So, I just got back from seeing Spiderman 3. I've been a really big fan of the first two, and I maintain that #2 is one of the best comic book movies out there. #3 on the other hand, doesn't quite compare to the two of them. It tries to be both, while riding on the momentum of the series, and manages to capture some aspects of it, but mangages to create an overly complicated and somewhat jumbled mess of a film.
There are some parts that work very well. The first half of the film sets up nicely, and even sets up the various plot lines with a good degree of skill. MJ and Peter's bit of romance, Peter and Harry's problems, Sandman and the introduction of the symbiote. The movie goes on a bit and things move to a bit of a logical progression, where problems start. MJ and Peter's relationship goes haywire, and for no good reason - where it might have been resolved with a quick converstation, both characters are so bullheaded that they can't see past each other.
The main problems occur halfway through the film, mainly through things that just didn't need to be there. Peter and MJ break up, Peter turns into a hipster emo kid and is dancing through the streets. Where in Spiderman 2, the Raindrops Falling on my Head scene worked pretty well, this one was completely unneeded. Ditto for the scene in the bar when Peter suddenly plays piano and dances around there. My first throught was WTF? and desperately hoped that it was a dream sequence. Several other smaller scenes could have easily been lost and the film would have been better for it.
Other problems occured with the numerous storylines throughout the film. The Sandman story was interesting, but the director and writers killed him off not once or twice, but three times, something that never really works well in a film, especially when they keep coming back for more. The Symbiote storyline worked very well, (dancing scenes aside) as Peter got darker. Problems occured with Venom. He looked good, moved around good and sounded good, even his creation out of Eddie Brock was good, but they kept having the mask come off his face time and time again, which seemed really odd and messed up his character a lot. In addition, for all the hype that was given to the character, it wasn't around for very long. Finally, Harry's scenes could have been handled much better, as his entire stint with memory loss was both pointless and unneeded - it seemed almost as an afterthought. The theme that popped up towards the end, Choices, easily resolved Harry's need to go after Peter, and that could have been that. Finally, the last scene towards the end would have been better if they'd just gone with Venom - the gigantic sandman seemed like something out of the Hulk and ruined the pacing of the entire scene. Finally, Gwen Stacy was completely unneeded, and the casting for Eddie Brock was completely wrong, especially as Venom.
But then again, there were moments where the movie shined. Exploring Spiderman's darker side was good, especially in the light of a different killer, which was handled a lot better than I thought that it would be. Peter and MJ's scenes weren't bad save for a couple scenes. I even bought Harry's resolution to his gripes with Peter, which was handled well. Who really shined though, were Stan Lee, J.K. Simmons and Bruce Campbell. Campbell's scenes were priceless, and topped his scenes in Spiderman 2. Simmons was also very funny with his assistant reminding him of his high blood pressure, and buying the camera off of the little girl at the end. And of course, the action is spectacular, with some very, very cool scenes of jumping around, flying through the air and the hand to hand stuff.
Overall, the movie tried to capture the comic fun of the first movie, and the drama of the second. It manages to surpass the first objective, but comes up short with the second, mainly by being way too complicated than it needed to be. That aside, it's a fun addition to the Spiderman series. And, I think that I wouldn't mind seeing another Spiderman movie with the current cast again.