Superhero movies always have a certain flair to them, there is something about seeing our superhero soar the air and defeat the villain using his superpowers that never gets boring how much ever we see it. Taken at face value, Spiderman 3 keeps all these essential ingredients for a superhero movie intact and certainly has enough action sequences to satisfy purists. However, there is quite a big emotional web woven around the central characters that – even though confusing as it seems – adds a bit extra to keep the Spiderman franchise on top of its other superhero counterparts as far as the silver screen is concerned.
If Spiderman 1 was about a nerdy little high school boy (Peter Parker) gaining superpowers and mastering them to save his city and Spiderman 2 was about the same boy not being able to cope with his double act and then realizing how much his other role means to the city and also succeeding in the little matter of love, Spiderman 3 is about him getting a little over his head and enjoying all the publicity he gets as Spiderman.
Spiderman 3 begins where the last one left, as our hero meets success both as Spiderman who defeats his foes with relative ease and as Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) who finally gains the love of his life in Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst), the story continues in much of the same vein. Peter’s friendship with his first foe, the Green Goblin’s son lies in tatters after the latter realizes (at the end of the second movie) that his best friend is actually the invincible Spiderman. This third movie also introduces an angle of revenge after Peter realizes that the man who killed his uncle has just escaped from jail and is out on the loose. As all these emotions begin to play in Spiderman’s mind, more deadly evils await in the form of an alien symbiote which has chosen Spidy as its host and increases these dangerous emotions to perilous levels. Peter also gets competition in the form Eddie Brock (Topher Grace) who joins the Daily Bugle as a freelance photographer challenging Peter in capturing Spidy for the Bugle.
As Peter Parker/Spiderman 3 battles his inner demons, his enemies grow in number as his uncle’s killer (Thomas Haden Church) is fused moleculary with sand and becomes the Sandman. And, understandably enough, he chooses to kill Spiderman since he thinks the latter is the only person stopping him from stealing the money required for his daughter’s operation.
The action sequences are as exhilarating as is to be expected from a Spiderman movie. With death-defying stunts that will get even the most weakest of pulses racing, the movie has enough action in it to satisfy even the most hardened of action purists. Some of the sequences, however, are captured in close-up that it is difficult to tell who is hitting who. However, the complexity of the emotions overshadows the action and at times it gets really confusing. The romance of the lead pair is quite good especially because the onscreen chemistry shared by Maguire and Dunst is spot on. On the contrary the movie loses some of its class in scenes which are particularly loaded with heavy emotions reaching dramatic proportions like the sequences of sandman visiting his home in quest to restore his daughter to full health.
I have always adhered to the fact that Tobey Maguire is one lucky boy. His face suits the role of Peter Parker to a T and since he is under the mask as Spiderman and the graphics does most of the work in action set-pieces, he can escape without particularly emoting which is not the same for other superhero stars like, say, Christian Bale in Batman Begins or Brandon Routh in Superman Returns. He also goes slightly over the top in scenes where he is playing host to the symbiote. Kirsten Dunst plays her usual role but she is especially good in scenes where she tries to hide her envy at Peter hogging all the limelight as Spiderman. James Franco plays the role of Harry Osborn who is fighting Peter/Spiderman for killing his father and who is caught in between contrasting emotions of friendship and revenge particularly well and he does full justice to quite a complex role. The rest of the supporting cast does what is expected of them. J. K. Simmons in particular deserves credit for his role as the Director of the Daily Bugle and he is responsible for all the laughs in this otherwise pretty quiet superhero movie.
Spiderman 3 will surely satisfy fans of the previous 2 movies and they will certainly understand the necessity of the emotions underneath the white-knuckle action. And while purists mights argue at the backseat that the action seemingly takes to the emotions, the undeniable fact is that the Spiderman franchise is still the benchmark as far as superhero movies are concerned.