The summer blockbuster season kicks off with the third entry in the Spiderman series. Director Sam Raimi is once again in the director's chair and it looks more than likely that it will be his last time.
I am just going to jump straight in here and say that although Spiderman 3 never quite manages to live up to the high standards set in its predecessors, it is still a highly enjoyable sequel that is the most fun I have had at the cinema for a long time. Raimi crams in as much as he possibly can in the 140-minute runtime and the end result is a thoroughly entertaining, action-packed, thrill ride that perfectly defines a summer blockbuster.
Raimi decided to take a risk he never took in the first two Spidey films, that being the inclusion of more than one villain for our hero to tackle. Here he opted for three. It was never going to be an easy task; Christopher Nolan attempted it in Batman Begins and it turned out to be the only flaw in an otherwise brilliant picture. That is basically the case here. Apart from that, another flaw in Spiderman 3 is the overuse of CGI, which in places looks too obvious. In parts one and two the special effects were used to much better effect. But I must say the CGI creation of the Sandman is truly breathtaking.
Getting back to the villains — here we have Sandman (an excellent Thomas Haden Church), Venom/Eddie Brock (Topher Grace), and New Goblin/Harry Osborn (James Franco). I personally loved Sandman and just wanted to see much more of this character — a whole film just about Spiderman taking on the Sandman could have been very intriguing. To be fair he is given a bit of back-story and an emotional arc but still I felt there was much more to be explored.
I had no qualms with New Goblin because of the character's story and relationship with Spiderman already firmly in place. James Franco comes out fighting this time around with a riveting performance. As for Venom, well it’s a fascinating character that doesn’t get anywhere near enough screen time; however I did enjoy Topher Grace In the role.
Once again Tobey Maguire is brilliant as Peter Parker/Spiderman. In the film he manages to bring humour, emotion, and thanks to an alien entity that overtakes his costume, a darker side too. This leads to a side-splittingly funny scene as Parker turns from super geek to super cool as he dances down the street wooing the ladies.
There are many more hilarious moments too, with J.K Simmons returning as no-nonsense, cigar chomping editor J. Jonah Jameson. But a scene-stealing appearance from the legend that is Bruce Campbell rounds things off nicely; he of course worked with Sam Raimi on the cult favorite, the Evil Dead trilogy.
It has been announced that there will be more Spiderman films with or without the key players, Raimi, Maguire, Dunst, and Franco. So I think it is very clear Raimi decided to just go all out for his last outing in this franchise. The finished product could have been an absolute disaster; instead it is the most fun you are likely to have this year and despite a few flaws, in its own way it is a fitting end to Sam Raimi’s trilogy.