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Rated NR · 2007

Once more Sam Raimi is directing Stan Lee and Steve Ditko's comic-book creation, and you can almost feel his fatigue. Somewhere between that first joyous woo-hoo and this movie, Raimi and the revolving door of writers became too enamored of making Spider-Man movies in which the hero is but a bit player. And the franchise's heartfelt earnestness -- its calling card -- now feels forced. The relationship between Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) and Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) has ground to a standstill; that passionate upside-down, rain-soaked kiss from the first film feels like a thousand movies ago. It's just all so . . . Fantastic Four -- so dopey and forgettable. The interesting villains have been replaced by computer-generated leftovers, chief among them Thomas Haden Church's Flint Marko, a felon whose shape is shifted by an atom-scrambler that renders him the Sandman, and Venom, who's really just alien goo that inhabits Eddie Brock (a wasted Topher Grace), Peter's rival at The Daily Bugle. Venom -- like every other character fighting for face time in an overplotted picture -- is barely in the film, here only so he and Sandman can face off with lil' Goblin (James Franco) and Spidey in a finale so slapdash and silly, it wouldn't even pass muster in a comic book.
Director: Sam Raimi
Writer: Steve Ditko and Stan Lee
Cast: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Thomas Haden Church, Topher Grace, J.K. Simmons, Bryce Dallas Howard and James Cromwell


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