REVIEW: Spider-Man 3

by Jeff

It’s Memorial Day, so this week’s ComicList will be delayed. To make up for this loss, I present a Spider-Man 3 review (hey, doesn’t everyone go see a movie on Memorial Day?)

I can only imagine how confused the writers of Spider-Man 3 were when they were plotting the movie. ‘The Sandman will do this, and Spider-Man will do that, and then this will explode.. oh wait, what is the movie about?’ A muddled plot and poor acting make this a not so great part of the Spider-Man movie franchise.

BEWARE: a few details about the movie will be spoiled, so continue at your own risk.

Visually, this is a fine movie. The special effects were mostly seamless and outstanding. What drags it down, however, is the occasional bad acting of some actors– James Franco’s raised eyebrows as he once again becomes “Dark Harry” were laughable– and the overall bad acting of Tobey Maguire. Tobey simply doesn’t have what it takes to convince me he was possessed by the black Spider-Man suit and turned into Dark Peter. Some of the Dark Peter sequences were intentionally played for laughs, but many weren’t, and unfortunately for all involved, they ALL appeared goofy.

As for the plot and theme, as nearly as I can tell, I was supposed to walk away hearing Peter’s words concerning “we are made by our choices and we can choose to do good” in my head, but the more I thought about that, the stranger the plot appeared. The Sandman did bad things because he was trying to get money to help his sick daughter. His one known murder was sold as an accident. Harry did bad things because his father messed him up while Harry was growing up, and Harry misunderstood the circumstances of his father’s death.

Peter did bad things because… well, I guess the movie was blaming some of them on the symbiote, especially his cruelty to Harry and Mary Jane, though all three of them weren’t exactly acting like best friends. He was full of himself over the public’s appreciation of him, but that was understandable, and really required not much more than an apology to Mary Jane. Ditto on him not listening to her. He let everyone know Brock photoshopped his photos, but he would have done the same without the symbiote’s influence, and that wasn’t exactly a bad thing to do. Peter’s bad deeds seemed as lightweight as Tobey Maguire’s acting.

The ending was a good piece of action sequencing, though watching Spider-Man have to be saved over and over again by Harry made me feel I was watching a Green Goblin movie instead of Spider-Man 3. Harry ended up appearing to be the hero while Peter looked like a little boy trying way too hard to make everyone think he was a man.

If there is a Spider-Man 4, Tobey Maguire must be replaced. Kirsten Dunst has said “audiences aren’t stupid. It’d be a big flop without me, Tobey or Sam.” She may be right, but I say, take the chance, it’s less likely to be flop without them.

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