New facts are learned about the death of Uncle Ben, there are 3 villains plaguing New York, and Spiderman himself must deal with the perils of a bloated ego. In the beginning we are dealt a lot of scenes of Peter and Mary Jane, who are dating again. There are a lot of courtship scenes as Peter prepares to propose to his true love. Spiderman is at the height of his popularity and this seems to be going to Peter's head as Mary Jane experiences a low point in her professional career. Soon, an alien symbiote that has crashed landed on a meteor on Earth attaches itself to Peter. On the surface, it merely changes Spiderman's suit black, but underneath it is also eating away at the core of Peter, taking his weaknesses and exploiting them. Soon Peter is more aggressive, vain and ego driven than anyone can actually believe.
At the same time, we learn that a common crook named Flint Marko was the real murderer of Uncle Ben. Turns out he was a partner of the robber from the first film and that he shot Ben for the car. On the run, Flint accidentally falls into a particle research test site and becomes joined with the sand in the pit. Thus, the Sandman is born. Learning these facts, Peter goes on a quest for vengeance for Uncle Ben's killer.
Realizing, however, that the new suit is controlling him and not the other way around, Peter rids himself of it only to have former rival photographer at the Daily Bugle, Eddie Brock be the next host for the symbiote. Yes fans, Venom is born! As it is, Brock has a bone to pick with Parker, who stole his job away when he revealed Brock had doctored old photos of Spidey to win the position. Add in that Peter hooks up with Brock's girlfriend Gwen Stacy after falling out with Mary Jane and there's some big time payback.
While all of the above is happening, Harry begins juicing himself up in his father's lab and takes over the mantle of Green Goblin. He still believes Peter to be the cause of his father's death and wants revenge as well.
Does all of this sound complicated? Well, it is. Three definitely ups the ante in terms of plot as more happens in this film than either of the other two. Thankfully, despite all these new story lines, director and writer Sam Raimi manages to keep things moving fairly well and juggles the plots well.
To mirror the inner war of Peter, everything about this film is darker. Clothes are drab colours. Scenes are shot largely at night. This is Spidey at his worst and Raimi has chosen rightfully so to show it in the surroundings as well.
But all is not dark. There's some comedic moments to lighten the tension. Fans can look for Bruce Campbell as a maitre'd at a French restaurant, and J. Jonah Jameson is a riot as always.
One can only wonder what may happen should a fourth film in the series be made as several plot lines are finished and a couple of new ones are just beginning.
Nicolas Cage plays Cris Johnson, a man who can see two minutes into the future and predict what will happen. The problem is that the future constantly shifts and every action will change the next future. The fact that he can only see up to 2 minutes ahead also limits him somewhat. It does however help greatly in his magic career as a Las Vegas showman. It also helps when playing small time gambling. Unfortunately, it has gotten the attention of the FBI who want Cris to help them stop a Russia nuclear bomb from being detonated on American soil.
As I said, there's a lot of backtracking in the story, which may serve to confuse some but is really important to the storyline. Cage turns in a great performance as the slightly eccentric seeming Cris. Julianne Moore is fine as a hard nosed FBI agent and Jessica Biel does all she can with a somewhat thankless role as the love interest.
Overall, I really enjoyed Next. It's a fun sci-fi film that is the perfect start of the summer season.