Review: Spider-Man 3 (2007)

Tobey Maguire's makes his last outting as Spider-Man is Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 3.

Spidey’s adventures continue in Spider-Man 3 as the Osborne story arc comes to a conclusion. New enemies, new costume and, for Peter Parker, a totally new attitude.

Traditionally most part threes drop the ball. In the last 30 years you could easily count the amount of truly great threequels on one hand. Spider-Man had all the potential to achieve that – a no compromise director, intelligent scripts, impressive acting talent. So what went wrong?

Spider-Man 3 was soundly thumped by the critics who had feted its predecessor. Words like ‘too excessive’, ‘flabby second act’, ‘loss of focus’ came from the critics. All of these are true, however, there is also the opinion that Spider-Man’s third adventure has received short shrift. Time has been kind to the movie which was always going to be compared to the superior second part.

As the Sandman, Thomas Haden Church turns in a fine performance, a victim of circumstance and beneficiary of the best origin scene from all three movies. Tobey Maguire has lots of fun portraying the darker side of his personality as Peter Parker is consumed by an alien entity and James Franco finally steps up to the plate and fulfils his destiny. These are all positives. On the negative side, too much was crammed into the plot, elements were severely underwritten (Gwen Stacey, such an important character in the comic book, is merely a plot device here) and the realisation of the super villain Venom was poorly executed with a totally miscast Topher Grace and sub standard CGI.

It is said that Raimi was forced to shoehorn Venom into the plot to appease the bean counters, the theory being more villains equals more action equals more at the box office. The last part was true, it became the biggest money spinner of the three, but the integrity of the series was eroded. Let’s not get too carried away, it is a comic book movie after all, but it had set a high bar for itself with part two.

An entertaining and more or less satisfying conclusion to what turned out to be a trilogy. It was, however, a missed opportunity.

Best performance: Tobey Maguire steps out of the shadows for this one and has a ball.
Best scene: The birth of the Sandman.

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