Spidey Sense Tingling! ?Spider-Man 3? Has a Tomatometer!

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Though flicks like "300" and "Ghost Rider" have been opening to huge numbers, everyone knows blockbuster season doesn't officially start until the big-budget sequels come out. Well, break out the sunscreen because summer '07 forerunner "Spider-Man 3" is upon us: it drummed up its first five reviews, leading to an 80 percent Tomatometer.

Charlotte O'Sullivan of the Evening Standard considers "Spider-Man" and "Spider-Man 2" less than perfect, arguing the excellent cast was always upstaged by the even better special effects. With "3," Sullivan has witnessed total harmony between CG and actors, and she offers this heady praise:

"It's easily the best of the trilogy and, for my money, one of the most enjoyable films of the decade."

Todd Gilchrist over at our sister site, IGN Movies, is happy to report that "Spider-Man 3" maintains the playful tone that made the other two movies so memorable:

"[It's] fun, playful and appealing to more than just Spidey's core audience of fan boys and comic book followers. [The series] can be considered the most faithful representation of ?comic book reality' committed to celluloid."

Over at The Hollywood Reporter, Michael Rechtshaffen calls the movie "a dazzling kick-off to the summer '07 season." Alone, the movie doesn't quite reach the heights of "Spider-Man 2," but as a capper to the series, it's worthy:

"Certain to please the geek squad by remaining ever true to its comic book roots while retaining that satisfying emotional core that has registered with equal numbers of female fans, 'Spider-Man 3' has all its demographic bases covered."

Sci-Fi Movie Page's James O'Ehley has equal praise and minor reservations. An early action sequence is so good that it makes everything afterwards pale slightly, but otherwise, the film doesn't drag at all despite its running time (156 minutes!). O'Ehley summarizes his review with the final line:

"Hugely entertaining and enjoyable. What summer blockbusters are all about -- go see it."

The loyal opposition comes in the form of Variety's Todd McCarthy, who writes that the movie drops back down to original "Spider-Man" level. McCarthy argues that the characters are going through the same motions from the first two movies, and that "Spider-Man 3" is only busier and overstuffed with multiple villains. In his words:

"Peter still acts like the prim, naive high school kid he was when first seen in the series five years ago, as if he hadn't learned anything through all his subsequent trials. Scripting of the many domestic scenes between Peter and women, specifically Mary Jane and Rosemary Harris' Aunt May, is very dull and unimaginative."

"Spider-Man 3" swings into theaters May 4.