It is time. Spider-week has come.
Most people love the first two Tobey Maguire Spider-Man films. Spider-Man is a great movie. I don't love Spider-Man 2. But everyone universally agrees that Spider-Man 3 is not a very good movie. And, in celebration of No Way Home coming out in a few weeks, I decided to bring back "How to Make Something Sweet" and fix Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 3. Now, again, when I say fix, I mean tweak the story and some creative choices. I don't think I'd be a better filmmaker than Sam Raimi. This is just how I, personally, would've made Spider-Man 3.
Remember to come back later this week to continue celebrating Spider-week. Tomorrow, I'm ranking my ten favorite Spider-Man villains. On Thursday, I'm ranking every single on-screen Spider-Man we've gotten. That night, I will be seeing No Way Home, so my SPOILER-FREE review for that will be out on Friday. On Saturday, my ranking of the movies will be updated. On Sunday, I'm ranking every on-screen Spider-Man villain. Then, Monday, I will be doing my first ever SPOILER review of Spider-Man: No Way Home.
Spider-Man 3 is a crap-fest of a film. The biggest problem, for me, is the way that the Venom and black suit Spider-Man plot line are handled. The dark suit is not a bad way to take the third installment. Having Sandman as a primary antagonist for most of the movie can work, but you just have to execute Peter's anger about Uncle Ben better than this.
Instead of making this a very personal battle for Peter Parker, the film makes him this emo jerk that does cringy dance moves in the middle of New York. When he is in the black suit, he's unlikable and not fun to watch. I don't like Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker in general, but when he's in the black suit, it's ten times worse.
This film is also stuffed with villains. The main antagonist of this movie is Venom, but he doesn't appear until the final half hour of the film. Sandman has the potential to be a good villain, but he's underdeveloped. And Harry Osborn becoming the New Goblin is not a good plotline. I've never thought it was. It doesn't really make sense: Spider-Man is clearly a hero and Norman Osborn is an insane psychopath. Even though Norman was Harry's dad, he was a bad dude. And Spider-Man didn't even kill him. It's stupid. I think the inclusion of that plot is the reason that both Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man 3 are far and away inferior to the original Spider-Man.
And nobody in this movie is likable. Peter is basically cheating on MJ with Gwen. But MJ is horrible. She's self-centered and annoyed about Peter being Spider-Man, which is a betrayal of the character, because she's always been supportive of Peter's double life. Harry spends the whole movie either being moody or acting like an idiot because he has amnesia. Gwen is just a plot device that is used to make MJ jealous. She doesn't really serve any purpose besides helping out the other characters. Like I said before, Sandman is underdeveloped. Eddie Brock has a slight motivation, because Peter gets him fired, but he goes so far off the deep end that the motivation doesn't really justify the ends.
So, yeah. Those are my big problems with Spider-Man 3. Let's fix those and make this a better movie.
How to Make Spider-Man 3 Sweet
The movie starts off with Peter and MJ's relationship. Right off the bat: I hate these two. Besides Willem Dafoe in the first Spider-Man, I don't really like the acting in the Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies. I think Tobey Maguire is good in the Spider-Man suit, but his performance as Peter Parker is iffy. And I hate Kirsten Dunst. She's not a bad actress, but she is in Spider-Man.
I'll talk about them later. But I think that the focus of this movie is much more on Peter Parker and MJ than it is Spider-Man. That's a huge problem that I have with the latter two films in the Spider-Man trilogy. They are stories about Peter Parker, not Spider-Man. And Peter is an interesting character. But Spider-Man is who we are there to see. So I think you start the movie with them engaged. It just makes everything easier. I don't want to deal with relationship trouble.
In my Spider-Man 3, Harry has spent the last year in some other country. So he comes back and is greeted by MJ and Peter at the airport. He is very warm towards MJ but is cold toward Peter. MJ leaves to go get the car or something and Harry confronts Peter about Norman. He's clearly conflicted about who's side to be on, but Peter sways him more toward the Spider-Man direction. They reconcile, and the tension is somewhat relieved.
As they are leaving the airport, they encounter a police chase. At this point, Sandman already has his powers. Peter leaves to go help the police. They are unsuccessful in catching Sandman. Peter talks to the police after, asking who Sandman was, and the police respond, saying he's an escaped convict that murdered Ben Parker. A shocked Peter goes back home and cries.
An asteroid lands right next to Peter's apartment. As the anger of Uncle Ben's killer still being out there is taking over him, the Venom symbiote infects his body.
With a renewed power and confidence, Peter mercilessly tracks down Sandman, who is visiting his sick daughter. He dons the black suit. Sandman begs him to not fight, but a violent new Spider-Man doesn't listen. He beats the crap out of Sandman. With the upper hand gained, a voice from the black suit tries to make Peter kill Sandman. The real Peter shines through and is able to restrain from killing him, swinging away. The voice becomes angry and takes a stronger hold of Spider-Man.
At a photoshoot for her new show, MJ meets Eddie Brock, a reporter for the Daily Bugle. MJ asks Eddie if he knows Peter, and Eddie says yes, although acts somewhat annoyed at the thought. Back at the Daily Bugle, Peter talks back to J. Jonah Jameson.
At night, Spider-Man is swinging through the city and finds a shootout between cops and a few robbers. Peter handles the robbers, and the police thank him, saying they can take it from there. He doesn't listen, instead continuing to beat the crap out of these criminals, yelling "No more crime!"
A news story the next day shows Spider-Man assaulting these criminals while the police try to stop him. MJ and Harry visit Peter and ask if everything is okay. Peter tells them that the man who killed Uncle Ben is still out there. They are both taken aback by this, but tell Peter that he needs to stop. MJ tries to calm him and offers to get his mind off of everything by going to dinner. Peter accepts and they have dinner. However, he's rude to the waiters and doesn't listen to MJ, causing her to leave in a furious hurry.
She goes back to the theater where she finds Eddie, still taking pictures. The two of them talk about their frustrations, eventually landing on Spider-Man. Eddie doesn't like Spider-Man because he doesn't think that someone should be allowed to take the law into his own hands. The conversation would be cool, because MJ would secretly be talking about Peter and Eddie wouldn't know it. After this, Eddie tries to kiss MJ, but she is disgusted and runs out. Peter had chased after MJ and walked in as Eddie tried to kiss her.
At the Bugle the next day, Peter punches Eddie. Still under the influence of the black suit, he convinces J. Jonah Jameson to fire Brock.
Peter decides to meet with Aunt May and tell her that the man who killed Uncle Ben is still alive. While she is shocked by this, she tells him that vengeance and anger isn't the way to go about this. The real Peter emerges and realizes what he has been doing. He finds Sandman and confronts him about Uncle Ben, but Sandman says it was an accident, and he's really just trying to provide for his daughter. The voice continues to try to motivate Peter to be evil, but Peter refuses, and the symbiote is thrust out of his body. It scrounges New York to find ailing souls and lands on Eddie, merging with him.
Peter helps Sandman escape from the authorities and tells him to save his daughter. Harry and MJ are together when a giant, monstrous figure bursts in. Eddie Brock, now fully merged with the Venom symbiote, fights off Harry and kidnaps Mary Jane.
Harry rushes to find Peter and tells him that MJ has been kidnapped. Peter dons the blue and red suit, and Harry grabs the goblin armor, and the two of them go to fight Venom.
Venom recoils and Eddie Brock emerges. He tells MJ that Peter Parker is not worthy of her. Realizing that Eddie hates Peter, Venom reveals that Peter is Spider-Man to Eddie. MJ desperately tries to stop Eddie, but Venom has fully taken over and goes off to the Daily Bugle.
Harry finds MJ and she tells him that Venom knows Peter is Spider-Man.
At the Daily Bugle, Venom intimidates J. Jonah Jameson into broadcasting a frequency across New York that everyone can hear. Venom tells the world that Peter Parker is Spider-Man. After having inflicted damage with the black suit, the cops begin to look for Spider-Man.
After Jameson broadcasts the frequency, Venom tries to kill him, but a reluctant Eddie causes him to hesitate. Eddie wants to kill Spider-Man and only Spider-Man. This hesitation causes a pause that allows Harry to knock Venom down.
Peter runs from the police. He makes a turn in the alleyway. A squad car pulls up and tries to stop Spider-Man, but another car pulls up, too. As the police step out of the car to arrest Peter, Aunt May steps out as well. She distracts the officers enough so that Peter can escape.
Harry is getting beat by Venom, but Peter comes in and joins the fight. Eddie tells Venom to take Peter and leave, but Venom, a creature of pain and hatred, refuses, wanting to cause pure chaos. Venom shuts Eddie up, overtaking the host body. Now in full power, he gains the upper hand against the two of them.
As a group of New Yorkers crowd the Daily Bugle, they watch in horror as Peter and Harry are being beaten by Venom. A massive wave of sand materializes and Sandman appears to help Spider-Man. The three of them overtake Venom, but Venom is able to kick Sandman and Harry off of him and grabs Peter by the throat. Venom stabs at Peter, but Sandman takes the stab, sacrificing himself for Peter.
Remembering that Venom is allergic to fire, Peter tosses one of Harry's goblin bombs into the symbiote, killing Venom. Eddie survives because of the protection of the symbiotic suit, but is knocked unconscious by Harry.
Six months later, MJ and Peter are getting married. They are getting ready for the rehearsal dinner. MJ sits down at the diner from the beginning, worried that Peter won't show up, but he does. The two of them kiss, and the movie ends.
So that's my Spider-Man 3.
Personally, I don't like any of the main three actors in the Spider-Man trilogy. I can't really recast Tobey Maguire, though, because he is an icon for the superhero genre.
Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker/Spider-Man
Scarlett Johansson as Mary Jane Watson
Jake Gyllenhaal as Harry Osborn
Rami Malek as Eddie Brock
James Earl Jones as Venom
Woody Harrelson as Sandman
J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson
Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2 are both solid movies, but Spider-Man 3 is a big disappointment on every level. From the execution of the black suit Spider-Man to the overstuffed villains to the horrific version of Venom, it falls apart. I think my version of Spider-Man 3 would conclude the trilogy better with a more sympathetic Sandman and a more violent and prominent Venom.
Let me know if you have any "How to Make Something Sweet" requests. This was meant in anticipation for No Way Home, so I hope you guys enjoyed it. Be sure to come back on the 17th for my review of No Way Home as well as a ton of other Spider-Man posts that will be coming in the days following.
Spider-Man: No Way Home hits theaters on December 17. Tickets are on sale now.