Spider-Man 3 has been touted to be the best Spider-Man yet. But does it live up to its hype? And more importantly, is it a movie that is worth watching?
Let me begin my stating unequivocally that yes, it is very much worth viewing. It is a little more easy to follow if you have seen the first two Spider-Man outings, but not completely necessary thanks to the creative opening sequence that brings viewers up to speed on the events of the previous 2 films. Sam Raimi continues to cast a dead-on vision of America’s favorite down-on-his-luck superhero, and there is very little that leaves the viewer or the fan wanting.
The drawbacks to the movie are minimal. There are points where the pacing is slow, and there are also times where the viewer can almost see Raimi’s exhaustion with the franchise. There are a lot more straight cuts between scenes instead of Raimi’screative ones found more frequently in the first 2 movies. Perhaps this is just natural maturation on the director’s part? Venom is a little bit too fake in a couple of short scenes. There is no real usage of Spider-Man’s famous ‘spider sense.” There is also a small amount of cheese to be found, but this is to be expected since it is a comic book movie.
But the good greatly outweighs the bad. The writing is solid all the way through, with nary a hole in sight. Acting is as good or better than it has been through the entire movie (complete with surprisingly good turns by Thomas Church and Topher Grace), allowing the viewer to really feel sympathy for Church’s Sandman, James Franco’s Harry and Tobey Maguire’s Peter as each deals with inner demons in their own lives. The special effects are top-notch, drawing the viewer in and serving their purpose to advance the story instead of distracting from it. Even the music backs up the story, never taking center stage, but always finding the correct balance to be effective.
Spider-Man 3 is a very well-rounded movie. There is a recurring theme of fall and redemption throughout the entire movie. Sandman, Harry, even Spider-Man, all fall from grace, manage to alienate and harm those who love them. And the movie tells their story of working toward redemption. Even though two of these characters are villains, you find yourself rooting for them to succeed in redeeming themselves. Relationships are viewed in the proper context, whether they are addressing commitment, marriage, or even boundaries with other friends when you are dating someone. There is great commitment to heroic morals of seeking the best for others around you instead of yourself. There is even one scene where Aunt May tells Peter that she and his Uncle Ben initially put off their own wedding until they were not “too young” and were truly ready, looking forward to the marriage instead of rushing into it.
Within Spider-Man 3 there are many opportunities to see Spiritual Truth. There is the failing of humans to be perfect, regardless of how hard we try. There is us seeing revenge deemed something that is wrong and will lead to no good. We see a character sacrifice everything for power because he is so seduced by the draw it has on his life. We see forgiveness at work, even in a situation where not many of us would find ourselves able to extend forgiveness. And even though these are fictional characters, we can see many aspects of Christ in them. We see forgiveness, hope, trust, love and heroic sacrifice for countless people.
Spider-Man 3 is more than worth 2 hours and 20 minutes of your life. It is full of many great morals, a solid story, top-notch acting and special effects, and a message of hope and redemption that you would be sorry to miss. Is it the best Spider-Man yet? Maybe not. I myself am still partial to #2, but this is a very worthy end cap to the Spider-Man trilogy,and a great movie by itself.