There are a ton of odd storytelling decisions and character motivations that make little sense at play here – mostly contrived of studio interference. Rewatching this in 2021, Spider-Man 3 contains so much of the key ingredients that so many superhero films miss today.
It’s an incredibly tall task following the greatness of Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2. After all, how could Spider-Man 3 truly top those? Sam Raimi absolutely could have crafted a more coherent film than what we got here. So, why didn’t he? Studio interference. It has been well-documented the problems that arose in the production of this film – Raimi has stated his story across various mediums. I won’t be going into any depths regarding the ‘too many villains’ discourse or if character motivations didn’t make sense – I get it and they’re valid critiques. What this film contains are some of the best qualities of superhero films and that is the emotion. The new era of superhero films have massively reduced the emotion behind these films and injected a lot more humor – where the films feel too fluffy or its being used to undermine emotional moments. Spider-Man 3 deconstructs Peter Parker to his most vulnerable self – opening up the story by showing just how perfect his life has become. Peter lets his ego and vanity get the better of him and prohibit him having empathy towards his loved ones’ real issues. The symbiote suit is a visual representation of Peter giving into his toxic traits and demons, Raimi uses this quite effectively. There are major risks being made in this screenplay and it was truly horrific to see a character I have idolized for years fall deep into such dark territory – Peter hitting MJ is as tough as it gets. The emotion is at its full peak in climatic moments of the film when all of Peter’s wrongdoings are about to have major consequences – our superhero must find the responsibility in his great power once again to defeat his enemies despite the odds. Point is, we aren’t perfect, we make mistakes, we do wrong things, we give in to our demons but we can always choose to do what’s right. That’s Spider-Man.
Still reigning as one of the most expensive films of all-time feels worth it as the visual effects still hold up to today’s standards through its injection of practical effects. Through the heavy expenditure, the action set-pieces are fluid and powerful as the camera is usually in motion with its characters creating some riveting moments.
For a film that has a ton of flaws, Spider-Man 3 keeps its heart in the right place as it focuses on continuing Peter Parker’s journey. It’s a tough pill to swallow after the greatness of Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2 but upon my rewatch, I found myself emotionally tied to these characters – something that is rare in modern day superhero films.