I have waited for Spider-Man 3 since I first saw the last seconds of Spider-Man 2. Being a big comics to movie supporter, Raimi's first 2 Spidey flicks to me were the shining example of how to handle comic book adaptations. Then I saw the 3rd one...
I won't spoil any plot turns or twists for those who haven't seen it, but suffice to say I was very much left cool by the 3rd episode in the Spidey films. The pacing was horrid, the action too brief, and the "Emo-Peter" segments were handled poorly.
I'm all for comic films paying attention to character and depth of story. It's a great way to make sure those who don't know much about comic books see that the art is more than just guys and gals in tights with cheesey puns. But Raimi and crew beat the audience over the head with the whole Pete-MJ-Harry triangle, and it gets very old, very fast.
Meanwhile, stellar talent like Thomas Hayden Church as Flint Marko (Sandman) and Bryce Dallas Howard as Gwen Stacy are literally tossed aside and wasted as ancillary characters with little to no depth. Same thing with Topher Grace as Eddie Brock and Venom. He's completely wasted as a character, and these 3 deserved much more screen time.
The flick seemed to take forever to get going, and once it finally did... it was over too soon. The effects were good, the sparse action sequences were close to topping the Doc Ock fight on the train from number 2, but for some reason I didn't get the same sense of import from the 3rd installment. It was sort of like watching Rocky Balboa... it's still the characters you love, but the heart isn't entirely there. Not horrid to watch, but missing something.
Anyway, I'd still say it's worth at least a matinee, and they did leave holes open for number 4 should all the cast sign on once more. It's breaking records at the box office, so despite bad reviews another episode will likely come... let's just hope it's better than this 3rd try. Maybe it's time to let Sam Raimi (as much as I love the man) sit back and produce while bringing in a fresh look for the films, a la Harry Potter 3.
Time will tell, but Spidey Number 2 is still the best of the series.