By Fred Topel | Image property of Columbia Pictures.
Okay, I'm calling it. Best year for movies ever. Now don't let me down, Hollywood. Spider-Man 3 is better than Spider-Man 1 and 2 combined. It's the Outstanding Spider-Man. I'm playing the hyperbole game here, but the competition is so stiff on this movie I have to make sure I out-praise the other fanatics.
Spider-Man 3 Review
The story has the ambitions of Spider-Man 2 with the prowess of 1. It deals with a lot of elements evenly, organically. The pace flows where Spidey 2 may have lingered a bit too long on some of its moments. Every character's story is fully developed and as compelling as Peter Parker's. If only the Batman sequels had blended their villains this evenly, they could have spared Clooney a Razzie.
I was concerned about the sort of revisionist history on Uncle Ben's death but it makes perfect sense in the film and pays off profoundly. It's totally worth it.
Yeah, there's a guy falling into a particle experiment, and a venomous plasma falling from the sky but that's this world. Those types of incidents are treated like minor happenstance to move on to the real meat of the story. It's no small testament that a movie about people in costumes has the most satisfying relationship dialogue I've ever heard in film. They address the issues, instead of talking around them.
It's a funny coincidence that this part three deals with an evil Spidey like Superman III had Supe go bad from kryptonite. The scenes of Peter expressing his bad side are as joyous as his discovering his powers in Spider-Man 1. In moments, the gags can be downright absurd but it's still in tune with the reality of the film. That's Sam Raimi. Anything goes and everything fits.
This movie has the most awesome superhero battles ever. They combine every gimmick of every power into a thrilling choreography. The subtle ways they maneuver and manipulate debris in mid-battle is just one of the details of these sequences.
It's the most beautiful visual effects since Terminator 2. When Sandman first forms, it's heartbreaking. Even his scary effects have a certain beauty to them. Venom is so vicious and visceral you don't even have enough time to register him before he's doing damage. Yeah, it would have been nice to see more Venom but it's such a perfect story it just makes sense the way it is.
There's another sympathetic villain. You can tell Flint is trying to reform, even though you don't know the whole story. He seems sincere. Juxtaposing him with a more straightforward bad guy is interesting and then you've got Harry Osborn in the middle, thinking he's justified.
Aunt May's speeches are not repetitive this time. They're also thankfully briefer, more pointed and poignant.
I'll wrap up with more hyperbole. It's wonderful, truly epic in its characters, plot, themes and set pieces. So utterly fulfilling it makes Spider-Man the best trilogy since Lord of the Rings, if that matters. It was only three years ago. But come on, it's the hyperbole game. I have to win!