Spider-Man 3 was a big success at the box office, but how does the film stand up over the test of time? Here, our Davis McCondichie looks back at the movie and what could have been for Spider-Man 3.
Spider-Man 3: What Should Have Been
Let’s pretend for the sake of this argument that it is 2007, right before Spider-Man 3 is set to come out. Fans are eagerly awaiting the return of Sam Raimi’s version of the young web-slinger. Spider-Man 2 was a big success and Toby Maguire is still the best choice people can think of for Peter Parker. We all remember that time. The time before Spider-Man 3 sucked.
I will admit that, since I was so young at that point (I was eleven-years-old), I honestly thought the movie was good. So just recently I went back and watched the trilogy in its entirety. I came into it expecting to be pissed off at Spider-Man 3 for ruining everything I loved about the other two. I was not disappointed. However, while watching the film, I also noticed that the movie had the potential to tie up the trilogy better than it did.
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So, without further interruption, here are five things Spider-Man 3 should have done.
No. 1: Keep Out the Symbiotic
The reasoning was simple. Corrupt Peter Parker so that fans begin to root against him. Show that the hero can be corrupted. That was their intention, but the execution was terrible. Instead, Parker makes decisions that never fit his motivations in earlier movies. Once he discovers the danger of the black suit, he would have abandoned it all together the first time. Especially considering what his professors says about the dangers of allowing it to touch you. Raimi cannot show us for two movies that Peter Parker is so intelligent that he can foresee the risk of possessing too much power, yet have him ignore everything he learned for a slight power boost. He does the same thing Dr. Octavius does in the second movie. He would have learned from his idols mistakes. The introduction of the symbiote, while good in its intentions, failed to make sense as a logical plot device.
No. 2: More Sandman, No Venom
Without the symbiote, you do not have Venom, but that is not a bad thing. The movie already has two logical villains in Harry Osborn and Flint Marko. Marko was arguably the best part of the real Spider-Man 3. His character origins and motivations are fascinating, and the scene where he becomes Sandman is one of the most memorable. So, instead of having him disappear mid-way through the film, Raimi should have trusted the Sandman character more and let him play a significant role in the movie. Marko is a terrifyingly imposing villain. His motivation is pure like Doc Oct, but he has to do wrong to make this happen. Marko alone could push Spider-Man to the edge, but the movie also has to include Harry as an antagonist as well. Meaning that the plot of the third movie has to have two villains no matter what. Still, three was too much, and the New Goblin makes sense as a character.
No. 3: Rework Harry Osborn’s Storyline
The amnesia plotline is probably one of the most disappointing parts of the third movie. We are given a compelling, revenge-smitten New Goblin in the first half of the film that then immediately disappears. Having Harry get amnesia, then suddenly remembering again makes no sense. Instead, Raimi should have pushed his story to a darker area. Having the New Goblin fail to kill Spider-Man in the first half on its own is fine, but the audience should have seen the fall out of it. Raimi could have had Harry begin to inject the goblin serum into his body instead of inhaling. The effects could disfigure him and cause him to lose his mind completely. Fans of the films would finally see Harry Osborn pushed to his limit. This choice, in turn, would push Peter Parker’s character development as well. He would not be able to come to Harry, in the end, asking for help. Instead, at the film’s climax, he has to choose to kill his best friend to save Mary Jane. Making New Goblin more powerful as the story goes on and teaming up with Sandman gives fans a much more satisfying ending to the film.
No. 4: Leave Out Gwen Stacy
Adding Gwen Stacy was a move the producers of Spider-Man 3 pressured Sam Raimi into doing. The idea made no sense. Her character adds nothing to the story, and she is honestly a waste of screen time. It is simple: she should never have been in the film in the first place so leave her out.
No. 5: Keep Mary Jane Supportive
Mary Jane had a logical two movie arch. She goes from the girl next door waiting for Peter to say he loves her to the girlfriend who is willing to risk her life to be with Peter. The character development works through two films; then Raimi decides that out of nowhere she should become jealous of Peter Parker’s success. He has her say at the end of the second film, “go get them, Tiger.”
Where is that Mary Jane in the third movie?
Instead, we get this three steps back, “will they won’t they” conflict between Parker and MJ. It is obnoxiously illogical. Mary Jane should have been the voice of reason and support. Letting Peter know he can still make a difference and overcome these two powerful villains. Her confidence in Spider-Man being what Peter needs makes way more sense than him asking Harry for help. The end being a confident Mary Jane telling Peter that he is strong enough to beat Sandman and New Goblin would be a powerful scene. It would also take her out of the damsel in distress role a bit and solidify her meaning to Peter.
That is it; five things audiences should have gotten out of a Spider-Man 3 movie. These choices would have tied the movie up well. Plus, we could have avoided that dreaded sidewalk scene.
Davis McCondichie is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter: @McMccondichie