Saturday, May 05, 2007

New Movie Review: "Spider-Man 3"

Critics have seem to be picking the meat off the bones of the latest Spider-Man movie. I can see why. It certainly is not the story-driven film the first sequel, and it isn't as ground breaking as the first film. However, as far as the third movie in a superhero trilogy, it could have done worse.

The movie is pure popcorn fare. While there is a deep rumination on the price of vengeance, it seems the movie is divided into three parts with action: the rise of the Sandman (Thomas Haden Church), Spidey's (Toby Maguire) use of the black symbiote suit, and then the final confrontation between Spidey, Sandman, and Venom (Topher Grace) with a special appearance by a foe of Spider-Man. These three pieces fit loosely together, with subplots seeming to rise and fall in each act. Gwen Stacey is little more than a prop in the movie and is her father, Captain Stacey. JJJ shows up in only two or three scenes, though he does get his usual zingers in. Even Aunt May seems to be pushed to the background, as Mary Jane seems to take and share center stage with Spidey. Kirsten Dunst works better as a supporting memeber of the Spidey family, but S-M 3 seemed to be more about her than Peter Parker.

The plot is a weak link in the movie. It starts off with Spider-Man being the most popular man in NYC. This is a little unbelievable, because in the comics, Spider-Man was rarely the "cool" hero. As a result of this plot point, a few of the characters act strangely and not true to themselves. Also, certain events seem to come out of nowhere in order to advance the plot and then quickly retreat. Again, it was a fun movie, but when these scenes happened, one couldn't help but scratch their head.

Of course, the special effects were astounding. The detail of the Sandman transformation will leave you giddy. When Eddie Brock becomes Venom, the screen drips fear. Spider-Man swinging through NYC seems more real than in the first movie. It was a bit frustrating though at times that the camera would not directly follow the fighting and seem to pan to much left or right and "catch up" to the action later.

For all the complaints and nitpicks, Spider-Man 3 is a very good movie. While the director Sam Raimi and the rest of the cast and crew might love the Spidey franchise, this movie shows they might love it too much. But there is a regard for the subject matter in the movie and genuine feeling and it might be a case of trying to hard. But it still was impressive!

4 Webballs out of 5.

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