Spider-Man 3
PG-13
Entertainment: +3
Acceptability: +2

Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Thomas Haden Church, Topher Grace, Bryce Dallas Howard, James Cromwell. Action/adventure. Written by Sam Raimi, Ivan Raimi, Alvin Sargent. Directed by Sam Raimi.

FILM SYNOPSIS: In Spider-Man 3, based on the legendary Marvel Comics series, Peter Parker has finally managed to strike a balance between his devotion to his girlfriend and his duties as a superhero. But when his suit suddenly changes, turning jet-black and enhancing his powers, it transforms Peter as well, bringing out the dark, vengeful side of his personality. Under the influence of the suit, Peter becomes overconfident and starts to neglect the people who care about him. Forced to choose between the seductive power of the new suit and the compassionate hero he used to be, Peter must overcome his personal demons as two of the most feared villains yet, Sandman and Venom, gather a thirst for retribution against Peter and those he loves.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Theres a great deal of good to say about this film, so lets get the negative out of the way. First, I expect a film to logically lay out its plot and subplots without my having to read the book it was based on (or in this case, comic strip). Nor do I want to depend on its prequels in order to know who is who and what is really what. I admit, wanting a logical explanation from a movie about a guy with super spider powers is rather like expecting honesty and ability from either the Republican or Democratic parties. Still, it always seems like lazy writing when things go unexplained in a movie script.

For instance: a character gets sucked up in some giant blender, whereupon he becomes merged with sand, becoming the super-shifting Sandman. I never could figure out who the scientists were or what they were trying to do, let alone why sand would suddenly take on a life form. Nor is there any explanation for the tar-like substance that came from outer space and turned a good soul into a dark one. Of course, ours is not to reason why...

My other complaint has to do with the fact that there are more subplots here than in a Chekhov play. These minor conflicts and countless side characters lengthen the film to nearly a two and a half hours, often retarding its pace and purpose. And these are a weepy bunch. Theres more emoting here than in a weeks worth of Days Of Our Lives episodes.

And then theres Ms. Dunst. I have never warmed to her Mary Jane Watson character. Shes a wannabe Broadway star, but she always looks classless and unkempt. The character strikes me as someone who doesnt wash her fruit.

Okay, now for the good. Spider-Man 3 is jam-packed with action and eye-popping effects. And beyond the rich design and look, the film deals with subjects of substance, including themes of vengeance, love, forgiveness, and the message, We always have a choice. Indeed, it is the first superhero film with soul.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: Columbia Pictures

Summary
Crude Language: One vague sexual innuendo.
Obscene Language: one expletive hell.
Profanity: Three oh my Gods
Violence: Though its bloodless and cartoonish, theres a great deal of visual and jolting violence, including battles between super heroes and their nemeses. Some of the action and several scary-looking villains may be unnerving for little ones.
Sexual Intercourse: A couple of kisses.
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: None
Other: Contains a good message We always have a choice.
Running Time: 150 minutes
Intended Audience: Teens and Adults

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