Directed by: Sam Raimi
Written by:Ivan Raimi, Alvin Sargent
Starring: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Thomas Haden Church, Bryce Dallas Howard, Topher Grace, James Cromwell, Rosemary Harris
Released: May 3, 2007
Grade: A-

I’ve been a big fan of the last two Spider-Man movies.  Still, I saw Spider-Man 3 with a degree of scepticism.  I was worried that the best material had already been used and that this new instalment would be both predictable and unoriginal.

I need not have been concerned because Spider-Man 3 is just as good as the previous two films.  There are a few things I’d have done differently but on the whole, it created both suspense and emotion.  Crucially however, it keeps its sense a humour.  I’m not a fan of super-hero movies that take themselves too seriously.

In this new film, Spidey (aka Peter Parker) will have to battle more than one villain.  Picking up from where the second film left off, Peter’s old friend Harry Osborn (Franco) is looking for revenge.  Harry believes that Spider-Man is responsible for his father’s death and he wants to settle the score.  Peter tries to convince Harry that it was not his fault but Harry isn’t listening.

As this goes on, Peter learns that the man arrested for his own father’s murder is innocent.  The real killer is Flint Marko (Church) and he was recently escaped from prison.  Just has Harry reacted to his father’s death, Peter’s strongest urge is also that of revenge.  Peter’s mother (Harris) warns him to “let it go” but Peter can’t help himself – he wants Marko brought to justice.  A darker side of Spidey is emerging…

As Peter tries to keep his emotions in check, his relationship with girlfriend Mary-Jane Watson (Dunst) starts to suffer.  They never seem to find any time to spend together.  Peter is always off saving the world and Mary-Jane is trying to make a career as an actress.  In the brief moments that they do see each other, the excitable Peter can’t help but talk about how much fun he has as Spider-Man.  Mary-Jane struggles to get a word in.

There’s a lot more to tell and a few more enemies that Spider-Man will have to confront but I’ll keep tight-lipped from this point on.  I liked the unexpected plot twists and the focus of the story was forever changing.  This is not a film where you can predict the ending within the first 5 minutes.

There’s an interesting “interlude” about two-thirds of the way through the film where Peter takes on a new personality.  The action-packed drama stops for about 15 minutes and we are treated to an amusing sequence where Peter plays “the bad boy”.  Some might be critical of this plot deviation but I enjoyed the break from the main storyline.  It’s one of my favourite parts of the film.

If the film has a downside, it’s the overuse of visual effects.  There is a fight sequence early in the film between Peter and Harry where they fly atop the city at night.  The camera angle seems to be changing every tenth of a second, there was little lighting and the characters moved very quickly.  As a result, I had trouble figuring out what was going on.  The screen was a giant blur.

As the first big Hollywood blockbuster to be released in 2007, I’m more than happy with Spider-Man 3.  It’ll make big money at the box-office but more importantly, it’s actually worth seeing.