Overview: Tobey Maguire returned as Peter Parker, the lovelorn, nice kid turned superhero who swings from buildings, fighting rogue criminals. Kirsten Dunst came back as his stage-struck object of adoration, Mary Jane, and James Franco, who is badly used, kept getting in the way as their rich, confused friend Harry. The picture was one of the first summer blockbusters to truly take advantage of the lure of both Imax and 3-D technology.
Budget: $258 million
Gross: $890+ million (worldwide)
Critical reception: 63 percent favorable on Rotten Tomatoes
Admittedly rank element(s): Having to thread through all those convoluted plot strand: The movie (clocking in at 141 minutes) weaves in two supervillains (Thomas Haden Church and Topher Grace), an evil split personality for young Peter Parker, a romantic triangle and more.
Guilty-pleasure highlights: After being enveloped by black, outer space goo, the nasty side of Peter Parker appears in a nightclub where he -- gasp -- plays jazz piano (a la Jerry Lewis in "The Nutty Professor"); the transformation scenes of baddies Church (as Sandman) and Grace (as Venom) are special effects highlights; and best, the oddly romantic scene with Peter and Mary Jane lying on a giant web of his construction under the stars.