TBT Review – Spider-Man 3 (2007)

films, reviews, TBT

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Yesterday, the official teaser trailer for Spider-Man: No Way Home was released. It comes after months of speculation about just who would be turning up wearing the spider suit in this film. Are Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield really make an appearance? We’ve known for some time that some of the familiar villains would be returning for this film and the trailer gave us a glimpse of what we’re in for. With obvious references to the Green Goblin and Electro, there is also the possibility that Sandman and Lizard are hiding in there. With so many evil faces returning, it reminds me of the last time that a Spider-Man film tried to cram too many foes into one film. So, I decided to do what many wouldn’t dare and watch the worst Peter Parker film of the lot. Yes folks, I actually went back to watch Spider-Man 3.

There is no denying that Sam Raimi’s trilogy had a huge effect on the history of comic book movies. They were huge blockbusters that proved people wanted to watch comic book films again. The first and second films were both great but it’s hard to deny that the third one is a mess. It’s not as though it’s the worst comic book film out there or even the worst based on Marvel comics. It’s just a huge disappointment after the first 2 films. And it’s not as if it didn’t have potential. Rewatching this film now, I was amazed by how much I loved the opening credits. It’s like a fucking Bond film but all superhero-y. I loved it. It looked super cool (by 2007 standards of course). It’s just that the rest of the film can’t quite match them, which is sad.

The major reason that this film fails is because it tries to shoehorn in too many characters. There are too many villains, love interests and storylines. There’s no time to give everything the development that it needs. And, to add insult to injury, the film decides to reintroduce the Uncle Ben death story one last time even though we put that to bed ages ago. It’s clear that somebody decided that this film needed to be bigger and better than the previous ones. The problem is, there’s just too much going on. I mean at one point one of the screenwriters got so overwhelmed that he considered splitting it into two films. Guys, they reverse Peter Jacksoned this motherfucker. Forget splitting one book into 3 films. This is smushing two films into one script.

It was always going to be tricky but nobody ever expected it to be quite so bad. Of course, it also didn’t help that a large part of the character development in this film comes down to hair style. Giving Tobey Maguire, the perennial nice guy, an emo hairstyle does not make him dark. It makes him look ridiculous. Spider-Man 3 is a fable for how not to approach a blockbuster comic book movie. Throwing fan favourites together in one place without real development or point doesn’t automatically mean you’ve got a hit. The third film lacks the fun and simplicity of the first two films. Instead, it feels as though it’s trying too hard to be dark and gruesome.

Of course, the film’s biggest crime is what it did to Venom. Now, I’m not a fan of the most recent Venom film for plenty of reasons but I can admit it’s much better than what happened here. Not only is Eddie Brock introduced as an after thought but he’s utterly sidelined for most of the film. Meaning, the moment that he becomes Venom doesn’t actually mean an awful lot to the audience. You don’t care because you don’t know this guy. It’s well known that Raimi didn’t want Venom in the film and had to be persuaded to include him. It shows. This is a great character that was utterly betrayed on every single aspect. What do we get for Venom’s presence? Toby Maguire dancing through the streets and finger gunning everyone? Not what we needed.

I could go on and on about what makes this film bad but what’s the point. We all know it is. It makes every possible mistake. Of course, it’s not all bad. The action sequences are still good (by 2007 standards). It’s still fun in some places. It’s not a complete disaster. It’s just that it’s so much worse than what came before it. I guess it didn’t help that Batman Begins had come out a few years before and showed the world a new and dark side of comic book movies. But how do you make someone like Peter Parker dark? What you don’t do is give him a black suit, make him look like he listens to My Chemical Romance alone in his room and have him scare women with his bad dancing.

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