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Written by Sam Raimi and Ivan Raimi
Directed by Sam Raimi

Mary Jane Watson: Everybody needs help. Even Spiderman.

As far as I’m concerned, you can drown those pirates at sea and banish that ogre to a land even further away because there’s only one sequel that matters this summer. SPIDERMAN 3 has finally swung through oncoming traffic and in and around the tallest buildings to land in theatres as the flagship film to launch the box office into summer. Legions of Spidey enthusiasts have had their tickets for weeks while critics have been waiting to review the latest installment in one the most successful and well-received film franchises in history. With expectations this high, its hard to imagine how Spidey could possible satisfy anyone fully. Yet despite the increasingly loud whispers of disappointment waiting to welcome SPIDERMAN 3, this critic slash Spidey enthusiast had himself one heck of a web slingin’ time and he’s not afraid to say it.

In the third, and what is sadly not likely the last in the Spiderman series, your friendly neighborhood Spiderman (Tobey Maguire) finds himself on top of the world. New York loves him; Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) loves him; and subsequently, Spidey ends up loving himself a little more than he should. High on his own ego, he decides to make everything perfect in his life and ask MJ to marry him. Simple enough a concept but things get a little sticky when he has to deal with his uncle’s killer escaped from jail, his best friend’s obsession with getting revenge on him for his father’s death, having to compete with a new photographer at the Daily Bugle and MJ’s increasingly disastrous acting career. Oh, wait. I forgot that he also has to deal with The Sandman (Thomas Haden Church) and Venom (Topher Grace), the newest enemies to emerge in New York City, a city where freaks apparently flock to. It’s a lot for one man to handle, let alone one man with super human powers. Ultimately, it proved to be too much for another super human to handle, namely returning director, Sam Raimi. Taking over script duty with his brother Ivan, found a lot of interesting themes like revenge and ego woven into the Spidey web but so much going on leaves so little to fully develop. Scenes that would seem pivotal, like when Venom and Sandman decide to team up, end up feeling rushed while scenes that are entirely disposable, like when Spidey’s alter ego, Peter Parker, finds his “Saturday Night Fever” groove strutting down the streets of NYC, seem to go on forever.

While the first SPIDERMAN film, written by David Koepp (rumoured to be returning for SPIDERMAN 4) brought me to tears more than once, there is plenty to enjoy in SPIDERMAN 3 that allows forgiveness for the script problems. People seem to have forgotten that Spidey is here to entertain us. Sure it would be nice to be affected by the words being spoken as well but when the action is as tight and the special effects as vast as in SPIDERMAN 3, it is a pleasure to tune out for a while and enjoy the ride. With three enemies to fight off at any given moment, Spidey finds himself constantly reevaluating his approach. With the New Goblin (James Franco), Spidey has to fend off a very aggressive attacker that he doesn’t truly want to hurt. The Sandman, who enters and exits in a flurrying sandstorm that is a visual kaleidoscope of grain, is at times an insurmountable force. The fact that Spidey can’t effectively hit him only further shows how much energy is wasted on revenge (as he was the man who actually killed his uncle in his pre-Sandman days). And Venom is just plain frightening. Being under the control of the tar-like substance that transforms cocky photographer, Eddie Brock (Grace), into this fanged fright, amplifies all of your aggressive, negative behavior. For Spidey, fighting Venom is like fighting all the parts of himself that he tries so hard to leave behind.

When SPIDERMAN hit theatres a few in 2002, its energy was infectious. Hopes were high and the goods were delivered. Genuine admiration was formed for the hero but like any hero, people eventually want to tear them down out of jealousy. How quickly we forget the love and allow our expectations to be set so high that no one, not even a man who glides gracefully through the sky, could surmount them. Better than the second, not as good the first, SPIDERMAN 3 is falling prey to the audience’s need to be constantly wowed with something bigger and better that eclipses accomplishments that are already awesome. Sure Raimi got himself tangled up in his own overcomplicated web but there is no one who can spin it like he can. And if Raimi, Maguire and Dunst don’t return for future installments, you’ll all be wishing you hadn’t squashed this spider so quickly.

One Comment

  1. Sam Raimi Destroyed Venom and Spiderman franchise, we want a change, we want Guillermo del Toro for SM4

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