Mania Grade: B+
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- Rated: PG-13
- Cast: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Thomas Hayden Church, and Topher Grace
- Writer: Sam and Ivan Raimi
- Director: Sam Raimi
- Distributor: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
- Original Year of Release: 2007
- Extras: Two Commentary tracks, a Dozen Featurettes, bloopers, worldwide TV ads, photo gallery.
SPIDER-MAN 3: Two Disc Special Edition
By Tim Janson
October 28, 2007
SPIDER-MAN 3: Two Disc Special Edition
© Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
One of the biggest films of 2007, Spider-Man 3, hits DVD this Tuesday so it’s time to take a second look at the film, and the wide range of extras on the two disc special edition. Have you noticed how the directors of superhero films cannot resist the temptation to make each sequel bigger than the previous film? With each new installment they add more characters, more fights, more effects, more chases, more, more, more of everything. We saw it with Superman, Batman, X-Men, heck even with Blade. In Spider-Man 3 we have three villains to contend with and a second love interest for Peter Parker. The reviews for Spider-Man 3 were a bit lukewarm for the theatrical release from fans and critics. This is a better film than the somewhat morose Spider-Man 2. In part this owes to my own predilection towards Venom and the Sandman as opposed to Doctor Octopus who I never liked as a villain.
From a comic fans perspective, Spider-Man 3 feels more like a comic than the first two films. It has that episodic quality as it moves from fight scene to personal scene and back again for the entire film. The opening fight featuring Peter battling Harry Osborne was the best action sequence in any of the three films. What made the fight unique is that they were both in street clothes and it truly was Peter vs. Harry, not Spider-Man Vs. the Green Goblin. This scene brought home Spider-Man’s incredible agility in a breathtaking way as he found himself on the defense and on the run from Harry’s hi-tech arsenal of weapons. This WAS Spider-Man!
In Peter’s personal life, things are going poorly as usual…Harry blames him for killing his father, Mary Jane is fired after just one performance in her first Broadway production, and a rival photographer named Eddie Brock is stealing Pete’s thunder at the Daily Bugle. Making matters even worse is the rise of a new villain, The Sandman. Flint Marko is a small-time criminal with a tragic twist…he’s stealing to come up with the money to pay for his daughter’s medical treatments. A police chase leads Marko to his eventual run-in with a particle accelerator and the molecular rearrangement of his body into a pile of living sand, which he can mold into various weapons, float on the wind, and grow to gigantic proportions. That’s not Parker’s only problem, however. A meteorite crashes on Earth containing a gooey black substance…the symbiote that will attach itself to Spider-Man, creating the black costume Spider-Man, boosting his powers but also altering Pete’s mind, making him more callous and aggressive.
The Sandman was one of the best things in Spider-Man 3. The choice of Thomas Hayden Church to play the role was an inspired bit of casting. He IS the Sandman, and manages to create a sympathetic role not just because the script says he should be, but also because he plays the character with emotion. The only thing that didn’t work for me was the clumsy attempt to insinuate him into Spider-Man’s origin. This came off as an unneeded complication.
While I like the Venom character his inclusion seemed rush into the picture and yet another plot device that overburdened the film. The character doesn’t even appear until close to the end of the film and it would have been best had his appearance been held off until another sequel. This is where writer/director Sam Raimi was most guilty in trying to add more…And while Thomas Hayden Church was a great choice for his role, Topher Grace as Eddie Brock/Venom…not so much. I just couldn’t buy “Eric Forman” as a malevolent villain.
The DVD set is loaded with over six hours of extras including two commentary tracks, one with cast members Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Thomas Hayden Church, and Topher Grace along with Raimi; and one with producer Avi Arad, Editor Bob Murawski, and visual effects supervisor Scott Stokdyk. There are a dozen short featurettes on the making of the Sandman, Venom and the new Green Goblin; the collapsing floor sequence, on location in Cleveland and New York, the “Science of Sound”, “Inside the editing room” and more. There’s also bloopers and TV spots from all over the world. It’s kind of cool to see the Russian and German Spider-Man 3 commercials.
While Raimi certainly is guilty of trying to do too much, he still delivered a very good entry in the series. The report is that Sony plans at least three more sequels although whether those will feature the same cast members and Raimi is yet to be decided. Spider-Man 3 did introduce Dr. Curt Connor who eventually becomes The Lizard. Outside of possibly Batman, no other hero has as wide a diversity of villains as Spider-Man. My personal vote would be for Electro and Mysterio…but no one asked me! The film gets a B, the extras get an A-.