A rollercoaster ride in both a good way and a bad way, the third installment in the Spidey film franchise brings viewers to the highs of some well-developed conflict and the lows of forced melodrama and silly spoofy jokes. Though there are only a few bad parts and one awful part, many of the good pieces don't fit together completely, forced together by contrivances. I wouldn't say it’s a mess, but it's an untidy entertainment that satisfies on its own merits, but disappoints in comparison to the far superior second installment.
Peter Parker (Toby Maguire, ICE STORM) is flying high — he's about to ask Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst, MARIE ATOINETTE) to marry him, he's doing well in school and Spider-Man is the champion of the city. It seems to be the same for Mary Jane — she's starring in a new Broadway musical and is madly in love. But things start to break apart between them on various fronts. Peter's best friend Harry Osborn (James Franco, TV's JAMES DEAN) attacks him, seeking revenge for his father's death in the first film, and is injured. Mary Jane becomes hurt by Peter's fame and inattentiveness, especially when his pretty lab partner Gwen Stacy (Bryce Dallas Howard, THE VILLAGE) comes into the picture. Peter develops a rivalry with fellow photographer Eddie Brock (Topher Grace, TV's THAT 70S SHOW), who is dating Gwen. And then Peter and his Aunt May (Rosemary Harris, 1999's SUNSHINE) learn that the real killer Flint Marko (Thomas Haden Church, SIDEWAYS) has escaped from prison and has been accidentally transformed into the Sandman, a creature who can expand into a giant sand beast. However, this thief has noble goals for his actions, trying to save his sick daughter. Oh, yeah, and then this alien black goo falls on Peter, increasing his aggression and cockiness and later turns Brock into the evil Venom.