Spiderman 3 is Meh

So I made this total tease posting about Spiderman earlier in the week. I feel somewhat obligated to go back now and give an opinion.

And that opinion is: meh.

I think one of the reasons why I enjoyed Casino Royale so much is that it took an overwrought, bloated franchise and brought it back to earth with interesting and somewhat believable characters and situations.

I fear that with Spiderman 3, Sam Raimi has taken a long stride down the well-tread path to franchise failure.

Sure, the movie is action packed and the effects are striking. But that's about all it has going for it. Spiderman deserves better.

As far as characters, this movie favors quantity over quality. The Sandman was one of my favorite villains from the Spiderman comic. I was particularly disappointed with the movie version. The origin scene was fantastic, and I think it would have worked if he had been portrayed as a human-sized creature made of sand. Instead, the movie turned him into the Stay-Puft Sandman.

I think what was most frustrating for me was the lazy writing. The Harry Osborne story arc whipsaws around when the butler drops a comment, for no purpose other than the plot required it. That was too gratuitous and deserved more care.

I thought the final fight scene, which coalesced many of the fragmented plot pieces and had a grace and style not seen in the earlier fights, was somewhat redeeming.

The non-plot bits with the regular ensemble were tremendously fun. Watching J. Jonah Jameson trying to rein in his blood pressure was a hoot. It was fun to see Bruce Campbell, who played the snooty usher in the last installment, in another "service industry" role.

If you like Spiderman, go ahead and see it. You'll have a good time. But if you love Spiderman then go watch the second one again.