SPIDER-MAN 3 (2007)

Spider-Man 3 is a Columbia Pictures release directed by Sam Raimi and was released in theaters on May 4, 2007. The film is rated PG-13 for sequences of intense action violence.

The cast is listed below and a complete summary of the film can be found here.


Tobey Maguire

Kirsten Dunst

James Franco

J.K. Simmons

Thomas Haden Church Topher Grace


Spider-Man 3 desperately wants to be a drama. It wants love, revenge, jealousy, the entire gambit of human emotions packed into 140 soap operatic minutes. It wants to be It’s a Wonderful Life and The Shawshank Redemption all rolled into one. There’s only one problem: whenever the action dies down and the relationships start the movie is complete garbage.

The latest Star Wars films had this problem. Superman Returns had it to some extent too (though not as bad as this). Somehow it’s not enough to present a hero story; somehow the hero has to be gooey too. He’s got to be involved with the most delightfully wretched and trite sentiment such as “One person can make a difference.” Wow, I’ve never heard that before! I sure hope it applies to Spider-Man! Then, in a moment of peril we are treated to: “This could be the end of Spider-Man!” Could it? Could it really? Nice work guys, whatever you do don’t let the tension build naturally, just have people shout out what we’re supposed to be feeling. That way we won’t have to think. Spider-Man 3 presents a world where people come into rooms, make heartfelt speeches, and then exit for no apparent reason while the other person looks off into the distance. It’s all a wacky attempt at Steel Magnolias (with webs) and it comes off as fully contrived. It’s a miserable experience when Spider-Man isn’t launching himself between buildings, and that’s about 85 minutes worth.

I say all of this to you as a comic book fan. I read Spider-Man (and many others) growing up. I loved the comic, but I’ve always been fine with a filmmaker putting a spin on the tradition too. I’m not going to knock a movie for screwing up an origin story. I really just want a good movie, of any kind, about the superheroes I grew up with. Make them larger than life; use all the effects and genius of Hollywood to make the comics look pale by comparison. But don’t downshift (like Spider-Man does), don’t regress the story by making it into Days of Our Lives. We deserve better, all of us, comic book fans, movie fans, and fans of good stories alike.

Now for some good news. There are two ideal crowds for this movie. The first is aged 11 to 15 (and their families). The syrupy vanilla presented here will work for a young mind. They’ll gloss over the romance and hone in on the action. And to be fair some of the action is pretty cool. I can’t knock the opening fight in the movie, it was worth watching. The second crowd is the people who loved the previous two. I didn’t. I thought two was a little better than the original, but I like my heroes in the style of Batman Begins and X2. If you don’t, if you like Superman Returns and the first two Spidey efforts you’ll be fine with this. If you’ve accepted the Aunt May’ing of a franchise and you don’t think the dialogue is overtly simplistic you’ll be golden. I won’t even hold that against anyone, in fact I’d congratulate you because your eight bucks won’t be wasted come opening weekend.

When Spider-Man 3 isn’t going for sap it’s heading the odd homage route. A few of the films that come to mind in certain scenes (and no, I am not making these up) are The MaskStaying Alive, and Chicago. Look at that list again. Why in the world would Spider-Man 3 EVER channel any of those films? How can we destroy a mythology in such a grand tribute to idiocy? Ugh. So count me in the crowd that doesn’t get this franchise as I’m a guy who wants my heroes heroic. They should have made this story giant and epic instead of miring us in petty overwrought squabbles. Attempting to be something you’re not isn’t the path of the hero, Spidey, it’s the road to below average.


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