This was the third Spider-Man film directed by Sam Raimi and it had the potential to be awesome. Unfortunately the potential was never realized. There are definitely some parts of this movie that are great – in fact there are some scenes in here that are by far my favorites of the Spider-Man “trilogy” but there are others that are pretty much unforgivable. Please note I’ll have MAJOR SPOILERS in this review. If you haven’t seen it and want to be surprised stop reading. You’ve been warned.
Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) finally got his shit in line. He’s working regularly, got a steady girlfriend (Kirsten Dunst reprises her role as Mary Jane Watson) and had even managed to keep his other life of Spider-Man in line with the rest of what’s going on. At the end of Spider-Man 2, Harry Osborn (James Franco) finds out who Spider-Man is and takes up his father’s goal to kill the spider as The New Goblin. Peter finds out that the real killer of his uncle Flint Marko (Thomas Haden Church) has just escaped from prison. Through a series of events Marko becomes The Sandman. On top of all of this, Peter discovers a symbiotic entity that we all know as Venom.
If it sounds like a quickly thrown together plot review it’s cause it is… and that’s exactly how the movie felt. There’s simply too much going on to come across on screen in a good way. Essentially you’ve got 3 bad guys here where the flick simply doesn’t need them. Tell the story with Sandman, tell the story with The New Goblin OR tell the story with Venom — but please don’t try to do all three. You could probably have gotten by with a Sandman/Goblin story but to throw Venom in there is just too damn much. The result is three back stories that aren’t told very well and it leaves you scratching your head and wondering why you should even care about these characters.
THE GOOD STUFF:
As I said before, there’s some awesome stuff in here as well. The special effects are incredible. All the scenes with Sandman (aside from the first one) are perfect. The character himself is a little over the top so you have to suspend disbelief a bit but seeing him “grow” is awesome. Sand is such a fluid medium and it’s captured really well here. Venom is great as well. I’m not keen on the scenes where the mask “pulls back” to reveal Eddie Brock (Topher Grace) but the suit itself is great and how it “crawls” is awesome.
The scene at the end where Spidey and Goblin are working together is awesome. It’s fast, they move through the screen quickly and the action is intense. This is actually right up there for me with the Spidey/Doc Oc fight in Spider-Man 2. Actually, now that I think about it there’s another scene with these two that’s awesome as well. Right off the bat there’s a fight between these two that really gets the action going well. Intense and actually moves the plot along (with Harry suffering an injury that keeps him out of “Goblin mode” till much later in the movie. I think this was necessary based on the fact that they had so much crap shoved in there. Just goes to show you that there’s just too much.
THE BAD STUFF:
OK, here’s where things fall a part a bit. First off, the Goblin looks like a damn snowboarder. What the hell??? I made reference to how bad the Goblin’s outfit was in the original Spider-Man film. I guess bad fashion sense just runs in the Osborn family.
Speaking of the Osborns… they’ve got the world’s best butler apparently cause toward the end of the film he sweeps in to save the day. He explains to Harry that Spider-Man was not in fact the cause of his father’s death and that Harry shouldn’t hold him accountable. A little piece of information that would have been important BEFORE Harry got a huge scar on his face, nearly killed Peter and put Mary Jane in jeopardy. Fucking butler.
This is small one, but it’s really irritating just cause I thought it was so cool. In Spider-Man there is a throw away line where someone makes reference to “Eddie” which is an obvious reference to Eddie Brock. Then in this flick, the introduce him as a brand new photographer. Just goes to show you what happens when a throw away line is thrown away. Bummer.
THE GAY STUFF:
OK for all of the stuff that I loved and all of the stuff that I could forgive here’s where this one just falls off the track. Toward the end of the film you’ve got Venon, Sandman, Goblin and Spider-Man all going at it in an epic battle. Venom dies (which is tragic cause he’s such a cool character and they really didn’t do shit with him in this movie). The Harry/Goblin gets impaled and they’ve got a 5 minute scene where Harry, Peter & Mary Jane are boo hooing about it. Harry and Peter have an “I love you man” moment before Harry dies. If there weren’t enough for you, Marko comes back and at the very end of the story introduces this whole idea of how he was stealing for his daughter and that he really didn’t MEAN to kill Uncle Ben, etc. Peter figures he’s already been weepy enough so might as well shed some more tears and tell Sandman that he forgives him and allows him to walk away a free man. Um, OK. First off, the whole reason he became a crime fighter was based on Sandman’s actions… now that he’s got him he just lets him walk? And he’s indirectly responsible for his “best friend’s” death… and he just let’s him walk? Enough said.
There’s some good stuff in here and some really bad stuff. If you’ve watched the original and Spider-Man 2 then you owe it to yourself to see the “conclusion” but if you’re looking for a great Venom story you’re just not going to get it. Also note that this is probably not the last Spidey story to be put to film… Spider-Man 4 is slated for 2011.