I saw Spidey 3 last night; at the Imax no less.
First things first, everything I’d heard about the Sandman effects are true and then some. Wow, wow, and wow. Honestly, the scene where he first reforms himself is oddly beautiful.
The action scenes are all tour de forces, the story felt like a good logical move forward from the last two films, and all of the acting is very good. Even small parts are given their chance to shimmer. (I’m looking at you, Mageina Tovah.)
But for all the spectacle, humor and pathos, you can’t help but get the feeling that Raimi indulged himself occasionally to the detriment of other plot elements.
Example: An extensive odd dance number where Peter rubs Gwen Stacy in MJ’s face lasts far too long, while Harry accepting his father’s death suffers from quick inattention, and a poor monologue/plot device to boot.
As a Spidey fan, of course I was excited about the inclusion of Gwen Stacy and Venom, but to be perfectly honest, neither were really necessary to the plot. My impression is that someone pushed for them, and Raimi acquiessed to a) please management, and, b) avoid a lesser director mucking about with them later. (Of course I could be wrong, but I seem to remember an online video of Avi Arad talking about convincing Raimi to include Venom.)
All of this being said, it is a really fun movie, and while lacking a final polish, is still better than 90% of the genre being ground out these days. It did not, however, manage to crack my top three superhero flick list:
1) Spider-Man 2
2) Batman (1989)
3) The Incredibles, tied with any Michelle Pfeiffer scene in Batman Returns
Go check it out in the theater; it’s worth it.