I haven’t previously seen Spider-Man 3, so this was the most exciting of the Blu-ray re-releases for me. After seeing it, I can understand why the studio thought a reboot was necessary.
I didn’t know that Gwen Stacy (Bryce Dallas Howard) made an appearance here, nor did I imagine that Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst) would gain fame on Broadway in a musical number transported from the 1940s. It’s nice to see Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) get to be happy for a little bit, although I know that it’s all going to hell shortly.
Enjoy the rest while you can, Mary Jane and Peter.
As others have pointed out, there are too many villains in this movie. Thomas Haden Church makes an excellent Sandman, and Topher Grace (Eddie Brock, who becomes the symbiote-driven Venom after Parker wrestles with the black suit) is eerily similar to Tobey. Good performances can’t make up for an overstuffed script, though. Especially once you toss in James Franco as a new Goblin, out to avenge his father. It’s overwhelming, without even considering random disasters like the early crane/skyscraper encounter.
I found the retconned connections — both those between Sandman and Uncle Ben and the way Brock is a dark mirror of Peter — unnecessary, as though someone was trying to make the original comic stories more literary by adding more reflections among the characters. There were so many characters running around that we’d completely forgotten about one of them by the time he reappeared in the movie during the last half-hour.
Spidey ponders his new outfit
The opening fight scene between Peter and Harry surprised me, since it seem to come from nowhere (and go on too long). That’s the problem with such a big cast, that there isn’t much room to develop the plot organically, especially if you have a certain action quota to meet. The effects, particularly the sand ones, are very cool, although they didn’t make up for the jumpy nature of the storytelling or the played-out revenge-driven motivations — or the hero darkening that reminded me of Superman 3. As KC pointed out, it’s a common story; every comic wants its hero in a black costume at some point just for the drama.
The bits of comedy worked best for me, whether Bruce Campbell as the French waiter or Spidey knocking sand out of his boots after fighting the Sandman. Those are my favorite parts of superhero comics, too, so they reminded me of the fun of the genre. Unfortunately, much of the rest of the movie is grim. At least I finally got to see the famous street strut, with Peter’s hipster bangs, and the stupid jazz club scene. I don’t recall Maguire working much since this movie, wonder why? Maybe he needed a break after how much hard work this must have been.
There are two commentaries, one with director (Sam Raimi) and cast. Amazingly, they managed to get all the main players — Tobey Maguire, James Franco, Topher Grace, Bryce Dallas Howard, Thomas Haden Church, and remotely, Kirsten Dunst. The other, the filmmaker commentary, has producers Avi Arad, Grant Curtis, Laura Ziskin, editor Bob Murawski, and Scott Stokdyk, visual effects supervisor.
Best Sandman effect in the film
There are almost seven minutes of bloopers, a music video for Snow Patrol’s “Signal Fire”, and a number of galleries:
- Concept Gallery: Sketches
- Concept Gallery: Paintings
- Concept Gallery: Sculptures
- Photo Gallery: Special Effects
- Photo Gallery: Director and Cast
All of this can be found on the first disc of the two-disc DVD special edition. The items from the second disc, all the featurettes and the special effects making-ofs and the trailers and ads, aren’t included, so that’s still the edition to get if you like behind-the-scenes information. (The cover is also much more attractive.) (The studio provided a review copy.)