Once, Twice, Three Times a Spidey

If your ten bucks didn't contribute to the $150 millionish that Spider-Man 3 made last weekend, here's a quick hit on whether it's worth a couple of fivers. Absolutely... with reservations.

Overall, I liked it didn't love it. The web-slinging action is ineffincredible, and the villains are wonderfully realized. However, there are just too damn many of them. Sandman, Venom, New Goblin, flashbacks of the original Goblin, Mary Jane's dour presence... on and on and on. While the film manages to string all these threads together, it turns into a bit of an ugly sportscaster sweater by the time it's done.

There's so much going on that it's hard to care a great deal about any of it. Spidey as a movie doesn't really get going until he swings into action to save potential new girlfriend Gwen Stacy from falling out of a building, but then she's wasted as basically just an object lesson about loving Mary Jane. Onscreen origin stories are always tough, and this flick's shoehorns in three villain's worth. Plus there are the obligatory scenes of Aunt May providing Peter with soothing spider strength and J. Jonah Jameson getting irrationally angry.

Hm. That sounds like you should run screaming from the theater – sorry. There are things that work terrifically well. Sandman, while the film would benefit from him not being in it, looks great. Topher Grace is terrific as Eddie Brock/Venom. Bryce Dallas Howard's Gwen Stacy is miles ahead of Mary Jane. And again, the superhero action stuff is near perfect.

So go. Have a good time. Bring something to read for the first 40 minutes or so. Don't concern yourself too much with some coincidental plot elements and examples of deus ex machina and just watch Tobey swing around.