Hollywood remakes are always questionable, suffering from fan based originals-

reboots even more so. Some have been wildly successful, such as Daniel Craig’s James

Bond; others not so much when one thinks about Jackie Earl Haley in that attempted re-

doing of  A Nightmare On Elm Street’s Freddy Krueger. Thus it wasn’t surprising that

some Spidey fans were understandably wary about a retread of one of Marvel’s most pop-

ular super heroes only five years after Tobey Maguire spun his last web in Spiderman 3.

Columbia Pictures, Marvel, along with director Marc Webb and his team of wri-

ters knew they had to do the Monty Python thing- “And now for something completely

different.” However, not so surprising thankfully, that webhead devotees would seriously

balk from something too radical. The basic storyline had to be the same, conveying an en-

tirely new perspective.

Retreating  to an earlier time in his life(even before the Daily Bugle), Peter Parker’s

childhood is  filled with the joy, parental love and affection any 4 year old boy would

cherish. Drastic changes occur when mom and dad (Embeth Davitz and Campbell Scott)

tell their son that they must go away for awhile. With no explanation, they leave Peter in

the care of his Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field). Naturally he’s con-

fused about all this. Could this have something to do with what his father, Richard, was

erasing from the blackboard in his study one day?

As we fast forward to his teen years, Peter is still bewildered, searching for answers

and yet has apparently acquired a keen intelligence from his father. He’s your typical, qui-

et nerd, which leaves him open to all the bedlam high school can offer-and his first crush,

Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone).It‘s certainly not a cake walk for him. Notwithstanding, in all

this personal turmoil his curiosity leads him to his dad’s old briefcase and science partner

Dr. Curt Connors of Oscorp who may have the elusive truths Peter is trailing.

We all know what happens once Mr. Parker enters the towering Oscorp building.

Only this time he enters a room he shouldn’t go into, where a fateful, sharp bite from an

experimental arachnid changes his life forever.

Andrew Garfield (remember him from The Social Network?) takes up where Tobey

left off from a two-fold motivation that offers a more interesting depth to Peter Parker’s

character. Not only must he deal with missing parents and the untimely death of Uncle

Ben, he’s also in a fierce battle with Gwen’s father George, New York City’s Chief of Po-

lice as the “vigilante” Spiderman. Plus there’s the requisite bad guy. The Lizard.

You cant’ help but to sympathize with Rhys Ifans Curt Connors. After all, he’s only

trying to help mankind in finding a natural way to regrow human limbs, not transforming

himself into a giant reptile. His own missing right forearm (he calls himself a southpaw)

is the driving impulse. He’s less of a hardcore baddie, and more like a Dr. Jekyll and Mr.

Hyde due to the substance he injects himself with that he believes is the final answer to

natural limb replacement.

Armed with her inherent wide eyed charm and grace, Emma Stone beautifully infuses

Gwen Stacy’s reconciliation of being a police chief’s daughter, one of  Connors’ trusted

assistants, and Peter’s new girlfriend. It’s a juggling act that gets a bit funny as well as

difficult as her relationship with Parker grows, especially after that fateful spider bite.

Learning a particular little secret about her new beau doesn’t exactly make her situation

any easier.

For his first feature film, Marc Webb has achieved a quirky balance between dra-

ma, high-speed action and those ever present, amazing (no pun intended) special effects

that draw us into the spirit of the movie. Thankfully he does this without getting too

bogged down in one area and sacrificing one for something else.

The Amazing Spiderman was a calculated risk at all levels. The timing wasn’t ex-

actly right, ths choice of a British actor may have also turned some fans off , and the gen-

eral movie going public simply may not have been ready. Apparently, the risk was worth

taking.