“Spider-Man 3, when compared to the other Spider-Man films, is terrible, but ultimately it’s not as bad as people make it out to be.”
Yesterday I watched Spider-Man 3 which, as everyone can agree, is the worst one (at least of the Raimi trilogy). Despite all of these thoughts flying around my head I didn’t find Spider-Man 3 to be as bad as people have been saying. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fucking terrible compared to the other two, but I didn’t completely hate it. Spider-Man 3 is the Spider-Man movie that I’m probably most familiar with. It came out during the golden age of my life where I was old enough to form coherent memories, and also going through a phase where I would re-watch movies almost constantly. Because of these factors there wasn’t much about Spider-Man 3 that I had forgotten. For those who don’t know, Spider-Man 3 revolves once again around the character of Spider-Man (god, can’t Hollywood come up with new ideas?), and this time it’s personal. Well, not really personal, but we do get to see Venom which is pretty cool I guess. The film has quite a few story lines coming together (which I’ll talk bout later), so instead of going into detail on all of them I’ll just give you a rapid-fire summary. There’s: Peter Parker/ Mary Jane Watson relationship struggles, Spider-Man dealing with demons from his past in the form of the Sand Man, Spider-Man dealing with more demons from his past in the form of the Green Goblin v2, Spider-Man dealing with demons of his present with the inclusion of Venom as well as black-suit Spider-Man, and a few dance numbers to make the fans happy. With all of that shit out of the way let’s get into the review.
This review will probably have spoilers for Spider-Man 3, so if you haven’t yet seen this ten year-old movie then I would suggest not reading any further.
I might as well start off with what will be the majority of this review: discussing the story. I want to start by saying that there is a lot of stuff that works very well in Spider-Man 3. The movie actually has very good bones, the problem is that the meat surrounding said bones has been tainted by emo haircuts and dance numbers. Right off the bat I liked the culmination of the Harry Osborne story. Ever since the end of the first movie we have known that Harry hates Spider-Man, so to see him finally pick up his father’s mantle was really cool. I’m not particularly a fan of the design of this character because they took the Green Goblin who was very menacing, and essentially made him a bro with a snowboard and a paintball mask. That being said I did really like how this character evolved over the course of the films, and I enjoyed how his story ended. I will say that I wasn’t a fan of the whole “amnesia” portion of the film, but that is only because I felt it kind of went nowhere (which is a complaint you will see many times in this review). I also really liked the inclusion of Eddie Brock, and then venom. I will admit that the character of Eddie Brock was a little on the nose (having a character be exactly like Peter Parker, but constantly overshadowed by the actual Peter Parker), but this plays into the campy nature of comic books (and these movies) that I’ve been talking about with my other reviews. I thought the character of Venom made sense, and I thought the design of and the CGI for the character were really cool. I also rather liked the conflict between Mary Jane and Peter Parker, because it was a very natural way for the story to go. Spider-Man 1 was about Peter becoming Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2 was about Peter dealing with being Spider-Man, so it makes sense that Spider-Man 3 would be about others dealing with Peter being Spider-Man. Seeing Mary Jane constantly envious of Spider-Man’s attention was a very interesting place to take the character, and I liked it quite a bit. Now with all of this praise you would think that I liked the movie, but I’m just getting started.
All of these points, when examined separately are things that I like. The problem is that all of them together make Spider-Man 3 really convoluted. Maybe if the film had stuck to 2 of these story lines then I would be singing a different tune, but I’m not even done explaining all of the story elements that were crammed into this movie. Now let’s talk about shit I didn’t like. First up we have the inclusion of the Sand Man. Now I hate pretty much everything about this character, even down to the terrible performance given by Thomas Haden Church, but we’ll talk about that later. What pisses me off most about the Sand Man’s storyline is that, at the end of the day, it was completely pointless. It seems like the only reason it was in the film in the first place was to pad out the runtime, and that certainly wasn’t necessary. You have a character introduced who apparently is the actual killer of Uncle Ben, but then everything is okay because he had a dying daughter? And by the way, his daughter can’t be dying any more than any other human because that mother fucker shot Uncle Ben like five years ago, and his daughter is still alive and well. How long is he going to be using her for an excuse? Kill a cop? “Sorry, my daughter is dying”. Didn’t pay your phone bill? “Sorry, my daughter is dying”. Didn’t do the dishes? “Sorry, my daughter is dying”. I also thought that, as much as I liked Eddie Brock, his character was pointless as well. The entire movie you have this strange rivalry between Peter Parker and Eddie Brock, but at the end of the day they end up fighting like every other superhero. There wasn’t enough depth there for me to believe what I was seeing, and that’s kind of a shame considering it could have worked out much better than it did. And for the love of god, who the fuck decided it would be a good idea to have “cool” Peter Parker ruin the film 90 minutes in? When the script was being written, did nobody stop and say “Hey, what are we doing here”? When Sam Raimi was directing these god-awful scenes did he, or literally anybody else on set not stop and say “Why are we doing this”? How did this get past so many eyes and still make it out to the public? It’s fucking ridiculous. And to top it all off, the ending of the film felt way too clean for all of the shit that was being thrown around for the past 2 hours. This felt rushed and ultimately left me feeling like I had just wasted all of the time that I had spent watching the movie.
Past all of the story shit the other complaints I have are rather small. First of all some of the performances were awful (like Thomas Haden Church). It seems like some of the cast just didn’t have their heart in it, and that made their performance seem very weak and one note (like Thomas Haden Church). The other actors in the film did alright, aside from the emo Peter Parker sequence, but there were just some that stood out as awful (like Thomas Haden Church). The CGI in Spider-Man 3 is a bit better than the other films, but not enough to really mention. I am glad that they focused the CGI attention on the stuff that really mattered (like Venom and the Symbiote), but overall it was about on-par with the other films. Apart from all of that there really isn’t anything else for me to say about Spider-Man 3.
Spider-Man 3, when compared to the other Spider-Man films, is terrible, but ultimately it’s not as bad as people make it out to be. Sure there are some questionable character inclusions (like Thomas Haden Church), and some terrible performances (like Thomas Haden Church), and the story sometimes loses focus on what matters and instead shows us shit that we don’t care about (like Thomas Haden Church). But despite all of that I will admit that the story of Spider-Man 3 had some really good stuff in it; unfortunately it was all buried in terrible choices (like Thomas Haden Church).
I give Spider-Man 3 a C