Ten years ago - yes just ten - Sam Rami brought the web slinging superhero Spider-Man to the big screen with Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker/Spiderman. It went on to make $800 million and led to two more equally profitable sequels - the best of which was the second and the worst being "Spider-Man 3" in 2007.


So you probably are wondering why, after only 5-years since the last, did Marvel Comics and Sony decide to re-boot Spider-Man after the first three made a not-to-shabby $2.5 billion? Well, in two words: more money! Ah yes, you forget that Hollywood is in the business of making money, not movies! And some brilliant bean counter figured it that of all the superheroes, Spider-Man was the one that could easily translate into being a...chick flick!


Yeah, I said it! It's clever and it works well enough that guys can bring their girlfriends without an argument. Perfect!

I knew this was the case when Marc Webb was brought on to direct it. Why would Sony entrust a $150 million-plus action hero flick to a guy whose only feature film was the well done "500 Days of Summer"? You remember that character driven love story starring Joseph Gordon Levitt and Zooey Deschanel?


We all know the story of how Peter Parker's parents were killed, he lived with his aunt and uncle, gets bitten by a radioactive spider and gets superpowers. Old news that Kelly spends very little time. Instead he cast Andrew Garfield ("Social Network") as a brooding Peter Parker who is still trying to get a grip on his parents death. He finds his dad's old valise that leads him to Oscorp.


Oscorp is a mega-corporation headed by [natch] and evil guy named Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans) who just happens to be his dads former partner. Connors is trying to figure out how to grow another arm after losing one.


But before we get to all that, we still have Peter brooding and as you know from the "Twilight Series", brooding guys get hot chicks. Enter Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy, Peter's love interest. Here's the different take: she already likes Peter!

Removed from the formula is the nerdy, doofus Parker that Maguire presented. Nope, this Peter gets the girl an the film mostly centers around their relationship. A relationship that is interesting especially since her father is the chief of police and has a bounty on Spider-Man's head!


So back to the love story - and this is a love story - Gwen and Peter are so well connected it's refreshing. Superman lusted after Lois from afar. Batman's alter ego was a playboy with faceless women but a thirst for the bad girls (Catwoman). Ironman is Pepper Potts boss, so that really doesn't count. Why can one of the guys, just get the girl!


Emma Stone is the perfect choice with her different take on Peter's love interest - she is more grounded and likeable than Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst).


Casting Martin Sheen and Sally Field as Uncle Ben and Aunt May was a stroke of genius as they bring a better more realistic take on the roles than did Rami's.


Is there action? Of course, but it's better timed and more deliberate; not just CGI for the sake of CGI. Also, this Spider-Man isn't hiding behind a mask but uses it to complete the costume. But on several occasions the mask comes of - most touching is when a little boy puts it on to gain inner courage.


"The Amazing Spider-Man" dares to invite fans of romance to the action hero dance floor. Marc Webb brilliantly develops characters more than just special effects which will lead to a refreshed franchise with more possibilities.   -- RILEY MOORE