Spider-Man Survives Tangled Web of Characters

Spider-Man Survives Tangled Web of Characters

Film Review

I’m going to make a safe bet and say you’ve seen "Spider-Man 3," since more than 80 percent of the movie-going public last weekend chose to see it over any other movie. But just in case you are in that other "(un)Lucky You" 20 percent that didn’t see it, I’m here to tell you that you should.

Now that you know the movie's worth your time and money — let’s pick it apart like a 15-year-old fanboy would.

It’s not as good as the second, which is hands down the apex of superhero movies, possibly never to be topped. It has its problems and they shine all the more powerfully because the film is trying too hard to be better than its predecessor.

As we join Peter Parker this time around, life is looking up. Mary Jane and he are dating, and while things aren’t perfect with Harry Osborne/New Goblin — that’s the best they could come up with? — at least he isn’t trying to kill Peter. That is until 10 minutes into the movie when the first of Sam Raimi’s brilliantly directed action sequences kicks in. After this first threat on Peter’s life, things really start falling apart once again for our poor, friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. His proposal to Mary Jane fails. He finds out that his uncle's real killer is still alive and his hubris is starting to get out of control. His problems are only magnified by the strange black Spidey suit that appears when the Venom Symbiote falls from space and merges with the classic costume.

Most of the film's problems stem from the Venom saga — nerd-speak for the storyline involving the Venom Symbiote, which in turn is nerd-speak for the nasty thing that latches onto Spidey to make his suit black — which was shoved into a single movie, something director Sam Raimi reportedly didn’t want to do originally.

Along with Harry and the Symbiote, The Sandman, who has the ability to control sand — far cooler than it sounds — joins a far too crowded field. A character like Sandman — who could have the depth and power of Doctor Octopus especially with Thomas Haden Church playing him — is almost relegated to henchman status. If only Venom wasn’t forced to show up for the final battle of the film and had been saved for an inevitable sequel; Sandman could have received the screen time he deserved.

One of Raimi's biggest missteps was showing us how the black suit affects Peter Parker instead of how it affects Spider-Man. Instead he just presents something funny but relatively pointless; it never truly hits home that the suit has become part of him, and his classic struggle in the church to remove the Symbiote rings (pun intended) false — especially for people who don’t know the comic book.

Maybe this is a trend all superhero movies must endure as part of their growing pains. Some producer comes in with the idea that if one villain was good, two must be better and three would absolutely be the best. Of course after this weekend's amazing box office, which the trilogy rightly deserves to have, we might be looking forward to so many villains in the next Spider-Man that it becomes more about the bad guys than the hero; which is something that "Batman Forever" taught us doesn’t work at all.

Thus ends the review of a fanboy. The majority of people aren’t going to deconstruct "Spider-Man 3" like it was a masterpiece by Goddard or Fellini. The majority of the people came out of the theater this past weekend talking about how amazing Bruce Campbell’s cameo was or how cool it was when Spidey saves Gwen Stacey.

Sure the Amazing (moneymaking) Spider-Man doesn’t need your cash, but you need to be entertained and he will do that.