Spider-Man 3 (12A)

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The Independent Culture

Spider-Man 3 (139 mins, 12A) rounds off Sam Raimi's superhero trilogy, and there is a definite sense that the director wanted to make sure that he hadn't missed anything out before leaving the franchise. Tobey Maguire squeezes into the spandex once more, and Kirsten Dunst alternates between moping and screaming as Mary Jane Watson. But there's also a second love interest (Bryce Dallas Howard), and while the previous Spidey episodes had one supervillain each, the new one has a trio. James Franco returns as the Green Goblin's revenge-crazed son, Thomas Haden Church is the self-explanatory Sandman, and Topher Grace is a half-alien called Venom. As if that weren't enough, Raimi sticks in some songs and a Saturday Night Fever pastiche to boot. The resulting film will be too long for some viewers, but when a director is so deeply in love with all things superheroic, it would be churlish not to indulge him. He pays tongue-in-cheek tribute to the genre's B-movie conventions, and yet treats his characters with real affection. He doesn't stint on the breathtaking action, either.

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