Spider-Man 3

Spider-Man 3 ★★★½

Far more operatic than the first two, but also more problematic. As often stated, the main narrative here involving Sand-Man's robotic motivation to cure his daughter's illness and his connection to the murder of Uncle Ben really works, where the expansiveness around that adds a bit too much messiness for its own good -- the biggest example of this being how Peter finds himself amidst two different love triangles. However, Sam Raimi still manages to incorporate the fan (and thus, studio) requested Venom storyline with some significant merit. The decision to make the symbiote a physical manifestation of Peter's ego is brilliant in many ways. Each sequence with the black suit is beautifully tragic in how it portrays an ever-consuming darkness through fluent perspective shots with a sense of eclectic power. The way it draws instant contrast with the preceding red suit sequences is incredible. I've never really understood complaining about Peter's angsty dancing phase in this either, because it's a goofy extension of the inner turmoil he's experiencing. That's what this entire trilogy has always been built on (ie. the pizza delivery scene in Spider-Man 2). Then transitioning this to Eddie Brock doesn't work nearly as well given the under-developed nature of his character. It might've been wiser to use Flash Thompson in this case, given his connection to Peter's past similar to Sand-Man. It could've made for a solid undercurrent. But at least Venom still looks cool, that's something this series has always gotten right. That sense of beautiful tragedy permeates Harry's arc as well, through his rage against Peter, his lonliness, his memory loss, his brief re-connection to his former life, his self-pressure to both fulfill and redeem his father's legacy, and his eventual triumphant demise. Those final moments between Peter, Harry, and MJ on the scaffold are magnificent. Spider-Man 3 is not as bad as people remember, and is in fact good.

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