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Spider-Man 3 (***)

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Posted: Friday, May 11, 2007 10:00 pm

To hear some people tell it, "Spider-Man 3" has got to be the most egregiously awful, overstuffed, under-thought big-budget misfire in Hollywood history. From stories on the Internet about premier screenings in which audiences were downright hostile toward what they were seeing on screen, to word-of-mouth buzz that has the film painted as the Bay of Pigs of summer blockbusters, it doesn't appear as though many people have anything nice to say about Peter Parker's third cinematic outing.

Indeed, it is by far the franchise's weakest outing to date, and I can sympathize with many of the fanboys' complaints. Compared to the first two movies (particularly "Spider-Man 2," which is quite possibly the finest film ever made in the comic-book genre), this third installment seems underwhelming to a frustrating degree. But when evaluated on its own merits as a season-opening summer action flick, the eye-candy-laden "Spider-Man 3" has a lot to offer moviegoers looking for nothing more than a big, loud, sporadically thrilling theatrical experience.

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