I saw Spider-man 3 last night despite generally unfavorable reviews. I’ve seen the first and the second, although I had no recollection of what happened in the sequel until they did a recap in the opening credits, and I can’t say that I was particularly fond of either of them. So going in with no expectations, and being an action movie, S3 should turn out to be pretty fun right?

Well I would agree with you, except that I had to sit through 2 hours of random stuff before having fun. The movie started with 6 previews, of which the first 3 were the other blockbusters of the summer (FF:2, Harry Potter 5, Pirates 3). Then I learned all about Sandman’s backstory, Venom’s backstory, Peter/Harry/MJ’s bizarre love triangle (again), Green Goblin (again), Peter & Gwen Stacey’s relationship, Uncle Ben’s death (again), Peter and Harry being friends (again), Harry learning that Peter == Spider-man (again), “with great power comes great responsibility (again, although this time the lesson is to not kill someone) and etc etc. A lot of repetition I would say?

The web of themes and stories in this movie made it long, but as I watched it, I realized that the problem was that it was a jack-of-all-trades movie. It tried to incorporate everything to appeal to everyone. You had the comic book stuff for geeks, you had romance, you had comedy, you had over-the-top satire (I felt like I was watching the Hulk at some points), you had action scenes, you had singing, you had dancing, you had disco, you had drama and real-life issues, you had character development, you had a tragic hero, you had bad guys, and you had death. Honestly, what wasn’t in that movie?? (I remember now, Spider-man’s trademark banter with the bad guys). In a hundred years time, they’re going to look at Spider-man 3 in English class and write all sorts of essays about the themes written into this series.

There were things that I liked in the movie. Surprisingly, I found Kirsten Dunst’s performance as Mary Jane to be much better and believable than her first two tries at it. Maybe it was because she has longer, fuller (barely) hair now or maybe I’m accustomed to her being Mary Jane, but I thought she was great in the role this time around. I also liked how Eddie Brock’s (Venom) character was developed. The writers painted a picture which was believable and gave him the motivation to go after Parker. However, the fact that Sandman was waiting in an alley for Spider-man Venom to swing down so that he could punch him, and then a 2-second conversation of “Hey, you want to kill Spider-man, I want to kill Spider-man, let’s go kill Spider-man!” is pretty bad writing to tie their stories together and setup the last half hour.

I thought the movie should have focussed on being an action/comic book movie and removed the Sandman storyline in its entirety. That would’ve made a much better movie. As it stands though, I would have to say that it’s a 2 out of 5.

The American Flag scene: I thought it would have been longer, it was just a 2-second snap, but yeah it was incredibly corny. Stan Lee’s cameo: was neat, and I didn’t recognize him until someone in the audience said something. But yeah, that was superfluous and should have been cut to make the movie shorter.