Spider-Man 2 is a classic comic book movie. Anyone who disputes that is entitled to their own opinion, but I wouldn’t listen to anything they say when it comes to comic book film. The movie gave us everything. Action, emotion, humor, and a solid plot. Whenever a trilogy for movies is planned, the third one is usually tough to execute. Why? Well, because in the first movie of a trilogy, you’re building the world. You’re throwing Easter egg after Easter egg trying to link everything together. You establish a clear hero. You establish a clear villain. You start to build a journey that your main characters need to go on. There’s an end goal in mind. This sequence, especially for fans, can be the best part of a trilogy of a movie series. So, what happens in the sequel? Characters have been developed, the world is set and stone, and the hero has a pretty good sense of self. As a writer what should you do if your hero or main character is feeling content? Challenge them. Give them obstacles that most people would think “I couldn’t overcome that.” Make them suffer. Make them think. The end goal is still going to happen, but they need to be put through hell to evolve into the character you want them to be. So you have a brilliant opening, and a character-building sequel. Why is it that fans usually dislike the third movie? Return of the Jedi, Back to the Future III, The Dark Knight Rises, Iron Man 3, the list goes on and on. Why though? The answer is different for most fans. Some fans though all share a common trait. That’s exactly what they are, fans. As a writer, I write stories. I build characters. I create worlds. I also end those stories. Life doesn’t end though. We know this. What happened today will be forgotten tomorrow when something else happens. This is even more true today with the relevance of social media. Social media allows us to make things important for however long we want. Humans are fickle though, so the scene of social media is always changing. Today, the Dallas Police killings. Next week, developments on ISIS. The week after, a celebrity wedding. My point is that life doesn’t stop. It has no end. No matter how bad governments or politicians want to control the agenda of life, it’s impossible. I think fans who don’t write forget that. They want answers for everything that isn’t directly explained to them. That’s life though. No one has a direct answer on the afterlife. No one can say with 100% certainty if global warming is real. Spider-Man 3 has flaws sure. Is it better than Spider-Man or Spider-Man 2? That’s unfair to say. Each is a separate piece to a single story. A life story. It isn’t our life story but it is a story nonetheless. A story that has an ending. As a movie, the film isn’t a classic. As a closing to Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man world. I couldn’t have asked for anything better. The criticisms it, and other trilogy movies receive, are unfair because movies must end. They will not always have answers. We have to take their lessons and learn from them ourselves. If they do not give us what we want, we must look objectively at the entire film saga and judge. I’m not saying Spider-Man 3 is the greatest trilogy ever. But I am saying the critiques I hear of the film are cliché’, asinine, and they make no sense.
Spider-Man 3 starts off cheery. Spidey is enjoying life. In Spider-Man 2, he questioned if he even wanted to be a hero anymore. At the start of this movie, everything is working out for him. I love this, because everyone deserves happiness. Peter is killing it in class, the city loves him, and he’s freaking on time for Mary Jane’s play. Where’s the conflict for this movie then? Who’s going to be a villain? Well, an unfortunate plot development had to happen in this movie. Harry Osborn and Peter’s relationship has been eroding ever since Harry’s dad died. This movie has to address this problem. Is it wanted by fans? No, not really. But I have seen movies and books set up something up for characters only to let that fire die out by the end. I respect Raimi and his team for putting Harry in this story as one of the villains. We then see the symbiote fall from space and onto Peter’s bike. After that, Sandman is introduced. He is running from the cops and breaks into his own home. His development starts early here. We learn about his daughter and the love he has for her. His wife doesn’t want him around though. It’s a sad thing to see. As he leaves, he says to his wife, “I’m not a bad person. I’ve just had bad luck.” Peter then talks with Aunt May about him wanting to propose to Mary Jane. The conversation is nice. The chemistry between the two was great throughout all three films.
As Peter is leaving, Harry challenges him to a fight. The fight is fun and entertaining to watch. Classic Spider-Man action. The main thing I don’t like about this scene is the fact Peter fights the entire time with no mask on. It might just be me being a nerd, but just put the mask on! It’s a small complaint however. My big one is with one of the villains. The fight continues though and the way it ends is almost a bit comical. Harry is blindsided by one of Peter’s webs, and takes one of the nastiest falls I’ve ever seen. Peter takes him to the hospital. Next, we see the birth of Sandman. He’s running from the cops when he falls into a sandpit where an experiment is happening. The machine activates, and Sandman is turned into, you guessed it, sand. The scene is beautiful in terms of effects. This movie could have worked with just him as a villain, but they already executed a tragic villain in Spider-Man 2. That’s why I don’t care too much about Harry being a focus in this one.
The movie goes on and we’re introduced to a couple more characters. Gwen Stacy is introduced and she is dating Eddie Brock. Harry is awake and conscious but he lost his memory. He doesn’t remember hating Peter or his father dying at the hands of Spider-Man. This is interesting because of the plot possibilities. How they execute it and make Peter and Harry’s relationship come full circle in the end, was awesome to me. Mary Jane is then fired and a parade is being held for Spider-Man outside. This is awesome. I am tired of superheroes getting hate in movies from the citizens. It makes us look like we can’t accept change at all (even though if superheroes were real our government may nuke them in two seconds.) There is more evidence of Peter and Mary Jane’s distance too. He’s still Spider-Man and has an obligation to the city. But she feels as if she’s being left behind. It’s a bit unfair for Mary Jane to think this way, but it’s understandable. She just wants to be loved. Peter then commits a big no-no when it comes to girlfriends. He kisses Gwen Stacy as Spider-Man when the fans ask him too. Mary Jane gets jealous, but she mainly looks sad. Once again, more evidence of their broken relationship.
A fight then happens between Spider-Man and Sandman. It’s pretty funny because Spidey is feeling himself here. “I’m the sheriff around these parts,” is what he says to Sandman. This fight is a prime example of the good guy that Spidey is. Whenever he fights, no matter how tough the situation is, he always saves people. He doesn’t just let innocent bystanders die. He makes that a priority over beating the bad guy sometimes. Some heroes just blow through cities and beat the bad guy mercilessly. I think that’s what had some people upset about Man of Steel. Superman didn’t try to save anybody during that fight. He was just hitting Zod all over the place. Spider-Man doesn’t think twice about it. He’ll take a few bumps so people can be safe.
Peter later tries to execute his plan to propose to Mary Jane. You can tell this is all he wants. He’s truly happy. He’s saving people and he has the girl at the same time. We all know this can’t happen for long. Mary Jane shows up and she’s still upset about everything. Peter begins to talk about him being Spider-Man. He’s a little too caught up in it all. He has Mary Jane, suffering right there in front of him, and he’s trying to compare their situations. Mary Jane needs him to understand her life isn’t simple like that. She can’t just go save some people and get her job back. She doesn’t have special singing abilities or anything. She’s just a normal girl. Gwen Stacy showing up doesn’t help the situation anymore. Mary Jane’s jealousy is beginning to take over. It’s too much for her to handle at this point. She leaves the dinner, leaving Peter confused. Just when Peter thinks his night can’t get any worse, he receives information about Uncle Ben. It’s revealed that the real killer is Sandman. Spider-Man is pissed. I love the turn this movie takes. Spider-Man is always dealing with problems whether it be girls, the city, or his villains. This movie is no different. Peter is staying up trying to listen for any reports on Sandman. However, he falls asleep and the alien symbiote suit attaches itself to him. I love the introduction of the suit because it pairs nicely with the plot of the movie. The suit takes its toll on Peter. He’s angry when he’s wearing it. Except he was angry when it came on him. For that reason, the suit feels good on him. It allows him to have and feel an edge he doesn’t feel in the normal suit. An edge he needs to fight Sandman. The sewer fight with them is insane. I laughed so hard when Spidey smashed Brock’s camera. Their rivalry is being built up slowly and I didn’t mind it at all. But like I said, this fight is phenomenal. Spider-Man was punching with bad intentions here. I’ve always loved the way Spider-Man fights in these films. In Civil War, we got more physicality from Spidey and I’m glad they went back to it. Peter later tells Aunt May that Spider-Man killed Sandman. She doesn’t agree with that (I think she knows he’s Spider-Man.) Mary Jane and Harry have a fun day together. They rekindle a lost love because of Mary Jane’s confusion and Harry’s memory loss. The scene is a bit cheesy, but it isn’t completely unnecessary. Soon after though, Harry’s memories come back. He forces Mary Jane into a trap, making her break up with Peter. She tells Peter there is someone else in her life. Peter then meets with Harry and tells him that he’s the other guy. Even when I saw this in theaters, I knew what was coming next. Peter brings out the black suit again. He has no Mary Jane, so he might as well have nothing. The suit assists with that thinking as well, by making him feel nothing but rage. The fight between them is the culmination of two and a half movies. The jazz tune played during the fight is amusing too. Like I said earlier, I don’t like Harry too much but his role in this movie is needed to tell a complete story. If they would have neglected it, it would have been flawed storytelling. By the end of their fight, Harry and Peter throw hurtful words at each other. Peter says, “Look at little Goblin junior. You going to cry?” Those are words that would never come out of his mouth. Peter then keeps the black suit on. He goes to his job to confront Eddie Brock. This scene shows how heroes can sometimes accidentally create their own villains. The montage after is probably the worst part of the movie. That’s only because of my personal taste. It is necessary though. They show how different Peter is acting with the new suit. In a word, asshole. The scene where Jonah tells the girl, “That’s not the position I hired you for,” makes me laugh uncontrollably every time. Peter then takes his new girl, Gwen Stacy, to a jazz club where his ex-girlfriend, Mary Jane, works. Another big no-no from our friendly neighborhood asshole. Eddie Brock sees them too. As with all heroes though, Spider-Man retains who he truly is in the end. When he accidentally knocks down Mary Jane, there’s fear in her eyes. He’s completely over the suit now. It’s no tworth it anymore. He goes to a church. The bells upset the suit and it leaves Peter. Oddly enough, Brock is at church. Peter did tell him to get religion. The suit falls onto him though. All he wants is to do is kill Peter Parker. Now he has he means to do it. Venom is born.
The final scene with Aunt May and Peter happens next. She tells him that he has to forgive himself first before anything else can happen. This scene makes me tear up every time I watch. Venom then later teams up with Sandman. They both have vendettas against him so it makes total sense. So what do they do? They capture Mary Jane of course. Classic villains doing villainous things. Guess who comes to the rescue? Spider-Man of course, but with some lame American symbolism by running past the flag. It doesn’t enhance the moment at all. Spider-Man is outnumbered here though. Venom is able to hold him down while Sandman beats him. With every hit, the people fear that Spider-Man is dying. Who saves the day? The friend turned villain turned friend of course. Harry finally learned from his butler that Norman Osborn was not murdered by Spider-Man. He decides to help Peter and their feud has finally come to an end. The two defeat Sandman but Venom is still lurking out there. Spider-Man eventually kills the alien suit. Eddie dives in after it, which kills him too. The movie ends nicely to me. Harry is wounded. Sandman appears. Spidey finally hears the truth. We learn that Uncle Ben was an accident. As Sandman tells him this, you see Peter crying. The emotion in Sandman’s voice is palpable. He didn’t mean to do it. He didn’t want to do it. The movie wraps up its message with Harry. He dies after the conversation between Spidey and Sandman. He realizes he’s wasted his life hating Spider-Man. Harry says, “None of that matters Peter. You’re my friend.” He then dies in Mary Jane’s arms. I don’t know how that can’t make someone feel something. Especially with the music, the scenery of the sunset, and Peter weeping like a child. The movie ends with Peter and Mary Jane dancing. It doesn’t necessarily feel happy, but I felt satisfied with the ending. The movie drives its point home hard at the end. Forgiveness. We must all learn to forgive ourselves and each other. Holding on to hate does no one any good. It only leads to anger, which can lead to violence, which leads to more violence, and even death. Spider-Man learned that the hard way. He lost a friend and wanted to kill a man all because of that word. Forgiveness. Harry dying illustrates how short a life can be if you waste it on hate. I love the message. It’s a cliché message sure. Some cliché’ messages have the most meaning though.
TOO MANY VILLAINS!!
I wanted to address this because I ALWAYS see this as the most common problem with Spider-Man 3. I truly believe that if someone tells you something enough, you’ll eventually believe it. Not all the time though, but we are influenced by others around us. No one is immune to it. But this idea of the movie being too overcrowded is lame to me. Each of the villains had a purpose in this movie. Harry was needed to conclude the friendship tale of him and Peter. Sandman was this movie’s Doc Ock; a tragic villain not even looking to fight Spider-Man. Venom was the villain obsessed with taking Spider-Man out. A classic comic book movie villain. The movie might have suffered with just one of them because this is the finale. Spider-Man has too many villains. Fans wanted to see Venom but Raimi knew Harry’s story was needed, and Sandman’s story was needed as well. They also connected Uncle Ben’s murder to Sandman which connects to Harry and also connects to Venom. Forgiveness. All the villains in this movie played a good role. Not to mention, that Spider-Man is one of the few heroes that have so many villains. He usually has to fight them on a nightly basis in comics and the animated show. Don’t get why a movie has to be different. Harry’s story was built up throughout three movies, Sandman took a bit of care, and Venom was easy to execute. They did all three well to me. Like I said earlier, I don’t believe in rating movies that are all part of one complete story. But for the sake of the review I give the film a 9/10. A satisfying ending to a great series.
I hope you enjoyed this review, and I hope I did these films justice in my reviews. Please go read my other reviews if you haven’t. Follow me on Twitter @Hero_Review My next review will be Jessica Jones season 1 along with Daredevil season 2. Until next time! Stay safe and remember, Peace, Love, and Comics everyone!!