Anthony Lane, who hates everything, hates Spider-Man 3
. It's not like you won't see it anyway.
If “Spider-Man 3” is a shambles, that’s because it makes the rules up as it goes along. By the end, for instance, Sandman has become the size of an office block, each swinging fist as big as a truck, his personality reduced to brutishness. I half expected him to come after Spider-Man and Mary Jane carrying a gigantic bucket and spade. By what criterion did he grow so mountainous? Is he like a Transformer, or more like a genie? The fact is that if the fantastical is to flourish it must lay down the conditions of its magic and abide by them; otherwise, we feel cheated. (Tolkien knew this better than anyone.) Some viewers will take the New Goblin, whose name sounds like a small-circulation poetry magazine, to be a vessel of unnatural forces, while others will see him, when he fires up his rocket-powered skateboard, as a rich kid with too many toys. That’s the problem with this third installment of the franchise: not that it’s running out of ideas, or lifting them too slavishly from the original comic, but that it lunges at them with an infantile lack of grace, throwing money at one special effect after another and praying—or calculating—that some of them will fly.