On one web-slinging hand, The Amazing Spider-Man (PG-13) appears in tune with Sam Raimi's vision of the Marvel Comics superhero, albeit with a new director, stars and 3-D effects unavailable before.
On the other hand, it's a retooling of the franchise so complete that Raimi's replacement, Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer), feels obligated to run through the whole Peter Parker/Spidey origin again.
Parents gone, raised by aged uncle and aunt, bitten by a radioactive spider, avenging the uncle's murder, blah, blah, blah. The main differences are that Peter isn't a timid geek anymore but a sulking skateboarder (Andrew Garfield), and he's crushing on adorkable Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) rather than goody-two-shoes Mary Jane Watson. Whether that's an improvement remains to be seen.
Peter's new (again) superpowers are challenged by a mad scientist (Rhys Ifans) transformed into the Lizard, somewhere below Doctor Octopus and above the Sandman on the Marvel super villain interest scale.
The Amazing Spider-Man opens Tuesday, getting a big jump on the Fourth of July box office race. A review will be published at tampabay.com/features and on Etc, Page 2B.
Steve Persall, Times movie critic