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PCR # 371  (Vol. 8, No. 18)  This edition is for the week of April 30--May 6, 2007.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"Spider-Man 3"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith
Four stars

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

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"Spider-Man 3"  by Mike Smith
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Columbia Pictures     
Starring: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco and Topher Grace
Directed by: Sam Raimi
Rated: PG 13
Running Time: 2 hours 20 mins

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! SUMMER IS HERE! OK, maybe it's still early May but the summer movie season has arrived in a big way with "Spider-Man 3."

After years of the public perception being skeptical at best, Spider-Man (Maguire) is pleased to find himself unanimously loved by the city of New York. Even newspaper editor J. Jonah Jameson (the always fantastic J.K. Simmons) has come to appreciate the boost in circulation an exclusive photo of Spider-Man in the Daily Bugle can bring. Spidey's alter ego, Peter Parker, is also on cloud nine, making plans to propose to his beloved Mary Jane (Dunst). MJ (as she is called by her friends) has just opened on Broadway and the sky seems to be the limit for these two young lovers. Unfortunately, to paraphrase Chicken Little, the sky is about to fall.

Ever since the first "Spider-Man" film came out in 2001, the "comic book" movie has grown into one of the most popular genres in Hollywood. Where as studios in the past could have just tossed out an occasional "Masters of the Universe" or "Batman and Robin," now they know that fans of these films want much more then spandex and special effects. They want a story they can believe in and actors whose emotions they can connect to. These things and more make up "Spider-Man 3." Director Raimi has not only ramped up the action but he's also tripled the villains. Peter's best friend, Harry (Franco) has succeeded his dead father (whom he believes Spider-Man killed) as the New Goblin. Gobby keeps both Spider-Man and Peter busy as he jets around the city on his flying disc lobbing pumpkin bombs at anything he doesn't like. Joining the Goblin are a couple more blasts from the comic book past. Thomas Haden Church plays escaped felon Flint Marko, who is later revealed to be the actual murderer of Peter's beloved Uncle Ben. Stumbling into the middle of an experiment, Marko finds his body electronically mixed with sand, the subsequent result of the experiment turning him into the aptly named Sandman. Also making an appearance is rival photographer Eddie Brock (Grace) whose disgrace at Parker's hands turns him into the villainous Venom. The battles between our favorite web slinger and the bad guys are epic in scope and excitement. Also new to the film but old to comic fans is Gwen Stacy, a beautiful classmate of Peter's who manages to always be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Gwen is played by Bryce Dallas Howard and Howard finally gets to play up her beauty which was so diluted in films like "The Village" and "Lady in the Water."

As with the previous two films, the special effects are almost unbelievable. Whether leaping from building to building with the energy of a tightly wound spring or just quietly watching over the city from a high rise ledge, director Raimi succeeds in making New York City a true member of the cast. As he swings along his webs at what appears to be light speed (not really, but the boy is fast), Spider-Man must finally fulfill the destiny Uncle Ben had foretold. The performances are top notch and the film, which gets off to a bang and ever lets up, is a great tribute to a great subject told by a master storyteller. Get in line, NOW.

On a scale of zero to four stars, I give "Spider-Man 3"  Four stars

This week's movie review of "Spider-Man 3" is ©2007 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2007, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2007 by Nolan B. Canova.