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Darker Power, Darker Responsibility
This ‘Spider-Man’ movie is not as bad as I remember it!
‘Spider-Man 3’ is the third film of the original ‘Spider-Man’ film trilogy with Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker/Spider-Man. After watching ‘Spider-Man 2’ at the cinemas back in July 2004, I was looking forward to the next instalment and how Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson’s story would continue.
The third film stars Tobey Maguire, who’s back as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, with Kirsten Dunst and James Franco. There are also the villains Thomas Haden Church as the Sandman and Topher Grace as Venom. I currently have this film as part of the ‘Spider-Man: Five-Movie Collection’ Blu-ray box set.
It was three years for me to wait for ‘Spider-Man 3’ to be released at cinemas in 2007, but I learned how to be patient. I was also hoping that it would be worth the wait to check out this film at the cinema. The film delivers a final showdown and a sweeping finale to a trilogy of successful movies. 🙂
In 2007, I recall being pretty excited to see this new ‘Spider-Man’ film. I watched all of the trailers beforehand and had high hopes for the movie. I don’t know who it was that said it, but it’s true you can have too much of a good thing. That was how I felt after I watched ‘Spider-Man 3’ at the cinema.
It’s not bad, but it felt like that not all I’d expected was in the final film. I felt too much had been put into the movie and there were too many characters to contend with to make it fulfilling. The ending wasn’t uplifting and reassuring as I would have liked. I also didn’t realise this was to be the last film.
But after revisiting the film, I realise that the themes of ‘Spider-Man 3’ are about forgiveness and overcoming the darker aspects of one’s personality in order to become a better person and that showing goodness to people is evident. I enjoyed ‘Spider-Man 3’, but it isn’t the best of the trilogy. 😦
There is a selection of new characters from the ‘Spider-Man’ comics featured in this ‘Spider-Man’ movie. There are not one, not two, but THREE Spider-Man villains!!! There’s the Sandman; Harry Osborn as the new Green Goblin or New Goblin, and there’s Venom. Gwen Stacy is also in the movie.
Peter Parker has balanced his double life as himself and Spider-Man. He’s also balanced his relationship with Mary Jane Watson. Things get in the way though, when Spidey becomes absorbed by a strange alien goo from outer space that takes him over and it makes him the black Spider-Man.
Tobey Maguire delivers a stunning performance as Peter Parker/Spider-Man in the movie. He’s believable and easy to relate as Peter, when he’s on a journey to deal with his dark side. He becomes increasingly over-confident in the film and he becomes vengeful once wearing the black Spidey suit.
There are things I would’ve done differently concerning Peter’s journey to the dark side and becoming the black Spider-Man. For one thing, it was decided to give Peter an ’emo’ look, which I don’t like at all. It would’ve been better to have kept that side of him hidden whilst wearing the suit.
Kirsten Dunst delivers a lovely performance as Mary Jane Watson. I quite like the early love scenes between MJ and Peter. Sadly, MJ’s acting career is thrown into jeopardy, as she gets bad reviews on her latest performance in a Broadway musical. There’s also tension developed between her and Peter. 😦
Some are quick to criticise Peter and Mary Jane’s relationship in these movies, but I’ve found them compelling as characters. I’ve cared about them since seeing them in the first two movies. I was very anxious about their relationship being in jeopardy. I hoped things would turn out alright for them. 🙂
James Franco returns as Harry Osborn, who becomes the New Goblin. I don’t like the look of the New Goblin in this film. I think it would’ve been better for Harry to wear the Green Goblin’s original outfit in order to strike fear into Peter’s heart and remind him that his father is dead because of him.
Since the events of ‘Spider-Man 2’, Harry knows Peter is Spider-Man. He’s determined to exact his revenge on Peter, believing that he killed his father. Harry soon gets a bump on the head, which causes him amnesia. I like how the friendships formed between Harry, Peter and MJ are explored. 🙂
Thomas Haden Church stars as Flint Marko a.k.a. the Sandman. Flint Marko is a small-time crook who escapes prison and gets caught in a sand experiment. It transforms him into the Sandman. It turns out Marko was the real killer of Uncle Ben, which I wasn’t happy about in terms of the story. 😐
I preferred it when it was Dennis Carradine (played by Michael Papajohn) who killed Uncle Ben in the first movie instead of Flint Marko who killed him. I know it’s meant to give Peter a reason to hate Flint Marko when he dons the black Spidey outfit, but it doesn’t feel right when watching the film. 😐
Topher Grace stars as Eddie Brock Jr. who becomes Venom in the movie. I like Topher’s performance as Eddie Brock/Venom, as he’s the opposite of Peter. It’s such a shame Venom wasn’t featured much in the film after Peter got rid of the alien costume. Venom only appears in the film’s climactic battle.
Over the years, I’ve heard criticisms made against Topher Grace’s performance as Eddie Brock, and I think they’re unfair. I honestly don’t think Topher Grace is bad at playing Eddie/Venom. I was convinced by the ‘bad boy’ attitude he took, especially when framing Spider-Man at the Daily Bugle.
Bryce Dallas Howard stars as Gwen Stacy, who was Peter’s first girlfriend in the comics. In ‘Spider-Man 3’ though, Gwen is Eddie Brock’s (sort of) girlfriend and Peter’s partner in their science class. Gwen is sweet and lovely; but she brings tension to Peter and MJ in a love triangle. This, I didn’t like.
I honestly would have preferred it if Eddie Brock was dating Felicia Hardy before she became the Black Cat instead of Gwen Stacy. That would’ve made things more interesting in setting things up for a ‘Spider-Man 4’ with Spidey teaming up with the Black Cat and they’re fighting Venom and Carnage.
James Cromwell stars as Captain George Stacy, Gwen’s father in the film. I’ve seen James Cromwell before in ‘Star Trek: First Contact’. Stacy is a captain of the New York police trying to catch Flint Marko, who escaped from prison. He informs Peter and Aunt May that Marko was Uncle Ben’s killer.
Like Gwen, I found Captain Stacy rather wasted in the film. He could’ve easily been a police captain not going by the name of George Stacy. James Cromwell is still a very good actor in the film, but again, there wasn’t a need to include Gwen and her father this late in the ‘Spider-Man’ film trilogy. 😦
Rosemary Harris returns as Aunt May. She gets to hear Peter’s announcement about wanting to marry Mary Jane. She gives Peter some words of advice as well an engagement ring that was hers. May is also there for Peter after his ordeal with the alien costume. She tells him he’s ‘a good person’.
I like that scene, as it’s a scene that demonstrates Aunt May being a source of strength for Peter when he’s feeling down, especially after what the alien costume did to him in ‘hurting’ Mary Jane. There were times where I wondered whether Aunt May actually knew that Peter was Spider-Man after all.
J. K. Simmons returns as J. Jonah Jameson in the film and he’s terrific! I love every scene with him at the Daily Bugle. Jameson’s scenes are the best, as they helped to provide the comic relief featured in the film. I loved it when he got buzzed all the time by his secretary Betty Brant with taking his pills. 🙂
There’s also a scene where he tries to get a camera from a kid in order to take some photos of Spider-Man fighting Venom and Sandman in the climactic battle. The scene where he fires Eddie Brock for framing Spider-Man is one of the best, as J. K. Simmons plays that scene extremely well.
The cast also includes Dylan Baker as Dr. Curt Connors, Willem Dafoe as the ghost of Norman Osborn, Cliff Robertson as Uncle Ben in a flashback scene, Bill Nunn as Robbie Robertson, Ted Raimi as Hoffman, Elizabeth Banks as Betty Brant and John Paxton as Bernard, the Osborn family butler. 🙂
There’s Elya Baskin as Mr. Ditkovitch and Mageina Tovah as his daughter Ursula. Joe Manganiello cameos as Flash Thompson, and there’s a speaking cameo of Stan Lee, which he referred to as his ‘best cameo’, which is great. 🙂 Bruce Campbell also plays a French maître d’ in ‘Spider-Man 3’. 🙂
‘Spider-Man 3’ is directed by Sam Raimi and he does a splendid job. He knows the characters inside and out, due to his passion and knowledge of ‘Spider-Man’ from the comics. He directs the movie with a fine balance of action and drama, which I like, despite the weak aspects featured in the story.
The set designs and the action sequences are truly spectacular. It was great to revisit the Daily Bugle one more time as well as revisit Peter’s apartment, even when MJ and Aunt May visited him. We also get to see Aunt May’s new home in New York and we return to the big Osborn house in the movie. 🙂
The visual effects are also spectacular. The CGI effects for the Sandman, Venom and the black goo attaching itself to Peter are amazing and very well done. The stunt work is also fantastic. The swinging through New York scenes makes you feel exhilarated whilst travelling through the skyscrapers.
As I said before, the thing about ‘Spider-Man 3’ that disappointed me was the ending. It was a rather sad ending and it didn’t do anything reassuring for the audience to ensure the ‘Spider-Man’ film series was going to continue. At least it ends on a happier note with Peter and MJ dancing together.
Plans were made to make ‘Spider-Man 4’. Tobey Maguire would have reprised his role as Peter Parker/Spider-Man as well as Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane. Sam Raimi would have returned to direct. Sadly, due to script problems and studio disagreements, the film got cancelled, which is a big shame.
When I first had ‘Spider-Man 3’ on DVD for Christmas in December 2007, it was on a 2-disc Special Edition DVD set. Disc 1 contained the movie and Disc 2 contained the special features. I found the Blu-ray version of ‘Spider-Man 3’ to be rather disappointing, since it didn’t keep most of the original DVD special features on it.
The original 2-disc Special Edition DVD special features are as follows. On Disc 1, there are two audio commentaries. The first audio commentary is with director Sam Rami and actors/actresses Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Thomas Haden Church, Topher Grace and Bryce Dallas Howard. That is a big cast commentary for a ‘Spider-Man’ movie! 😀 The second audio commentary is on the production side of things with producer Laura Ziskin, producer Avi Arad, producer Grant Curtis, editor Bob Murawski and visual effects supervisor Scott Stokdyk. These audio commentaries are included on the Blu-ray release of ‘Spider-Man 3’.
On Disc 2 of the original 2-disc Special Edition DVD, there are two sections to enjoy, including ‘Special Features’ and ‘Featurettes’. In ‘Special Features’, there are bloopers/outtakes, photo galleries and a music video of ‘Signal Fire’ by Snow Patrol. These special features can be found on the ‘Spider-Man 3’ Blu-ray release. There’s also an ‘Advertising Campaign’ that included trailers and TV spots from around the world for ‘Spider-Man 3’. Sadly, these aren’t included on the Blu-ray release of ‘Spider-Man 3’. Speaking of which, the ‘Featurettes’ section included on Disc 2 of the 2-disc Special Edition DVD isn’t included on the Blu-ray release of ‘Spider-Man 3’. The ‘Featurettes’ section includes a series of 10 behind-the-scenes making-of documentaries with cast and crew interviews. This is something I enjoyed watching from the 2-disc Special Edition DVD. The ‘Featurettes’ include ‘Grains of Sand – Building Sandman’, ‘Re-Imagining the Goblin’, ‘Covered in Black – Creating Venom’, ‘Hanging On…Gwen Stacy and the Collapsing Floor’, ‘Fighting, Flying & Driving – The Stunts’, ‘Tangled Web: The Love Triangles of Spider-Man 3’, ‘Wall of Water’, ‘On Location: Cleveland – The Chase of Euclid Avenue’, ‘On Location: New York – From Rooftops to Backstreets’, ‘The Science of Sound’ and ‘Inside the Editing Room’.
‘Spider-Man 3’ isn’t the greatest finale to this film trilogy, but it’s far from terrible. The first two ‘Spider-Man’ films are masterpieces in my opinion. I suppose I wasn’t willing to accept that this was the last film of the Tobey Maguire/Sam Raimi ‘Spider-Man’ film series, since I enjoyed the films a lot.
The story’s structure isn’t great and there are too many characters to contend with. But this is a good ‘Spider-Man’ film and a fitting way to end an era that I love so much. I will always have happy memories of the original ‘Spider-Man’ film trilogy featuring Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst in it. 🙂
I wish there was a ‘Spider-Man 4’, but we can all imagine it in our hopes and dreams.
‘Spider-Man 3’ rating – 7.5/10
‘SPIDER-MAN 3’ (NOVELIZATION)
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The Battle within Spider-Man
Here’s another classic movie novelization by Peter David for the original ‘Spider-Man’ film trilogy! 🙂
I’m saddened that I’ve finished revisiting these ‘Spider-Man’ movie novelizations. They’ve been great to check out from seeing the original ‘Spider-Man’ movies with Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst and James Franco. There’s plenty of detail and character development to enjoy from these novelizations.
The ‘Spider-Man 3’ novelization is based upon the motion picture and it was published in 2007, the same year the movie was released at cinemas! I purchased the ‘Spider-Man 3’ novelization to keep in line with reading the first two ‘Spider-Man’ movie novelizations that I was reading back in the summer of 2007.
The book is based on the screenplay by Sam Raimi, Ivan Raimi and Alvin Sargent; based on the screen story by Sam Raimi and Ivan Raimi; and based on the Marvel comic book by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. There was a junior novelization for this movie, but I’ve only read this movie novelization.
When I read ‘Spider-Man 3’ as a novelization, I was also on holiday in Scotland in the summer of 2007, both in Torridon and on the Isle of Lewis. Like the first two ‘Spider-Man’ books, this is also a very engrossing read, as I enjoyed reading the characters and exploring more of the world of Spider-Man.
However, ‘Spider-Man 3’ isn’t the best instalment out of the movie trilogy and it isn’t my favourite. I wanted to salvage something from my disappointment of watching ‘Spider-Man 3’ at the cinema. Thankfully, this book compensates with providing more than what was promised in the actual movie.
I later re-read the ‘Spider-Man 3’ movie novelization whilst I was away for weekend breaks at conventions in Worcester and Weston-super-Mare in August 2016. I enjoyed re-reading the book whilst I was away for conventions, as it was great to revisit this pretty underrated ‘Spider-Man’ movie.
The book is divided into 24 chapters, with a prologue at the beginning and an epilogue at the end. Peter David continues the same flavour of storytelling that was prevalent in the first two ‘Spider-Man’ movie novelizations. I like how he tackles Peter Parker’s dark journey as Spider-Man here. 🙂
There aren’t any new scenes at the beginning of the book like Peter David provided for the first two ‘Spider-Man’ movie novelizations. He more or less starts with a brief recap of Peter’s life flashing before his eyes before he sees Mary Jane singing on Broadway, which happens in the book’s prologue.
Peter David however does provide new scenes throughout the book that were never seen in the movie at the cinema. These new scenes help to enhance the supporting characters in the story, most specifically with Flint Marko and his family as well as Eddie Brock Jr.’s romantic endeavours with Gwen Stacy.
The story of Peter Parker is well-handled in the book compared to how it was presented in the movie. There’s still the Peter Parker dancing stuff when he has the alien costume on, but I like how Peter David enhances on the darker nature of Peter Parker’s character when he gets increasingly over-confident.
I like how the book begins with the romance scenes between Peter Parker and Mary Jane, before the plot becomes grim later on in the story. Peter becomes optimistic in his endeavours to impress Mary Jane throughout the story. His pride gets tested when he sometimes takes his girlfriend for granted in the story.
I actually like it that Peter Parker doesn’t get to have the chance to ask Mary Jane to marry him in the story via book form compared to the movie. In the movie, he shows the engagement ring to MJ when she’s dumping him. In the book, it doesn’t happen, as she quickly dumps him before he pops the question.
I also like it in the book when it’s explored how MJ is trying to protect Peter as well as herself from being threatened by Harry who reasserts himself as the New Goblin. I also liked it when MJ is thinking about Peter whilst kissing Harry. In that particular scene, she realises that what she’s doing is wrong .
I liked it when MJ realises that it’s the alien costume that’s making Peter do these out-of-character things when he’s at her jazz club and when he pushed her to the floor. I also liked it when she prayed to God to bring Peter back to her and I really liked it when Peter says sorry to MJ for pushing her.
It’s a shame that Peter isn’t as understanding and more sympathetic to MJ’s bad luck in the book as well as in the movie. This reinforces the point that Peter takes MJ for granted and is over-confident in his pride for being Spider-Man, rather than thinking about the problems that his girlfriend’s having.
Also, I liked how the jealously in the ‘love triangle’ between Peter, MJ and Gwen Stacy is handled in the book. MJ is clearly upset when Peter as Spidey is kissed upside-down by Gwen at ‘the key to the city’ ceremony. Peter soon realises his mistake and I liked it when he attempts to make it up with MJ.
I like how Harry Osborn’s journey is developed in the book as well as in the film. Harry starts off by hearing his father’s voice talking to him inside his head. In fact, Harry is influenced by his father whenever he’s the New Goblin, as Norman keeps talking to him in his imagination during the book.
There’s a difference in the book compared to the film, as Harry regains his memory loss from his fight with Spider-Man and hears his father talking to him before MJ comes to visit him at his penthouse. It was interesting that Harry tried to resist his father’s voice before MJ came to visit him.
The book also enhances the villains of the story, most specifically on Flint Marko and Eddie Brock. With Flint Marko, we have an extended appearance of Emma, Flint Marko’s wife and Penny, his daughter. Peter David enhances their roles in order to make them stop Flint Marko as the Sandman.
Emma and Penny make an appearance at the end of the book to stop Flint Marko as the Sandman from killing Spider-Man at the construction site. It’s an interesting appearance and a major difference to the plot of ‘Spider-Man 3’ in the book, as that was shown differently in the movie with Flint Marko.
In the movie, Flint Marko tells Peter Parker about the circumstances of him killing Ben Parker after Venom is defeated. In the book, it’s different, as Marko tells Peter about this before he tackles Venom. I actually prefer the book version of Flint Marko’s ending in ‘Spider-Man 3’ compared to the movie.
Eddie Brock is also well-developed in the book. Whilst he’s still the arrogant, smug, bad boy that he was in the movie, in the book, his motivations and reasons for doing the things he does are explored further. Most specifically is his obsession for winning the girl of his dreams, Gwen Stacy, in the story.
It turns out that Gwen Stacy doesn’t love Eddie Brock, yet he believes that she does. In fact, Gwen finds it uncomfortable to see Eddie, as she realises that she had given him the wrong messages about wanting to see her again. This is evident when she prefers Peter Parker instead of Eddie Brock.
There’s a new scene featured in the book where Eddie tries to see Gwen after his fall at the Daily Bugle with faking Spider-Man’s crime scene. Gwen clearly wants nothing to do with Eddie Brock, and it’s pathetic how he keeps on trying to win her affections, even as her parents arrive on the scene.
Peter David also changes the structure of scenes in the story slightly. For example; he has MJ dumping Peter, Eddie Brock’s downfall, the Peter/Harry fight, and Peter at MJ’s jazz-club in that order. Whereas in the movie, the Eddie Brock downfall and the Peter/Harry fight is switched around.
I’m not sure if that was the original order of scenes in the film’s screenplay before the director Sam Raimi edited the scenes in a different order for the movie. Perhaps those scenes work better in the book compared to the movie. I’m not entirely sure, but it was interesting to read it in the novelization.
There are also some scenes omitted from the movie in the novelization. Most specifically is the scene where Aunt May visits Peter at his apartment to encourage him to forgive himself and to make up with MJ. Also, there’s a scene where Peter apologises to Mr. Ditkovitch for his angry outburst on him in the film.
It’s interesting that Eddie Brock, once he’s become Venom, visits Peter Parker’s apartment. Peter is in the shower and isn’t aware of Eddie/Venom’s presence. It’s also interesting when Venom visits Sandman after he’s seen his daughter Penny and his wife Emma in the playground, since those scenes weren’t featured in the film.
The last main chapter of ‘Spider-Man 3’ – Chapter 24 – is a very long chapter, featuring the climactic battle between Spider-Man and the New Goblin against Venom and the Sandman to save Mary Jane. The climax works well in the book, but Venom’s appearance is equally limited as it was in the movie.
There’s so much more to say about the ‘Spider-Man 3’ movie novelization, but I’d better stop in case I don’t finish the review. Peter David has done wonders with these ‘Spider-Man’ movie novelizations and I’m pleased that he’s done a fine job with novelising ‘Spider-Man 3’ compared to how it was shown on the big screen.
I would like to hear this movie novelization of ‘Spider-Man 3’ by Peter David as an audiobook someday. I can imagine James Franco reading the audiobook, as it would be great for him to re-create an era of ‘Spider-Man’ that he was so involved in and it’s a personal favourite from my youth. Let it happen!
‘Spider-Man 3’ is a great movie novelization by Peter David. I’ve enjoyed these ‘Spider-Man’ movie novelizations very much. I hoped that this wouldn’t be the end, since I was looking forward to a ‘Spider-Man 4’ with Tobey Maguire. Sadly, it wasn’t the case, but I’m glad to have read these movie novelizations.
The ‘Spider-Man 3’ novelization is certainly a great improvement over the actual movie!
‘Spider-Man 3’ (Novelization) rating – 8/10
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