Dec’s review published on Letterboxd:
Whatever comes our way, whatever battle we have raging inside us, we always have a choice, my friend Harry taught me that, he chose to be the best of himself, it’s the choices that make us who we are, and we can always choose to do what's right.
Only fair that I continue my rewatches with the finale, first watch for this in 4K! My early opinion on it is I do dislike this one the most and I thought it ruined Venom, it wasn’t as well made and as consistently amazing as the first two, I’ll be looking at it how how well made it is, nostalgia doesn’t really work on me so we’ll see what I think, 13 years later..
The third and final time we’ll hear Elfmans score and seeing that classic web intro. I like how the intro is full of scenes from both films, the web intro starts the exact same as SM, nice callback Raimi. This time the film starts with a V.O narration from Peter summarising and looking at his past at how far he’s came as a person and your friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man, consistent with MJ still working as an actor, Peter still top of his class and balancing his life. My only real first complaint is how the symbiote came into the story, it was a bit of lazy writing. I thought they could of made a better costume for Harry as Goblin, the glider is cool but it’s not as iconics as Normans purple glider design, the cgi was a bit dodgy at the start of the fight scene and Goblin having silver Batman gauntlet fins and a green samurai like sword looked odd, the CGI was very bad at the end of the fight, too much over exposed green screen, not sure how this looks worse when its from 2007 and SM2 was from 2004. Now what does stand out in a good way through the first 20 minutes is Christopher Youngs soundtrack, some of the best work in the trilogy with a lot of memorable acenes than Elfmans entire first two soundtracks.
The film does feel like it’s got way too much going on for me, three villains is too much, Goblin, Sandman, Venom. That’s just my opinion man, it doesn’t flow as well, introducing Flint Marko, Eddie Brock AND Gwen Stacy, the other films work better due to having less characters, this one had so many characters.
I do really like Harry’s arc in this, him having amnesia was a smart choice to solve this conflict earlier on but a bit too convenient that he forgets everything after his fathers death. I like how it returns back to SM with Harry liking MJ and creating a good love triangle. Again, James Franco was really good in this, he had a lot more scenes here than he did in SM2. “My best friends, I’d give my life for them” clever little foreshadowing line there. The pumpkin bomb blowing up in Harrys face was another nice parallel to the first film. The cafe scene is really great, Franco is evil, manipulative and charming all at the same time. Kirsten Dunst got a better arc here than the previous two films, the acting career got more development, her love triangle with Harry and Peter, I think this is her best performance in the trilogy really enjoyed her conflict scenes with Peter about Gwen, in the bar and with Harry, pretty much all of her scenes she’s good in. Raimi took Sandman a C grade and turned him into an A grade Villain Sandman, you can really see how much of the focus was on Flint Marko with his involvement, its great that all the villains created in this franchise is due to accidents and further adds to the characters. Thomas Haden Church’s defining role, brought a lot of emotion, heart and warmth to Sandman, they did cut out far too many scenes of Haden for his arc and side plot with his daughter, this is the most emotional arc yet in the SM films. Christopher Young’s track for sandman just incredible work, the trumpet notes is great, this film clearly had a budget problem $250 million is huge, all the decent CGI went on sandman so all of his scenes look great including the accident scene and the birth of Sandman scene, incredible score and scene with no dialogue, just visuals.
The black suit is awesome and so are the black suit fight scenes, it brought something entirely different to the film, it’s off the film starts off light hearted then gets darker, then once the black suit comes into it and Emo Parker, the film returns timo being light hearted, this didn’t blend well to me, it felt a tiny bit inconsistent with tone balance but I guess this is technically the whole point since the symbiote transforms Peter into this dark vengeful person who he struggles to control, so I guess it’s not so bad if you look at it, this way. I liked how their relationship starts to crumble a bit with Peter not understanding MJ’s emotions, eventually leading to a breakup.
I enjoyed Bryce Dallas Howard in this and think she’s a good actor, an even better director for her work on the Mandalorian, possibly even better than her Dad, Ron Howard. But I didn’t really like the casting as Gwen and I’m really used to more comic accurate + Emma Stone played Gwen perfectly to me but this is a different take I guess, Peter meeting MJ and then Gwen just doesn’t sit with me.
As much as Venom is forced in, Topher Grace I really liked as Eddie Brock, he’s great in that 70s show. he was a confident, counter adversary for Peter at the Bugle, Tobey and Topher had great chemistry. People would of moaned if they didn’t make Eddie Brock as Venom regardless so Raimi couldn’t win. My main issues with Venom is- he was too small and not intimidating enough, his voice should of been alienlike or deeper or just something, not Topher’s voice, I don’t understand how Raimi couldn’t see that as an issue. I liked the Alien screeching part and how it learnt how Spider-Man fought. Even though Tom Hardy is so miscast, I honestly prefer the Venom (2018) design of the character and the voice. Tobey delivered another great performance, truly comfortable in the role as his third suiting, he’s a lot better with crying scenes in this and his anger.
JK Simmon’s scenes are rememberable again and hilarious, I will never get tired of him as Jameson, it’s a shame the MCU picked him up, I found his FFH cameo cringe
“Get on it with it you moron!”
“Its hip its now”
“You tell my wife! Thank you”
“Time to take your pill, not that one, not that one, drink plenty of water”
“You have had some doozies!”
Bruce Campbell’s cameo is funny again and a much longer cameo as well. This has one of Stan lee’s best cameos for sure, short simple and effective.
“I guess one guy can make a difference, nuff said.”
Rosemary Harris again had some strong killer scenes and Qui Gon Jin moments, I really liked her delivery of all her dialogue in this film, she’s a really good Aunt May. Parallel of Peter calling MJ at her apartment and her not picking up again. The tone balance from blowing up Harry’s face to the daily bugle to the direct reference montage of the opposite to SM2’s montage, a bit of comedy after all the darkness I suppose! Gun fingers is definitely unforgettable, the song used is quite catchy and funky. Not sure why but Raimi uses a lot of songs in this for some reason. The font used in Venom’s message for Spider-Man is a wonderful reference to the beloved 90s show. Christopher Young’s track when Peter takes out the red and blue suit is so warming. Harry’s arc finally comes to an end with redemption, all thanks to his butler Bernard elevates the scene with an entire heart. Sacrificing himself, a true hero, I used to think this film needed more consequences and deaths but the death of Harry is a big one for both Peter and MJ, suits it well. Poetic that he died the same was as Norman too. Tobey and Kirsten did well in his death scene, it carried a lot if emotional weight. It’s awesome when you hear Elfmans score again when Spider-Man comes to rescue MJ too, the american flag in the background was a bit too much patriotism for me. I do like how Sandman and Venom both dominate him in the fight in which he is very close to being brutally killed. These films did make Spider-Man invincible so I’m glad he got the crap kicked out of him here. Another awesome moment, the pumpkin bomb in Sandmans ear when Harry comes to save Peter and they team up, such a cool moment which I needed more of.
Some things I didn’t like, I’m not trying to shit on this but it is the weakest in the trilogy, i’m just saying what I think as the film goes on, the cinematography is great in some scenes but overall it is the worst shot in the trilogy. It didn’t have as many Raimi techniques, it had some zoom shots, a fun montage, some slow mo falling fighting. Some shots were so generic that if I took them and posted them online you wouldn’t know it was SM3. Saying that, the action sequences still delivered, in the first sandman fight there was a nice callback to the train sequence fight. The underground train sequence was another great fight scene and definitely the best sequence in the film, dark, brutal, a full on brawl fight. The set design is impressive and the fact they did the water pipe bursting for real. A huge surprise was Flint Marko being the actual killer of Uncle Ben was so good and unpredictable. The return of Norman Osborn for a scene too. Spider-Man’s mask was destroyed sort of similar to how it looked in the third act of SM. I do love it when the third film ties into the first, this does it and The Dark Knight Rises did it, both third films get way too much hate (although I do think Rises is the better film with a better conclusion, costume design, sound design, villain, action scenes, performances, script, filmmaking aspects, just all of it) But with all that said, Logan is probably the best third CBM in a trilogy. overall I don’t find this one shit or really bad, it’s average and alright. Spider-Man is still great, SM2 is still perfect and a masterpiece to me. Compared to the first two its not equal. It’s like X-Men and X2 then you have Last Stand. First class and DOFP but then Apocalypse exists. Batman and Batman Returns but then Batman Forever exists, The First Avenger, Winter Soldier and then Civil War exists, you see what I mean.
I liked the themes of forgiveness, friendship, revenge and identity. This has good scenes but not enough for the 2hr 20 runtime entire film to be classed as incredible and groundbreaking like the first two! The script isn’t as strong, it’s incoherent with it’s tone and mood, it feels like two movies mixed together and I know this because it was originally supposed to be a two parter. The dialogue is very simple and straight forward, it has a lot of serious moments which are laughable and created into memes which hasn’t helped the film in anyway. There’s a quote I like from Tarantino which is relevant to this “You gotta think 20 years ahead with your movie so the future audience aren’t laughing at it” it is evidently relevant here that Raimi didn’t think ahead. The emo Parker suits the character and story on the page with him changing due to the symbiote and becoming a terrible person to everyone. I will say some scenes the execution is great but overall the execution could of been better, the whole black wardrobe, the emo hair and flicking stuff was a bit too much for my liking. Spider-Man 3 to me is more of a fun entertaining film than an objective piece of art to me, especially when the groundbreaking The Dark Knight came out a year later. It’s fine if you rate this higher than 4, to me it doesn’t deserve half a star or anything lower than a 3 but it’s definitely not a 4 and above. It had too much studio interference which is evident but the film making is a downgrade from the mast two film as I’ve explained earlier in the review. You can tell Raimi knew this would be the last one which is a shame because the second to last scene with Sandman and Peter forgiving him is very strong but the final scene with Peter and MJ is so sad, empty and lacking, it doesn’t conclude the franchise or give closure at all, it’s heavily missing something, a conclusion and a proper goodbye to Tobey and Kirsten. For this to be better, there would need to be no studio control, take Venom out of it completely, have Sandman as the main focus and possibly have Harry killed off early or something. Although it’s not the strongest film to end on. I’m grateful for the trilogy and everything these films brought to the world, hopefully we see Tobey again in a live action spider-verse, come on Sony!
Fun fact: None of the Spidey Sense is used in this film