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Posted on 7/02/12 05:41 AM
After the creation of Spider-Man in 2002 and Spider-Man 2 in 2004, we get Spider-Man 3 in 2007. However, it is not the movie it was supposed to be. It was advertised as being dark and gritty and make it look like the best of the Spider-Man films. Is the movie darker than the previous two? To a point, yes. Is it as dark as the trailers make it out to be? No, far from it.
Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tobey Maguire) has finally managed to find a balance in his double life. All seems well...or so it seems. He plans to propose to his girlfriend, Mary Jane (Kristen Dunst), but his overconfidence of being Spider-Man has made him careless in his relationship with her. Mary Jane is being faced with a crisis in her career as an actress, and is soon fired. Meanwhile, Harry Osborn (James Franco), Peter's former best friend, now knowing that Peter is Spider-Man and believing that he killed his father, Norman Osborn (Willem Dafoe), hunts Peter down as the New Goblin, using equipment different from his father's, but is knocked out and suffers amnesia after an ambush on Peter. Peter also takes a liking to Gwen Stacy (Bryce Dallas Howard), a fellow classmate.
While on a date in the beginning, a small meteorite crashes, with a black symbiote coming out of it. It gets to Peter Parker without him knowing it. Elsewhere, criminal Flint Marko (Thomas Haden Church), has recently escaped from prison and is stealing money that he plans to use in a desperate attempt to pay for an operation to cure his dying daughter. He soon falls into a particle accelerator and becomes the Sandman.
A photographer named Eddie Brock Jr. (Topher Grace) is also trying to steal Peter's thunder at the Daily Bugle, run by J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons). The symbiote soon bonds to Peter, making his suit turn black and enhancing his powers, but turning his personality for the worse. He goes on a vendetta against Sandman, whom he recently found out had killed his Uncle Ben in the first movie. But soon, he will have to face the darkness in his heart, overcome the symbiote, and face a new enemy: Venom.
The movie starts off good, but by the time that Gwen Stacy and Eddie Brock are introduced, the movie starts to go downhill. Gwen, despite making some good eye candy, should never have been in the movie. Gwen Stacy is known for being Peter's first girlfriend until she was killed in a battle against the Green Goblin. The scene in the first film in which Spider-Man fights against Green Goblin while saving Mary Jane at the bridge was quite similar to that same event. If Gwen was to be in the movies, it should have been from the beginning.
But the most disappointing aspect of the movie was easily how Venom was treated. Eddie Brock was a serious miscast for the role and should never have left That 70s Show for it. He doesn't become Venom until the last half hour of the movie and his personality is not like the Venom we know. The only real positive about Venom was the special effects done on him. Sam Raimi has said that he was never fond of the Venom character, and it really shows. He didn't want him in a movie, but only did so to appease the many fans who wanted Venom in a movie. So what happened with Venom I wouldn't say was completely his fault. And not just Venom, but the symbiote story itself. The symbiote is supposed to make you corrupt, not an emo. We want a movie that makes Peter into a darker character, not to do dance numbers.
The movie's biggest flaw was having too many storylines within an over 2 hour long movie. While the first two Spider-Mans were kept simple, this one decides to go complex. It would have been great if it had just Sandman, Eddie Brock having a lesser role and becoming Venom only at the end of the movie, the symbiote taking over Peter, and Harry's vendetta against Spider-Man.
But despite the movie's numerous problems, Spider-Man 3 is brilliant on a technical level and is also at least mildly entertaining. The movie cost $258 million to produce. Judging by the product, it's pretty clear that most of that money was spent on the special effects. We get to see the birth of Sandman, the symbiote, and Venom in action. The action is also very good. The fist fight between a symbiote influenced Peter and Harry at his mansion in particular was a good watch.
With the exception of Thomas Haden Church, who does really good with what he has to work with, the acting is not as good as it was in the previous films. Tobey Maguire as the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man and the nerdy Peter Parker is brought down by his emoness when under the symbiote's influence and is whiny during the more dramatic scenes, especially the break-up scene. Kristen Dunst is a little pale this time around as she plays love interest MJ. James Franco is fine as the delusional Harry, but when Harry is under amnesia, his performance can be a cheesy at times. Bryce Dallas Howard is both good eye candy and bears physical resemblance to the Gwen from the comics, but is only the "other girl" of Peter's life and does very little to contribute to the actual plot. Rosemary Harris gives a good performance as Peter's Aunt May, but she has little to do except for teaching the importance of forgiveness. J.K. Simmons is still good as Jonah Jameson, who provides some comic relief in the movie. Topher Grace was the biggest mistake of the movie for the choice of one of the comics most infamous villains. While Venom does look cool, it can't move past Topher's performance and the way he was written. Topher Grace is better off sticking to comedies, like he did in That 70's Show.
While it is mildly entertaining when not shoving plotholes down our throat, it's a letdown compared to the previous two.