Seeing the odd resurgence this movie has made over the last few years has been equal parts interesting and hilarious. Mostly because of all the ‘Bully Maguire’ memes. I can never get tired of those, they give me life.
Spider-Man 3 is a very different movie from the first two. Unlike its predecessors, wherein director Sam Raimi was pretty much allowed to do what he wanted, this one was bogged down by a lot of executive meddling from Sony. This lead to a huge amount of production struggles and script issues. When the movie finally came out, it was universally considered the worst in the trilogy and brought the original Spider-Man films to an end.
So, is this movie secretly amazing? Or is it truly terrible?
Well, a bit of both. Because this movie is really fucking funny!
Life is starting to go Peter Parker’s way. His relationship with Mary Jane is going steady, everyone loves Spider-Man, and his college life is going decently smoothly. Riding this high, he plans to propose to MJ. But things quickly take a turn for the worse. One of the men responsible for Uncle Ben’s death returns, now a superhuman called Sandman, and his former friend Harry Osborn has become Green Goblin 2.0. On top of that, an alien goop has bonded to Peter’s suit and is slowly driving him into darkness.
The script in this movie is a mess. Juggling three villains clearly was too much for a two-hour movie to handle. None of our antagonists get the necessary time to develop, like Norman Osborn or Otto Octavius had in the last two. Which is a shame, given that Harry’s villain turn has been built up over the entire trilogy and Sandman is one of the best classic villains of the series.
And then there’s Venom. His inclusion in the story feels as forced as it was. Tropher Grace is a good actor, but he does not fit the character of Eddie Brock. Even the actor himself admitted it! I do like that this version looks more like a dark version of Spider-Man rather than the hulking monster we know from the comics; at least it’s something unique. But you can tell that Sam Raimi didn’t want him in there.
Although to be fair, I do think the symbiote works well for the themes of the series. First, we saw Peter accept responsibility in the first movie. Then in the second film, he struggled to live with that responsibility. Now, he’s becoming addicted to it. He’s using that responsibility to feed his own ego through the symbiote, which is a fascinating direction to take.
Even if the execution of that idea is more hilarious than compelling. That stupid dance scene will always make me laugh. God bless Bully Maguire.
Basically every aspect of this story is accidentally hilarious. The dialogue is so damn corny that it’s no wonder every single line has become a meme! If you try and watch this is a follow-up to Spider-Man 2, you’ll be disappointed. But if you watch it as a Spider-Man comedy? It’s absolutely hysterical!
Especially since so much of it just doesn’t make sense. Like how Peter kisses Gwen Stacey right in front of MJ before he got corrupted by the symbiote. Why did you do that, Peter? What the hell are you doing? No wonder she got so pissed at you!
Surprisingly, the visuals of this movie still hold up really well. All of the fight scenes are freaking awesome, with clever choreography and exciting music. The scene where Marco becomes Sandman is almost entirely CGI, but it actually still looks good to this day! And that scene is definitely a highlight of the film; with the music and the effects and the cinematography, it is easily one of the strongest scenes in the trilogy, unironically.
So, is Spider-Man 3 a good movie? Not really. It does some interesting things with the series’ themes and the story has some strong moments. But all of the executive meddling definitely hurt the story more than it helped it.
However, as a comedy? It’s amazing! It is so unintentionally hilarious that it more than makes up for the story’s shortcomings. Get with your friends, have a few drinks, and watch this movie. It’s a delight.
I wish I could say the same for the next two Spider-Man movies.