Revisiting the Reviled – Hear Me Out: ‘Spider-Man 3’ Isn’t That Bad

GameStop, Inc.

spiderman-3-1

Last week, a rumble could be heard throughout the world. Fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe let out a collective yell of joy as the news broke that Marvel and Sony had struck a deal that would bring Spider-Man into the Marvel fold. In the 13 years since Sam Raimi first brought Spider-Man to the screen, the character has gone from a cash cow for Sony to a character being lent out after a couple disappointing films left the character in need of some rehabilitation. But how did this fall happen? It started with Spider-Man 3. Though collective rumblings and grumblings of the fanboys and fangirls were almost entirely negative, Spider-Man 3 isn’t that bad, especially when compared to the two rebooted Spider-Man films to follow.

Sam Raimi’s first two Spider-Man movies were box office smashes that earned heaps of praise from critics and fans alike. Spider-Man 2, especially, was considered the high water mark for comic book cinema until the likes of The Dark Knight and The Avengers. For this third installment the hype reached a fever pitch. Excitement gave way to ridiculous expectations which, as usual, gave way to disappointment. And it’s not difficult to see why the film is widely considered a disappointment. The narrative, which had a razor-sharp focus in the first two films, is chaotic and way overstuffed. It contains multiple dance sequences and musical numbers. There are some questionable design elements with the second Green Goblin (James Franco giving a very sly performance). Most of all, the inclusion of Venom, an oft-demanded fan favorite, is shoehorned within a story that has little use or interest in the character.

spiderman-3-3

Let’s just get this out of the way – Venom isn’t that interesting of a character. Eddie Brock, portrayed here by Topher Grace, is just the asshole counterpart to Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire). After first appearing about a half-hour into the film, he becomes a side character. His dark turn into becoming Venom doesn’t occur until near the film’s conclusion. More than anything, Venom’s popularity is a testament to the power of character design. He looks really cool and appeals to adolescent sensibilities, which is exactly why little or no thought has been given to character traits or motivations. Raimi wasn’t a fan of the Venom character and was practically forced to include the character at the behest of the studio. Watching the film for the first time in ages, it became painfully apparent how much Raimi signals to viewers just how little interest he had in the character. It’s a directorial decision, and the right one, but it’s not hard to see how it left fans unsatisfied.

spiderman-3-4

Aside from Venom, the other aspect that draws the ire of viewers is Emo Peter Parker. As eloquently illustrated by Devin Faraci of Badass Digest, these moments are thematically sound. They fit with the idea that the black symbiotic costume that Peter Parker adorns is the opposite of who Peter Parker actually is. Yes, these moments are silly and awkward, but they’re silly and awkward in a sense that is antithetical to Peter Parker’s typical silly and awkward moments. More to the point, they show that Peter Parker isn’t the same Peter Parker we know. He’s basically an unrecognizable douchebag.

But Spider-Man 3 isn’t as dire a work as the internet, or your own sensibilities, might suggest. The inclusion of Venom is unnecessary and undercuts the heart of the film’s story, which is intended to conclude the tragedy of Peter Parker and Harry Osborne’s friendship. The emotional heart of the film is bringing themes of distrust and deceit to a head – and it does – however, the inclusion of Venom dilutes the impact of these situations. The lies and manipulation that Harry and Peter engage in have sorrowful consequences for Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst). Had the film only included Sandman, and its inspired casting of Thomas Hayden Church, as its supplemental villain, we’d be talking about an entirely different film. Topher Grace has himself gained a bit of notoriety for his own edits of the Star Wars prequels, one could only wonder what he could do if he made a cut of Spider-Man 3 that completely removed his character – which isn’t to say that he’s the problem in the film; it’s his undercooked character forced into a narrative without room for him.

spiderman-3-2

A lot of people like to point out the snowboard-like glider that the second Green Goblin uses, especially in his first fight with an out of costume Spider-Man. If we brush aside the regrettable design choice, we’ll find that this first fight sequence is quite wonderfully constructed. It moves at a brisk pace and Raimi allows the action to unfold before our very eyes – he always understood how to use CGI effects to get as close to comic book action as possible. And that could be said about practically all of the film’s action sequences – the first fight between Spider-Man and Sandman; the next fight between Spider-Man and Sandman with Spidey donning the black suit, etc. But Raimi also keeps the film grounded with its emotional elements. In just a few short scenes with a few short sentences, Aunt May (Rosemary Harris) provides the film its moral center. The sheer efficiency that Raimi uses in these scenes to convey a thematic message is quite astounding. And Raimi keeps the film light, adding his trademark sense of Three Stooges inspired humor, like when Spider-Man removes his mask and shoes to empty the sand trapped within his suit.

Of all the overstuffed Spider-Man sequels that marked the end of their respective franchise run, Spider-Man 3 beats The Amazing Spider-Man 2 by a mile. It’s a messy film, no doubt, but it mostly has a coherent story, well-staged action, an emotional heart, and a good sense of fun. If only they didn’t try and cram Venom in a story with no room for him. Released one year before Marvel Studios would change the face of comic book cinema with Iron Man, Spider-Man 3 would’ve greatly benefited by having Venom be a post-credits stinger. But those weren’t a popular trend then and Spider-Man 3 is the only film we got. While not the piece of majesty that Spider-Man 2 was, Spider-Man 3 is a hell of lot better than given credit for. Don’t believe me? Watch The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and follow that up with Spider-Man 3. You’ll see.

Anytime Costumes

Leave a Reply

FanboyNation
Animation/Anime Interviews Animation/Anime News Animation/Anime Reviews Film/TV Interviews Film/TV News Film/TV Review
‘Wolf Pack’ is the Thrill Ride we need and Well Go USA Gives it to Us

‘Wolf Pack‘ is the action film we need right now as...

Lim Kay Siu Talks About His Role as Gyatso in Netflix’s ‘Avatar’

International Star, Lim Kay Siu talks about his role as Gyatso...

Ernie Hudson Talks ‘Quantum Leap’ Season Two – Interview

Legendary Actor, Ernie Hudson Talks ‘Quantum Leap‘ Season Two, 2-Hour Season...

Event News Event Reviews
Aiden Sinclair and Michael Rangel Talks ’57 Ghosts’ Aboard the Queen Mary Séance

Aiden Sinclair and Apparitionist, Michael Rangel Discuss their new Theatrical Séance...

Luke and Madison Rhoades Open ‘Slashers Axe Throwing’ – Interview

Luke and Madison Rhoades Open Orange County’s first ever horror themed...

Charity Hill and Steve Sheldon, EPIC Ent. Host Immersive Christmas Experiences Across the U.S.

Charity Hill and Steve Sheldon, EPIC Entertainment Group Host Immersive Christmas...

Automotives Football MMA, Kick Boxing & Boxing Professional Wrestling
Olympic Runner Colleen Quigley ‘On The Road to Paris’

Team USA Olympic Runner, Colleen Quigley is On The Road to...

Paralympian Swimmer Ahalya Lettenberger On The Road to Paris

Team USA Paralympian Swimmer, Ahalya Lettenberger is On The Road to...

Ultimate Women of Wrestling Comes to the Globe Theatre – Interview

Ultimate Women of Wrestling Comes to the Globe Theatre on Sunday,...

Adult Continuity Comics on the Can Cultural Junk Drawer Future Comic Rock Stars Is That Racist? Revisiting the Reviled THAT'S NOT ROTTEN! The B-Reel The Cantina Scene This Week in Crowdfunding What the HELL Did I just...?
Fantoy Comics Presents: Harry Potter and the Pahrump Saga! Back to the story!

Alright you monkeys, back to work!

Fantoy Comics Presents: Valentine’s Special 2024: pt 2

Happy Valentines day, Sugar Beet!

Cultural Junkdrawer: I’m not a Swifty, but…

CULTURAL JUNKDRAWER I‘M not a Taylor Swift fan but…     This...

Music Interviews Music News Music Reviews
Joe Kwaczala Talks About His new Comedy Album ‘Funny Songs & Sketches’ – Interview

Joe Kwaczala Talks About His new Comedy Album ‘Funny Songs &...

Songwriter and Poet, Tamara Mechael Talks About Her Career in the Arts

First Generation Assyrian-Chaldean, Songwriter and Poet, Tamara Mechael Talks About Her...

Louden Swain Headlining Los Angeles Show at The Echo

Press Release – Louden Swain are headlining Los Angeles show at...

Enabled Gaming Gaming News Gaming Reviews
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League Gameplay Trailer

The first Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League gameplay trailer was revealed during...

Wonder Woman Game
Wonder Woman Game Announced By DC and WB Games

Wonder Woman game will feature the iconic hero in a 3rd...

MultiVersus
MultiVersus brings Batman, Arya Stark, Bugs Bunny, and More

MultiVersus is bringing Shaggy, Harley Quinn, Jake, Batman, Arya Stark, Bugs Bunny,...

Comic Creator Interviews Comic/Graphic Novel News Comic/Graphic Novel Reviews Manga News Manga Reviews Novel/Novella Author Interviews Novel/Novella News Novel/Novella Reviews
Gary Morgenstein Talks ‘A Dugout to Peace’ the Final Installment of his Trilogy

Gary Morgenstein Talks About ‘A Dugout to Peace‘ the final installment...

Chris Clews Is ‘Raised on the 80s’ and Shares Those Life Lessons

Chris Clews was ‘Raised on the 80s‘ and Shares Those Life...

Roye Okupe Brings Authentic African Representation to HBO Max and Cartoon Network

Nigerian-American, Roye Okupe brings authentic African representation to HBO Max and...

Apparel/Personal Maintenance News Apparel/Personal Maintenance Reviews Entertainment Product News Entertainment Product Reviews Food/Beverage Reviews Hardware News Hardware Reviews Mystery Box News Mystery Box Reviews
Harry Potter: Magic Caster Wand Demo

The new ‘Harry Potter: Magic Caster Wand‘ is ready to ship...

Chef Jen Peters and Matthew Clayton Bring us the ‘Good Flour’

Canadian Super Chef Jen Peters and Matthew Clayton Bring us the...

Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide
Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide

The Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide is now available to help...

Gaming Uncensored Toon-In-Talk
Episode 38: Hamid Rahmanian

Join Whitney Grace as she speaks with artist Hamid Rahmanian, who...

No Preview
Toon-In Talk Episode 37: Niki Smith

Whitney Grace interviews graphic novel writer and artist Niki Smith about...

Toon-In Talk Episode 36: Rob Paulsen

Rob Paulsen takes some time from his busy voice acting schedule...