Spider-Man 3 (2007)

Starring: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Thomas Haden Church, Bryce Dallas Howard, Topher Grace, JK Simmons, Bruce Campbell, Willem Dafoe, Rosemary Harris

Directed by: Sam Raimi

Rating: 1 2 3 4

Spider-Man (Tobey Maguire) gets down with his bad self

Summer 2007 and the Battle of the Blockbusters is on as our friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man swings into action once more. And as befits the final instalment of a trilogy, this time he's up against not one but three bad guys. First up there's Harry (James Franco), still angry at his friend for killing his Green Goblin father (even if he was an evil mutant intent on Taking Over The World), and this time he's got a jet-powered skateboard… Then there's the escaped convict Flint Marko (Thomas Haden Church), who accidentally falls into a nuclear particle experiment (as you do), thus transforming himself into a rather rubbish Sand Beast made of specks of dust and, er, breezeblocks. 'I didn't want to be like this,' he mutters – no, you'd rather be a cool monster like Doc Ock, wouldn't you? Tough.

And finally we have the Sticky Black Goo from Outer Space, a cross between Flubber and a gloop of molten Tarmac which attaches itself to our spidorial friend like Copydex, feeding on his aggression and bringing out his dark side. Could this be a rather obvious metaphor for the corrosive effects of anger and revenge? Or just an excuse for Spidey to ditch the nerdy jumpers, smear on some eyeliner, acquire a cheap sharp suit and an emo haircut and get down with his bad self – although admittedly it's only crimes against dancing that he's committing.

James Franco as the New Goblin in Spider-Man 3

Because, believe it or not, after the somewhat po-faced exercises in ethics that were Spider-Mans 1 and 2, Spider-Man 3 is actually a lot of fun. Oh sure, we have the usual morals thrown in our faces like wet dishcloths (you'll be unsurprised to hear that pride comes before a fall, and 'one man can make a difference' – this last from the lips of none other than Stan Lee himself, in a somewhat obviously shoe-horned cameo). Speaking of cameos, however, the film is worth the ticket price alone for Bruce Campbell's brief turn as a Monty Python-esque French waiter, in a comic set-piece which is, like Peter Parker's dancing and any scene featuring irate Daily Bugle editor J Jonah Jameson (JK Simmons)), laugh-out-loud funny.

Throw in the obligatory jaw-dropping visuals and gravity-defying Spidey stunts and you have a big-hearted superhero blockbuster that's guaranteed to entertain.

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