Hollywood learned a long time ago you can never tell the same story too many times — but even Shakespeare and Homer knew that. It's all in the telling, after all.
So it's no surprise that a mere decade after Sam Raimi's Spider-Man and five years since his Spider-Man 3, we have a reboot of sorts of the enormously successful franchise.
The Amazing Spider-Man has a new lead in Andrew Garfield as Spidey/Peter Parker, a new girl in Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy, and Martin Sheen and Sally Field as the dependable Uncle Ben and Aunt May. The villain is a green Lizard (Rhys Ifans as the unbalanced scientist Dr. Curt Connors) instead of the Green Goblin. And Peter's crazy newspaper editor who thought the superhero was a menace is gone, replaced by a police captain (Denis Leary) who thinks Spidey is a menace despite his good deeds.
Other than that, it's like apples and apples, really. The new leads are cute and likable. Peter's change from geek to super-geek is interesting as he explores his new physical possibilities.
Smartly, director Marc Webb didn't go overboard on the computer-generated images, so there is more of an immediacy and less cartoonish feeling to the action sequences.
And the relationship between Peter and Gwen seems more filled out. Maybe that's because Webb made the bittersweet comedy (500) Days of Summer and didn't come on board with a Michael Bay, over-the-top effects agenda.
There is nothing wrong with The Amazing Spider-Man and a lot of things right. But for whatever reasons (perhaps studio dictates), the filmmakers didn't try to do something more radical like Chris Nolan's reimagining of Batman in The Dark Knight.
The Amazing Spider-Man retails for $30.99 or $40.99 three-disc combo on Blu-ray.