Spider-Man 3 (2007) – Sam Raimi

 

My web-slinging adventures continue with my screening of Spider-Man 3 for the Sc-Fi Chronicles, and this is a bit of a mixed bag, as instead of trusting to the director who brought them two very successful pictures, the studio wanted to shoehorn in a fan favorite character, Venom (Topher Grace) instead of letting Spidey (Tobey Maguire) simply face off against another of his classic villains, Sandman (Thomas Haden Church).

So while young Peter Parker deals with his relationship with MJ (Kirsten Dunst), including a possible wedding, he is confronted with new villains, temptation in the form of Gwen Stacy (Bryce Dallas Howard) and the revenge of the Green Goblin, as Harry Osborn (James Franco) takes up his father’s mantle.

The introduction of the Venom symbiote, which brings about a new costume for Spider-Man, feels out of place in the world Raimi has created with these Marvel characters, but he works with it as much as he can. Everything else feels like it should, the score by Christopher Young, Raimi’s fluid camera style, Bruce Campbell’s and Stan Lee’s cameos, and Maguire’s performance, but this time around, it just seems to have gotten pushed too far.

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The character beats are nice, and of the story had focused just on the trio of Harry, Peter and MJ, the relationships and everything that goes with it, with Sandman in there as a supporting villain (all of whom have solid arcs), this could have been as much a winner as the previous two films, and while designs, and costumes and everything else is top-notch, the Venom portion of the story doesn’t work, and the less said about emo-Peter, and his little dance number, the better.

Some of it feels like a cheat though, as now, Sandman’s alter ego, Flint Marko, was involved with Ben Parker’s (Cliff Robertson) murder in the first film. I do like the introduction of James Cromwell as Captain Stacy, Gwen’s father, and as always, J.K. Simmons steals it as J. Jonah Jameson with Elizabeth Banks as his secretary, and it’s nice to see the continuity with Dylan Baker returning as Curt Connors, though it’s too bad we won’t get to see him become the Lizard.

It’s not a terrible film, by any means, but it’s definitely the weakest of the three films, and I would have loved to see Raimi continue exploring Spidey’s world, but I guess that won’t happen. This was the last one he made, but that didn’t stop the studio from rebooting the film a couple of years later with an all new cast and crew.

The next film, which I’ve previously reviewed, The Amazing Spider-Man, could have take a cue from the opening sequence that shows how Spidey became Spidey… we really didn’t need another origin story.

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