The Amazing Spider-Man
Directed by Marc Webb
As enjoyable as the Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies may have been, they never quite seemed to meet the full potential of what a Spider-Man movie was capable of. Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst very poor casting choices, and Sam Raimi's added goofiness was at times entertaining, but often distracting. Spider-Man, being one of (if not) the most popular superheroes ever, deserves more. The Amazing Spider-Man is the one I've been waiting for.
In recent years the superhero genre has found a new breath of life, embracing a darkness that allows for far more layered plot and character development. This also creates a sense of danger for the characters that was previously not to be seen. While watching this movie, I found myself genuinely concerned for the lives of its characters -- something I've never experienced before in a Marvel movie. The original Spider-Man movies had no such sense of peril. Some of the characters may die, but there was never any weight behind their potentially life-threatening situations. In this movie, they somehow managed to keep me emotionally concerned at all times.
But to me, the main thing that made this movie work so well was the acting/casting. Andrew Garfield was an excellent choice. His personality and sense of humor makes for a very entertaining and likeable lead, capturing what I believe to be the essence of the character with great success. Rhys Ifans makes for an interesting and layered villain (quite reminiscent of Doc Ock from Spider-Man 2), with Emma Stone as the main love interest, and a strong supporting cast, which includes Martin Sheen, Sally Field, and Denis Leary. I feel all of these actors suited their roles well, delivering memorable, believable performances.
The story may not be incredibly unique, but in taking its time setting up background for the characters and providing motivation for Spider-Man, I find it hard to argue with the results. Some of the plot-points may seem contrived, but no more than you could expect from a superhero movie -- which is something that you must keep in mind when watching this kind of movie. Regardless, The Amazing Spider-Man is about as good as I feel a superhero movie could be.
It may have been a premature reboot, but many of the mistakes of the original trilogy aren't to be found here. To compare, the only significant detail they didn't improve upon with this movie was the music. But if you find it unfair to purely compare it to the Raimi films, on its own it still stands as one of the most enjoyable superhero movies I've ever seen.