Spider-Man 3 Reviews
Aesthetically and conceptually wrung out, fizzled rather than fizzy, this latest installment in the spider-bites-boy adventure story shoots high, swings low and every so often hits the sweet spot, but mostly just plods and plods along.
The third adventure of the guy with arachnid superpowers tries gamely, is solidly entertaining and possesses dazzling special effects, but it falls short of the near-perfection of the Spidey sequel.
In an apparent effort to put a stake in the heart of the franchise that threatens to define his career, director Sam Raimi has delivered an overlong, visually incoherent, mean-spirited and often just plain awful Spider-Man 3.
The movie has the curious effect of leaving you over-fulfilled. When it's done, any appetite for another event picture, even one half as well made as this, is temporarily curbed.
A certain twee anachronism has always been part of the Spider-Man tradition -- ditto dexterous, old-fashioned fun. But this summer's first obligatory blockbuster is all thumbs.
The script is busy with so many supporting characters and plot detours that the series' charming idiosyncrasy is sometimes lost in the noise. Fortunately, it's entertaining noise.
What's missing? Momentum. A touch of meanness. A centrifugal threat like Molina's octopus man. (In terms of dramatic stature, the three villains here don't add up to one Doc Ock.)
Laziness mingles with overkill, violence with mawkishness: most of the characters weep at the slightest provocation, but heads are beaten, burned, and sheared off by passing subway trains.
Too many villains, too many pale plot strands, too many romantic misunderstandings, too many conversations, too many street crowds looking high into the air and shouting "oooh!" this way, then swiveling and shouting "aaah!" that way.
Director Sam Raimi tries to pump some life into this dutiful enterprise but seems more than a little bored himself, especially when he's getting mushy about Spider-Man's moral decline and regeneration.