With Spider-Man’s presence in the MCU currently up in the air, I think it’s the right time to continue my Spider-Man movie retrospective. After all, there’s a big chance that the live-action film rights for Spider-Man will fully revert to Sony, so why not talk about the last few Sony Spidey films I haven’t covered?
Spider-Man 3 was a divisive film when it came out. It was the third (and final) entry in the extremely popular Sam Raimi Spider-Man film universe. It ended a story-arc started in the first film, which involved Harry’s grudge against Spider-Man. It introduced new characters and told an interesting story, while also giving us some of the most hilarious moments in the franchise.
With that being said, Spider-Man 3 is a heavily flawed film and it’s apparent from the outset. For one thing, the film has too many villains, plot-lines, and side characters. The film honestly should’ve been focused on Spider-Man taking on Sandman and the newly super-powered Harry. Unfortunately, Venom was also thrown into the mix, along with Gwen Stacy and an annoying amnesia sub-plot.
So much was crammed into this film, to the point where there was very little breathing room for the average audience member, myself included. Despite the film feeling extremely bloated, you can tell its heart was in the right place. Sam Raimi wanted to cap off his trilogy with things that people could remember or find entertaining.
One such thing was “Emo Peter”, which was one of the film’s most controversial elements. You see, one of the sub-plots for the film is that Peter gets infected with a “Symbiote”. This happened in the comics and all other stories that involved Venom. Of course, the Symbiote makes Peter act like a giant jackass with an edgy attitude.
Despite the fact that this is how the Symbiote affected Peter’s personality in the comics, people weren’t too fond of it. It’s especially off-putting when you consider the fact that the Symbiote only affected Peter’s personality LATER in the comics. In most stories, the Symbiote doesn’t make Peter behave evil or violent until later on.
Honestly, I like the stuff with Emo Peter. It’s interesting to see Peter become a pompous jackass, one who is obsessed with money and what he can obtain. I wish the film did more with this arrogant and vindictive Peter, instead of making him just a generic villainous version of our hero.
Still, I’d be lying if I said Emo Peter wasn’t entertaining as hell. His dance scene is arguably the best scene in the entire film! Another good aspect of the film was Flint Marko, who was an interesting and well fleshed out villain for the series. This is ironic, considering he’s the only villain to NOT be made of flesh!
Yes, 30 minutes into the film, Flint is mutated into living sand and takes on the name of “Sandman”. As a living sand monster, Flint finds himself evading the law and trying to find his way back to his daughter. Meanwhile, Spider-Man is desperately trying to track down the escaped criminal in order to avenge his Uncle Ben.
Honestly, this feels like it could be a good setup for a film on its own. It’s just that the awesome setup of this plot-line has to share space with all the stuff relating to Venom, Eddie Brock, Mary Jane and Peter’s awkward romance, and Harry’s amnesia. That combined with the series’ trademark campy nature and dated CGI, it’s not hard to see why so many people dislike this film.
That being said, Spider-Man 3 is a pretty special film. Sure, it has a ton of problems, but there’s a lot of good elements lying underneath the surface. There’s tons of great scenes and characters here, it’s just buried under a pile of meaningless fluff. Spider-Man 3 isn’t what I’d consider a bad film at all, just a good film with a ton of problems holding it back from being better.
There’s a ton of enjoyment value to be pulled from Spider-Man 3, despite it’s heavily flawed nature. I’d recommend giving this film a re-watch, especially if you haven’t seen it in years. It’s an immensely fun, albeit incredibly flawed film. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about our next film…