It doesn’t matter whether the product fully lives up to the legacy (it didn’t this time in this blogger’s opinion). Of the audience for Spidey this weekend, 85% attending were fans of the first two films, according to a Fandango poll. Do those moviegoers care about what the ‘professional’ critics thought of Spider-Man 3? Or what even other filmgoers ratings and reviews were for the movie? That’s a resounding ‘no.’ Younger audiences who’ve grown up on the series, families ready to get into the summer with their kids, those who love the comic, and apparently a whole lot of other people, went to see the movie en masse.
I’m more in agreement with our user reviews, which were a ‘go’ but not a ‘must go’. I know it’s rare that a sequel equals the hype, but I admit to still being a bit disappointed with Spider-Man 3 from a cinematic point of view. The ‘more is more’ approach (more special effects, more villains and story arcs, more tears at the end) only worked half the time for me, and worked against the individual elements which were fine on their own (Thomas Haden Church’s melancholy Sandman, Topher Grace’s cocky arch-rival who turns into the Spidey-on-Steroids 'Venom' [rendered in particularly visceral visual fashion], Bryce Dallas Howard’s spunky Gwen Stacy, and James Franco in fine form again as Harry Osborn).
It's definitely worth seeing. Kids and kids-at-heart probably won’t care about my misgivings. They’ll like the well-done visual effects (Spider-Man 3 should be seen on the IMAX screen), the incredible transformation of Thomas Haden Church into the Sandman, and hopefully, they’ll appreciate director Sam Raimi’s attempts to add a few quirks. I liked the scenes of Peter Parker tapping into his rude, darker side, which were played out in a silly, but funny way. It was a reminder that, yes, this is still the same guy who directed Evil Dead 2.
Spider-Man 3 is an incredible start for the season. I thought the summer's release schedule was a bit tight from weekend to weekend, but it may turn out to be just right. Legs aren’t needed if your movie can gross half a billion in its first week. Spider-Man gets one more weekend to itself, and then Shreky Shrek and Pirates arrive before June’s even here.
Hopefully, some of these sequels will also be fulfilling beyond just a massive box office take. It is possible to make a movie that lives up to or surpasses expectations (I would argue that the final LOTR movie is just as good if not better than the first and second). But Spider-Man 3 has shown, once and for all, that some movies, and there are a lot of them like this on the way, have to be seen. And if you don’t, your neighbors will.
What’s your opinion of Spider-Man 3 and its record weekend? Leave us a comment!
Need more info. on the other upcoming blockbusters? Take a peek at our Summer Spotlight!