At an estimated cost of over $250 million dollars, Spider-Man 3 is the most expensive movie ever made in America. A blockbuster of truly epic proportions, Spidey stormed the box office, breaking almost every record and bringing in $150 million in its first weekend. To say the least, it did pretty well. Sam Raimi is back as director/writer and the entire cast of the first two movies return, but its the new faces that breathe fresh air into this picture.
The third chapter of the Spider-Man series finds Peter Parker walking a thin line between the two sides of himself-his life as Spider-Man the hero and his life as Peter Parker the dorky photographer. It seems that hes living a healthy balance of the two until a series of incidents occur, eventually tangling spidey up in his own web. The first is the appearance of his old friend Harry (James Franco), who returns to seek revenge for the murder of his father (Willem Dafoe). Revenge seems to be the theme of this film, as Peter Parker next finds out that the man who killed his uncle, Flint Marko (Thomas Haden Church) has escaped from jail. In his getaway, he falls into a government controlled silo and is mutated into the Sandman, one of the two main villains. The other is a symbiote from outer space that fell in a meteor. Attaching itself to his suit, Spidey gains mysterious powers but begins to cross over to the dark side-abandoning the people he loves and adapting a new persona. Eventually he discovers that the symbiote is turning him into something evil and in an effort to get rid of it he strips it from himself, but it soon finds another host in rival Bugle photographer, Eddie Brock. Once a frustrated and angry cameraman, Brock turns into the nastiest villain that the Spider-Man saga has seen, Venom, a creature filled with hatred towards both Peter Parker and Spider-Man. Having a shared abhorrence for all things Spidey, Venom and Sandman team up to take down the hero. What follows is a twenty five minute CGI/action scene thats a lot of fun to watch (Im not gonna spoil it with a recap). Perhaps the greatest performance in this film is delivered by Sam Raimis old protagonist Bruce Campbell, who shines in his two minute scene as the maitre d. Other standouts are by the newbies, Bryce Dallas Howard as Gwen Stacy, James Cromwell as her father (he has about 45 seconds of screen time), and Thomas Haden Church, as the emotionally distraught Sandman. Tobey Maguire delivers a Seabiscuit worthy performance and Kirsten Dunst is semi-believable as the damsel in distress, Mary Jane.
The overstated motto in the Spider-Man series is with great power comes great responsibility, words of wisdom from Peter Parkers Uncle Ben- a quote that the filmmakers might have overlooked. Though they out-grossed most films in just two days, the third installment in the Spider-Man series lacked something that the other two had. Its tough to put your finger on it- there was great CGI, fun action scenes, dramatic love triangles and even a clichcameo by Spidey creator Stan Lee, still something was not there…or was it that there was too much? In a recent box office study, the biggest critique that audiences have had with the last five blockbusters (_Pirates of the Caribbean_, Harry Potter, etc.) is that theyve all been a little bit too long. At just over 140 minutes Spider-Man 3, though filled with action, is tough to sit through. I expect there to be at least three more films in the Spider-Man series, God knows theyll be lucrative, I just hope theyll be more enjoyable then this one.