Spiderman 3 Casts Too Broad a Net

We caught the third Spiderman installment this weekend and both agreed that the third time was defiantly not the charm for the franchise. Sure, the effects are all there, including some amazing work animating the Sandman, not an easy feat that we’re sure will be rewarded come Oscar time, but where the previous two Spiderman movies moved naturally this one feels forced.

Still, we think this Spiderman worked a little too hard and perhaps tried to do a bit too much. The film is just over two hours long but it defiantly feels longer.

Spiderman 3 is all about threes. It’s a trinity of trinities I guess you’d say. There’s the relationship between the three main characters, Peter Parker, May Jane and Harry Osborn then there’s the trinity of villains, the Goblin, the Sandman and Venom (BTW, another fantastic CGI animation); there are also multiple love triangles in the film between Peter, Mary Jane and newcomer, Gwen Stacy; Peter Gwen and Eddie Brock; and the good old Peter, Harry, Mary Jane conundrum. Did you get all that?

Surprisingly we did.

The story is not hard to follow it’s just that there’s so much of it that it’s hard to invest in any one story line. Peter Parker’s growing relationship problems with Mary Jane just doesn’t dovetail well with the revenge theme in the Spiderman-Sandman story line. Throw in Venom, the alien symbiont that enhances the negative qualities of its host and there’s a lot to juggle in Spiderman 3.

Watching Spiderman 3 makes one pine for the days of Superman vs. General Zod.

The first two Spiderman movies stood apart from other comic book fare because of its performances and here there are issue as well. Rumors abound that this is the last Spiderman with the current cast and that might be a good thing. Tobey Maquire has probably done as much as he can with Peter Parker’s nice guy image and if the next movie demands more of a darker Spiderman, as this one hints at, then there might be better actors for the job. And while Kirsten Dunst has done a nice job of not getting in the way as Mary Jane there’s always a Kate Bosworth or Katie Holmes waiting in the wings to take her place.

Both Thomas Hayden Church and Topher Grace are fine as villains but neither really gets the time to develop the kind of character that Alfred Molina or William Defoe did in their respective bad guy turns.

The only one who seems to still be having fun is James Franco whose Harry Osborn gets to go back to his goofy persona from the first film.

Usually director Sam Raimi is spot on tackling these kinds of issues but it looks like the pressure to out due the first films may have even been too much for Raimi.

If nothing else Spiderman 3 really does prove the axiom that less, indeed, is more.

JC

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