Sam Raimi | 139 mins | cinema | 12A / PG-13
Spider-Man 3 carries the distinct air of a group of people trying to recapture former glories, and the fun they had achieving them, and failing on both counts. There are hints at the things that made the first two (especially the second) movies so good, but they’re relatively poorly executed.
The pacing is shot to shreds, scenes and plot points need rearranging, the villains are less engaging, Venom is shockingly underused, the climax virtually comes out of the blue, and emo-Parker is just plain embarrassing (at first people at least laughed at him in the street, but then there’s the jazz club sequence…) I also spent much of it wondering where most of the massive budget had gone. Yes, there’s the odd action sequence (often with not-that-impressive CGI, it must be said), but much of the film focuses on the ‘human drama’ side of things, much more so than the first two (which were relatively heavy on it for summer movies) and with much less effect. It’s only really in the finale that the budget shows, as if they saved it all up to pour out then.
I’ve wittered on again, in a way I haven’t since Hidden, and all with complaints… but here’s why: the Spider-Man movies were great and, while this one has a relatively ambiguous ending in some respects, this is in so many ways clearly designed as a trilogy-ender. And it disappoints; and it disappoints in the worst possible way, because there are some great germs of ideas here… it just feels like they’ve filmed the second draft instead of letting it be fully polished. It’s a huge shame.