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'Spider-Man 3' Review: Better Over Time, but not as Good as the Other Two

Courtesy of Marvel

Spider-Man 3 is the 2007 sequel to Spider-Man 2 once again directed by Sam Raimi and starring Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, and James Franco. Thomas Haden Church and Topher Grace join the cast as Flint Marko, also known as Sandman, and Eddie Brock, also known as Venom. In this film, Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson are finally together and the city loves Spider-Man. This time, however, he faces more foes and challenges. A lot of hype surrounded this film. After how great Spider-Man 2 was, a lot of expectations came. The film got a mixed response and for years was disliked by many. Now, the film has more fans and a cult following. Where do I stand? I’ll share right now!

Spider-Man 3 is not a bad movie. It’s also not as good as the first two. This was mostly due to Marvel producer Avi Arad and Sony pushing Sam Raimi into including Venom in the film. Raimi wanted Sandman, New Goblin, and Vulture instead. Most people blame the number of villains in the film, but for me, it was not the number of villains. Thomas Haden Church is great as Flint Marko, who becomes Sandman. He is a criminal, but only because he needs the money to save his sick daughter’s life. James Franco pulls off New Goblin, but I felt the amnesia plot with him could have been executed better.

Venom is the issue with the villains for me. Because Raimi did not want him, he was not handled properly. Topher Grace pulls off the cocky attitude of Eddie Brock, but his Venom felt flat. At one point, the screenwriters wanted to split the film into two movies and it would have made sense to save Venom in a sequel, but Sony did not want that. Another decision Raimi had to change was once again making Kirsten Dunst’s Mary Jane a damsel in distress again. Originally, Bryce Dallas Howard’s Gwen Stacey was held hostage and Mary Jane would talk Harry into helping Peter stop the villains and save Gwen. Because Howard was pregnant, it changed and Raimi felt guilty.

Despite some of the criticisms, Spider-Man 3 is a much better movie than it has been treated as. Tobey does a great job pulling off a darker, much more bad boyish Peter Parker. The street dancing scene works similar to the Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head sequence from Spider-Man 2. The scene used to get a lot of hate, but is now enjoyed by many fans. While Kirsten Dunst’s Mary Jane makes some poor decisions in the movie, I think Dunst pulled off playing a Mary Jane that is dealing with a lot, including the stress of being in a relationship with Spider-Man. Many people criticize how she is, but in the comics, the relationship between Peter and Mary Jane had many bumps as well. While Rosemary Harris and JK Simmons have smaller roles as Aunt May and J Jonah Jameson this time, they are still great.

The action is some of the best in the Spider-Man movies. The stunt work, especially with the black suit, is incredible. The subway fight sequence between Spider-Man and Sandman and the fight between Harry and Peter where Peter has the black suit on under street clothes showed how ruthless Peter is with the symbiote. The final battle was fun and it was great to finally see Peter and Harry’s friendship restored and working together.

Spider-Man 3 is an emotional movie. Christopher Young does a great job taking over the film’s score, providing more emotion. Sandman’s theme works well, whether it’s when Sandman is thinking about his daughter, the birth of Sandman, or he’s becoming a giant sand monster. The film has a message of forgiveness, following the trend of the previous Spider-Man movies that each had a message. The ending is one of the most emotional endings of a comic book movie for me, even 14 years later. The movie pulls off a good balance of light and dark moments, just like the previous films.

All in all, Spider-Man 3 is nowhere near as bad as some people have made it out to be. It has some problems, but the big positives do not get the same attention. It’s disappointing how Venom was handled and how Sony pressured Raimi. I am looking forward to seeing Thomas Haden Church return as Sandman, and hopefully, Tobey Maguire as well. I hope we learn more about what has happened with Tobey’s Spider-Man since this film.

I recommend people give Spider-Man 3 a second chance. If you have never seen this film, but saw the other two, I still recommend it. What did you think of Spider-Man 3? Let us know in the comments down below.

Final Grade: B+

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