Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5. USA, 2007. Columbia Pictures Corporation, Marvel Studios, Laura Ziskin Productions. Screen story by Sam Raimi, Ivan Raimi, Screenplay by Sam Raimi, Ivan Raimi, Alvin Sargent, based on the Marvel comic book by Stan Lee, Steve Ditko. Cinematography by Bill Pope. Produced by Avi Arad, Grant Curtis, Laura Ziskin. Music by Christopher Young. Production Design by J. Michael Riva, Neil Spisak. Costume Design by James Acheson, Katina Le Kerr. Film Editing by Bob Murawski.
After the enjoyable opening and the superb second act, it’s a shame that the third installment of the popular franchise would land with such a thud. It’s the same issues all over again as Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) is having trouble balancing his complicated personal life with his duties as the Manhattan’s now most popular heroic citizen. It doesn’t help that his best friend Harry (James Franco) is still bent on revenge for what he thinks Spider-Man did to his father, while girlfriend Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst) is getting fed up with being ignored by Parker’s newfound egotism, not to mention the intrusion of a new lady (Bryce Dallas Howard). The script is a veritable mess, sagging in many places where it concentrates on too much emotional exegesis (cry over your uncle one more time, I fucking dare you) then trying to inject humour that is so badly directed and performed that it’s impossible to tell if it’s comedy to laugh at or with. The worst part is, however, that the overloaded story is devoid of any really convincing villainry: Thomas Haden Church appears as a very uninteresting Sandman, while Topher Grace‘s Venom is cool but shows up too late, and the inclusion of an alien lifeform that turns Peter Parker into Buddy Love is ridiculously incongruous. The whole thing plays cheap and slow, devoid of the perfect pace and gorgeous gloss that made Part 2 so incredibly good, and relies too much on elements from the previous films without coming up with anything new. Besides that, the performances are all undercooked, with Howard being the only one seeming to have a good time being in a blockbuster action movie.