Looking forward to an E ticket ride while watching Spiderman 3, this reviewer was greatly disappointed in this loose and directionless superhero sequel. Regardless of the big box office dollars this film pulled in, sadly you too will likely be disappointed. Summer months bring summer blockbuster releases from the studios; they aim for high concept action films with mucho SpFx that attract children of all ages. You won't be disappointed by the SpFx, but you also, likely will be disappointed by the aimless story. As a point of notice, this is the first review in a long time to feature the word "disappointed" four times in the opening graph. Keep that in mind before you run to see Spiderman 3.
Tobey Maguire as Spiderman looks like he hasn't aged one iota; he still has the demeanor of a shy high senior who still is clueless about girls. You'd think that after conducting a long term love affair, not to mention saving her life copious times,Â Peter Parker might have developed some self-confidence over time regarding MJ, but sadly, such is not the case. Red-haired Mary Jane Watson as played by Kirsten Dunst, gets to sing (badly) two boring songs in an outstanding wardrobe, but, honestly, that is not what you are paying to see in Spidey 3... is it?
When rambling through the cityscape, Spidey 3's SpFx can still make you giddy with enjoyment, but every moment the story intercedes the audience gets restless. The story is cynical and dreary, our Peter Parker is a weepy sad sack that honestly doesn't really seem to deserve MJ, and there are too many pointless new characters that add nothing to propel the plot along its way.
Spiderman 3 begins with Peter Parker basking in his newfound glory as superhero Spiderman, while MJ begins her Broadway career as a singer. Harry Osborn (James Franco, who rides a black airborne surfboard through the city as New Goblin), Peter's ex-best friend and son of Green Goblin/Norman Osborn (played by Willem Dafoe in previous Spiderman outings), loathes Peter with a special hatred reserved for the man responsible for the death of his father and for MJ's love of Peter (when Harry wants her for himself).Â
An escaped convict, Flint Marko (Thomas Haden Church), falls into a particle accelerator and transforms into a shape-shifting monster now called Sandman. There's also an symbiote alien crash on Earth that bonds with Peter and turns red Spidey into black Spidey... changing Spiderman from good to bad. When Spidey is able to shake the symbiote off it falls to exert power over newspaper photographer rival Eddie Brock (Topher Grace who left That '70s Show (1998) to star in this movie) turning him into supervillian Venom.
Revealing any more about the story will only confuse you, as it makes little sense and is only a pointless vehicle for the fine SpFx. Spidey 3 is only an excuse to watch theÂ great SpFx, and in that sense alone it is a winner. Once the story intercedes things fall apart quickly.
One standout performance is by Sam Raimi fave Bruce Campbell (who memorably starred in Raimi's first gore fest, The Evil Dead). The audience chuckled in enjoyment as Campbell was recognized. Campbell has a long and enjoyable cameo as a Maitre d' and his appearance is one bright spot in a long film with too little brightness. Many of the regular Spidey characters are featured in their usual roles. Stan Lee can also be seen in a cameo one-line appearance as a man in Times Square. Isn't there a rule somewhere that Stan Lee must appear in all Spiderman films?
Coming in at 2 hours and 20 minutes Spiderman 3 wastes much of its good will with boring and pointless plot lines. The action is as good as ever, but the story doesn't rise to the challenge. After the first two hours you most likely won't care. Bring a pillow!
Digital Dogs rating:Â B-
MPAA rating: PG-13 for sequences of intense action violence.
Running Time:Â 140 minutes
Producers Avi Arad, Grant Curtis, Laura Ziskin, Director Sam Raimi, Screenplay Sam Raimi, Ivan Raimi, Alvin Sargent, from the Marvel comic book by Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, Music Christopher Young, Editor Bob Murawski, DP Bill Pope, Actors Tobey Amguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Thomas Haden Church, Topher Grace, Bryce dallas Howard, J.K. Simmons, James Cromwell, Theresa Russell, Bill Nunn, Bruce Campbell, Cliff Robertson, Stan LeeÂ Â
Â© 2007 by Digital Dogs
--- Digital Dogs is gather's Los Angeles Movie Correspondent ---
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