We didn't need to start over with "Spider-Man" a mere 10 years after the first one with Toby Maguire and director Sam Raimi.
But a story can change depending on who's telling it.
The nuts and bolts for the Spider-Man tale are basically the same but this newer version takes its time developing the central character so the emotional blows Peter Parker suffers have more resonance, and his vengeance-charged decisions make more sense.
Indeed, it's well over an hour into the film before Parker puts on the Spider-Man suit, and strangely, it's after that movie starts to lose some of its interest for me.
Andrew Garfield, who should have been Oscar-nominated for "The Social Network," brings a new edginess to Peter Parker. His romance with Gwen Stacy, played by an irresistible Emma Stone, brings some of the movie's best moments but not at all because of what's in the script. Their genuine chemistry is what makes their scenes crackle.
Villains in the Spider-Man world have been among the least interesting on film, and unfortunately this one is no different. Rhys Ifans is smashing as Dr. Curt Connors, but when the brilliant scientist accidentally turns himself into a giant Lizard, it's never really clear what his intentions are or why he has suddenly lost his mind.
It's also way too convenient that Gwen works for him, despite her being in high school, and she knows the secret recipe of the antidote to stop him.
That part of the story is a drag, but so much about "The Amazing Spider-Man" works well. Scenes of Spidey swinging feel much more realistic and jarring, and the action scenes are impressive. And we know it's Garfield in many of these scenes because the filmmakers insist on Spider-Man consistently taking his mask off, which is kind of silly.
What is amazing is this is only Director Marc Webb's second movie after the charming "(500) Days of Summer." Where this movie's handful of screenwriters fail to put on the page, he puts on the screen.
While I resent this "Spider-Man" movie even exists, it's hard to resist.
EPPLER'S RATING: * * * 1/2
Out of five stars