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Darren says

This movie is a classic case of studio intervention and fans getting what they asked for. Sometimes, you need to not listen to them, and this is perfect case. If Raimi had stayed true to his original vision it would have gone better. What a mess.

Tym says

The textbook case of the inferior sequel; three villains, no sense.

Ciaran says

A monumental disappointing follow up - and yet has the best classic villain in the form of Sandman.

This film scans like a highlight reel of a trilogy that never happened. And shouldn't have.

Blame the studio. Here's a microcosm of how profits lead to loss. Sam Raimi had set the standards for how to do a graphix film right: one villain, one strong character story, honor the best material, serve the story over the style. He made two classic films that were wildly successful. Cashflow drove the suits mad, who in typical default greedo mode interfered with the creator by pressuring all the timeworn wrong moves: three villains, spin-off set-ups, spectacle. This disease should be called 'frothing franchise', and it is the death knell of any creative series.

Spider-Man 3 actually works as individual scenes, but the whole is a black hole. Each villain holds the promise of a solid film, but the triple mash-up cheats out the import and clarity of the total. Every scene begins with promise and nosedives into dissatisfying chaos.

Raimi had based his films on the crucial classic 60's stories that defined the character. It's evident here in Peter and Mary Jane's soap turmoils, the wisdom of Aunt May, and the promising poignancy of Sandman's backstory. But the mandated Venom, an 80's villain that Raimi resisted, careens the top-heavy structure into a maelstrom of freefall it can't swing out of.

The lesson is clearly to leave the creators to the creating, right? No, they fired Raimi and rebooted, repeating these mistakes faster with Amazing Spider-Man 2.

(Pssst. One villain, one strong character story, honor the best material, serve the story over the style.)