Spider-Man 3

Posted on April 29, 2007 at 11:35 am

Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense action violence.
Profanity: Mild language
Alcohol/ Drugs: Character drinks to deal with unhappiness
Violence/ Scariness: A lot of action violence, characters injured and killed
Diversity Issues: None
Date Released to Theaters: 2007

It isn’t just Spider-Man who loses his way in the third and last installment. It’s the movie.

A superhero movie should have (1) cool special effects, (2) a great villain, (3) thrilling action scenes, and (4) just enough plot to keep things moving without getting in the way of (1), (2), or (3). It is in this last category that this movie goes wrong.

Too many villains. Too many plots. Too many girlfriends. Too many people who died in earlier installments coming back for a last bow. Too many NOW-you-tell-me! revelations with way too many if-only-I-had-known ramifications. And way too many tears. Boy, is there a lot of crying in this movie. Is this Spider-Man or “Days of Our Lives?”

Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) starts out with everything going his way, which means that we will have to see it all taken away from him so that he can get it back again. As the movie begins, Spider-Man is universally beloved as a hero and he is happy at school and at work. Best of all, MJ (Kirsten Dunst) is in a show that is opening on Broadway and she and Peter are finally a couple and he is thinking about proposing to her.

Then things get complicated. Peter’s one-time best friend Harry has taken up his father’s old Goblin persona and is coming after Peter to avenge his father’s death. Escaped con Flint Marco (Thomas Haden Church) desperately needs money for his sick daughter. Running away from the police, he doesn’t notice that “Keep Out” sign on the “particle physics test facility.” Uh-oh. Some sort of super-powering mutation rays are about to turn him into the Sandman. And Eddie Brock, Jr. (Topher Grace) wants Peter’s newspaper photography job and he thinks Peter wants his girl (Bryce Dallas Howard as Gwen Stacy, daughter of the police commissioner).

Wait, there’s more. Things start going badly between Peter and MJ, especially after he rescues Gwen and gets a grateful kiss. And there’s a mysterious outer-space scritchy sort of thing that looks like a cross beween magnetic tape and spaghetti. It latches onto Peter and seems to have the same effect as steroids — performance enhancement plus rage enhancement. Somehow it also affects his hair, which starts to hang in his eyes. It is supposed to make him look rakishly dangerous, but it just makes him look like the lead in a road company production of “Sprintime for Hitler.” And it makes him wanna dance so that he walks down the street like John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever.

Yes, there’s a dance number. Wait, there’s more. It turns out that the man they thought killed Peter’s Uncle Ben was just an accomplice. The real killer is still at large. At least two characters have some very important jewelry of great sentimental value that almost gets lost for good. And for no reason whatsoever, a character decides to divulge some information that if he had just come clean two movies sooner would have saved us all a lot of trouble. And we have to pause a couple of times for comic bits from the landlord’s daughter, Spider-man creator Stan Lee, and from Evil Dead’s Bruce Campbell, and one unnecessary line each from two kids who have the same last name as the director and his co-screenwriter brother. And don’t forget there’s always time for a slam at critics.

It’s a mess. There are some cool effects and some affecting moments. But they are buried under too much clutter, too much plot, too much everything. Hollywood has done more to damage Spider-Man than any of his onscreen foes.

Parents should know that there is a lot of action-style peril and violence, and characters are injured and killed. A character drinks to deal with unhappiness. A strength of the movie is a rare portrayal of a character who prays.

Families who see this movie should talk about why Peter did not know what was going on with MJ. Which of the villains in the three movies was the best and why?

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2. They will also enjoy reading the original stories in Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus, Vol. 1.

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Action/Adventure Movies -- format Science-Fiction Thriller

4 Replies to “Spider-Man 3”

  1. this movie was the dumbest! i hated it, and perents should know that there are sexual kisses and creepy effects and violence!

  2. Well, Movie Mom, I don’t agree with what you think. In my eyes, Spider-Man 3 is an AWESOME movie. I mean, it has great morals, and some religious value. Vengeance could bring you down. Forgiveness is great and you don’t need resentment to go with your life. To Meagan above, maybe you might have been a little ignorant of the moral values and the symbolism of how Peter/Spider-Man’s struggle with his inner negative feelings and thoughts ar portrayed. Not to offend you or anything.

  3. It doesn’t offend me at all, TW! I am always happy when someone sees more in a movie than I do and I enjoyed your comment. I do ask that my comments refrain from characterizing each other — you don’t have to call someone ignorant to explain your disagreement. But you are most welcome to share your thoughts any time about the movies you see and I hope you will return often.

  4. I find it ironic that the part Sam Raimi was forced into including – the Venom storyline – is arguably the best bit. While the scenes with Peter under the costume’s influence weren’t great (which I suspect was the result of Raimi’s lack of enthusiasm), at least Eddie Brock was a better villain than the other two. Marko’s motive made him too sympathetic, even after we found out he was Ben’s killer (probably because the flashback at the end kind of shifts the blame back to Carradine). And since we could predict Harry rejoiing Peter’s side, again, he just wasn’t a believable threat. At least Brock was established as unlikeable long before getting the costume, much like in the 90s animated series (the three part episode “The Alien Costume” did this storyline better than the movie, or at least the bits where Peter was in the black costume).
    One thing I’d disagree with you about is the butler suddenly telling Harry what happened to his father. Given that Norman’s dying words were “Don’t tell Harry,” it seems plausible enough that the butler knew his boss would want Harry shielded from that information for as long as possible.

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