to the series. Except, of course, that Sony has already decided there will be a part four. Let me say this–I don’t care how many Brinks trucks you have to back up to Sam Raimi’s house–he’s worth every penny to direct part four. Look at how the Batman series derailed when Tim Burton left and how Superman derailed when Richard Donner was let go or the X-Men series when Bryan Singer jumped ship.
I will say this–Spider-Man 3 is a better entry in the franchise than X-Men 3, Superman 3 and the third Batman feature.
I will also say it wasn’t perfect…it wasn’t quite the movie nirvana experience the first two were, but it will still enough to leave me satisfied.
One thing I’ve liked about the Spider-Man movies is the storyline of Spidey and the villians has worked to parallel each other. There has been some connection between these villians Spidey has faced in each of the three films. This time, it’s about men who are forced to make choices in their lives and end up going down a dark path. By the conclusion of the film, three of the four are able to find redemption of some sort–whether it be Sandman confessing his crime to Peter or Harry forgiving Peter for the death of his father and coming to terms with who his father really was. In the end, only Eddie Brock is consumed by his dark side and it ends up costing him his life…
That said, I’m not sure I found the tie-in of the Sandman’s storyline to the creation of Spider-Man really all that necessary. I have to admit when I heard the line about “this is your uncle’s actual killer” in the trailers, I was extremely skeptical. The fact that Spidey let his uncle’s killer escape and the guilt drove him to become Spider-Man is an essential part of the Spider-Man mythology. But here we find out that the burglar didn’t kill Uncle Ben, it was Flint Marko…well, sort of. Seems Uncle Ben had talked Marko into going home and maybe thinking about his life of crime when the burglar hit against him, causing the gun Marko was holding to Uncle Ben to fire….so technically the burglar is still responsible, but then again so is Marko. I’m still not quite sure I buy the overall explanation and I still see this as a bit of a stretch to connect Spider-Man to Marko. It feels like, in the end, it’s a reason that comes out of left field to send Peter down a dark path where he’ll give into the symbiote and hunt down and attempt to kill Marko in the underground subways.
And while the movie does have some great action sequences–the one between Harry and Peter that starts the film is superb as is the final battle at a construction sight–none of them are quite as exhilierating as the battle on the train in Spider-Man 2.
That said, I still liked the movie, even if it was a bit busy. They crammed a whole lot of movie into the two plus hours running time.
Once again, J.K. Simmons is perfect at J. Jonah Jameson. Aunt May isn’t as vital to the storyline as the first two segments, though she does help pull Peter back from the edge a bit. And it’s hard to not get a bit excited when Spider-Man comes swinging into the scene late in the film to take on Venom and Sandman.
I’m sure some fans will lament the short screen time given to Venom. I can’t say this is a bad thing really….to me the black costume is more about what it did to Peter Parker/Spider-Man than what it does to Eddie Brock/Venom. I stopped regularily reading Spider-Man comic books around the time Venom came on the scene and to me, he’s a good villain though he’s been a bit overused and overexposed. The use of Venom here is perfectly done and it’s not as bad as the inclusion of Bane in Batman and Robin, where a pivotal villain was reduced to a wordless and useless cameo.
And I haven’t even mentioned the two women in Peter Parker’s life. One again, Kirsten Dundst does a good job as Mary Jane (the scene of her doing the twist in the kitchen….wow). And Bryce Dallas Howard just looks like Gwen Stacy stepped off the pages of Marvel comics and onto the big-screen. Interesting to see Gwen used as the other woman to MJ which is exactly the opposite of how things played out in the comics.
So, Spider-Man 3 is good. I’d give it three stars out of four. It’s not quite as wonderful and nirvana-like bliss as the second one, but it’s still a great, fun enjoyable movie. I’ll definitely be adding it to my DVD collection when it hits DVD (as if you had any doubts).
For those of you with small children who are wondering if they should see it–it is a darker than the first two, so keep than in mind. Spider-Man does descend to the dark side, with Peter abusing his powers and embracing the black suits enhancement of his super abilities. Venom could be kind of scary for some of the younger kids and the battles in this one are pretty brutal and epic. The film got a PG-13 rating for a reason…..while there is a good story about good vs evil, making the right choices and redemption, it may be too intense for some of the kids who are ten and under.