Lucas told me he has seen all the summer movies since his company, Industrial Light and Magic, does most of the special effects. The only one they didn't work on was "Spider-Man 3." What did he think of it?
"It's silly. It's a silly movie," he said. "There just isn't much there. Once you take it all apart, there's not much story, is there?"
Well, it's not "Star Wars."
"People thought 'Star Wars' was silly, too," he added, with a wink. "But it wasn't."
This from the stern intellect which gave us Ewoks, Jar-Jar, and a Darth Vader acting like Frankenstein.
Be that as it may, pace Anthony Lane and John Podhoretz, I kind of liked Spider-Man 3. The movie had all sorts of problems both in the writing and editing and not-tiny parts of it were ridiculous. Still, as a meditation on forgiveness, it worked for me and I particularly enjoyed the moments when Raimi let the movie be light-hearted--Bruce Campbell's scene, the bad-boy Parker montage, everything with Emil Skoda's J. Jonah Jameson. It was better than the over-praised first Spider-Man, but nowhere as perfect as the second film, which might be the best super-hero movie ever made. (The other contenders being, obviously, Batman, X-Men 2, and The Incredibles.)
But of all the problems with Spider-Man 3, the one that bugged me most--do you still have to have a spoiler alert on a movie that's made over $160M? if so SPOILER--was when Harry Osborn's butler announces that, like Bruce Wayne's Alfred, he was party to all of the Green Goblin's doings and that he himself could testify (how, exactly?) that Osborn Sr. died by his own hand. Only with this revelation does young Harry decide to come to Parker's aid in rescuing Mary Jane.
It's a preposterous deus ex machina, but what's maddening about it is that there's a simple and elegant way to write around it: Peter Parker comes and asks Harry's help in rescuing M.J., but, still blaming Parker for his father's death, Harry refuses. On further reflection of his fondness for M.J., he relents and follows Parker to the fight, surprising him by coming to his aid. Instinctually, he takes a mortal blow aimed for Parker and then, on his deathbed, he forgives Peter even though he still thinks Peter killed his father. Only because of this example is Peter Parker then able to forgive Flint Marko for the murder of Uncle Ben.
Is it just me, or does this solve all sorts of narrative and motivational problems without altering the story in any structural way? Perhaps they should have kept Michael Chabon, who wrote parts of Spider-Man 2 on board for the third installment.
Alternatively, they could have classed the project up by throwing in a '50s-style robot diner.