aka "Spider-Jesus". More on that in a bit.
Okay, general release movie rules apply, I don't feel a need to write much unless I have something most reviewers haven't mentioned. First the obligatory points: it looks awesome on IMAX, definitely worth it. There are too many villains, but Sam Raimi handles it rather nimbly, giving them each barely enough screen time. Perhaps Venom could have been saved for part 4, but whatever. Oddly enough, in "Spider-man 2" I was left wishing Doc Ock had more screen time, and I perked up in this one when I saw a framed Daily Bugle headline claiming the police are still looking for Doc Ock. It could be an old paper, of course, but it tickled my fantasy that somehow he survived drowning while holding on to a runaway fusion reaction and he'll return in a later episode.
I generally like Kirsten Dunst, but I've never really gotten into her as Mary Jane. In the first movie, it was totally worth it to see her standing in the rain. In the second, her closing line of "Go get'em tiger" finally made her look like Mary Jane. (As an aside, it must be kinda embarrassing putting on a skin-tight suit after finally making out with the girl of your dreams--the danger of pitching a spider-tent is great). In part 3, there's nothing that really made her stand out. I guess she's obligatory as the love interest, and Mary Jane is certainly integral in the Spider-man story, but there could have been a lot less of her.
Okay, and finally to the religious aspect. Making Christ figures out of heroes--especially superheroes--has a pretty long tradition. But it seemed to me like the religious symbolism was pretty important (if perhaps a little subtle) in this movie. Early on, Spider-man gets the key to the city for saving the police chief's daughter Gwen Stacy, who gives a glowing speech describing him as "the one you turn to when all hope is lost" (paraphrased) in terms I've only ever heard used to describe one man--Jesus. Later he tells Eddie Brock "If you want forgiveness, go to church", which Eddie Brock does, but without giving anything away, he neither seeks nor finds forgiveness. Forgiveness itself is the main theme of the movie.
So here's the question I turned over in my mind on the way home. Is Spider-man set up as a Christ figure, or is he set up as a false icon (he even describes himself as an icon), ready for a Beatles-esque "I'm more popular than Jesus" fall? More importantly, does the movie affirm religion, or mock it? Certainly forgiveness is the theme, but Eddie Brock goes to church for revenge, not forgiveness. In the end, it's friends working together who defeat the villains, not prayer. And the other main theme besides forgiveness is personal choice, which can be antithetical to what many Christians have preached to me about turning your choices over to Jesus. Most importantly, in terms of Spider-man not being a Christ figure, is that (spoiler alert) he doesn't die at the end. Now that would've been a gutsy movie--kill off Spider-man, then make Harry into an apostle Paul character. Spider-man 4 could be the gospel according to the new Green Goblin, and Spider-man could even be resurrected after 3 days.
Okay, now I'm just getting silly....
[update--Apparently I'm not the first to notice the religious symbolism in this movie. A Google search for "Spider-man 3 religious symbolism" has a ton of results, but at first glance they all appear to be from Christian websites. So I might not be the first to notice this, but I might be the first non-religious nut to notice.
Also, I never meant to say that personal choice is antithetical to Christianity or all Christians, just a specific subset I've met (and who've evangelized to me). As a matter of fact, I like many Christians who incorporate a strong sense of personal responsibility in their faith. So if this movie is promoting Christianity (or religion in general), it's promoting a specific flavor that I approve of.
Finally, I forgot to mention the scourging and crucifixion symbolism in the final battle scene. Parts of it played like "The Passion of the Spider-Man". Which now makes me want to see a re-make of "Passion of the Christ" as a superhero movie, just so I can hear Pontius Pilate in his best evil villain cackle shrieking "why won't you stay dead!"]