(I’m almost sure there are no spoilers in this review, but read at your own risk.)
From the get-go, I thought Spider-Man 3 looked a bit … crowded. I had no idea how they were going to incorporate new angles with Sandman, Venom, and Gwen Stacy, as well as follow up on logical story progressions with Peter Parker, Mary Jane, Harry Osborn, and Aunt May.
Well, in short, the movie lived up to my expectations … it was very crowded.
However, that’s not to say that I thought it was bad.
In fact, I really enjoyed it. It moved hyper-fast, with so much going on I literally had to stay on the edge of my seat to keep up with everything, but I did have a lot of fun watching it.
What I enjoyed the most was the superb acting, but that’s also what makes me the most regretful about Spider-Man 3. Any one of the film’s multiple plots could have been a very satisfying movie in and of itself.
James Franco has finally matured as an actor and I found his Harry Osborn both charming and utterly creepy. He really held his own with Maguire. I can’t say I cared for his Goblin outfit, but the conflict between the two characters easily could have made for a great film, especially with the chemistry between the two actors.
Thomas Haden Church, always wonderful, brought a depth and sensitivity to Sandman that I wouldn’t have thought possible. He instantly made me care about the character but his entire subplot was rushed and the audience was totally cheated from what also could have been a remarkable movie by itself. The Sandman effects, by the way, were out of this world.
Finally, I’m not a huge Venom fan. I’m not against the character, but I’d much rather see Spider-Man’s classic villains brought to celluloid life. That being said, I think Topher Grace did a magnificent job with the Eddie Brock character, and the visuals of Venom, while perhaps not everyone’s bag, were pretty disturbing and therefore fun. I’ve always thought of Grace on par with Maguire in terms of being squeaky-clean, so it was nice to see his arrogant and unlikable Eddie Brock. In my mind, Grace stole many of the scenes. That being said, the whole black suit/Venom angle could have been a move all by itself as well.
Instead, they mashed all three of these rich plots together into something that felt like Dr. Frankenstein had gotten into movie making. Spider-Man 3, while visually captivating and a true action movie, lacked all of the heart and characterization of Spider-Man 2, and lacked the sheer exuberance of Spider-Man 1.
Man, it really sounds like I didn’t like Spider-Man 3, doesn’t it? I honestly enjoyed it very much; I just would have liked to see each of these plots, and actors, given their due.