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Spider-Man 3 (2007)

7 May 2007 by Gnoll 12 Comments


2007, Dir. Sam Raimi
140 min. Rated PG-13.
Starring: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Lowell, and Evil Eric Forman.

Review by Gnoll

I wasn’t going to write about the latest adventure from everyone’s favorie friendly neighborhood web-slinger after seeing it at mindnight on Thursday in a sold-out house, but I feel I have to do so mainly to answer some of the other critics out there.

Spider-Man 3 has been met with some pretty mixed reviews, but most of the criticism has been for some pretty stupid things. Before I get into the stupid criticisms, here’s one that I haven’t seen any of the critics mention, but it’s the only one flaw that was almost a dealbreaker. It involves a pretty big moment late in the film, so if you haven’t seen the movie yet, then go away or prepare to be spoilt.

Okay, the newbies gone? Good, then here we go:

You’d think that if Harry Osborn’s butler/caretaker knew that Spider-Man hadn’t killed daddy and that Norman had in fact died at his own hands and some wicked deadly technology, he might have decided to tell him, oh, I don’t know, maybe before Harry became a raging alcoholic and nearly blew his face off while trying to kill his best friend. You know, a few years ago, for fuck’s sake. If I were Harry, I wouldn’t have hugged the old dude and then jumped on my air scooter to go be a hero, I would have thrown a pumpkin bomb right down his throat and shoved him out the window.

So with that out of the way, here are a couple of the things that people won’t stop whining about:

One of the criticisms I’ve heard often is that “it’s a chick flick”. What the fuck is that supposed to mean? Spider-Man has always been a story about a real guy with real emotions. So what if he has a little trouble with women every now and then? He’s not some stoic alien or a steely-eyed multimillionaire, he’s a young kid with raging hormones and quite a bit of naïveté. Mary Jane Watson is a pretty major character in the mythos, so it’s not a stretch to see her getting in the middle of things and affecting Peter’s emotions a bit. These things were in the first two movies as well as in the comics for over 40 years, are you just now noticing it?

And if I have to hear one more person say that Peter “goes emo” in the movie, I’m more than likely to punch them in the face. Really, besides the floppy haircut he sports after the symbiote suit takes over his personality, what exactly defines him as “emo”? Do “emo” kids walk down the street with a confident swagger, making fingerguns at every girl they see? I think not. The whole “emo” fad annoys me to hell and back too, but at least I understand that at the very core of it you find people that act pretty much the exact opposite of the way Peter does here.

People complained about the villains. Personally, I don’t think they could have handled them any better given that they had three of them to pack into a single film. While it looked like it was going to be a big fat mess with three major villains vying for screen time, in actuality it’s just one major villain with a couple of supporting ones popping up. Of the three baddies we see featured here, only Flint Marko / The Sandman gets face time during the majority of the film, and gets the most backstory in this installment itself. Harry Osborn / The New Goblin is established from the previous two films, and has a nice little three-act story to further his characterization here. And Eddie Brock doesn’t become Venom until the last act of the film, and is used primarily as a sidekick to The Sandman. That’s fine, because I always kind of thought he was lame to begin with.

But they all look pretty damned cool. There’s not another actor who I can think of right now who could have pulled off Marko better than Thomas Haden Church. And his acting chops pay off here too, as you can totally believe him as the sympathetic family man just as easy as you can the vengeful supervillain. I’d like to see him get his own movie, to be honest with you. Harry gets all the wacky new-fangled equipment his father had — minus the goofy mask, thankfully. Still, after Harry gets all goofy for the middle act after being bumped on the noggin, he really starts channeling Daniel from Freaks & Geeks. Finally, Venom looks pretty badass in his own right. Yeah, he’s not the hulking bohemoth that a lot of people wanted him to be, but that wasn’t always the way Venom was intended. I like the idea that he’s basically just a doppelganger for Spider-Man. That’s why Topher Grace was a fine choice here. I just wish that he would have referred to himself as “we” rather than “I”.

Nobody, however, has complained about the contrived explanation for the symbiote’s existence on Earth. Early on, a meteor falls out of the sky and lands a hunred yards or so from Pete and MJ in the woods without even stirring them in the slightest, and the black goo crawls out and attaches itself to Peter’s scooter. I’m not sure why they needed to do this, however, when John Jameson had already completed a space mission in the previous film that I thought was a pretty wide-open hint at Venom’s future appearance.

On a brighter note, Bryce Dallas Howard was nicely cast as Gwen Stacy. Nobody had to tell me who she was — as soon as I saw that headband and that platinum hair, I knew. It was nice to see her step in and get in the way of Pete and MJ’s relationship, and they did a nice job in tying her in to the rivalry between Peter and Eddie. I was almost surprised that they let her live, but I guess all the elements of her famous death scene have already been done with MJ in the movies, and she managed to live through them, so Gwen would have seemed pretty lame had she bit it so easily.

Oh, and Bruce “The Chin” Campbell’s cameo in this one is his best yet.

So no, the film was far from perfect. It’s not nearly as good as Part 2, but it’s also not near the stinker that a lot of people have made it out to be. Even with the major flaw I referenced earlier and a few minor quibbles I had with pacing and overall goofiness, it’s still better than 90% of the comic book movies that have been made to date. It’s certainly better than the last X-Men movie, which made a shitload of money last year.


  • » Spider-Man 3 (2007) said:

    […] Original post by Noel […]

  • Elrando said:

    I also take issue with the fact that Peter tearing off the symbiote in the bell tower makes no sense.
    In the comics he knows that sound weakens the symbiote before he tries to remove it. But in this movie he doesn’t figure that out before this point, so why does he decide to go to the bell tower to pull it off? Just seemed like a good place to do it perhaps? Stupid.

    Harry’s convenient amnesia is an incredibly weak plot point, almost as weak as the butler and his revelation.

    The whole scene inside the jazz club where MJ works? Awkward and out of place.

    Sandman might as well not have been in there for his overall impact on the plot. Given that in the end, when you realise the extent of his involvement in that major event in Peter’s life, it changes nothing. The same person is still responsible, and they’ve already been dealt with. He had no impact on Pete’s relationship with any other characters. Also he should not be able to float around as a goddamn sand cloud, that is just STUPID.

    The black suit/Venom did however have an impact on many aspects of Pete’s life and those around him. Unfortunatly instead of realising the intense personal conflict between Spiderman/Venom the character was reduced to a bit part.

    Venom deserved his own movie, this should have been the lead in to that. Part 3 should have been the end of the “Goblin” arc. With the black suit fucking everything up for Pete, Harry and MJ, then forcing them to band together in the end. It should have ended with Harry dead, Spidey barely escaping with MJ and his life, and Venom as a looming (and VERY personal) threat, setting up a kickarse Spidey 4.

    Still, it wasn’t the big pile of crap a lot of people said it was. But it certainly wasn’t as good as it should have been.

  • Red Lion said:

    I disagree wholeheartedly.

    This movie was complete and utter shlock, and the biggest waste of money I’ve seen lately. The acting was atrocious, the sentimentality was absolutely forced and false…what really killed the movie was the pistol-winking, air-humping, piano-playing, table-dancing, girlfriend-punching idiocy. This isn’t evil or aggressive behavior, it’s just plain stupidity. The shitty disco music in the background makes it ten times more awful.

    The way the villains were “defeated” was absolutely awful. Neither of them were even defeated–they just went away.

    So, no, you’re being far, far too lenient on this movie.

    It’s complete and utter shit. Only the action sequences were good, and even those were incoherant and messed up.

  • Enigma_2099 said:

    I can explain Elrando’s first complaint off myself. Simply put, that’s where he did it in the comics… in the church belltower.

    By far not the best one, that honor goes to Spider-Man 2… but not bad either… better than Spider Man.

  • Alejandro González said:

    The will of Norman Osborn stated that “In the event of my passsing I leave everything to my beloved son Harry, if he too pass away then all goes to my faithfull butler who in the nigths of solitude made me feel whole”
    So, it was all a setup to get the Osborn’s fortune. But it comes with a price, we’ll be seing a new(and very old) green goblin rampaging New York soon enoug.

    (Yes, I’m kidding)

  • Alejandro González said:

    Why he did it in the church tower?

    Remember when he is buttfuc8ing Eddie Brock? he says something like “You want redemption, get religion” (or something like that) he remembers that, and goes to a church for some redemption, ended up with a stick full of glue up his butt.

  • Mick said:

    I gotta agree with Red Lion, complete and utter shit. The bit with the ‘out of control crane’ rescue was a WTF moment.

    Maybe I wasn’t paying attention but when Spidey has just rescued Gwen and stopped to have a short conversation with Brock did he ever stop the deadly, flailing crane that was taking chunks out of buildings? Also do the civilians have a deathwish? In this scene and the final fight some crowd control would have been nice.

  • Drama_Llama said:

    The film is utterely shit. The film revolved around parker’s ego, not his alter ego. I thought this film was about spiderman, not peter fucken parker.

    And ‘real guy with real emotions?!’ Dude this is a movie, Peter Parker is a character!

    You wanna see a ‘real guy with real emotions’ then go watch emos bitch about their life on JewTube. (Now thats what i call character!)

  • Goldenbane said:

    Drama_Llama, I couldn’t agree more. Nothing is more annoying to me when fans whine “Spiderman isn’t really about Spiderman…it’s about the life and times of Peter Parker!” Well if that’s the case, why does he put on red and blue spandex and run around fighting crime? If you don’t want to see supervillains getting their a-holes handed to them by Spiderman…and are FAR more interested in the mega selfish hag Mary Jane and the whiney Peter Parker, then why read the book at all…and why even call the book “Spiderman” and not “Parkerman??”

    In the first film, Spidey (sort of) lost his mask only once…maybe twice. In the second film he lost his mask like 3 times or so…in this movie I believe he lost his mask around 6 or 7 times. Toby M, I really don’t want to see your fat ugly face, I want to see Spiderman…and stop hogging Spidey’s screen time with your horrible singing, dancing, and whining bullcrap.

  • Charles Bronson said:

    Allright I wasn’t going to bring this up and I know it was a movie from last year but I need to mention this I saw this movie in an IMAX theatre and after an eight month stint with a therapist I finally can talk about the movie and first if you ever have the chance to see a movie in IMAX by all means do it, it’s a great experience unles Kursten Duntz is on the screen Dude that snaggle toothed bitch needs to brush those teeth and you would think she could afford to get them fixed with all her money she sure didn’t spend any of it on silicone implants I mean break down and at least get those teeth cleaned. Buy a toothbrush and atube of toopaste you cheap scank!!!
    It anit easy to see those snaggle teeth ten frigging feet tall with all that crud between them. Peters teeth were clean, Harry’s teeth were clean.
    If you don’t beleive me look for yourself, Oh yeah and they didn’t need to drag the movie out any longer than they did the funeral scene should have been the end of it seriously no need to go back to that bar at the end waste of time and the bladder buster soda I drank wanted out twenty minutes earlier throwing in more needless scenes just made that mess all the more intolerable.
    So to close villians good spidey good Venom good Kursten Duntz bad very bad!!!!

  • Mike said:

    spiderman takes the cake again! all the movies are just great! kids and adults can enjoy a movie together!

  • Mike said:

    Spiderman never dispoints any fans out there, i hope theyre will be a spiderman 4 that would b awesome.

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