This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Annabelle’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Spider-Man 3 is phenomenal, you guys are just mean
So, please hear me out.
Or don't, it's gonna be really long and rambly.
But TL;DR go rewatch this trilogy with an open mind, I beg of you.
Spider-Man fucking 3. What a ride.
I'm gonna start off by saying this will double as my review for the trilogy as a whole. With that being said, let's talk about this 5 star film shall we?
I always take it with a large handful of salt when popular opinion says a film is good or bad. I much prefer to wait and judge things on the perspectives of myself and those I know well enough to understand the opinions of.
But fuck me, I never expected 3 to be this good. Not in a million years.
Personally? I think people are embarrassed to like things sometimes. Embarrassed to give things a chance.
In my Spider-Man 1 review I mentioned how comic books ask you to suspend your disbelief from the get go, so they can show you exaggerated realities where powerful stories can be told.
I think people are embarrassed by that. Maybe that's a part of the success of very mainstream films like in the MCU. They are safe to like, you don't have to put your feelings out there and worry about what people will think.
Spider-Man 3 handles three villains masterfully. How Raimi did it I will never know. Yes, Sandman lacks attention, but his story was told. Sandman contributed to the film every part of his story that was relevant to the overall narrative. I can't really complain about trimmed fat, even if it would've been very juicy.
And "Emo Peter"? Well first off I'll call him what he is, a complete arsehole. And secondly? It was both good, and important.
I think Pete dancing down the street and fucking around with MJ's heart in the jazz bar is a pretty good example of what I'm saying. It's silly. If you look at it like a normal situation it's silly. It's exaggerated.
I think that's why people say they "ironically like" Spider-Man 3, or the Star Wars prequels. They are kinda silly at times, and people need to use that word "ironic" as a shield. It's liking something "bad" in a socially acceptable way.
Well I got some news. You're allowed to love bad cinema, but even so, Spider-Man 3 ain't bad cinema.
The most important thing when writing a sequel is making it necessary. If you're needlessly continuing a complete story, or retreading ground, you're not really writing a story, you're writing the skin of one.
That's what makes them so hard. A sequel has to justify its own existence.
Sam Raimi can definitely write sequels.
Spider-Man 1 is all about Peter Parker, an awkward nerd who's kinda angry at the world for his shit life, becoming a good person. A great one even. The tragic fate of Uncle Ben is so strong because of those coincidences that couldn't happen in a "realistic" story. It's powerful. As I've said before, it's classical, like Shakespeare. "Killed by his own glider"? Bellissimo!
Spider-Man 2 is sensational. Pete's already a hero, where do we go from here? Well we test him of course. Push him beyond breaking point. Once Peter gives up the hero life, it all gets better for him. Pete's powers grow and fade along with his determination. It's giving him an out. An excuse not to be Spider-Man. And Pete can tell himself the city will be fine without him, But oh my god. Seeing someone get beaten in an ally and just having to walk away. My heart. But it's okay, he can still make a difference as Peter Parker. And that he can. He saved a child from a burning building. But hearing the fireman talk about how someone died, trapped on the fourth floor, is a massive gut punch. Right after we've breathed that sigh of relief now the child is safe. He could have done more as Spider-Man.
Contrasted by Otto, who when seeing people hurt by him following his desires, goes into denial. The AI in the arms offer him temptation. They tell him it's all for the greater good, and he chooses to believe it so that he can follow his dreams. That bit in the third act where Peter teaches Otto the same lessons he's learned throughout the film is so fucking satisfying. Wow.
But anyway. You knew all that. Everyone knows Spider-Man 1&2 are good. What I'm here to tell you is that Spider-Man 3 has it all too.
Spider-Man 3 takes Peter's arc to the next logical step. "What happens when things are finally going right for him?" It's a place he's never been before, and there's a lesson to be learned.
And this doesn't come out of nowhere, but we'll get to that.
Even right at the start of the film, Peter isn't a Superhero anymore. He's a hero, he saves people, but that's just what Spider-Man does. Peter is so caught up in how good things are for once, he doesn't give other people a second thought. He's spent so much of his life as the loser or the bad guy, that he wants to protect this good feeling now he has it. He's having a good time and that's all that's on his mind.
And that's where Harry comes in. Harry Osborne is a broken man. Obsessed with vengeance. And it's Peter's fault. Ever since Spider-Man 1 he's been running from this. At any point he could have told Harry the truth. Sat down in a private setting, fists away, and talk. But he was scared. He wanted to protect his feelings. And as a result Harry suffered.
But in their battle Harry bonks his head and gets amanesia. Peter is given the perfect opportunity to confess. He can let it all out to a version of Harry who hasn't spent the last few years trying to kill him. But he's also given the perfect opportunity to keep running from it. What if Harry hates him for it? So he doesn't tell him. Peter still has some growing to do.
As with MJ. Peter doesn't consider her, and as a result their relationship falls apart. But rather than apologise and change for the better, it's more comfortable to stand your ground. So he does. Harry may force her to break up with Peter, but everything she said on that bridge was real.
Unfortunately, being bad can be intoxicating. Once you start taking the easy way out, like taking revenge on Ben's killer, rather than dealing with his own feelings the hard way, it can quickly become the norm. An addiction.
Eddie Brock is Peter Parker. Except Eddie is a bit more confident, and hasn't learned the lessons Peter has over the last two films. Other than that they are the same person. However, Eddie is in Peter's way, and now that he's all about spite he ruins Eddie's life.
And Peter's having a great time. Literally dancing in the streets. He even takes the woman Eddie's about to propse to out for food, completely oblivious to how much it hurt when Harry did the same to him. He's slipping all the way down the slope. In fact I'd say he's a full on villain. He taunts MJ as some sort of petty revenge.
I get that it looks silly in the context of a normal world, but it's there, and it clearly conveys just how far Peter has fallen. It's good fight me.
When he finally gets a good look at what he's become, he rids himself of the symbiote. He rids himself of the hatered and the rage. But it's not gone from this world. He's done some damage. Eddie is once again following in Peter's footsteps, he's out for blood.
Now Peter's ready to be Spider-Man. Confirmed musically. We finally hear that familiar theme we've been starved of all film. And the first thing he does with this newfound wisdom? He goes to Harry for help. Peter reached out to Harry many times, but before it was always with his guard up. This time he's just there, and it's honest. Which is why Harry eventually comes to help. That and a little confirmation from the butler. But Peter finally put the work in, even though it was hard, so now Harry gets to reach his hand out too.
Omg the getting killed by his own glider thing again was brilliant.
In fact, speaking of Venom. He was surprisingly perfect in this film, considering it wasn't what Raimi wanted. The guy managed to make it work. Not only is Venom a villain of Peter's own making, like Harry, but he's also everything Peter was earlier in the film, just taken slightly further. He's fighting himself in this battle.
Raimi really likes to do that, every villain in the trilogy reflects the hero in some way and it's great.
Peter trying to save Brock from his own hatred is good. But of course, Eddie couldn't live without it.
I started crying the moment Pete began talking with Sandman. And kept going through Harry's death, all the way through his funeral.
Spider-Man 3 makes Peter face the hardest opponents yet.
The best friend he's wronged, the monster he became, and the good man who killed his uncle. The villains in Spider-Man 3 aren't all about putting people in danger, the only person they are interested in hurting is Spider-Man. Peter can't just fight these guys in the name of saving people, they are the ones that need saving, and to do so he has to fight himself. Because doing the right thing usually isn't easy, in fact sometimes it's a mountainous task, but doing it anyway is what makes you a hero.
I've not even mentioned the amazing cinematography, music, acting, and so on, in these three films. But seriously, it's all spectacular, just take my word for it. (Also 3 was paced surprisingly well. I was expecting problems with that seeing as there are 3 villains and all.)
These films are solid gold.
I've never been into poetry. But after watching the Raimi trilogy, I understand why people are.