The last Spider-Man film was directed by Sam Raimi and released in 2007. That particular film, the third in Sony’s record breaking superhero franchise, was met with less than stellar reviews.

The reception on that particular movie was so poor, in fact, that Sony opted to completely reboot the franchise instead of continuing on with the previous creative team and stars Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst. The end result is “The Amazing Spider-Man,” directed by Marc Webb. Webb’s previous credits include the romantic comedy “(500) Days of Summer.”

The question of whether or not it was worth it to reboot an established franchise with an all new cast and story is one, thankfully, that has a pretty easy answer.

Fans of the original “Spider-Man” film will immediately notice that the story is a bit different than last time. Like the original film, this one takes liberties with the story told in the original comic books. The biggest change is the inclusion of Peter Parker’s parents, who were completely absent in Raimi’s original films.

Peter’s parents leave when he is very young, which leaves an indelible mark on his psyche. Another big change is that this time around Peter faces “The Lizard” as his first villain as opposed to “The Green Goblin.” While the story told in the original film was satisfying, it was more of a “by the numbers” adaptation of the overall themes of the original story.

“The Amazing Spider-Man” makes changes for the better. These changes allow Marc Webb to create a familiar world with familiar characters, but throw a completely new and unique story at audiences and keep them guessing.


Perhaps the biggest difference between the two films is the cast.

Replacing Tobey Maguire is relative newcomer Andrew Garfield, last seen in the hit film “The Social Network.”

His Peter Parker is immediately more tortured and tormented than Tobey Maguire’s ever was.

This makes him a more well-rounded and interesting character overall.

Despite his natural darkness, he also appears to be having a great deal of fun once he becomes the titular “Amazing Spider-Man.”

He jokes around a lot more than Tobey Maguire ever did and in this vein stays much more true to the original comics. Replacing Kirsten Dunst is Emma Stone as Gwen Stacey, Peter Parker’s first love.

This is a completely different character than the one present in Raimi’s films, which is sure to lead to a variety of new and interesting places.

A lot was said about the decision to replace Sam Raimi, who originally came from the horror and action genres, with Marc Webb. While Webb is an extremely competent director, he is mainly known for smaller indie films.

While his sensibility certainly helps the film excel during the comedic and dramatic moments, it’s when the action scenes begin that things start to falter. While the film is exciting, several “first person” web-swinging sequences do little to add to the overall enjoyment, and in one particular situation make it feel more like a video game than a film.

This is really the only area in which the film suffers. “The Amazing Spider-Man” is the first film starring Marvel’s merry web-slinger that is being released in 3D.

While this isn’t a 3D release that will rival previous benchmarks like “Avatar,” the extra dimension does add much overall to the experience of the film.

This is especially true as Peter swings high across the streets of New York City.

Whether or not the film will be worth the additional ticket prices is entirely up to how you feel about 3D films in the first place. If you like 3D, it’s worth the money. If you already don’t like 3D, “The Amazing Spider-Man” isn’t going to change your mind.

Overall, Webb’s “The Amazing Spider-Man” breathes new life into an admittedly tired franchise. This direction is both more dramatic than Raimi’s version and at times even more fun. Garfield certainly makes a better Peter Parker than Tobey Maguire.

He’s also closer to the character depicted in the original comics, even if the overall story strays far from that source material. “The Amazing Spider-Man” is one of the best times you’ll have at the theater all year.