CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- I'm in the minority as a comic book geek because I hated the original "Spider-Man" movie trilogy with a burning passion.
Though I have personal vendettas with those movies, including my grudge against Hollywood for its failed attempt to get me to like Kirsten Dunst (it's never going to happen, Hollywood!), my main problem was how poorly the actors represented the characters. Thankfully, this reboot has a cast that knocks it out of the park.
Aside from the death of Uncle Ben being changed and an alteration of the classic "with great power comes great responsibility" quote, this is a movie that keeps the core of the comic's lore at heart. Gone is Mary Jane, replaced by the original comic love interest, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone, "The Help"). The Green Goblin is ditched as the villain and replaced with Dr. Curt Connors, aka The Lizard (Rhys Ifans, "Notting Hill").
Connors is an amputee scientist studying cross-species genetics -- and the ex-partner of Peter's father (who's seen in flashbacks). After a malfunction with an experimental serum, he transforms into his alter ego, The Lizard, and becomes determined to turn everyone in the city into fellow reptilian hybrids.
Andrew Garfield ("The Social Network") is nothing short of amazing as Peter Parker. Unlike Toby Maguire, Garfield seems to understand the nature of Parker's character and plays him as a lonely wallflower rather than a social outcast.
Stone and Garfield have an onscreen chemistry like few I've ever seen. Their eyes sparkle like a couple really in love, and they both stand their ground with witty banter. (The two stars are dating, which may be what makes the performance so genuine)
The film also does away with the original trilogy's idea of organic webbing and replaces it with the comic's mechanical shooter. I appreciate this change as it highlights what a genius Peter Parker is -- something the movie likes to emphasize.
Marc Webb ("(500) Days of Summer") has expertly directed this superhero flick, focusing on what a normal teenager would be going through in Peter's situation. At times, Peter seems almost giddy with his abilities, though he understands and stays firm in his belief that he's there to protect others. It's fun to watch Garfield's spider-like movements, and he seems to enjoy donning the red and blue spandex suit.
Although many people felt it was unnecessary to reboot the series so quickly, it's a studio move that I applaud. "The Amazing Spider-Man" manages to create its own mythology while being inspired by the original comics. Hardcore Spidey fans and newcomers alike are sure to be pleased.