Spider-Man 3 | 2007
- DIRECTOR |
- Sam Raimi
The third (and, as it turned out, final) in the Sam Raimi series crams in so much – the Mary Jane jealousy plot, the resolution of Harry Osborn’s story, the ‘dark’ Spider-Man, Eddie Brock as Venom, and the appearance of Sandman (not to mention a complete and unconvincing rewrite of the killing of Uncle Ben) – that there’s little time for anything to register much of an impact. The special effects, though, take it to a new level.
As before, though set in ‘New York’, the filming is split between East and West coasts, with even a little of Cleveland thrown in.
It seems to be good times all round with Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst) finally preparing for her Broadway debut in Manhattan Memories. The stage door to the theatre, where she warbles They Say That Falling In Love Is Wonderful (from Annie Get Your Gun, if you were wondering) is the Broadhurst Theater, 235 West 44th Street in Manhattan’s Theatre District.
As before, the theatre interior is somewhere totally different. It’s the Orpheum Theatre, 842 South Broadway, downtown Los Angeles. The beautifully restored auditorium has also been seen in Christopher Nolan's The Prestige, Tim Burton’s Ed Wood, Kenneth Branagh’s enjoyably daft Dead Again, Oliver Stone’s The Doors – and did you recognise it as the venue for the silent movie premiere with Uggie the dog in The Artist?).
A few old favourites return: Once again, the plush penthouse of Harry Osborn (James Franco) is New York’s Tudor City on the outside, and Beverly Hills’ Greystone Mansion, 905 Loma Vista Drive, on the inside; and, again, the ‘Daily Bugle Building’ is the Flatiron Building. Peter Parker’s scruffy apartment is still Chrystie Street on the Lower East Side as it was in Spider-Man 2.
As the rivalry between Peter and Harry flares up again, the two fight above the streets of downtown Los Angeles, once again standing in for New York, and the alley into which Harry falls, losing his memory, is behind – yes – the Orpheum Theatre (don’t try to track down he hospital he’s taken to, which was is the studio set for TV series Strong Medicine).
Another strand of the story has Flint Marko (Thomas Haden Church) stumbling into the ‘Particle Physics Test Facility’, which was built on the Disney Ranch in California, where he undergoes a strange transformation into Sand Man.
In the real New York, Spider-Man has his hands full saving the day, and Gwen Stacy (Bryce Dallas Howard) from the out-of-control crane at the junction of 6th Avenue and West 55th Street. He’s rewarded with a brash ceremony in Foley Square, where all this attention seems to be going to his head.
It’s quickly back to California for ‘38th Street’, where Marko / Sand Man is able to conceal himself in a truck of sand, which is parked on Fifth Street, downtown LA. As he wreaks havoc in the city, you can see the Alexandria Hotel (John Doe’s place from Se7en) on the left, and the site where Colin Farrell was pinned down in the Phone Booth on the right, at the junction of Fifth and Spring Streets.
It gets more complicated. Wafting through Foley Square as a cloud of sand, Marko finds a truck full of money heading west on Euclid Avenue – in downtown Cleveland, Ohio.
The avenue was the city’s prestigious address from the 1860s to the 1920s, boasting a string of mansions that came to be known as Millionaire’s Row.
The city was so eager to encourage filming that the road was resurfaced to provide smooth filming. It’s on Euclid at 13th Street that Spidey is punched out of the truck. He’s dragged by a web thread through the traffic, past the Wyndham Hotel and the Halle Building, before the truck flips over at the junction with East 9th Street.
The giant web is left hanging across Euclid Avenue just east of this junction. The area is rapidly becoming the Big Apple’s stunt double. The glass-domed Rotunda of the Cleveland Trust Building on the southeast corner later became the ‘New York’ bank in The Avengers (Avengers Assemble), which filmed its climactic ‘Park Avenue’ battle on East 9th Street.
The ‘Restaurant Constellation’, where the maitre d’ (Raimi regular Bruce Campbell) is keen to help Peter’s proposal to Mary Jane, is the Doheny Mansion, Chester Place, south of downtown LA. Sam Raimi returned to this striking building (part of the Mount St Mary Campus) for enjoyably splurgy horror Drag Me To Hell as well as The Princess Diaries, Catch Me If You Can and Shop Girl.
Still in LA are the subway tunnels in which Spidey and Sand Man fight, which were built in the studio – this time at the Sony lot in Culver City.
Two more locations you won’t find are ‘The Jazz Room’, where Mary Jane gets a singing job, and ‘d’Esposito Coffee’ (supposedly on ‘Jane Street’ in the Village), where Harry tells Peter he’s the other guy in Mary Jane’s life. They’re both part of the ‘New York’ section on the Paramount backlot in Hollywood.
Mary Jane is living in Brooklyn, where you can see her apartment at 264 Court Street, at Butler Street, in the Cobble Hill district – opposite the Cobble Hill Cinema (cunningly disguised as the ‘Stuyvesant’).
Her break up with Peter is filmed on the Bow Bridge in Central Park, the graceful span you may recognise from lots of films including the original Highlander.
Falling under the influence of the dark symbiote suite, and turning all emo, Peter kits himself out with a cool black suit and a slightly embarrassing swagger. He gets his new threads not at a clothes store, but from the Citibank building at 476 Broadway south of Broome Street in SoHo, New York.
The church in which Eddie Brock (Topher Grace) prays to Jesus to kill Peter Parker, is another LA favourite. It’s St. Brendan's Catholic Church, 310 South Van Ness Avenue, in Hancock Park, previously seen in the 1953 War of the Worlds and in Fight Club.
The construction site of the final battle was faked with CGI, and the funeral that winds up the trilogy is held at Cypress Hills Cemetery, 833 Jamaica Avenue in Brooklyn, last resting place of Mae West and painter Piet Mondrian.