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Spider-Man 3

My biggest problem with comic book/super hero movies is when they focus on more of the secret identity and less of the costume clad hero. The film’s creators talk about staying true to the comic and yet in the comics I don’t seem to remember twenty two pages of Peter Parker talking to Aunt May. I remember a majority of the pages and panels involving Spider-Man whuppin' somebody’s ass.

That’s what I want to see in my Spider-Man movie. Both Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2 were strong, solid movies, yet they left me wanting more. Spider-Man 3 however, is the Spider-Man movie I’ve been waiting my whole life to see.

The biggest difference with this third installment is that the movie moves in a more natural movie pace and you never quite get a moment to catch your breath. One of my least favorite factors of the Spider-Man films is the poignant life lesson speeches from Peter Parker’s good old Aunt May. Even though she gives three motivational gems this time, they’re short and sweet and they actually move the story forward instead of just coming off sappy.

This time out, our man Parker (the chunky but funky Tobey Maguire) has a ton to deal with. His budding relationship with Mary Jane (The butterface Kirsten Dunst), his newfound popularity as a costumed super hero and repairing his damaged friendship with Harry Osborn (The Tiger Beat cover boy James Franco).

Not only that, but old wounds are re-opened when Peter finds out that the real killer of his Uncle Ben (the thank god for Spider-Man checks Cliff Robertson) is on the loose, but more importantly is also a molecularly rearranged super villain called the Sandman (Thomas Hayden Church).

On top of all that, Pete’s also got a new found rivalry by up and coming Daily Bugle Photographer Eddie Brock Jr. (That '70s Show guy Topher Grace) who’s trying to steal his job and a possible new love interest with classmate Gwen Stacy (My new favorite hottie Bryce Dallas Howard).

Oh yeah, and he gets a new black costume.

Man, that Parker has got it tough, and that’s why we love him.

One of the great things about Spider-Man 3 is that there is so much going on that you can’t not pay attention. The story is so well conceived that once it starts you’re along for the ride and you’re breathless the entire time. The story actually feels, for once in this entire trilogy, like the Spider-Man I came to know in reading years of comics. We get lots of good Spidey action in this and most of it is in costume, and you can’t have good Spidey action without good Spidey Villians.

Spider-Man 3 introduces three new villains to the mythos. We’re first introduced to the New Goblin, which if you were paying attention to either of the first two movies you know his identity. Next up is the Sandman, played with heart and sympathy by the totally convincing Church. Finally we meet Spidey’s alien symbiotic enemy Venom. All of the villains' origins are handled nicely and convincingly enough to move the story along quickly. The story stays on track and in turn pins you to your seat.

Sam Raimi’s directing has always been solid and good, but never crisper than this film. Not only that, but the script by Alvin Sargent is very sharp and evokes lots of emotional responses and reactions. As always, Raimi pulls together a great cast, and new additions Church, Howard and Grace suck you right into their stories. In this film, the supporting characters are just as engaging as the main character, and that’s what you want out of a good story.

Tobey Maguire does it again, and his performance in this film will touch you, make you laugh, and stand up and cheer at the same time. The journey he takes Peter Parker on is a range of emotions and the whole time you’re on board because of how he pulls you into it. I’ve never been quite sure of Maguire as Peter Parker, but let’s just say that after this movie, I’m a true believer.

The special effects and CGI in this movie are outstanding. Sandman and Venom are perfect and fanboys around the country are going to completely lose it. The Spider-Man effects are better than ever, and like Superman made you believe that a man could fly, you’ll believe that a man can spin a web, any size.

This is a darker Spider-Man film, but in true heroic story telling fashion, Raimi and crew take our protagonist on his greatest and most triumphant journey yet. However, watch out for Emo Peter Parker. It’s a crucial part of the story, but it actually evoked awkward laughter from the audience. It’s one of the few faults of the movies, but in a way, it’s true, nerdy Peter Parker as he continues his journey to learn the true meaning of "...With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility.”

The main theme of this movie is choice. What decisions we make and how they effect us. Raimi makes the choice of giving us the best Spider-Man movie yet without compromising his original vision of the first two films. Not only does this movie stay truest to the comic stories, it also stays true to the Spider-Man movies, putting an astounding bookend to the trilogy. It truly is an amazing endeavor. Or is it spectacular? Sensational? With this film, the bar has been raised and this is THE Spider-Man movie. Nuff Said.


Lon Lopez

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