I had heard a lot of bad things about Spiderman 3, but still I could not conceive that the same people who made the good first Spiderman movie and the great second one, could make a really mediocre film. There had been missteps, most notably the misguided Power Rangers mask they gave the Green Goblin in the first outing. And Tobey Maguire had funny moments, but was always on the edge between charming and irritating as sappy Peter Parker. In this movie he crosses that line and joins Mary Jane Watson and Harry Osborn on the wrong side. The romantic triangle of friends was the core of the trilogy, but here especially, they are given flat, repetitive dialogue to work through their soapy melodrama. All of them are called on to give way too many doe-eyed stares. And the avenge-my-father arc that Osborn (pretty-boy James Franco) goes through is as eye-rollingly contrived as ever and lamely resolved. Should you go to see Spiderman 3 – and let’s face it, you probably will, or have done already – wait for the moment where a character decides to finally divulge some information that could have come in useful before a major smackdown and was withheld for no reason whatsoever. See if you can keep from laughing. For that matter, a lot of the people in the theater – me included – were giggling at a supposedly very dramatic scene near the end as well. You will have no trouble spotting that scene.
You might also find yourself laughing at (not with) the movie during the parts where Spidey is influenced by the evil black goo from outer space. His Evilness is shown by having him have Weird Hair and strutting his supposed funky stuff around town. It is not clear if the people around him are supposed to find him Cool when he does this, but to us – the audience – he looks like an idiot.
It’s not all bad; there are some effective bits of comedy and good one-liners and there are a couple of frantic, well-shot action sequences. But the movie could have done with a lot less major coincidences at least one less villain. The sand effects for Sandman are indeed spectacular and amazing, but the character is flawed. We are expected to feel for him because he is fighting for a good cause, even if it is in a bad way. It should apparently not matter that through his actions over the course of the movie, he must have maimed or killed at least some of the bystanders. Even if he didn’t, by some miracle, it wasn’t because he was so concerned about other people’s welfare.
It’s a shame that this trilogy ended on such a bum note. But then I doubt it will stay a trilogy for long. We can only hope that in the next one there won’t be any more women hanging around screaming and falling from great heights only to be saved by Spidey at the last moment. And no more shots of Peter staring at Mary Jane from a distance, then a cut to her suddenly looking up because she ‘felt’ the stare, only for a second cut to reveal that *gasp* Peter Parker is gone. But he won’t be, not until the money runs out.