Summer Film Series – Vol 5, No. 1: SPIDER-MAN 3
May 9, 2007, at Movies 14, McKinney, Texas
It’s appropriate that a comic book film is my first popcorn flick of the summer. Summer movies are meant to be fun, action-packed, and easy on the brain. Spider-Man 3 surprised me just a bit, but was all I expected it to be.
My friend Adam wasn’t that impressed with the film, repeatedly telling me how much he prefers the XBox game over the movie. Generally we agree on movies, so I was a little reserved going into Spider-Man 3. Turns out, that was a very good thing. I really liked the movie! I wasn’t thrilled with all of the previews I had seen which threatened to focus heavily on Peter and MJ’s relationship, and I was really not looking forward to added screen time for another bland Kirsten Dunst performance. Thankfully, the trailers were misleading, and much of the movie is focused on Peter’s tumultuous relationship with former best friend Harry Osborn (now known as “New Goblin”). James Franco, as Harry, brings tremendous depth and drama to the story, which goes a long way toward lifting Tobey Maguire above his initially ordinary portrayal of Parker. For the first half of the film, Franco is the only person of interest. We do see glimpses of Thomas Haden Church (as Sandman), but even he is not given his due for quite some time. Without Franco, I would have been wishing for a fast forward button.
Enter the mysterious black venom. Once Parker is infected, Tobey Maguire gets to really shine. He brings humor, angst, and genuine malice to the alter ego, and I could have watched hours more of just this character. I thought I would feel the same way about Topher Grace when he takes on the venom, but, again, the story did not devote a proper amount of time to him. The moments given were delicious and made me wish Topher was a larger part of the mythology, but on the whole, I just didn’t feel satisfied. Too little Topher is simply a sad state to be in.
Overall, I did like this sequel. It couldn’t have been much worse than the second one, but I was very pleased with 3. The story has a solid base of drama that anchors the action and draws the audience in. The actors embraced their roles and eventually allowed themselves to be enveloped by them. And the cheese factor was kept to a minimum. I’m certain this will be one of the lesser films of my summer, but it was a nice way to start the series.