movie film review | chris tookey

Spider-Man 3

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  Spider-Man 3 Review
Tookey's Rating
4 /10
Average Rating
6.36 /10
Peter Parker/Spider-Man: Tobey Maguire , Mary Jane Watson: Kirsten Dunst Harry Osborn: James Franco
Full Cast >

Directed by: Sam Raimi
Written by: Alvin Sargent, Sam Raimi

Released: 2007
Origin: US
Colour: C
Length: 140

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The charcoal-black Spider-Man is pretty cool-looking, and the black-clad Peter (with a lock over his forehead) brings off some snazzy moves in a jazz club when he tries to make Mary Jane jealous with his blonde arm candy (Bryce Dallas Howard) ó heís like Jerry Lewisís Buddy Love in The Nutty Professor. Itís disappointing that Peter/Spidey doesnít seem particularly power-mad, and that heís so easily swayed by tiresome old Aunt May (Rosemary Harris), whose scenes stop the movie cold.
(David Edelstein, New York Magazine)
A sense of strain envelops the proceedings this time around. One can feel the effort required to suit up one more time, come up with fresh variations on a winning formula and inject urgency into a format that basically needs to be repeated and, due to audience expectations, can't be toyed with or deepened very much.
(Todd McCarthy, Variety)
Given how bogus the movie is whenever it departs from formula, it's not surprising that the funniest bit (in which Peter Parker becomes a disco smoothie) is stolen from Jerry Lewis's The Nutty Professor or that the best special effects, involving a gigantic Sandman, dimly echo King Kong.
(Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader)
Though aspects of it are entertaining, the presence of all these mismatched pieces give Spider-Man 3 an ungainly, cumbersome feeling, as if its plot elements were the product of competing contractors who never saw the need to cooperate on a coherent final product.
(Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times)
Overstuffed (three villains), overlong (at more than two hours and 20 minutes) and undercooked (plot points include amnesia and alien goo).
(Robert Wilonsky, Dallas Observer)
Given that Spider-Man 2 was twice as fun as the first, it's triply disappointing what an overwrought bore S3 turns out to be.
(Nathan Lee, Village Voice)
Overlong, visually incoherent, mean-spirited and often just plain awful.
(Ann Hornaday, Washington Post)
Spider-Man 2 was a textbook example of how to make a sequel: Deepen it, make it funnier, give it more heart and come up with a strong villain and a good story. Spider Man 3, by contrast, shows how not to make a sequel.
(Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle)
What was fun, campy, and grave in the first two Spider-Man films has been transformed into something rather noisy, flippant, and explicitly declamatory. The heart of those movies, May Parker (Rosemary Harris), has even been stymied to make room for annoyingly senseless jokes: Why, for example, has J.J. Jameson's (J.K. Simmons) desk been stress-inducingingly rigged to rattle for the sake of reminding him to take his medicine if the man suffers from high blood pressure?
(Ed Gonzalez, Slant)
Its flaws overshadow the fun. Here they are, in order of magnitude: Dunst sings, Maguire stagnates, the script sags, the pace stalls, and an alarming percentage of the plot centers around goo from outer space.
(David Foucher, Boston Edge)
If Spider-Man 3 is a shambles, thatís because it makes the rules up as it goes along. By the end, for instance, Sandman has become the size of an office block, each swinging fist as big as a truck, his personality reduced to brutishness. I half expected him to come after Spider-Man and Mary Jane carrying a gigantic bucket and spade. By what criterion did he grow so mountainous? Is he like a Transformer, or more like a genie? The fact is that if the fantastical is to flourish it must lay down the conditions of its magic and abide by them; otherwise, we feel cheated. (Tolkien knew this better than anyone.) Some viewers will take the New Goblin, whose name sounds like a small-circulation poetry magazine, to be a vessel of unnatural forces, while others will see him, when he fires up his rocket-powered skateboard, as a rich kid with too many toys. Thatís the problem with this third installment of the franchise: not that itís running out of ideas, or lifting them too slavishly from the original comic, but that it lunges at them with an infantile lack of grace, throwing money at one special effect after another and praying ó or calculating ó that some of them will fly.
(Anthony Lane, New Yorker)
Despite its attempts to be dark, SM3 pretty well abandons the complexity and real-world pain that made the first two movies interesting. And Peter Parker's journey into psychological cruelty is more camp than anything else - which Raimi appears to concede by sending the whole thing up, and turning Parker into a black-clad finger-snapping hipster, a one-man rat-pack of spite. The series is now beginning to resemble the Christopher Reeve Superman movies at their later sequel stage: a fair bit of zip, and some terrific-looking Manhattan streetscape battle scenes, but no satisfyingly unified story, and muddied by the fact that the love interest now knows the hero's secret identity. Worst of all, it's crippled by an inflation of villain-value. Where once a single baddie would do, now you need two or three. As he scampers around the bathtub of popular culture, Spidey is beginning to exhaust everyone's patience. The time has come for someone to produce a rolled-up newspaper the size of a subway train and bring it down with an almighty crash.
(Peter Bradshaw, Guardian)

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