by Chris Alexis
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|| **** (out of 5 stars)
Tobey Maguire as PETER PARKER/SPIDER-MAN
Kirsten Dunst as MARY JANE WATSON
James Franco as HARRY OSBOURNE/NEW GOBLIN
Thomas Haden Church as FLINT MARKO/SANDMAN
Topher Grace as EDDIE BROCK/VENOM
Bryce Dallas Howard as GWEN STACY
Rosemary Harris as AUNT MAY
J.K. Simmons as J. JONAS JAMESON
Opens May 4, 2007
Studio: Columbia Pictures
Directed by: Sam Raimi
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I’ve been waiting to see this movie since “Spider-Man 2” came out. I’ve been gleefully excited for every new trailer, poster and rumor. Like a lot of people, I’ve been downright jittery with anticipation. You should have seen me when the lights dimmed and the Columbia Pictures logo came up on the screen, with the familiar Spider-Man theme beginning. I was like a 15 year old girl at a Justin Timberlake concert.
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The question is: when I actually watched the movie, was it all worth it?
The answer is yes, actually. The movie has its share of problems, but they’re forgiven when looking at the movie as a whole.
I think the biggest thing a lot of people will be disappointed with is the lack of screen time for Venom. A lot of people I’ve talked to seem to be more excited about Venom than any other aspect of the film. The character actually doesn’t appear until the last half hour of the movie, and is really a very minor part of the film.
The other man baddie, Sandman, doesn’t have as much screen time as you’d think, either.
That’s because they’re not Peter Parker’s biggest foe in the story. Peter Parker’s greatest enemy in “Spider-Man 3” is Peter Parker.
A small meteorite containing an alien “symbiote” lands nearby where Peter and MJ are making out one night. The symbiote eventually bonds with Spider-Man, staining his suit dark and intensifying his worst qualities, such as his already-inflating ego and unresolved rage from his uncle’s death. This is the main battle for Spidey in the movie as he goes to war with himself over his soul.
Sandman is used in the movie more as a device in Peter dealing with his rage than anything else. What works about Sandman is he’s probably the most three-dimensional villain in the series so far. His back story and motivation make him different than the cackling Green Goblin, hell-bent on revenge, or Doc Ock, who just wanted to build his almighty fusion machine, controlled by the artificial intelligence in his robot arms.
If two villains weren’t enough for this movie, a third one pops in. Harry Osborn has come to embrace his father’s ghostly demand at the end of the last film for revenge. Taking on the mantle of “New Goblin”, Harry uses updated technology from his father’s Goblin days to take revenge on Peter.
The one thing I was worried about going in to this movie was would it start to be like the Batman movie franchise from the ‘90s, with so many characters? The answer is no. The filmmakers actually pull it off nicely. Every character has their place and function, and it all works together without too many problems.
The only Schumacher-esque quality to this film is a little bit of silliness that doesn’t work in the film. It’s only a very tiny sliver of the movie where we see Peter Parker dancing. If you see the movie, you’ll see what I mean.
The only other small turn off in this film is the running time. It’s long, a little under two and a half hours. A few of the dialogue scenes drag a bit – but not too bad.
But when things get hot, they get hot.
The action is incredible. In fact, this film has the best climatic final battle of all the whole series. In fact, it’s got the best one in all of the superhero movies I’ve ever seen.
And overall, it’s a fun movie. Besides the great action, there’s a lot of humor and heart. Most of the movie packs a great punch and will make people think about the dark part of their personalities, and the control they have over it.
Besides the great action, there are the two leading ladies – Mary Jane and Gwen Stacy. Gwen Stacy’s role in the film is completely different than in the comics. In the comics, she was Peter’s girlfriend who came along way before MJ ever showed up. She was killed in the comics by the Green Goblin. The bridge scene in the first movie is based off of that issue – but obviously, the movie changed things up a bit.
Howard is a stunningly gorgeous woman. Her acting isn’t too bad, and I have to say, if I were Spider-Man and I had the choice – I’d much rather end up with Gwen then MJ. While Kirsten Dunst is certainly attractive, she’s got nothing on the bombshell that is Bryce Dallas Howard.
Overall, this is a worthy entry to the series. While I believe “Spider-Man 2” was a better film, I’ll certainly be returning to see this installment a number of times in the theatre.