Okay, first, there are some truly laugh out loud moments. J. K. Simmons as J. J. Jameson is, as always, hilarious.
The special effects and action are fantastic. There were some moments in Spider-Man 2 when you could see it transition from live footage to CGI, but not in this one. It was seamless. Sandman was very cool, and the Venom symbiont was done very well.
But the problem was with this pesky little thing called a plot.
From my perspective, it lacked cohesion, and unity. There were long scenes in the middle which did nothing to forward the plot. Sometimes it felt like they were just trying to embarrass Tobey Maguire (did he make someone mad lately?) and other times it felt like they had all these actors who had lobbied for screen time and they had to fit everybody in.
From Jonathan’s perspective (who knows the numbers of the comic books on which this portion of Spider-Man’s story was based) they tried too hard to fit too much into the movie, while radically altering Mary-Jane and Peter Parker’s characters, and not for the better. Venom is one of his favorite villains, and he was very disappointed with the way he was handled in the film. There was so much going on, that there wasn’t time to do Venom and the complete Venom story justice.
Do I recommend it? Sure. You don’t go to Spider-Man looking for intellectual stimulation or social commentary. But I’d recommend this one in the dollar theaters or on DVD, rather than full price theater – even matinee prices like we paid.
For a different perspective, Scribbit posted her thoughts on the film. And for thoughts on a different movie, Independence Day, Jonathan has posted a funny list he came up with while watching that this evening on T.V.