I can't say I really liked or really hated it. What I will say is that I think the franchise should be over. I'm sure that will fall on the deaf ears of Sony because after this weekend, those ears will be crammed with money, but no matter the gross, I think that Spiderman is done. Or at least should be done if they want to end it on a good note.
I left the theater with nothing new from this one. I know the characters. I know what Spiderman can and can't do. The only thing new is the villain and how Spiderman defeats him (and it's obvious they're getting desperate in that department since Spiderman was faced with not one but three villains). It's like watching Friday The 13th to see what new and different gardening tool Jason is going to kill somebody with. After awhile it gets old. And to me, a movie that might just be the most expensive movie ever made should maybe deliver a little more.
Despite that, there were a couple of things in particular that I do want to point out about the film. First, there's no doubt that Raimi is a masterful director. I thought for sure this movie was going to suck because there was so much going on: the Sandman, the Hobgoblin, Venom, and a possible marriage proposal. But I will say that Raimi handled it very well. And he still made time for a couple of touching moments.
The other thing I will say is that now looking back at the trilogy, it's very interesting how Raimi handled all three films. Each one has it's own personality as Damian and I recently spoke about in the comments here. Spiderman 1 is more Raimi like. It's more campy and not on an epic scale. To me, it was like Raimi was struggling a bit. Trying to inject a little Darkman into the franchise. The problem with the first was that when it comes to camp you have to either go all the way or at least find a really good balance to it. It felt too random and as a result any real drama was lost.
Spiderman 2 on the other hand felt very epic and I would say the least Raimi-like movie of the trilogy (which I guess is disturbing to say since it is my favorite yet I'm a big fan of Raimi). Spiderman 2 seemed to be a little more socially conscious. It felt like a movie made right after 9/11 then a few years after. The scene where Spidey stops the train from going off the tracks and then is carried by the passengers to a resting place is the best evidence of this. It was a surprisingly touching scene as we see the super-hero get saved by the people he is supposed to be saving.
In Spiderman 3 it felt like Raimi was finally at peace. It's here that he has found a good balance between camp and reality. Everything felt more surreal in this movie and this is none more evident than when the dark suit begins to take over. The hair brushed in front of the eyes, the black eye-liner and the collar pushed up is complete camp. I've read reviews where people said they were embarrassed by these scenes, but it's so obvious that Raimi intended these scenes to be over the top. Especially in the Jazz Club where Peter Parker first plays piano and then dances throughout the club. The only thing missing would have been if he began to smoke. But in looking at the three I would say it feels like Raimi had the most fun on this one.
So it's strange and a bit unnerving to me that while I think that Raimi is at the top of his game as a director, it's for a movie that I didn't think much of. But I'm not sure that's his fault. There's so much pressure for this franchise to be a success that I wonder how much control Raimi actually has over the story. Because while I think he handled the material well, I don't much like the material that he had to work with. Regardless, as a Raimi fan I would like to see him wave goodbye to this franchise and move on to more Raimi-like movies. Perhaps Crimewave 2?
And for the record, I will take Bryce Dallas Howard over Kirsten Dunst any and every day of the week.