The third installment of Sam Raimi's Spider-man franchise became the top grossing opening day film ever when released a couple of weeks back, but it's taken me a bit of time before getting out to the cinema to see it. However, today I decided that having seen, and enjoyed, the first two films I should give this one a go and add my contibution to the pile of money it's made.
The film starts off pretty much where the last one left off (it even gives you a quick "previously on Spider-man" style update in the opening titles.) Peter's/Spidey's mate Harry is still rather pissed with him (for reasons I wont say in case you've not seen number 2), but him and MJ are still very loved up. Thing's aren't all happy in the relationship though as MJ think's Peter/Spidey's getting a bit up himself - and she'd be right to. These things lead to much tension and many problems, with Peter trying to deal with many issues involving love, friendship and revenge.
Now the previous films have always been rather schmaltzy when it came to the emotional scene's between Peter and MJ (or Peter and his Aunt May), but I don't remember them grating on me as much as in this film. The main reason I think they grated was due to Tobey Maguire's face - throughout these sort of scenes he has a dopey confused look about him, like a faithful, but stupid, dog that can't comprehend what his owner wants him to do. These scenes in part make you cringe, and in part make you want someone to give him a slap. Then there are the scenes, done for comedy effect I assume, which see Peter/Tobey becoming a badass (strutting about and playing it smooth with the ladies) - these really do make you sink into your seat and wince. The humour in Spider-man is supposed to come form Spidey's witty one liners, and Peter's interactions with J. J. Jameson, not by making him look like a twat. Now how I've described things may indeed be how Maguire meant to play the whole thing (Peter/Spider-man is supposed to be the architypal geek-cum-superhero after all), but it mainly annoyed me.
Other than Peter/Spidey/Tobey there was one other main thing that didn't quite hold together. There were a couple of moments in the film were it seemed like they'd removed about 15 minutes of it and just left an unexplained gap. They may well be parts that ended up on the editing room floor to make way for more of the special effects filled moments, but it created a couple of disconnects in the plot.
Now I've not been particularly kind, but I did sort of enjoy the film - despite having to cringe through various moments. The effects were of a very high standard and it didn't drag for a 2 hour 20 minute film. I was, however, more disjointed than the last two films, and obviously the effects don't have the same inpact a third time around.
The plans seem to be to carry on the franchise for as many films as possible, but number three might have been Maguire last turn as Spidey. I think it'd probably be good getting someone else in to give a slightly different interpretation of the role.