I finally saw Spider-Man 3 last weekend.
I even paid a ticket price I'm too embarrassed to admit for something called "The IMAX Experience". (Think of it as the cinematic equivalent to credit card protection or an extended warranty.)
So, I didn't hate the movie, but damned if Spidey and His Amazing Friends didn't do everything in their power to make me hate it. The original Spider-Man was arguably the best comic-book movie ever made, so there really was no place to go but down.
In this chapter, we get three villains…except that two of them are apparently pure of heart and, by the closing credits, they're both reformed. One of them even becomes Spidey's wisecracking sidekick during the final fight sequence, but not before he suffers a bout of temporary amnesia and becomes a grinning fool who kisses Mary Jane and can't make an omelet.
Oh, and we get "cocky" mind-altered Peter Parker who becomes a jerk. Y'know, like when Richard Pryor exposed Superman to that mutated kryptonite in Superman III and Supes got all obnoxious and straightened the Leaning Tower of Pisa?
The plot is built on the very shaky relationship between Tobey Maguire's "Peter Parker" and the lovely, misunderstood, cocaine-free Kirsten Dunst's "Mary Jane".
Will Peter pop the question?
Will Mary Jane accept?
Unfortunately, the character development of the bad guys is so shallow and slapdash that they come across as nothing more than those predictable sitcom nuisances that always keep the lead character from hooking up with his co-star.
Along the way, we get some inexplicable revisionist history from the first Spider-Man as to who really killed Spidey's Uncle Ben. That's followed by an even more out of the blue revelation from an obscure background character on the truth behind the death of The Green Goblin in the first movie.
Deus Ex Machina, notwithstanding, everything manages to stay held together with spit and chicken wire until the last 15 minutes when it all falls apart under the weight of its own contrivances.
(TBG Note: Through the magic of the guy who sells pirated movies on DVD down at my barber shop, I watched this movie again last night. It's official: I really DID hate this movie.)