Finally saw Spider-Man 3 this weekend. I could relate its flaws but they would be news to no one, and John August has done a fine job cataloging the various plot contrivances here. Some of August's solutions would require breaking from the comic book source material, but the real, sensible solution would have been to not have two movies' worth of story shoehorned into one movie.
That said, I enjoyed the movie just fine, although going in with lowered expectations and a purposely heightened willingness to suspend disbelief no doubt helped.
POSSIBLE SPOILERS FOLLOW:
I even enjoyed the "evil" Peter Parker montage, although I do think they overplayed their hand a bit and dragged it on about three times longer than it needed to be. It's pretty much the same scene as the "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" montage from Spider-Man 2, when Peter gives up being Spider-Man and sees his life improve... sort of. Just as that montage undercut Peter's improved life with reminders that he was still a klutz and a loser, this one undercuts his overconfidence with endless shots of women reacting to him with disgust. Which, given his hairstyle, makes sense, but still, I felt like it would be nice for his character transformation to actually work a little bit. Even his cruel ploy to bring Gwen Stacy to the jazz club blows up in his face, and ends up feeling more foolish and ill-conceived than mean.
One of the worst parts was when the butler told Harry the thing that Peter should have told him a long time ago. To give Peter credit, at least in this one he tries to say that Osborne killed himself. I was waiting the whole second movie for someone to bring up that simple fact. But I was so relieved that someone finally got through Harry's illogical Spider-Man blame that I was almost willing to forgive the fact that it came at an overly convenient moment from a character who had no way of knowing the information nor any reason for withholding it as long as he did.
But the very worst part of Spider-Man 3 is by far the Uncle Ben retcon. My favorite sequence in the first movie is when Peter lets the thief go, then discovers that the same thief has killed Uncle Ben. It's a good use of coincidence, one with grand, tragic consequences, and the action scene that follows, with Peter swinging after Uncle Ben's car in a rage, is both viscerally thrilling and wonderfully emotional. The Flint Marko addition to the story spoils all that. Peter is still sort of responsible for Ben's death, since he dragged him into town to pick him up from the wrestling match, but less directly responsible. Flint Marko might have killed Uncle Ben whether his partner escaped or not. Or maybe not. Now it's all muddled. Not to mention, the logic of a two-man robbery where one guy is solely responsible for the getaway yet doesn't procure a car ahead of time is dubious at best.
The end of the movie is also very soft. Not just the deus ex machina solutions to defeating the villains, although those were bad too. How do you resolve your plot when you've set up powerful, unbeatable villains? This movie offers two ways out--one, invent a weakness out of thin air with only the most tenuous of setups, regardless of whether that weakness makes any sense; or two, forgive the villain so you don't actually have to beat him. But sorry, I was going to talk about the real ending, the Mary Jane ending. The previous two entries in the series ended on very clear notes: Peter rejecting Mary Jane in favor of his responsibility, and Mary Jane getting together with Peter, only to realize the struggles that lay ahead. Considering that Peter spent the whole movie planning to propose, it would have been nice to end on a more definite resolution of any kind. At least something more than just, Hey, I'm back.
Hey look, I ended up listing a bunch of flaws anyway. But I don't mean to be griping about the movie. My purpose in mentioning these things is simply to support my point, which is that I enjoyed the movie okay in spite of all this. So if you are in as forgiving a mood as, say, Spider-Man is when Flint Marko apologizes to him, you may just be forgiving enough to have a good time at Spider-Man 3.