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Capt. Sage's Review of
Spiderman 3

Spiderman 3 maintains the polish of the previous movies, once again conveys moral themes realistically, maintains a normal world amidst a fantastic setting, and has several good scenes with excellent acting. In some parts, however, the plot gets a little bit shaky, and most of the characters are trapped in the same emotion for the whole movie.

First we'll consider the polish. The special effects are very good, especially the gritty Sandman. The wow factor in the special effects and fight scenes are still present from the first two films. Sometimes, though, in these modern movies' fight scenes, the action goes by so fast that I can't follow it. I see people moving really fast and doing things, but I can't quite tell what they're doing, and then something else happens as a result, and it was all so fast that I wondered just what happened. I don't know whether it's my own ocular troubles or a slight misjudgment in moviemaking. Thankfully, this was only a problem in the movie's first fight scene, and I didn't notice it again.

One of the best features of this movie was its themes of vengeance and forgiveness. Yet the movie was also weakened by not going far enough with the forgiveness theme. I think it fully explored the theme of vengeance, and did so very well. I don't think it spent enough time on forgiveness. Peter Parker's actions are too easily excused as a result of the suit. Parker is obviously penitent, and M.J. obviously knows that, but no one actually bothers to say a word about forgiveness. The Sandman does ask for forgiveness, and is granted it, and that was one of the best scenes of the movie. Wouldn't a forgiveness scene with Peter and M. J. have been great as well?(See the spoiler section below.1)

One problem was that most of the characters got to have only one emotion through the whole film, with two exceptions. Peter Parker was always either happy or cocky, M.J. was depressed, Sandman was sad, throughout the whole film. The most notable exceptions were Harry Osborn and Eddie Brock, who got to do a very wide range of emotions and portray complex characters. I'm not saying that the other actors are bad, but overall this movie didn't allow us to see them in many other emotional states.

Other reviewers have pointed out that Peter Parker doesn't seem to have learned anything from his previous adventures. You'd think that by this point his pride would be tempered, and he'd be less overwhelmed by the adulation of the crowd. Instead, this almost seems like the high school Peter Parker has literally been given the key to the city without any of the suffering that forced him to grow up.

I thought Sandman was well-acted, and the CGI effects for his monstrous form were amazing and impressive. Nevertheless, I have some reservations about how his character was portrayed in the movie. (See the spoiler section below.2)

Spiderman 3 continues its forebears' tradition of good acting, moral themes, and good fight scenes, but in each of these (except the fight scenes) there was a hiccup that prevented it from being as good as it could be. The acting was good, when a character was allowed to break away from a set emotion. The moral themes were very good, but not applied consistently. The fight scenes were good, and helped move the story and had emotional impact. Spiderman 3 could've been better, and is not as good as its predecessors.

SPOILERS

I didn't like the butler scene near the end of the movie, where the butler convinces Harry to help Spiderman. It was unnecessary and illogical. The butler was saying that Norman Osborn's wounds matched those from his own glider, so Spiderman wasn't the one who killed him. Therefore, Harry had no need for revenge against Spiderman.

By that point, Peter had scarred Harry's face, insulted Harry, told Harry that Norman was disappointed in Harry, and carried on a romantic rivalry for M. J. Harry had plenty of reasons for seeking revenge against Peter and Spiderman. Norman's death is almost icing on the cake by that frame of film.

Besides which, it's more important that Norman was a criminal who had to be stopped. That's a crucial fact which Harry allowed himself to forget in all his planning for revenge.

Speaking of which, the scene implies that the butler knew that Norman was the Green Goblin. Doesn't that make him an accessory to Norman's murders?

I think the butler should've tried to convince Harry to fight alongside Spiderman by counseling him to forgive Peter and reminding him of their friendship and past. First of all, those are the right and effective ways to counsel him, and second, they're the reasons the movie eventually gave for Harry helping Peter. All the "bickering and arguing about who killed who" (as Monty Python put it) turned out to be a red herring.

I'm glad they became friends again, not least because I greatly enjoyed the actual scenes where Harry and Peter fought together. It was very happy; I was so glad they were friends again. Their combined fighting techniques were cool to watch.

Near the very end of the movie, I understood that the scene where Peter comes back to M. J. and holds out his hand to her is asking for forgiveness for what he did earlier. I'd prefer it if he had said it. It would've meant taking some responsibility for what he'd done instead of letting the movie blame it all on the suit.

Now I shall expound on the Sandman; I wanted to scream when the Sandman walked into the little girl's house. No, I didn't think something horrible was going to happen: I realized they were going to give him a sympathetic backstory! Sympathetic backstories are one thing, but please don't give me lines like, "I'm not a bad man, just unlucky." Then he goes out and robs an armored car? That's a bad thing that you do, making you a bad man! Just own up to your crimes already!

Those are the sort of words that an actual criminal would use to excuse himself. The trouble I had with the lines is that the movie seemed to be telling us that we ought to agree with him.

I've picked on Sandman a bit, because the movie excuses him too easily sometimes. At the beginning of the movie he's sorry for what he's done in the past, but then he goes and commits more crimes. This detracts from the idea that he actually is sorry. The Sandman is also too invulnerable. Given his powers, there's no way to kill him, and few ways to slow him down. This is what forces him to be a sympathetic character, and one who is sorry for what he's done.

I think the movie should've shown better that forgiveness is only possible when you realize how evil something is. Peter knew how evil it was for the Sandman to kill his uncle, but he forgave him despite that. Making the Sandman so sympathetic made it seem as though being nice is what makes forgiveness possible.