Ryan Chartrand

Although “Spider-Man 3” has its moments of disgraceful blasphemy, it’s hard not to admit that it is, at the very least, an entertaining flick.

As always, the latest installment takes the comics, grabs a few general ideas, makes its own Hollywood characters out of them and meshes it into a chick-flick love story comedy that audiences can’t get enough of.

This time, however, director Sam Raimi decided that instead of spending a good portion of the two hours on action and boasting dazzling special effects, “Spider-Man 3” would focus on storyline and even extend the film an extra half-hour.

Picking up where the story left off in “Spider-Man 2,” your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man is having a bad year. While he is now loved by the city of New York, dealing with the fame, glamour and ladies forces him to lose track of what’s most important: his beloved Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst).

On top of that, black alien slime is following him around just waiting to give him the ultimate case of the Mondays, and his best friend, Harry (James Franco), is trying to kill him.

Yes, lonely Spidey isn’t doing too well as his suddenly-turned-emo black hair could tell you. The two new villains in town, Sandman and Venom, could have kept him company but instead serve as no more than background filler behind the love triangle of Mary Jane, Peter (aka Spider-Man for those of you who live under rocks) and Harry.

As for Venom, if every trailer that teased him had you sold already, hopefully you are also expecting a very brief appearance. He also isn’t wearing his mask 90 percent of the time since special effects aren’t quite cool enough yet to support a fully functional, talking Venom.

While this balance of less villains and more cooking eggs, dancing and flirting technically turns it into a chick flick, the new dynamic is still decently entertaining. Until, of course, it gets out of control.

For some odd reason, directors love toying with comic book storylines by thinking that no one will care. Indeed, the general audience going to see “Spider-Man” movies haven’t read a comic in their life and won’t notice the differences. Raimi’s unnecessary additions, however, are obvious not only to the geeks, but to everyone.

Making Peter Parker walk down a street acting like a ’70s pimp-like sex magnet is simply uncalled for. Turning Parker emo by dying his hair black and parting it to one side is not only a disgrace to Stan Lee, but an embarrassing, out-of-place addition to the series that no one will forget.

Unholy alterations aside, “Spider-Man 3” is still an entertaining flick thanks to some of the best special effects spectacles in the entire series. The love triangle plot also comes together nicely in the end (although it takes a while to get there) despite some weak dialogue that the talented cast tries so hard to make worthwhile.

The story isn’t as well structured as the past two films, but with the longer run time, making the perfect package isn’t easy to do with so many characters. Yet, for the first time, it does feel as though the story is what matters most. It even creates a feeling of one tidy package of a film by leaving out a cliffhanger ending (always appreciated).

What it forgets to do, however, is make a film that the audience wants. When the prior two films create a summer flick tone, audiences come expecting a one-hour roller coaster. The change of pace could have made it a far better film had Raimi balanced his use of serious plot development and action with emo dancing and other disgraceful additions.

It’s hard to tell where the next three “Spider-Man” movies will go (especially without the same actors possibly), but it seems as though “Spider-Man 2” will remain the most polished.

The strongest difference between “Spider-Man 3” and its predecessor, however, is that the former actually moves the story somewhere. If anything, “Spider-Man 3” did its job of preparing the series for a new chapter by nicely tying up loose ends in the first half of the series.

But next time, Raimi, remember this: porn music and Tobey Maguire do not fit in the same sentence.

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