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Awesome: 18.66%
Worth A Look: 17.7%
Just Average: 21.53%
Pretty Crappy26.32%
Sucks: 15.79%

9 reviews, 155 user ratings

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Spider-Man 3
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by Peter Sobczynski

"This Generation's "Superman III"
2 stars

When the first “Spider-Man” came out in 2002, audiences were so thrilled to finally see the web-slinger on the big screen after years of development hell that they were more or less willing to overlook its now-obvious flaws, such as a certain narrative pokiness that almost inevitably occurs with a superhero origin saga that has to spend over half the running time setting up premises and powers before getting to the story proper, in order to enjoy the lavish special effects and the occasional glimmers of actual wit. No doubt recognizing that viewers wouldn’t be as forgiving the second time around, director Sam Raimi stepped up his game with “Spider-Man 2" and presented audiences with one of the best superhero movies ever made–a work of popcorn art that popped the eyes and touched the heart so deftly that some people found themselves wondering why he didn’t make it that good the first time around.

After a peak like “Spider-Man 2,” anyone crafting a third instalment could do one of two things–they could either try to live up to the challenge of the previous film by taking the time to devise a storyline that was just as smart, exciting and original or they could simply coast on the goodwill generated the last time around by slapping together a half-formed screenplay consisting of familiar faces going through equally familiar paces, uninteresting new characters who are haphazardly thrown into the mix and a bunch of graceless and noisy action scenes that try to distract you from the aforementioned flaws by smashing things up every few minutes. Within a few minutes of the start of “Spider-Man 3,” it becomes depressingly obvious that Raimi and company have chosen the second route and while the end result may swell their bank accounts and vaguely satisfy easier-to-please audiences, those who were surprised and delighted by the depth and drama of “Spider-Man 2" are likely to come away fairly disappointed with this go-around. If we can agree on “Superman: The Movie” and “Batman Begins” as the high-water marks of the superhero genre and “Fantastic Four” and “Batman & Robin” as the mossiest of depths, this one clocks in maybe slightly below “Superman III.”

As the film opens, Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) is actually in an up period of his normally bleak and depressing existence–his alter-ego of Spider-Man is the toast of Manhattan (with electronic billboards running videos of his heroic exploits around the clock), his freelance photography job at the Daily Bugle is fairly secure thanks to his unerring ability to snag photos of Spidey and his relationship with Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) has progressed to the point where he is about to propose to her. Of course, no one wants to see a happy Peter Parker for very long and so the screenplay almost immediately begins to put the screws to him. On the job front, Peter is threatened with the presence of brash newcomer Eddie Brock (Topher Grace), who is his main competition for a staff photographer opening. On the home front, Mary Jane is depressed over her failing Broadway career, Peter’s occasional ego trips and the attentions that he seems to be giving to cute college classmate Gwen Stacy (Bryce Dallas Howard) after saving her from certain death. Then there is Harry Osborne (James Franco), the one-time friend who still blames Peter for the death of his father, the Green Goblin, in the first film and who has taken up the family business of super-villainy in order to satisfy his desire for revenge. Luckily for Peter, the son is about as effective as the father and an early attack lands Harry with a convenient case of amnesia that allows him to forget his plans for revenge for the time being.

While all of these complications are banding together to make Peter’s life an endless series of complications, a group of disparate evils is coming together to do the same for Spider-Man. For starters, a mysterious black blob from outer space crash-lands on Earth and attaches itself to the Spider-Man suit, causing Peter to literally turn to the dark side by transforming him into a self-centered and hateful jerk. Then there is the emergence of Flint Marco (Thomas Haden Church), a small-time thief who, as it turns out, was apparently really responsible for the death of Peter’s beloved Uncle Ben. Alas, before he can be brought to justice, Flint literally falls head-first into a particle physics experiment, emerges as the shape-shifting Sandman and uses his new-found abilities to embark on a crime wave to raise money for treatment for his seriously ill young daughter. (With all the people in superhero movies who emerge from major industrial accidents with amazing powers instead of crippling-to-fatal injuries, I still await a token scene showing OSHA investigators sitting around the office with nothing to do.) As for Eddie, he winds up being transformed into the malevolent Spidey clone Venom after being covered in the alien goop and decides to use his newfound powers to get revenge on Peter for getting him fired from the Bugle over a faked photo. If that weren’t enough (and believe me, it is), this is about the time that Harry snaps out of his amnesiac fog and he attempts to destroy Peter by attacking him through his most vulnerable point–Mary Jane. Inevitably, they all come together in one of those epic battle scenes in which the heroes and villains take out most of the skyline, the damsel in distress is dangling hundreds of feet above the ground (you know, just like in the first film) and ordinary citizens gather below to watch even though you would think that they would want to take cover from all the chunks of debris that are presumably raining down upon them.

You may notice that while the description above contains a large number of subplots, there doesn’t really seem to be one overriding storyline to drive the narrative along in the way that “Spider-Man 2" had. That, in a nutshell, is the central flaw of the entire film–Raimi and co-writers Ivan Raimi and Alvin Sargent have come up with a lot of ideas that individually have inspired a pretty decent story but have chosen to merely throw them all into one big pot instead of trying to develop one into a compelling story. As Raimi flits about from event to event, I found it almost impossible to work up any interest in any of them. The Sandman strand is silly from the get-go–especially the way that the screenplay tries to tie him in with Parker’s history and destiny–and turns downright mawkish by its conclusion. The Venom concept has promise but there is so much other stuff going on that the character doesn’t even appear in all his black-suited glory until the 100-minute mark, which is a little late to be introducing your arch-villain. We get plenty of mumbo-jumbo about the properties of that interstellar slime but no explanation of why it has landed or why it has chosen Peter as its host.

As for Harry Osborne, his plotline is the biggest zero because we don’t care a whit about his scheming and since it is pretty obvious from the get-go that he will have a last-second change-of-heart, there is no real sense of suspense generated from his potential vengeance. He also figures in the worst scene in a film chock-full of bad scenes–a bit in which his faithful butler finally informs him that Spider-Man was actually not responsible for the death of his father. This is interesting because a.) you would have thought that he might have thought to mention this to Harry before and b.) because, as far as I can recall, this particular character was nowhere to be found when the events in question occurred in the first place. Of course, one could argue that this seemingly enormous loophole is merely Raimi’s sly homage to a similar gaffe in “Citizen Kane”–the fact that everyone knows that Charles Foster Kane’s last word was “Rosebud” even though it was clear from the outset that he died alone–but I sincerely doubt that a film could be that clever in that one respect while being so resolutely dopey elsewhere.

The human element of the story–always a key component of the “Spider-Man” saga from its earliest comic book days–is also profoundly disappointing as well. The idea of bringing up the idea of the Sandman as being the real killer of Uncle Ben seems to have been shoehorned in as a desperate effort to lend emotion to an otherwise undistinguished story arc and added interest to an otherwise undistinguished villain and then, after all that, it is resolved in such a perfunctory manner that you almost want to throw something at the screen. Peter Parker’s flirtation with the dark side of his nature sounds like a good idea in theory but it is fatally undercut by Raimi’s odd decision to play most of the transformation for laughs and Maguire’s inability to turn off the puppy-dog charm. That said, this part works better than Peter’s flirtation with Mary Jane–the element that has been the weakest aspect of the previous elements and which reaches its nadir here. Once again, Maguire and Dunst demonstrate virtually no discernible on-screen chemistry and it is therefore impossible to work up any feelings towards either one of them–Dunst’s Mary Jane is a particularly bitter pill to swallow this time around and Maguire’s cruelty to her when he mistakenly thinks that she has been untrue is so unpleasant that it nearly undoes the entire film. As for the introduction of the Gwen Stacy character–an important part of the original “Spider-Man” mythos but basically an anonymous blonde her–it is dealt with in such a throwaway manner that you wonder why Raimi and company even bothered to bring the character in if they weren’t going to utilize her in any significant way.

“Spider-Man 3" has its moments–a few of the visual effects are impressive (especially a brawl between Spider-Man and Sandman amidst hurtling subway trains), J.K. Simmons is winning as always as the perpetually scowling newspaper editor J.J. Jameson and the scene between Maguire and longtime Raimi cohort Bruce Campbell (here playing a snooty head waiter with a French accent that even Peter Sellers might have found questionable) is a legitimate comic gem–but as the film lumbers along, those moments grow fewer and further between and while it may be about par for a typical big-budget threequel these days, the decline in quality from the previous instalment may come as a shock to some. When I emerged from the likes of “Spider-Man 2" and “Batman Begins,” I found myself eagerly anticipating further adventures. After “Spider-Man 3,” however, not only did I leave the theater with the distinct feeling that enough was enough, I got the sense that everyone involved with the film felt the same way as well.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=15898&reviewer=389
originally posted: 05/03/07 01:12:25
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User Comments

10/29/16 morris campbell overstuffed but good IMHO 4 stars
3/28/16 Aj wales Underated when looking back. Begining was flat compared to 2. Compared to newer movies it w 5 stars
9/02/14 Dude Wow they really fucked up 1 stars
7/18/13 Joe the plumber what the hell was that? 1 stars
6/29/13 Neil i really cant believe sam did this 2 stars
2/01/13 Kcaj Ive lost faith in humanity 2 stars
8/19/12 11 not enough venom 2 stars
8/08/12 Kcaj too much going on for one movie and too many cheesy parts. Im sorry spidey... 3 stars
6/30/12 cr a good sequel with good effects and villians. good 3 stars
1/18/12 Marc DC if this isn't the most wackest super hero films, I don't know what is... 1 stars
9/10/10 zenny tragically awful. At least 3 half-ass movies in one 2 stars
6/11/09 Nick Seemed like I was watching something from the 60's 2 stars
4/02/09 Dane Youssef Uneven, but not as bad as reputation proceeds. The cast is as great as ever, though. 4 stars
1/25/09 Samantha Pruitt pure cheese, Topher Grace was awesome though, there are some really funny parts. 4 stars
11/20/08 KB5 Not my favorite, wish I had waited for the DVD renatal 3 stars
10/27/08 Michael M Too long and the plot was a little too complex with three villains. Mildy entertaining. 3 stars
10/24/08 Gloria D. It was pretty good for a sequel, entertaining 3 stars
9/30/08 Danny I thought this wasn't all that bad...certainly a good villain setup, except Sandman 4 stars
9/25/08 Shaun Wallner Awesome Cast!! 5 stars
9/12/08 DW Smith What a waste of a perfectly good villian. 2 stars
8/21/08 black_queen_marches completely overrated. too much crying, too many villians. what a waste 1 stars
6/20/08 David V Good action scenes but too much crying, dancing, and overacting. 3 stars
2/01/08 Pote Was somewhat bored by 1 & 2 but enjoyed this more, despite some bad editing and progression 4 stars
1/25/08 man weakest of the series but still enjoyable 5 stars
1/23/08 Charles Tatum Fantastic, the best of the series 5 stars
1/17/08 X Wang Entertaining, action movie - don't take the cheesy humor too seriously 4 stars
12/27/07 Taylor Fladgate Whoa...bad acting, bad script...what a waste. Hated it. 1 stars
12/14/07 zenny such a sad waste... 2 stars
12/08/07 Milky Joe Cringe worthy - parituclarly the scenes where Peter Parker turns "bad". Too many villains 2 stars
11/26/07 dude underrated 5 stars
10/17/07 Beau Not as good as first two, but somehow was half decent! still worth seeing 3 stars
10/02/07 wall dude!!! I love it 5 stars
10/01/07 Andrew Kercher Good sin/redemption/forgiveness story, but overacting disappoints. 1 & 2 are better. 4 stars
9/16/07 David Pretty good but still a littledisappointing. 3 stars
9/13/07 dude underrated 5 stars
9/07/07 Indian dude worst spiderman movie ever. This movie was soap opera between Peter Parker and Mary Jane 1 stars
8/06/07 ravenmad since when did movie franchises start selling AXE deodorant spray? 3 stars
7/13/07 MaDmAN Huge disappointment way too much going on 3 stars
7/02/07 William Goss Overstuffed and underrewarding. 2 stars
7/01/07 spider2.0 One of the best movies this year.Disagree? take it with venom 5 stars
6/30/07 Mr.Jiggy The Movie is good, could be better though. The end gives alone a reason to watch it twice! 5 stars
6/23/07 Bob loves to lick nob Yo with an increase in the violent content that's what makes it a Great film 5 stars
6/16/07 Ron Newbold Ok but disappointing - Too many villians and a weak resolution 3 stars
6/11/07 Kyle What a con!!! It was really painful to watch such atrocity 1 stars
6/11/07 Total Crap PIECE OF SHIT!!! Don't believe anyone who gives this 5 stars! It Absolutely sucks! 1 stars
6/10/07 Alice Boy this sucked ! Liked 1 and 2 by the way. 1 stars
6/08/07 Harry Mediocre 1 stars
5/30/07 ES The movie starts brilliantly but it's all down hill after the dance routine 2 stars
5/28/07 pin Uh, why all the face time? Wear the masks. Hob-Goblin = "New-Goblin?" 3 stars
5/27/07 Jason it was a good movie, it was just different from the other two 5 stars
5/26/07 Ms_ArtGeek too many villains, too many plots & plot holes, too much weeping. sorry to say, it's crap. 2 stars
5/25/07 Mike Not as great as first 2 SM's but still a sweet movie!!! 5 stars
5/24/07 Desperado Plays like an infomerical about forgiving an being nice, yet its stupid, really stupid 1 stars
5/24/07 ebert great 5 stars
5/24/07 runes one pretty wack film guys....too emo 2 stars
5/23/07 Simone I understand your POV David, but I really enjoyed Spiderman 3 4 stars
5/20/07 Anthony Feor The worst exuse for a superhero movie. Utterly dissapointed! 2 stars
5/19/07 Snail Pretty darn entertaining. Venom...wasn't Venom though. 5 stars
5/18/07 Koitus The only scene I hated was the musical number. Otherwise, thought it was good. 4 stars
5/17/07 johnnyfog If the other 2 movies didn't exist, people might enjoy it more. Too much Sandman! 4 stars
5/16/07 Marlena This movie was way too over-hyped. It didn't live up to all the advertising. 4 stars
5/15/07 Richard A rather complicated assembly line for producing a somewhat more mature Peter Parker 4 stars
5/15/07 967 It's not a bad movie, it's just been overshadowed by the other ones. Needs more Venom tho. 3 stars
5/14/07 doom By far best movie and yes ppl who gave this a 1, 2 etc are retarts 5 stars
5/13/07 Total Crap An overhyped montage of super-villians and with too much plot-holes. It killed the series. 2 stars
5/13/07 Jim "Jeeze, you know, that information might have been a little more useful to me yesterday." 2 stars
5/13/07 Galderak Sad thing is this movie still made a lot of money, and people will see it as a success 1 stars
5/12/07 Uncle Salty terrible. simply terrible 1 stars
5/12/07 Vince Too poorly put together, too many plot holes 2 stars
5/11/07 Escobar There is more to a movie than special effects, THIS MOVIE SUCKS! 1 stars
5/10/07 Seanz0rz What a fucking horrible movie. And who noticed Harry's lazy eye? 1 stars
5/10/07 Tiffany Losco Good special effects, but to much going on. I love MJ 4 stars
5/10/07 Thelonius Bruce Campbell saved this crappy movie from being a 1 star 2 stars
5/10/07 mr.mike not the best , but not as bad as you've heard 3 stars
5/10/07 Dave S. Pompellini, you are an idiot. this movie was BEYOND BAD. Worst I have seen in many years. 1 stars
5/10/07 gn2plad well theres two hours of my life ill never get back 1 stars
5/09/07 Jonny bad progression 3 stars
5/08/07 Nash EPIC. 5 stars
5/07/07 venom666 go kill yourself Ian, along with other naysayers - best movie ever!! venom rules!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
5/07/07 Kisuta Too much going on 3 stars
5/07/07 tyler Terrible: the best part was the Harry Potter and Pirates trailers! 1 stars
5/07/07 David Kimble Disappointed in the movie, but still liked some of the special effects 4 stars
5/07/07 Jeffoi Spider-man is not emo, MJ is not fugly, and Venom is not a weakl simpleton. Blasphemy! 2 stars
5/07/07 Namons The butler cleaned the wound to find the piece of glider that's all he said 4 stars
5/07/07 movieman awesome 5 stars
5/07/07 Ian I'm still in utter disbelief, how did such an awesome movie end up being total crap? 1 stars
5/07/07 Steve People were laughing at it during my screening, a megaplex mess 2 stars
5/07/07 Tony forget the comics-but not the web. spiderman 3 rocks! 5 stars
5/07/07 Tracey Chambers nots as good as I thought it would be. first two much better 3 stars
5/07/07 huong caitlin nguyen great special effects, but loose plot, bad script, too long 2 stars
5/06/07 sam no superhero should ever have a DOUBLE CHIN! wtf, tubby macguire? 1 stars
5/06/07 Christopher Utter Disappointment. 1 stars
5/06/07 Dissenter TERRIBLE! The only thing that saved me from leaving were the hot babes inthe movie!! 1 stars
5/06/07 Jiz Too many plot threads with too little development. Not a BAD movie, but far below 1 and 2. 3 stars
5/06/07 Mel reminds me of Godfather 3; if there was no #1 and #2 , #3 would have been ok... 3 stars
5/06/07 somebody too much male crying. too many villains. the fight scenes were pretty cool... but the previ 3 stars
5/06/07 Carlos R. Guzman "Curse of #3"hit Batman/Supes/Xmen hard; only stings SM3 a bit-more Gwen&Lizard in #4!!! 4 stars
5/06/07 Paul It wasn't as great, but still really good. Certainly better than what people are saying. 4 stars
5/06/07 Serpen Phlox Sam, not only destroyed Venom, Spiderman franchise is death too 2 stars
5/06/07 Mark Neace This movie does not suck AT ALL, it's a great film... People are too critical, I loved it. 5 stars
5/06/07 Amy Shipway correct me if im worng but werent the x-men team doing superman instead of x-3? 1 stars
5/06/07 Captain Highcrime Look carefully at the female extras: there isn't a woman over 30 walking the streets in NYC 4 stars
5/06/07 Vampt Vo Fun for Spidey fans, but the pacing is off and there are too many stories crammed in here. 4 stars
5/06/07 Dumstein bad bad, couldn't be any worse than this. Hopefully they make it up in the 4th movie... 1 stars
5/06/07 Vik very cheesy and unbearable to watch at times..raimi should quit the franchise now 1 stars
5/06/07 Stephen Not as good as it could have been, lacked focus and too rushed. 3 stars
5/06/07 noops never upto the expectations.. 2 stars
5/06/07 Jeff Anderson The worst of the 3. Overproduced, desperate & no fun at all. Sam Raimi's BETTER THAN THIS!! 1 stars
5/06/07 Marty yes it's highly fictional but c'mon s3, at least try to make SOME sense. terrible. 2 stars
5/06/07 KingNeutron MJ acted like a total idiot but the film was lots of fun anyway. Venom better have survived 4 stars
5/06/07 TJ Sclafani This movie proves that Tobey McGuire has been severely miscasted as Spidey 2 stars
5/05/07 Viper Villian overload, too much male crying, Venom was completely underused as a villian. 2 stars
5/05/07 Keystra Williams The worst movie I've seen this year by far. VERY disappointing. 1 stars
5/05/07 Andrew Lame, this movie should have premiered on the lifetime channel. 3 stars
5/05/07 bullit16 Can I give less than one star? Just awful 1 stars
5/05/07 mikee SPIDDY SAYS: I Slap A ho!!!!!!!!! 3 stars
5/05/07 the wizz surely a step down from part 2 but still a good flick. I hope they make another! 4 stars
5/05/07 Todd Ugh! Good but could have been so much better. 4 stars
5/05/07 Jeff The scene with Peter "strutting" was... hard to watch. 2 stars
5/05/07 Werepanda If I wanted to see men in spandex cry I'd...wait, who wants to see that? 3 stars
5/05/07 Dark Enchantress great movie, i dont know why so many people did not like it. 5 stars
5/05/07 Ole Man Bourbon Entertaining, but what was up with the musical numbers? Dunst not too good. 4 stars
5/05/07 Matt Raimi totally mishandled one of the best subplots in the entire comic book. 2 stars
5/05/07 Jimmy Patterson a bit cluttered and weakly resolved, but increadible overall!!! 5 stars
5/05/07 Austin Wertman Terrific 5 stars
5/05/07 eddie brock best movie ever made!!!!! venom reigns supreme! 5 stars
5/04/07 Dan Best of the series. Great comic adaptation. 5 stars
5/04/07 Quigley Not as good as part 2, but awesome altogether. Mostly a hit-and-miss sequel 5 stars
5/04/07 Manny S3 IS a terrific moVie! The fight scenes are Awsome! 5 stars
5/04/07 Adam I'm trying to think of a better word, but I think "atrocious" works nicely. 1 stars
5/04/07 carlos Ferreira dominican is spider man 5 stars
5/04/07 action movie fan action! Venom! the Sandman! jeolousy it all adds up to a great part three! spidey rules aga 5 stars
5/04/07 Mick S3 is made for MALES who get their periods. 2 stars
5/04/07 malcolm no superhero movie should have a dance number 3 stars
5/04/07 John Overstuffed, yes, but still quite incredible 5 stars
5/04/07 Darren Shea As a longtime fan of Spidey's comics, I enjoyed it immensely despite its flaws. 4 stars
5/04/07 Dave Terrific 5 stars
5/04/07 Courtney The men cried way too much and the movie was just way too random. 2 stars
5/04/07 Kerk CG for Venom and the big Sandman is really terrable 3 stars
5/04/07 Steve Raimi tried to do too much! I walked out of the theater unefected and let down. 2 stars
5/04/07 jasmine Good movie, but some angles and cinematography were completely random 4 stars
5/03/07 Carlos Great popcorn movie! 5 stars
5/03/07 Dave Awesome movie. 5 stars
5/03/07 Nick Rated Spidey #1 and #2 Awesome, THIS Episode SUCKS BIGTIME 1 stars
5/03/07 spanky venom was the shiiiiit 5 stars
5/03/07 Dude Best movie ever 5 stars
5/03/07 Adrian Despite being a clutter...the action and Venom still kicked ass. 5 stars
5/03/07 Boaby Digital Tobey Maguire looks like a sex offender, he should never have been cast as Peter Parker. 2 stars
5/03/07 lyndon popcorn junkies almost drowned out the soundtrack. 5 stars
5/03/07 Pompellini Manjanik Baba+Khanji, two retard junks. They dono what they're talking. Excellent movie 5 stars
5/03/07 Manjanik Baba Yes you are spot on Khanji. Good on you mate. 1 stars
5/03/07 Khanji Just another rotten shit for the burger+coke kids who can't see beyond their nose. 1 stars
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  04-May-2007 (PG-13)
  DVD: 30-Oct-2007



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