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Spider-Man 3

Starring: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Thomas Haden Church, Topher Grace

Directed by: Sam Raimi

RS: 3of 4 Stars Average User Rating: 2.5of 4 Stars

2007 Sony Pictures All Movies

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Early reviews have been inordinately pissy for the third chapter in the Spider-Man series. And there's no arguing that the movie is too long at 139 minutes, too packed with villains (did we really need three of those suckers?), too limp in its love story (Kirsten Dunst looks weary of playing Mary Jane), and too reliant on a climatic battle scene that strains to clone the booming Roosevelt Island crescendo of Spider-Man 2.

Know what? Audiences won't give a damn. In an era of cynical, cash-in sequels, Spider-Man 3, like its two predecessors, has a heartbeat that resonates just as strongly as its box-office ka-ching. Director Sam Raimi, who wrote the script with his brother Ivan and Alvin Sargent, has always kept his focus on the human side of this Marvel Comic hero: that means screwed-up crybaby geekboy Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) over the superhero he becomes when he dudes up in Webslinger drag. Even when the movie is just running in place, you can still feel its pulse. Take that Pirates of the Caribbean.

Peter's real adversary this time is his own hubris. He's so into his media image ("They love me!") that he doesn't notice or care that his girlfriend MJ is a talentless singer who gets canned from her Broadway gig.. He even participates in a charity event in which hottie Gwen Stacey (Bryce Dallas Howard) plants a kiss on Spidey while he's hanging upside down. Hey, that hint of oral sex play is how he and MJ sealed the deal in the first movie. No wonder she ignores Peter when he tries to give her an engagement ring in a fancy restaurant with the help of a fawning maitre'd -- a delicious bit from Raimi's Evil Dead maestro Bruce Campbell.

There are delicious bits aplenty in Spider-Man 3 for those who care to notice. Sure the fx steals a lot of thunder, especially Spidey flying through the corridors of Manhattan with the son of the Green Goblin in hot pursuit on his flying skateboard and a killer sequence in which a construction crane goes berserk and knocks the side out of a skyscraper.

Yet Raimi still manages to keep things personal, even the villains. Thomas Haden Church wins pride of place as Flint Marko, an escaped convict transformed by a freak scientific experiment into the hulking Sandman, a scene that achieves a poetic grandeur rare in escapist fare. Church's beyond-the-call-of-duty performance makes you feel empathy for a character who can crush buildings but can't help his sick daughter. "I'm not a bad person," says the Sandman. "I've just had bad luck."

The same empathy extends to Harry Osborn (James Franco), Peter's former friend who wrongly blames Spidey for the death of his Green Goblin father and vows vengeance by becoming the New Goblin, a chip off the old nutso block. But the good Harry keeping peeking in between the cracks.

In the Raimi universe, everyone has his reasons, including Eddie Brock (Topher Grace with hair highlights), a photographer who tries to steal Peter's job at the Daily Bugle -- J.K. Simmons again blusters up a storm as the editor -- by Photoshoping Spidey into a compromising position as a thief. It's Eddie who morphs into Venom, a drooling, toothy monster befitting a character with the soul of a paparazzi. The agent of his transformation is inky oozing goo from outer space (I am not making this up) that covers him and brings out his inner demon.

The goo also sticks to Peter, but scale back on your expectations for a dark side. If you want to see a truly malevolent Maguire grab the DVD of The Good German in which he forces Cate Blanchett into rough anal sex and then punches her out. The worst the goo does to Peter is turn him into a finger-snapping hipster recalling the Buddy Love character in The Nutty Professor (both the Jerry Lewis and Eddie Murphy versions). But Raimi knows we'll never buy Peter as a dick. So he uses the scene for comic effect -- babes laugh at his cool act -- and in the process liberates Maguire from the goody-goody goo that Peter wears like a second skin. The worst thing Peter does is use Gwen to make MJ jealous. And in a typical Raimi touch, the director finds time to show Gwen apologize to MJ for letting herself be a pawn in a man's game.

Spider-Man 3 is full of Raimi nuances. But the attack dogs are out in force. They see the film's budget (a reported $250 million) and the huge box-office take of the first two installments ($1.6 billion) as evidence that the filmmakers are in it for the money. Now there's a shock. Internet wags point out that Raimi, from a conservative Michigan family of Polish Jews, contributed $900 to Dubya's reelection campaign in 2004. What's next? Did Raimi phone in votes for Sanjaya? The third chapter in the Spidey saga (a fourth is in the planning stages) is uneven, ungainly and frayed at the edges but there's lively mischief in it still. My guess is that when the summer blockbuster season finishes pummeling us with formula, Spider-Man 3 is going to look like one of the few that was touched by human hands.



PETER TRAVERS

(Posted: May 3, 2007)

Review 1 of 30

5L4V3K writes:

1of 4 Stars


There are too many words to describe the disgrace this movie places on the silver screen. That is to say 4000 characters is a much too small sum, but attempts can be made.
The single star this supposed motion picture received is for its special effects, which were brilliant to say the least. The transformation of Thomas Church's character (Flint Marco/Sandman) was incredible to witness. The creature that is expelled from the meteorite and straps itself to Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) was generated miraculously. This movie, if anything else, suggests how far CGI has come and how far it is yet to travel.
The script was appalling to say the least. Lacking flow and is more of an example of character speaking at each other rather than interacting with one another. The attempt to include some sort of psychological edge to the characters was, for lack of better words, a disaster and a total failure. The less said about the relationship between Spider-Man and Mary-Jane (Kirsten Dunst) was disappointingly predictable. After the abuse the character suffers, it is simply laughable that she accepts his return to her life. Apparently the relationship must last the extent of the movies, which has gone on for 3 movies too many. The cliches within the plot were infinite. The one notable cliche is that of Spider-Man and The Green Goblin junior, Mr Harry Osborn (James Franco). Crystal clear from beginning to the end, friends, enemies, fights, enemies, one saves other, ones dying, forgiveness. A single compliment to be applied to the script is to Sandman, a truly heart warming character. He is not enough of an influence to distract the audience that too many villians were involved within the film. An amusing irony that occured was that two nerds went to battle head-to-head, Peter Parker and Edward Brock Jr (Topher Grace).
Acting was disappointing, with most actors seeming to be tired of their characters. A special dishonourable mention to Tobey for a pathetic effort. The final scene of him weeping was met by the viewing audience with laughter rather than silent reverence for the loss he experienced.
One final item to discuss, the transformation of Peter Parker, from nerd to "emo". It signifies him being influenced by the alien being making up his new suit. His strutting down the street and his fringe down and dark disposition seemed to be an attempt of making a scene so stupid that it is amusing. The supposed attempt failed, like many other components of the film. It was so moronic that individuals were leaving the cinema in attempt to either attempt to regain the IQ points they lost in the watching of the sequence, or to achieve a refund.
Enough said. For special effects, watch the movie and tune out to the non-existent plot and tacky dialogue. If one is looking for a comedy, watch this movie, but skip the strut scene. A comedy of the year candidate, amazing what accidents bring about.

Oct 31, 2007 01:46:31

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Review 2 of 30

neom writes:

2of 4 Stars


HellO!

Aug 29, 2007 04:32:49

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Review 3 of 30

aybailey writes:

2of 4 Stars


Spider-man 3 was the definition of Hollywoodation. Is that even a word? I had to make one up for this movie. The story was slow at points and also repetitive. We were introduced to the same old main characters just like in the first two spider-man movies. I felt like if I watched one of the previews I knew everything that was going to happen in this movie. I was pretty much right. Only I guessed that Sandman died at the end... but he just does this fade thing. I thought that was such a cliffhanger thing to do. It was so unorganized and choppy that my girl friend fell asleep half way through. The ending was over the top. A fifty food sand man. What the F? The only thing I liked about the movie is venom and web of spider-man. The effects for the black spidey suit were cool. But Topher Grace for Venom?? Go back to "that 70's show"!!! Topher Grace is one of my least favorite actors because of this role. Heath Ledger better not be like this in the new Batman movie.

Aug 25, 2007 14:05:59

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Review 4 of 30

Rynf619 writes:

3of 4 Stars


Spider-Man 3 was pretty good. The ending was disappointing. But what is it with the so called "emo spidey" thing? Because he had his hair hanging over his face?

Jul 23, 2007 10:59:18

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Review 5 of 30

BSK writes:

4of 4 Stars


The single most underrated movie I have ever seen. An outstanding, fully featured masterpiece that has no lack of plot, characters, and gorgeous visual effects that I will never forget. One of the best movies of the year.

Jul 6, 2007 07:06:05

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Review 6 of 30

RankyPanky writes:

3of 4 Stars


Probably the best comic book movie franchise ever. Batman should have held that honor but Hollywood has so messed up the Dark Knight that the rich story under pinnings have been tattered beyond repair. Has a movie comic superhero ever had to battle as many villians (alongn with his id/ego) as Spidey does in this movie? It's a shame, the Sandman tragic character could have used some further character development. Topher Grace is pretty good as Peter Paker's uncouth nemesis. His character's conflict with Spiderman takes on a personal edge that is missing from the battles with the other villians. The special effects are darned good as usual. My only real gripe with the movie is the whiny Mary Jane woe is me routine that is getting kind of tired. If I were Parker, I'd dump her and get a sportier girl. Mary Jane is reduced to being just the damsel in distress and romantic pain in the ass. Maybe it would be better if she became a villian and turned on Spiderman. Peter Parker also takes a turn as a playboy barfly in this movie so be warned.

Jun 21, 2007 19:45:40

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Review 7 of 30

fudgenuts101 writes:

1of 4 Stars


It’s sad to see a great trilogy end so horribly. That is, if
Spiderman 3 is the end of the series, (i.e., it has made so
much money another sequel may already be in the works).
Spiderman 3 is not only the worst film in the series; it is one
of the worst films of the new millennium.
The third outing in the otherwise excellent film series
centers around an assortment of characters; Peter Parker,
(Tobey Maguire), and his acceptance of being a hero loved by
New York, Mary Jane Watson, (Kirsten Dunst), and her anxiety
of being a failure as an actress, Harry Osborne, (James
Franco), and his obsession with killing Peter, Eddie Brock,
(Topher Grace) a photographer compelled to take Peter’s job,
and Flint Marko, (Thomas Haden Church), a criminal that
turns out to be the man who really killed Peter’s Uncle Ben in
the first Spiderman film.
The intimidating cast of characters seems to be too
much at first, and in the end, it still is. There is too much time
spent on introducing the characters and getting to know them
that the plot loses screen time to the characters. There are
about 5 more main players in the film that I haven’t
mentioned already, but if I tried to explain them this whole
review would be filled with names and pointless plotlines.
Sadly, in a stellar cast, only three actors show their
excellent acting abilities, in little screen time; Bruce Campbell
(of the cult film Army of Darkness from the Evil Dead trilogy),
who plays a gut-busting Maître d' at a French restaurant,
Thomas Haden Church, (Sideways), as not so much of a villain
but more of a lost soul in a role as a criminal and villain
Sandman, and Topher Grace, (That 70’s Show’s Eric Foreman),
as an aspiring photographer whose hate eventually turns him
into the infamous Spiderman villain Venom.
One of the films major downfalls is its ridiculous plot. The
most important element of the plot, the black ooze that turns
Peter from normal to evil, and Topher Grace’s character into
venom, comes from an asteroid that falls out of the sky. To
showcase how evil this makes Peter, the filmmakers put
makeup on him, have him strut through New York snapping
his fingers and eyeing women for nearly fifteen minutes all
while wearing his “evil-spidey” black outfit underneath his
clothes. What is supposed to be funny turns out to be dumb,
tedious, and irrelevant, ultimately killing any chance of the
film being good enough to view more than once.
There is so much wrong with this film that I could fill up all
of Rolling Stone with its failures. I hated this film. Even if you
loved the first two films, Spiderman 3 is boring, brainless and
not worth seeing. Ever. Let me put it this way; instead of
dumbing down the plot to get to the widest audience, the plot
is so dumb it may actually lower the audience’s IQ.

May 27, 2007 13:39:53

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Review 8 of 30

franco69 writes:

Not Rated


I really like this movie. I hate when people go to movies and think that the movie is going to be like exactly like the comic book. The first and second movie weren't like the comic book so whats makes people think that the third movie is going to be like the comic book. I know alot about spiderman and i still thought the movie was really good!!

May 23, 2007 14:51:17

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