Conversations with friends force me to think more critically about Spiderman 3. Yes, it was sentimental fluff; yes, if you had big expectations and a good memory of 1 and 2, you might be severely disappointed.
In my case, I didn’t really have any expectations, I wasn’t particularly excited about it, and my memory of 1 and 2 had faded somewhat. I just remember them as awesome. Why, exactly, would take some time to remember. Looking back at all three, after seeing them again at a later date, maybe, I will have much more refined and “critical” opinions, in similar fashion maybe (excuse the Star Wars comparison again) to my experiences of the “new trilogy” of Star Wars. I did enjoy Episode 1 tremendously when I saw it, despite also enjoying great anticipation. Even if it really sucked. It’s fun, and it’s more about what it is and what it stands for, when I see it the first time, than about how good it is. Given time, given a second viewing (by coincidence: happens to be on TV, or shows on a plane or something), given further episodes to compare to, or even being reminded of the charms of the old trilogy…
Consider (the first few paragraphs?) of the suspension of disbelief article on Wikipedia. I am not very consistent in my application of suspension of disbelief (and I am maybe abusing the theory right now). Sometimes I take my suspensions quite far, at other times, quite the opposite: I saw a snippet of “Stealth” on TV the other day. I found it highly offensive, having never in my life seen anything as absurd. (Not even the absurd space-flight of “Armageddon” is mentionable in the context of “Stealth”‘s absurdity. Uh, oops.) You can learn something about a person’s “field” (of expertise, study, interest, whatever) by looking at where their “suspension of disbelief” fails.
The extent to which the suspension can be called compromised is often dependent on the beholder. A physicist, for example, may be more likely to question a fantastical breach of known physics, while an architect’s suspension of disbelief may be damaged by being introduced to a building of unrealistic proportions.
I will blog some more about realism in movies at a later date. (Sometimes some forms of “realism” requires departing from the “facts”.)