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The last to see Spider-Man 3.
by Mike Baron

Waited three weeks to catch Spider-Man in a nearly empty theater. Spider-Man 3 is grab-bag of big action sequences strung together with a lot of frangible romantic connections. Petey's set to pop the big question to Mary Jane. But Harry Osborn, son of the Goblin, not-so-secretly loves her too, and would love to steal her away from Parker. Mary Jane, poor girl, gets trashed in the press for her Broadway debut and slips into a solipsistic funk. Gwen Stacy steps up to slap the moves on Spider-Man. Whew!

In the manner of an aging athlete adorning himself with excessive jewelry, Spider-Man 3 features three super-villains, the Sandman, Venom, and Harry Osborn as Goblin Jr. Thomas Haden Church looks like a Steve Ditko drawing, especially in that striped shirt. His transformation from petty crook to super-villain occurs when he stumbles into an open-air particle transmission experiment. Yeah, right. How is it that the stories take place in New York, but every time a villain runs for cover it's in some wilderness? The transformation is just so casual. Anybody could stumble in there and turn themselves into a sandman.

© 2007 Marvel Entertainment

Sandman's properties are whatever the screenwriter desires. At the climax Sandman becomes a giant weighing hundreds of tons, implying there's no limit to his size or strength. But that doesn't make sense. Look at it long enough it either blows up in your face or becomes the clue to defeating the villain. Yeah I know - it's just a comic book and we shouldn't stress our noodles trying to explain the various super powers. But a good villain should have to go through some sort of ordeal. He has to want to be a super villain! What's the point if any Tom, Dick, or Harry can stumble into that open particle acceleration pit and avail themselves of the consequences?

Venom is even sillier. A meteorite happens to fall fifty feet away from where Petey and Mary Jane are kanoodling in the park. Central Park. And nobody notices. High-steppin' black gunk exits the meteor and attaches itself to Parker's mo-ped. Next thing you know he's dressed all in black and thinking bad thoughts. The black gunk eventually attaches itself to rival photographer Eddie Brock who concocts one of those ridiculous public spectacles - Mary Jane - held captive in a taxi suspended on webbing three hundred feet in the air - so that the battle can be filmed and commented upon by hundreds of New Yorkers.

The story seemed forced and unnatural to me. As always the acting is first rate. J.K. Simmons' J. Jonah Jameson is spot on and enormously entertaining. All others acquitted themselves well in this, the most expensive movie ever made.
Mike Baron worked for the Boston Phoenix, Boston After Dark, and the Real Paper. He broke into comics with Nexus, his groundbreaking science fiction title co-created with illustrator Steve Rude. Baron has written Marvel's Punisher, DC's Batman, Deadman, and Flash. Nexus has garnered honors too numerous to mention, including Eisners for both creators. Baron has written Star Wars for Dark Horse, Turok, Dinosaur Hunter and Archer & Armstrong for Valiant, and has three issues of Legends of the Dark Knight in the works.

A prolific creator, Baron is at least partly responsible for The Badger, Ginger Fox, Spyke, Feud, and many other comic book titles. He currently has two new web comics up at Big Head Press. The Architect is a horror story based on the life of Frank Lloyd Wright. The Hook is rock and roll science fiction - think Farenheit 451 only instead of banning books they have banned music.
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