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Spider-Man 3: It Is What it Is — A Good Comic Book Movie

What can I say about Spider-Man 3? It's good. It's a comic book movie. I don't understand the vitriol aimed toward this movie from other critics unless, of course, the relentless marketing and hype leading up to the movie has caused anyone to believe this would be more than it is: another movie about Spider-Man. It certainly has its flaws — most notably there's a thoroughly bizarre sequence featuring the new "evil" Spider-Man, but more on that later. Overall, it's cool in the computer effects sort of way, but it's not a masterpiece. It's just fun and flashy and will more than satisfy Spider-Man fans.

The biggest flaw on which I must agree with all the other critics is that there is way too much stuff packed into this one story. There are several superheroes, each with his own set of issues to figure out, Peter Parker's struggle with his own ego and then his obsession with revenge, and the whole Peter-Mary Jane saga, which is weirdly drawn-out in a movie that has little to no room to spare. There's a lot more to it than this, though, so

The old sweet Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) has become something of an egomaniac, loving his fame a little too much, while nothing is coming up Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst) as her stage musical career stalls. To make matters worse, there's another woman in the picture now, Gwen Stacy (Bryce Dallas Howard), a classmate of Peter's who seems to have a crush on both him and Spider-Man. Flint Marko (Thomas Haden Church), the guy who killed Peter's Uncle Ben is on the loose, a sad, misunderstood man who needs money to help his sick daughter and in a really neat scene he turns into the Sandman.

Gwen's boyfriend Eddie Brock (Topher Grace) is Peter's competition as a freelance photographer at the newspaper. After Peter humiliates him in front of their boss, Eddie becomes vengeful and then becomes Venom. Meanwhile, Harry/Goblin (James Franco) is haunted by his angry Green Goblin dad's ghost who instructs him to avenge him by killing Spider-Man. So, there are a lot of superhumans to keep Spidey busy, and of course, Mary Jane is the pawn used to lure him around.

Adding to all this, Peter gets taken over by the evil, parasitic black stuff which forms his black Spidey suit and causes Peter to become powerful and cruel. However — and here's the weirdest part — Peter acting "evil" consists mostly of ogling women while dancing down the street to disco music and saying things like, "I think you're going to really dig this joint, baby." What? He awkwardly tries to dance around at the jazz club where Mary Jane is singing, followed up by a little sexy dance with Gwen. I guess if Peter's supposed to become dashing and aggressive because of the black suit, that's fine, but aside from being virtually graceless the whole thing is strange because Tobey Maguire looks utterly uncomfortable. There are a lot of campy things in these films, and I can't deny that this part is entertaining — it's just so weird.

Strange homage to the '70s as a reflection of "evil Spidey" aside, the coolest parts of the movie are, unsurprisingly, the visual effects and the action sequences. The Sandman is particularly awe-inspiring to see on the big screen and the final scenes with all four superheroes are definitely cool. The movie is what it is: The "real plot" parts are mostly dull, and the computer animation is impressive. Expect a lot more and you will be disappointed. But as a Spider-Man movie, it more than does its job.

Photos courtesy of Sony Pictures

Join The Conversation
yiddidea yiddidea 10 years
What the heck was with the Crispin Glover haircut and guyliner for the "Evil Peter Parker" sequences? And the dancing and Saturday Night Fever street walking scene? That was beyond strange, not funny and very uncomfortable to watch. I seriously don't get that choice at all. I agree, they could have cut out Sandman all together in this film. While I though Thomas Hayden Church did a good job, his character was unnecessary and there was too much going on. The special effects were very cool in parts and in others I felt it was all moving WAY too fast and you could barely catch what was going on. Venom was one scary villian and I would have liked to see more of that. Not the best of the 3 films by far!
torisweettooth torisweettooth 10 years
It was good but SM2 is the best cause they got to do character development. I mean it was interesting and funny on the dance scenes but it was sometimes a little to silly to be viewed as movie award worthy. The fights or more the special effects were great. The plot line was just a tad to week for me. But my audience was great. Some even jumped up and called out stuff whenever Peter hit MJ..."Keep that pimp hand strong", (GASP), or "Oh no he didn't". The best outburst i thought was when dark Peter was fighting Harry and he hit him towards the bookcase then when Harry was getting up again Peter knocked him down, this guy behind us screamed out "THIS IS SPARTAAAAAA!" I couldn't help but snort. :D
code-monkey code-monkey 10 years
It's just fun and flashy and will more than satisfy Spider-Man fans. Speaking as probably the biggest Spider-Man fan in the universe, I respectfully disagree with that statement. And not because it didn't "live up" to the comics or whatever — it was just a not very good movie. They could have cut out Sandman entirely, fleshed out the relationship between Peter and Brock more, and ended it either with Brock becoming Venom or, a la Empire Strikes Back, with Spider-Man getting his ass handed to him by Venom. There was lots of speculation that because Gwen Stacey was in this movie MJ would die. In the comics Gwen was Peter's first girlfriend who was murdered by the original Green Goblin (Harry's father) by being thrown off of a bridge (remember the scene in the first movie?). So, it could've been kinda cool if they reversed it. Spider-Man suffers defeat at the hands of Venom, who kills MJ. Spider-Man 4 is then about Harry being driven by his guilt to help Spider-Man defeat Venom. Or, you know, Harry could be convinced to change his heart by an impassioned and totally convincing speech from his butler who, for some reason, has known all along that Norman killed himself but neglected to tell Harry even as he was spiraling downward into obsession and self-destruction. Yep, sounds like a plan. Maybe my tastes veer too far toward the dark, but I thought the whole point of the "black costume" was supposed to be that it was a manifestation of fear, guilt, anger, sorrow, and all that "dark side" stuff. Instead it just makes Spider-Man into a jackass. Some of the lines were pretty funny, though.
babylish babylish 10 years
omigosh i can't wait to see it.. a perfect comicbook action movie for the upcoming summer nights, yay!
xxbrittney xxbrittney 10 years
wow i am totally on the other side of the spectrum compared to everyone else's comments. i LOVED the first two spiderman movies and i was more than dissapointed by this one. like everyone previously explained, emo-eyeliner wearing-ungraceful-revengeful peter deff tops the list of reasons why i was unhappy with the movie and buzz already explained the too many characters issue but on top of all that, the movie was incredibly long (i saw a 10:15 showing and got out around 12:30) and one of the biggest reasons why people love spiderman - the crazy awesome action scenes - were very very minimal, so much time was spent on everybodys emotional issues, there wasnt nearly enough fighting. but hey, if you've been looking forward to it like i was, deff still go see it, just giving you a heads up not to go in there with too high of expectations!
LeninaCrowne LeninaCrowne 10 years
definitely junebrug. im a fan of the first 2 and i saw this one the day it came out. a little over-the-top but lots of fun. peter parker is an awesome sleaze. hehehe pelvis gyrations...
junebrug junebrug 10 years
If you really enjoyed the first two, will you enjoy this one as much?
SakuraClow SakuraClow 10 years
I just saw the movie last night. I loved it! They really did try to put a lot of storyline in the movie but I thought overall, it was nicely done. The movie was almost 3 hours long and I wasn't bored through any of it. I think Tobey Maguire always does an awesome jobs in the Spiderman movies. He is so adorable. It really sucks if he's not going to do a fourth one. I was kind of dissapointed, though, with the fact that the most anticipated villian (at least for me) didn't have alot of screen time.
ddene5713 ddene5713 10 years
I saw the midnight showing this morning on Imax....i definetly think it's worth seeing it on the even BIGGER screen b/c of all the action sequences. I highly recommend this movie to anyone, even if you're not at all into reading comic books [like myself]... the movie was good, except there were a few corny/unnecessary cheesy moments [the emo-eyeliner wearing peter parker (looked just like pete wentz), definetly topped the cheesiest moment]. see it.
juiceejuice juiceejuice 10 years
i saw it. i didn't expect much, but was dragged to it by my friends. anyways, it was okay. peter parker trying to be cool, but comes off as an awkward, over confident goth kid. it's pretty funny.
xo_verity xo_verity 10 years
LMAO - the dancing part sounds funny in a stupid-kinda way!
HistoryGeek913 HistoryGeek913 10 years
I'm still undecided on this one. I know my husband and step-son really want to see it, so I will probably go with them. At least I'll know what I'm getting into. Thanks for the fair and informative review!
pinupsweetheart pinupsweetheart 10 years
I have heard from a couple people that the movie is not that good. They say it jumps around and there really isn't a plot to follow.
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