Time Out says
Nap time. Perhaps it’s the weight of expectations, the rattle of a zillion calculators or the curse of Bryce Dallas Howard (forever our Lady in the Water), but the latest Spider-Man is a fussy, dispirited affair. Sam Raimi’s wrap-up installment is sure to spin a worldwide web on wallets. Still, that hesitant “woo?” you hear is the sound of comics fans young and old trying to psych themselves into acceptance rather than outright joy.
As with many third chapters—brace yourself for a whole summer of them—the prevailing aesthetic is more, more, more. The new movie has no fewer than three villains, four if you count the heartless Black & Decker Spidey that Peter Parker (Maguire) temporarily morphs into, in a rather literal expression of duality. Elsewhere, there’s the late Green Goblin’s son, Harry (Franco), seeking revenge, the alien-goo-possessed Venom (Grace) and the sympathetic Sandman (Sideways’ Thomas Haden Church, mysteriously not called upon to crack a single joke).
Lost in all the crosstown traffic—does anyone actually find this computerized Tarzan-swinging remotely realistic?—are the elements that made the first two episodes so cathartic: a daringly bruised post-9/11 Gotham pride; Maguire’s geekiness (here he does some honky dancing that’s a poor echo of 2’s “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” montage) and the central romance. Kirsten Dunst’s Mary Jane has inexplicably devolved from “Go get ’em, tiger” spunkiness into a needy, bratty anchor whom Peter hardly seems to recognize. She’s also supposed to be a presence-challenged Broadway failure, a trait that, given Dunst’s occasional somnolence, only serves to degrade the actor. She deserves better—and so do we. (Opens Fri; Click here for venues.) — Joshua Rothkopf
Cast and crew
Bryce Dallas Howard
Thomas Haden Church