© 2024 WYPR
WYPR 88.1 FM Baltimore WYPF 88.1 FM Frederick WYPO 106.9 FM Ocean City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

'Spider-Man 3'

Aren't we done yet? When a superhero franchise leans as regularly as this one does on its characters' emotions and back-stories, maybe it's predictable that by Episode Three it'll become an effects-laden As the Web Turns. But at 141 minutes, this supe-opera is seriously overextended, with four distinct subplots and way too much hand-wringing over things like the heroine's singing career. Spidey's got a dark side, Harry's got amnesia, Mary Jane's a pill, Sandman's misunderstood, and Venom's — well, Venom's a mess of black goo. But it's hard to gin up much suspense when your supposedly vulnerable hero can get hit by a moving train and bounce off unhurt. Director Sam Raimi shoots everything but the big effects sequences in close-up, presumably so the movie'll look good when it gets played on cell phones in a few weeks. And he visualizes Aunt May's observation that "revenge is like a poison that can ... turn us into something ugly" by turning Peter Parker into a smarmy Eurotrash version of John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever. It's a good thing the effects are state-of-the-art.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bob Mondello, who jokes that he was a jinx at the beginning of his critical career — hired to write for every small paper that ever folded in Washington, just as it was about to collapse — saw that jinx broken in 1984 when he came to NPR.