For the first time, the film is overflowing with villainy, a fatal flaw to anyone who watched Batman become a bit player in his own films. Introducing Venom makes sense considering the darker themes of the movie, but considering the alien ranks amongst the great villains of Spiderman lore we never get a sense of real threat from him. The impact of the alien on Parker is entirely misjudged, we loose sympathy for the hero. Dance routines, wardrobe changes and brushing down your fringe do not a complex character make. Parker comments that he has done terrible things, but he hasn’t really, he never steeps to real depths that would signal this film is of a maturity we expect in these closing chapters. His redemption and the emergence of Venom are rushed and forced. Sandman, who gets a pointless backstory and resolution, gets some set pieces and is then forgotten for large chunks of time and worst of all brought back memories of ‘The Mummy 2’!. Most damaging is that the climax of Parker’s rivalry with Harry Osborn is neglected. Their confrontations are the most intense and dramatic, yet New Goblin is introduced only to be forgotten again for the bulk of the film. We are cheated of a really gripping Greek tragedy style culmination to the relationships that have developed over the past 2 films.
As for the relationship stuff which to Raimi’s credit was never reduced to mere filler previously, there is a sense of going off the rails, MJ Watson has become un appealing and insecure, Aunt May turns up and talks in non-sensical Hallmark cliches and Gwen Stacey is pointlessly introduced when there was a new love interest right across the hall set up in the last film.
Worst of all there is little spectacle, the first confrontation with New Goblin is the best action sequence and a crane gone awry which I though looked awesome initially in trailers was very disappointing and I’m convinced was shortened from the initial clip I saw online. Why the man gets the freedom of the city following a spate of debris crushing people on the street is beyond me.
I spoke earlier about how Spiderman has earned my respect, though there was the obvious 3-deal picture inked, there was always a sense of care and insight that evades other money-spinners. My favourite of the classic story structures is the isolation of the hero, the ripping away of the security and stability surrounding our protagonist setting the scene for the hero to take charge of his situation. I take it as a personal attack that this is what this film could have been. There is no great epic scene where you get the sense of heroism or clarity but instead a feeling that this earnest boy has not grown at all in past events but is a pawn at the discretion of others. That is not a hero.