So, three films in, how is
From the first voice-over narration, in which
Like last summer's "
The new entry in the series doubles up on the villains. Spidey's chief adversary is "Sandman," a shape-shifting victim of particle physics gone wrong, resembling the offspring of the Hulk and the sandstorm from one of the recent "Mummy" pictures. He's played, with a wee bit of help from the computer-generated effects folks, by an earnest and effective
Raimi has never been one to strike a consistent tone with any project; his heart and talent lie in extreme pulp contrasts. There are times when "Spider-Man 3" is a really exciting comic book movie. An early aerial battle between Spider-Man (Maguire, he of the arachnidian gaze and sleepy comic timing) and his "frenemy" Harry moves like lightning, and while a scene involving an errant construction crane and a
Backed by a budget estimated by some at $300 million, the new picture doesn't really look like a huge special effects bash. This is a mixed blessing. You want big wows with this sort of entertainment, and the wows here are medium. While they've gotten the computer-generated web-zapping aerial business to look more supple than it did in the first two films, when "3" is over, just after its fourth protracted epilogue, you mainly recall Spider-Man getting flung against girders over and over, in progressively less inventive fight scenes .
Raimi and company like their comic-book brutalities fairly brutal, and always have. All the same, the bits that stick with you are the most overtly comic, namely the exquisite turns of J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson, newspaper editor who has no time for anything or anyone, and