By Matthew E. Milliken
Feb. 24, 2016
Nearly two years ago, I came across a three-for-one DVD containing the trilogy of Spider-Man films directed by Sam Raimi in the first decade of the 21st century. After writing about the first film, from 2002, and starting and tagging but not otherwise working on a post about the second film, released in 2004, I didn’t start watching 2007’s Spider-Man 3 until one night in early February.
I didn’t finish watching it until a few days ago.
Raimi’s first Spider-Man was a decent enough flick, but hardly great. His follow-up is, in my opinion, one of the greatest superhero movies (although bear in mind that I’ve only seen one X-Men movie, and none of the Avengers films). The third Spider-Man movie, however, is widely regarded as a mess, despite the fact that it was the top-grossing domestic movie of the year, with a haul of more than $336 million.
(Incidentally, the second- through 12th-highest-grossing features of 2007, in descending order, were Shrek the Third, Transformers, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, I Am Legend, The Bourne Ultimatum, National Treasure: Book of Secrets, Alvin and the Chipmunks, 300, Ratatouille and The Simpsons Movie.)
I had long suspected that Spider-Man 3’s bad reputation was overblown. But my friends, I am compelled to report that this movie is indeed quite dire.
The main problem here is that the film doesn’t have quite enough material for two movies, but it has more than enough for a single feature. (Bear in mind that Spider-Man 3 weighed in at two hours and 19 minutes when it was released; the director’s cut has another 17 minutes of material.) At least one of the screenwriters recognized this problem, but the movie makers ended up sticking with one feature because they couldn’t find a worthwhile cliffhanger to lead into a further sequel.
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