Okay, let's get it over with: I did not hate Spider-Man 3.
A number of my friends seemed to be unhappy and I'll admit, if I'd gone to a midnight showing of a two-plus-hour movie, I would've been a little ass-burned by the end too. (Especially if I had only three hours of sleep to look forward to afterward... I mean, jeez!)
Spider-Man is an iconic character. He might not be up there with Superman just yet in terms of universal identification but there are a lot of folks in the US who know that red-and-blue costume. Plus the movies have made him more famous than the past 40+ years of comics. As for this new movie... there were a few things at work here for me going in, as I shall enumerate below:
- My friends told me going in that it was at best mixed and at worst disappointing;
- The reviews said as much;
- My expectations were not very high to start, as I figure by any third part of a trilogy, the creative fires are guttering if not nearly extinguished.
Tobey Maguire gives it his all but Spider-Man ends up struggling for screen (and theme) time, what with Sandman, "New Goblin" and Venom getting origin stories, MJ's career getting flushed down the toilet (after one bad review? sheesh!), the introduction of Gwen Stacy (who never really amounts to being a rival for Peter's affections), and... well, on and on.
To me, the movie's about redemption. Peter suffers the sin of hubris (embodied by his reckless "jerkiness" while wearing the symbiote-- remember, it only *enhances* whatever is there, in this case a big fat head from too much NY/Spidey love), and comes crashing back down to Earth when it's rubbed in his face that it's costing him MJ. MJ suffers a lot here too, realizing that being Spider-Man's girlfriend is NOT all fun and games; like cops' wives, there's times when he won't be there for her and times when she'll worry if he's coming home at all.On the villain side, Sandman's a small time crook and loser who only wants to see his sick little girl. His motivation is at least somewhat noble; not so Eddie Brock, who's a sleazy jerk eager to grab the spot Peter's worked for on the Daily Bugle staff. If Sandman is trying to do something positive--even through criminal means--Eddie is a dark twin to Peter: the guy who Peter might have been if things had been different. His Venom is a murderous glob of tar and malice with big teeth... and he's the only character who doesn't try to redeem himself in any way.
Lastly, the whole "redemption" theme rests heavily on Harry Osborn, who has gone through some of the insanity his father left him as of the first movie. He's finally gotten clear of it but now has the power to choose: villain or friend? Murderer or partner? It's an interesting bit of story arc and James Franco handles it very well.All in all, this could be the last installment of Spider-Man on film for awhile and that'd be okay. I'd rather see this group recharge their batteries and come back strong than limp through a bloated Spider-Man 4 (featuring Vulture, Electro, Rhino, Kraven and Carnage, kiddies!!). Sony would also do better with a better film, rather than chase after profits with some reckless sequel in two years.
Just my two cents.