Blogger ate my original review on this, and it's probably just as well. Rather than dwell on the details (and there are many, many details) I think I'll just jump to the heart of the matter.
I didn't like Spiderman 3. I thought that it was very perfunctory and "paint-by-numbers." Whereas that type of filmmaking would otherwise produce a mediocre movie, with Spiderman 3 it's as if Sam Raimi took three separate paint-by-numbers sets and mixed them all together. The narrative turns into (to quote Bilbo Baggins out of context) not enough butter spread over too much bread. For instance, Thomas Haden Church got "Tommy-Lee-Jonesed." (Remember Batman Forever?) We never got the payoff with his daughter. The "Sandman killed your Uncle" felt tacked on for cheap emotional effect rather than storytelling necessity. About the only good thing about the character was the actor playing it.
The other thing about this film -- and this is huge -- are the wild deviations from conventions set up in the comic book. Before you start yelling "geek" please allow me the opportunity to point out that any adaptation, of a novel, tv show, etc., inevitably fails to the extent it deviates from the source material -- at least in spirit. Raimi got Spiderman right the first two times. In this flick, he missed the boat almost entirely (Peter Parker is an accomlished piano player, Peter Parker strikes Mary Jane, Mary Jane has a "moment of weakness" with Harry Osborne, Harry's big revenge plan involves forcing Mary Jane to break Peter's heart, etc. etc.)
That's the short of it. I could go on and on about the illogical choices and glaring plotholes, but folks brighter than I have covered those bases. (Check out Aint it Cool News for more balanced reviews, or my pal Pete if you want to laugh your ass off at the most profane review I've ever read. NSFW.)
I will pick on one detail, perhaps the most important detail. In fact, I'm going to turn this blog post over to my wife, who puts this particular piece of criticism in the most eloquent of terms. Here's Pamela:
Roughly twenty minutes into the film, Mary Jane tells Peter she wants to spend the rest of her life with him. Peter goes to tell Aunt May, who gives him her engagement ring for a proposal. Peter, walking on air because he knows he's going to propose, gets sideswiped by Green Goblin and goes through great efforts to keep from losing the ring. In a scene with Bruce Campbell, they again ding in how important this ring is because it represents how much Peter is committed to MJ. We then have the lazzi of the ring being delivered in champagne when MJ breaks up with Peter. This ring sounds pretty damn important, right? Yeah, at the end of the film (after Evil Peter does his jazz dance of revenge) Peter hugs MJ to make up the damage. Does he propose after all of this importance has been put on the engagement ring? NO. Essentially, they get us all lubed up that Peter and MJ will become engaged and leave us with our dick in our hands at the end of the film.
There you have it folks. I'd say, wait for this stinker to come out on DVD, if you really must see it.
(Harumph. Hollywood does stuff like this, breaks opening weekend box office records, and then wonders why box office receipts continue to decline in the following years. Maybe stop jerking us around! Stop hyping films that don't deliver! 'Nuff said!)