I watched it last night, and if I had to write a one-word review, unfortunately it would be :
I’ve been a fan of Sam Raimi for years, but I’ll be the first to admit that the man (like any director) is far from infallible.
This entry in the Spider-Man cinematic saga reminds me less of the director’s subtle crafting in a film like “The Gift” and more of a loud, angry mess like his work on “Darkman”.
Simply put, like most superhero films that attempt to cram more than one villain in, compounded with more than one love interest, more than one emotional trauma to explain and correct, and/or more than one “EPIC melodramatic” on-screen moment … this one collapses under it’s own weight.
Also, unlike the previous two films, that obviously had a good sense of humor about the characters and the world that they existed in … there are moments in Spidey 3 that go SO far over the top for such extended periods of time (Parker’s stroll down the street under the ego-boosting power of the symbiote / his jazz club dance routine), I SWEAR you’ll find yourself asking if Joel Schumacher (of Batman and Robin infamy) was the second unit director.
I KNOW Sam Raimi is a guy who loves a good “Three Stooges” approach to action and comedy … but this time around it really feels like he utterly failed to keep that “feeling” confined to moments including J.J. Jameson and crew, where in previous entries it worked in spades, it made almost every scene feel downright goofy.
There are MASSIVE plot-holes in terms of the most basic technical observations, and I’m not talking geek-worthy research-based stuff … I’m talking people just sitting there wondering what the hell they just saw.
For instance - why does a pumpkin bomb only cause some MINOR scarring on Harry Osbourne when detonated at point blank range, yet it TOTALLY vaporizes Eddie Brock and Venom in an unconfined area?
And there are some “fast-and-loose” moments played with the mythology of the characters … why they felt the NEED to make Sandman the person responsible for killing Uncle Ben is beyond me … his (totally UNDER-DEVELOPED) own plot thread of being a crook who wanted to save his daughter from whatever mysterious disease was ailing her was enough to make us feel sympathetic, wasn’t it?
Gwen Stacy and Capt. Stacy were nicely portrayed, but, almost completely pointless … I didn’t feel the subtlety that Dr. Connors has been used in the first two films (and the third)
Venom was nicely handled, but with the inclusion of the Sandman, as well as The New Goblin, it just felt like any of the three ON THEIR OWN would have been ENOUGH to sustain this film. There was just TOO MUCH, TOO FAST, and TOO HARD to feel like anything had
room to breathe, live or grow story-wise.
Bruce Campbell and Stan Lee both made great cameos, but I disagree with some early press that this was Bruce’s “best cameo yet in the Spider-Man franchise” … I thought that both of his previous entries were more fun.
And, the BIGGEST question on my mind as I was watching was - did we REALLY need a heartfelt moment with Harry Osbourne and his butler?
But I digress, this film is not totally without merit.
I think that the single best thing about Spider-Man three is the pay-off of the Goblin arc. James Franco was fantastic, the sequences between Spider and the New Goblin were the most exciting, and, honestly the most emotionally gratifying, since we had EMOTIONALLY INVESTED in Harry Osbourne and his strife during the course of the previous two films.
Whether or not the film is not worthy of your $10 ticket price is kind of a tough call … I’m SURE that most if not all of you will go see it, and I’m not saying that you shouldn’t …
… but, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it doesn’t meet the expectations set by the previous two films the way that it didn’t for me.