“Spider-Man”, when it first came out in 2002, changed the course of superhero films as it became the first superhero film that was lighter in tone, was successful at the box office, and set up things for a very successful and lucrative film franchise for SONY. Then, “Spider-Man 2” came and showed audiences and Hollywood that you can make a great superhero movie sequel that wasn’t just a superhero movie but a good movie in itself. And then, “Spider-Man 3” happened- the movie in the franchise that obviously had SONY’s hand prints all over it. However, as much as there were a lot of things I didn’t like about “Spider-Man 3” in the two times I watched it, there were some things in it that I did genuinely like.
It is no secret that “Spider-Man 3” is the Spider-Man movie that no one talks about. I myself dreaded reaching this point in my rewatch because all I could remember was cringing at Tobey Maguire’s emo hair and that part where he dances everywhere and that dance sequence in the jazz nightclub in front of Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst).
Aside from that horrible dance, and that scene of Mary Jane and Harry Osborn (James Franco) making an omelette in his mansion’s kitchen, this film suffered greatly because the studio wanted Venom/Eddie Brock (Topher Grace) to be a part of this particular film, maybe as a set up for spin-off series starring Venom. However, director Sam Raimi wasn’t a big fvan of this idea, but ended up putting Venom in the film for SONY’s benefit, causing the film, which was already overstuffed with plot and new characters, to be even more overstuffed. Even director Sam Raimi admitted, in a podcast interview with Nerdist, that he should have continued on with the current slate of main characters and the relationships that those characters have with each other. This was also something that I figured out during my rewatch when I was around half way through the movie.
However, there are some wonderful scenes in this film, such as that point when Flint Marko (Thomas Hayden Church) becomes the Sandman due to a particle accelerator experiment, that fight scene between Peter and Harry, and that fight between black suit Spider-Man and Sandman in the train tunnels. Also, there was that scene with J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons) getting a buzz alarm every time that he got angry or made a mistake as to which blood pressure pill to take made me laugh out loud to the point that I almost fell out of my chair.
A lot of the themes in the “Spiderman” trilogy seem to center around the choices that someone makes, especially after a particular event happens to them. However, this time around, it centered more on what choices a person makes when something that isn’t necessarily good is presented to you, but it is a very easy way out, and how one has to struggle with that darker side in oneself so that you won’t fall prey to it. This film also centered a lot around the themes of losing yourself and redemption because of a particular choice that you make.
So, overall, this film is watchable, and there were some good moments in it, but it suffered a lot from studio meddling.
Before we delve deeper into the film, you know the drill….there will be spoilers!
As I mentioned earlier, there were some things in this film that I did enjoy.
Dunst’s acting throughout the entire film was consistently good, although I really didn’t like the direction that the film went with her and Peter’s relationship this time around. I wish that they didn’t have to spend too much time on her and Peter’s relationship drama as there was a lot going on, and to top it all off, they added in Gwen Stacy (Bryce Dallas Howard), so that it would complicate matters even more. However, I did enjoy what Dunst did with her character this time around. All the little annoyances she had were all understandable, especially as being an artist and an actress isn’t the easiest and most stable profession in the world.
I already mentioned that scene in which J. Jonah Jameson kept on getting buzzed to get reminded of his blood pressure and to take his blood pressure pills, so let’s move on to the fight scenes that I loved.
That train tunnel fight scene with Sandman was really good. It was visceral, as all of the fight scenes in the trilogy are, and it also managed to show how the symbiote was affecting Peter. The old Peter would have probably stopped beating Sandman at a certain point, but this new version continued on until he thought he killed him.
The fight scene with Harry was great as well, as that one was a visceral bare knuckle fight scene that really managed to finally go somewhere with the broken relationship that these two best friends are currently dealing with.
Speaking of Sandman, that scene in which he rose from the sand and began to walk and the sand formed and hardened so that he could walk around again was just visually stunning, accompanied by a wonderful score by Christopher Young.
I also loved the part when Harry arrived to team up with Peter against Sandman and Venom, and that scene in which he died in between Mary Jane and Peter with the sun rising in the distance was just beautiful.
Now, I did mention earlier that I felt that the film was overstuffed with characters and plot. Halfway through the film, I realized that they could have done this instead:
Remove Gwen, the retcon of Uncle Ben’s (Cliff Robertson) death and Sandman, and Venom. Instead of all of that, the film could have been about Harry becoming the Second Green Goblin, terrorizing the city and trying his best to get vengeance for his father by trying to kill his best friend. Harry would still have Mary Jane break up with Peter, as they are having some difficulties with their relationship as all couples do, but she doesn’t need to get kidnapped yet again. The film would then culminate in an all out battle between Harry and Peter. Instead of putting Venom in this film, they could just tease the symbiote and Eddie Brock at the end of the film to set things up for “Spider-Man 4”.
This way, we could finally have the pay off we deserved for Harry, as the entire trilogy was setting him up to become the second Green Goblin and confronting Peter as he believes Peter/Spider-Man to be responsible for his father’s death.
All in all, “Spider-Man 3” was not a great installment to the franchise and it killed any hopes of further development until it was rebooted in 2012 with “The Amazing Spider-Man”. However, I do love the Raimi films because of how they treated the character of Peter Parker, and because of the wonderful music, great action sequences, and wonderful moments that showed the world that superhero movies are indeed something that people would gladly buy tickets to watch.
Just a little bit of house keeping, we’ll be taking a little bit of a break from Spider-Man as my next review will be on Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk”. After that, I’ll be reviewing “The Amazing Spider-Man 1 & 2”.
So, what is your opinion on “Spider-Man 3”? What do you think of Raimi’s Spider-Man movies as a whole? Let me know what you think in the comments below!