I love Spider-Man.
And I mean, I really love Spider-Man. I love him like an over-excited child. I can spot Spider-Man merchandise at 100 paces; I own five Spider-Man t-shirts, a Spider-Man coffee mug, and a Venom watch.
So I'm kind of ambivalent about Spider-Man 3.
On the one hand, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie while it was flashing bright lights in front of my eyes. The action sequences were stunning (even better than in Spider-Man 2, and decidedly less rubbery-looking) and the comedy had me in stitches.
But at the same time, it was a very imperfect movie. Logical inconsistencies abounded, and really, three villains is at least one, if not two, too many for any superhero to contend with at any one time. Especially if he's dealing with inner turmoil and a difficult girlfriend at the same time.
That's probably the root of the problem: Spider-Man 3 is trying to do too much. Its 140 minute run-time is pretty hefty, but because there's so much going on, a lot of things get glossed over and thus lose their impact. Spidey's fight with the darkness inside himself is reduced to a bit of emo hair-flicking, while poor old Gwen might as well not have been there; Harry, despite having an obscene ability to survive everything ever, doesn't get much room to wrestle with his desire for revenge, and Venom barely shows his face.
(There's an issue for another time: where was Venom's tongue? And why did Eddie insist on constantly retracting the 'mask' to show his human face? Arghhh!)
The ending is a little too pat, tugging desperately at your sleeve instead of your heartstrings, and it's never possible to lose sight of the fact that Spider-Man will be okay in the end; there's never any real tension or danger.
It's still a hugely enjoyable romp, but, yes, like everyone else in the known universe is saying, Spider-Man 2 had set the bar higher than this, so this is a bit of a let-down.
Only a little bit, though.
I love Spider-Man.