Sunday, May 20, 2007

Movie Review: Spiderman 3

Spiderman 3 is a disappointment compared to the first two in the trilogy - high on special effects, high on moral message, but shallow when it comes to script and acting.

Tobey Maguire is back as Peter Parker/Spiderman who has been seeing Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) for some time. But Peter does not really understand women and he is beginning to develop a certain self interest that is clearly going to be his downfall. Harry Osborn (James Franco) still believes that Peter killed his father and is intent on revenge. At the same time, Flint Marco (Thomas Haden Church) has escaped from prison and is running from the police. Eddie Brock (Topher Grace) has wormed his way into the position of photographer at the local newspaper and pushed Peter Parker aside.

The overall story of Spiderman 3 is a series of conflicts: Peter Parker vs Mary Jane; Peter Parker vs Harry Osborn; Peter Parker vs Eddie Brock; Spiderman vs Sandman; Spiderman vs Venom. Clearly, Peter Parker/Spiderman has a lot on his plate. Everyone wants revenge. Complicating all this, Spiderman is taken over by suit that brings out his dark side. How will Peter/Spiderman resolve all these conflicts - with good or evil? All of these could make for interesting stories in their own right. But, unfortunately, they are not developed adequately.

Spiderman 3 is nowhere near as engaging as the previous two episodes. In fact, it is quite tedious at times. Most of the effort seems to have been put into the special effects which are, indeed, quite spectacular (Sandman is particularly impressive). And there is a very explicit moral message. But the way that it deals with the themes of revenge and forgiveness are too obvious and the drama is stuff we have seen before. The actors do their job, but the dialogue is insipid and predictable.

Go see Spiderman 3 - after all, you need to complete the trilogy! But don’t expect too much.

My Rating: ***1/2

Positive Review

’With nifty new villains, a revived Green Goblin, plus $300 million worth of aerial special effects, Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3 is definitely good to go.’ - Jack Mathews/New York Daily News

Negative Review

’"Spider-Man 2" was a textbook example of how to make a sequel: Deepen it, make it funnier, give it more heart and come up with a strong villain and a good story. Spider Man 3, by contrast, shows how not to make a sequel.’ - Mick LaSalle/San Francisco Chronicle

Content Advice
Sequences of intense action violence

USA: PG-13

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