Spider-Man 3 Review

How far can one man fall? Surely Spider-Man 3 is not the car crash audiences remember it as. But, then, it is easy to consider it such considering how unfulfilled and frustrated Sam Raimi sounds. Development hell spins its way through the final instalment of the famed and acclaimed Raimi trilogy, and it is hard to ignore. Too much to show, too little time to show it. Spider-Man 3 is an ambitious feature, but it is hard to escape the issues at hand. The lack of focus on one, core villain, and the aimless development that follows is too much to handle. We must instead ride the waves as they come, some will knock us overboard, but trust in Raimi to deliver us through a comical, interesting feature that leaves us hanging around hoping for more.  

Doing too much could be seen as a reflection of how much Parker has going on for him, but that is a stretch. Raimi’s plate is piled high, and there is no way any director could adapt the heavy script of Spider-Man 3. Too much, too bloated, but the excess is still fun. Bruce Campbell summoning a pen by tooting on a train whistle with a thick New Yorker accent at a French restaurant, the appearances of Ted Raimi and, naturally, J.K. Simmons’ scenery-chewing brilliance. Those moments are light and entertaining, and it is hard to forget that Spider-Man 3 is an entertaining feature. One that leans into the nostalgia a little more than the predecessors, but why ignore an advantage when it is there? Sometimes it can lead to hilarity, as with emo Spider-Man, others lead to confusion.  

It is necessary when incorporating Eddie Brock (Topher Grace) and the symbiote silliness. Surplus to requirement, and the film soon becomes a drag when the eponymous superhero changes his suit colour. Raimi has trouble incorporating these moments into the wider plot, but even then, the struggle is far less problematic than memory would refer to. It is the sudden change in tone and pace, the inevitably laughable emo Spider-Man and the set-up for a big, final blowout that prove unremarkable. Competently performed, at least, there is no escaping how great the new additions to the cast are. Grace is solid, the suck-up reporter with a positive attitude, and Bryce Dallas Howard gives a decent interpretation of Gwen Stacy. But it is all too much to handle. Individually strong, but together it is a strange series of mistakes.  

Transition shots and thematic changes make for a sloppy production. Raimi moves us from a tender moment between Parker and Aunt May (Rosemary Harris) right into a fight scene between Spider-Man and the new, poorly designed Green Goblin. There is no transition to this fight scene, and even then, the lengthy rendition of poorly choreographed punches feels untimely and badly edited. It feels out of place and lower in quality, but never quite dipping to unwatchable or even mediocre levels. Uncoordinated and extremely bloated, Spider-Man 3 is still enjoyable despite the dated CGI and odd fight scenes. Odd in the sense that they do not use the surroundings to their advantage, but it must be difficult to do so when so much of this film feels out of place and inconsequential. Too much of a good thing. Raimi is forced to have his cake and eat it.  

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