You can’t say that writer/director Sam Raimi and company got lazy on us. After all, Spider-Man 3 packs more of just about everything from
the first two films. Unfortunately this trilogy maker is a classic example of the sum being far less than the parts.
Spider-Man 3 packs so many storylines and characters that it is pushed far past the breaking point. First there is the seemingly
unnecessary Sandman who spends most of his time staring at a locket and pretending to be the mummy. Then there is Harry Osborn finally
taking advantage of daddy’s cool tech. He also gets amnesia after a fight with Peter Parker; the first of many soap opera elements utilized
by Raimi. Then there is Venom, who comes so late in the game that he is really only there to appeal to fans.
Add in Peter and Mary-Jane’s relationship issues and aunt May’s endless fortune cookie wisdom and you have a movie that tries its best to
be bigger and better than the previous films, but ends up being just way too much.
Even at a hefty 140 minutes, all of the stories feel diffused. The structure of the first two films was concise and focused; Spider-Man 3 is a
Raimi also makes some stunningly poor choices by directing the film with a camp level not seen since his Evil Dead films. It works there,
not with Spider-Man. It’s puzzling how Raimi went from the serious drama of Spider-Man 2 to the cheese of Spider-Man 3. He evens tries to
give the film a serious and bittersweet ending. Talk about having your cake and eating it too.
Even the cast seems to be hammier than before with Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst leading the way.
Probably the most notable directorial misfire is during the climactic battle when Raimi inter-cuts the action with worthless news footage and
shots of a crowd of people watching the fight as if they are watching a movie. Maybe it’s a metaphor for us viewers? But it’s definitely the
perfect way to destroy any dramatic tension.
Christopher Young provides the musical score this time around and alternates between completely obnoxious original music and cut-and-
paste statements of Danny Elfman’s original theme from the previous films.
And although the film is certainly a disappointment, it still packs some good entertainment. The action sequences are pretty spectacular
and are aided by some darned good effects.
The movie is also unquestionably funny, even if it does clash with the drama.
Basically what we get is movie that is entertaining, but doesn’t live up to the high standards of its origins. It lacks the heart, dramatic
tension, and concise plotting that made the second film great.
(Out of Four)
Directed by: Sam Raimi
Written by: Sam Raimi & Ivan Raimi and Alvin Sargent
Starring: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco,
Thomas Haden Church, Topher Grace
Cinematography by: Bill Pope
Music by: Christopher Young
Released: May 4, 2007; 139 Minutes