After all the hype and PR frenzy around the world Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3 finally hit the cinemas this weekend, and off we went to a packed theatre to catch it. Two major villains this time (three if you count some bits with Harry Osborn’s son of the Green Goblin), more personal and romantic trouble for Peter Parker (including a rather awful Emo look which makes him appear like a reject from My Chemical Romance) and the introduction of Gwen and Captain Stacey – if you aren’t familiar with the comics that might not mean much to you, but they are (especially Gwen), very important characters from the comics. Shame then, that they were barely used, making me wonder why all the hype to excited fanboys about her appearance…

The film itself was very disappointing – far too ‘busy’ as my mate remarked, like they were thinking, must outdo the first two movies, pack more in regardless of the effect on the story. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t a bad film; if it were the first Spidey movie you had seen you’d probably enjoy it more, but it lacks some solid direction, has too much squeezed into it for no reason other than trying to make it look ‘wow’ (which rarely works if it makes the story suffer) while the emotional arc was just a tiny bit tedious this time, unlike the previous movies. It is still worth seeing though – there are some great scenes there, the Sandman is well done, Venom looks just like he should from the comics (but as with Gwen, not used properly) and I liked the humanised version of Flint Marko, a petty hoodlum, but one driven to crime because he is desperate to find money for treatment for his ill daughter.

And the usual brace of cameos from Ted Raimi, Bruce Campbell (as a brilliant French maitre’d from the Clueso school) and, of course, Stan the Man Lee. Enjoyable Saturday night movie, not brilliant but not bad, suffering mostly by comparison with the first two since we know they can do better than this. Here’s hoping Pirates of the Caribbean 3 is better (what is it with ‘part 3’s in movies this year?) – the second one was rather by the numbers and lacking heart, made me think of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom compared to Raiders of the Lost Ark; bigger budget, the right set pieces and cast (apart from the female lead) but it lacked heart and felt like blockbuster by the numbers. Here’s hoping Pirates 3 is more Last Crusade then, so I can enjoy some damned fine swashbuckling.