Plot: Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) finally is comfortable with his life. He’s in love with Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst), and all of New York loves Spider-Man. But an odd black substance falls from the sky and bonds to his Spider-Man suit. And Gwen Stacy develops a crush on Peter. Plus, the Sandman (Thomas Haden Church), Harry Osborn (James Franco) and Venom (Topher Grace) all want to see either Peter Parker or Spider-Man disappear. Who’s it for: It’s clear that the “Spider-Man” films appeal to everyone, but I would say the third installment leans more toward people who care about love-triangles.
Expectations: The first was good, the second was one of the best super-hero films ever, so using a highly technical scientific formula, I have concluded “Spider-Man 3” should be the greatest film known to man.
Acting: Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker/Spider-Man: Maguire has it down playing Peter. The combination of nerd and super-hero is great. But when his personality starts to change and he loses the naivety, he gets even more interesting and entertaining to watch. Grade: 8
Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane Watson: This time, Mary Jane watches Spider-Man steal the show, and she doesn’t like what she sees, especially because he’s an insanely bad listener. Unfortunately, we have to watch MJ make bad, unexplained choices instead of forcing Peter to listen. And I didn’t need Dunst (or anyone) taking up my time by singing two songs. Grade: 5
Topher Grace as Eddie Brock/Venom: From the very beginning, Grace became the scene-stealer — mainly because he’s barely in the film. It was great to see that Eddie had a better reason than most villains for revenge against Peter Parker. Grade: 7
James Franco as Harry Osborn: Harry is all over the place in this one. One minute he is following in his father’s footsteps and seeking revenge in a new Goblin suit, and then next he is Peter’s best friend/sidekick. Grade: 5
The rest of the cast: J.K. Simmons continues to be great comic relief as J. Jameson, the man in charge at the Daily Bugle. Bryce Dallas Howard as Gwen Stacy isn’t meaningful enough, and her story never compares to the comic book version of that character. Thomas Hayden Church as Flint Marko/Sandman is just a special effect. Any time he, Aunt May or Uncle Ben speak, the story slows down too much. They did manage to find Bruce Campbell his best role yet as a maitre d’. Grade: 5
Talking: Can’t anyone listen anymore? Much of the plot comes from no character having any time to talk about any of the problems going on. I understand super-heroes and villains are busy, but almost every situation was solved by finally listening for a few seconds. Grade: 5
Sight & Sounds: Amazing. Spectacular. Sensational. Ultimate. “Spider-Man” tops all the other superhero films in terms of visual effects. The first time we see the Sandman, the big cranes slicing through skyscrapers, and all the times Spider-Man gets launched into a building … they all looks as real as possible. Grade: 9
Best Scene: There isn’t one. Perhaps that is the main problem. The sequel had that fantastic fight on the elevated-train, but the third installment doesn’t have one killer moment that MUST be talked about while exiting the theater.
Random Thoughts: I absolutely hated that the New Goblin turned good and became Spider-Man’s sidekick, especially after their previous encounter had Peter disfiguring Harry. Also, it felt like almost an hour before we got to see Spider-Man suit up. And during the song-and-dance sequence, I have no idea if I was laughing with or at the film.
Rewatchability: It was a little below expectations, but I think that will make the second viewing a hint more enjoyable (because I’ll know what to expect), especially when I taken advantage of viewing it on the I-Max.
“Spider-Man 3” is like a buffet. You look at the cast and trailers and you just start drooling over all the options. But they just overdid it, stuffing you with filler, and the juicy part of the film didn’t start until it was halfway through. The Sandman special effects were good, but his story, with along Uncle Ben and the ever-changing Harry Osborn, felt like a waste of time compared to the black suit, Peter Parker’s bad mood and emergence of Venom. The visuals are as good as ever, and it’s still a fun time, but otherwise “Spider-Man 3” takes a step back from its amazing predecessor.