Updated: Sep 21, 2021
Ah, Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, who could forget the godfather trilogy of superhero films? The first one was one of the first films that revolutionized the comic book genre and the second one is a comic book classic to this this day. Even though the third film wasn’t as good as the previous two, is it as bad as everyone says it is?
The film opens up with Spider-Man (Peter Parker)—once again played by Tobey Maguire—being celebrated as a hero of New York. He later attends Mary Jane Watson’s play, where he bumps into Harry Osborn, before Osborn abruptly leaves. After the performance, Peter and MJ hang out throughout the night. As the two are discussing their future plans, a strange meteorite lands nearby, revealing an alien symbiote. The symbiote manages to attach itself to Peter without him noticing. Peter goes to visit his Aunt May and tells her that he plans on proposing to MJ. Aunt May gives him both her blessing and her wedding ring. As Peter is returning home, he is suddenly attacked by a masked figure on a glider.
The figure is revealed to be Harry and the two engage in an intense aerial fight. The fight ends when Peter manages to outsmart Harry and knocks him unconscious. Peter brings Harry to a hospital where Harry experiences amnesia upon his awakening. The next day, Peter and Aunt May are brought to the police station, where Captain George Stacy reveals that the real man who killed Uncle Ben—Flint Marco—was still on the run. Peter, enraged, vows to get revenge on Marco. That night, the symbiote manages to bond with Peter, turning his suit black and further enhancing his bloodlust against Marco.
After the success that was 2004’s Spider-Man 2, Sony and Sam Raimi wanted to capitalize on their success and make a third installment. Raimi wanted Peter’s story to revolve around finding humanity in his adversaries and wanted to conclude Harry’s story. Originally, Sandman was to be the film’s only villain. However, Sony wanted Sam to include a second villain, namely Eddie Brock’s Venom. At first, Sam didn’t wish to bring a character he wasn’t familiar with to the big screen, but was pushed into including him by the studio. Additionally, Sony wanted to add Gwen Stacy to introduce rival for MJ. These additions would prove to be disastrous, as they took away from the film’s intended focus: Peter and Harry’s stories. By the latter half of the second and third act, the movie has undergone a complete shift in tone from dark and gritty to Peter dancing to upbeat music in the streets of New York.
Seriously, who can forget this scene?
Despite the movie having its fair share of flaws, I don't think it's an awful film like so many fans say it is. The first act had a solid execution with absolutely breathtaking special effects and strong performances from the main cast. My favorite web slinging scene ever has to be when Peter saves Gwen Stacy from falling to her death near the beginning. Everything goes silent and all we hear is Peter grunting as he struggles to propel himself to save her. In addition, my favorite scene in the film was the birth of the Sandman. The CGI holds up wonderfully as we see Flint Marco struggling to assemble himself and reach for his locket with his daughter’s photo. Even though the plot was muddied, there were several instances where I gasped out loud: when Peter drops the ring during his fight with Harry, and the scene where he hits MJ under the influence of the symbiote. These scenes alone prove that the movie had the potential to be a great film. Alas, studio interference would ruin that.
After the movie received mixed to negative reviews, Sony decided to go the reboot route. Initially, Sam Raimi wanted to make a Spider-Man 4. He felt bad about the reception of Spider-Man 3 (2007), and felt like he owed fans of the series to make a solid final film. Several scripts were drafted, however, nothing was officially greenlit. Eventually, Sam decided that he couldn’t think of a good script and decided to not follow through with a fourth film. Sony agreed to his decision, glad that Sam wasn’t going to waste more of their money. It’s a shame that the trilogy ended on such a sour note. However, with Sam Raimi being confirmed to be the director of Doctor Strange: Madness of the Multiverse (2022) which will tie into Tom Holland’s Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021), there’s a strong possibility that we may get a satisfying conclusion to the Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy.