A reboot worth making.
I caught this film twice: once, thanks to Nuffnang and Energizer, then a second time with a few new friends I've made.
So yes, Sony continues to hang onto the Spider-Man franchise by releasing a new movie, preventing any hope of ever letting Spidey cross over with the Avengers and the like. That's okay, though, because this was a good way to restart the franchise after the rather low note it ended with in Spider-Man 3.
I don't need to explain The Amazing Spider-Man's setup to you, because the general blurb says it all: bitten by a radioactive (or in this case, genetically engineered) spider, Peter Parker gains the proportional strength and agility of a spider! When his uncle, Ben Parker was shot by a petty thief whom he failed to stop earlier on, he realized that with great power comes great responsibility, and he becomes... the Amazing Spider-Man!
The villain of the hour in this reboot is Dr. Curt Connors, also known as The Lizard, and in place of Mary Jane Watson, Spidey's love interest is Gwen Stacy, which leads to an interesting dynamic between Peter and Gwen's father, Captain Stacy. No sign of J. Jonah Jameson, but the supporting cast including Aunt May, Uncle Ben, Flash Thompson, and Captain Stacy all prove very capable of bringing Spidey's new origin story together.
To compare Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire would be very unsporting, but needless to say, Amazing Spider-Man hit all the right notes to bring Spidey more in line with the Lee-Ditko conception of an everyman hero who's also a hilarious wise-cracker. Spider-Man was making funny quips, being all science-y, and even making actual web shooters instead of being gifted with organic ones.
As a character, Peter Parker really stood out in this one, and his dynamic with Gwen Stacy was perfectly paced. There was no silly back and forth over his secret identity, as he ended up being rather cavalier about it, in fact, which lent to the aura of him being new and completely uninitiated to this superhero thing.
It was good to see that they kept Norman Osborn completely in the shadows for the first film, but I think it was pretty hilarious how his face was obscured even in a presentation in his own highly public, very high-profile company. Does he really have pictures taken with his face in the shadows? Huh. I didn't know that was even a thing.
It looks pretty badass for Bill Gates, though.
With the seeds properly planted for a sequel or two or three, there's just so much to look forward to with the franchise, but there's no question about it: Amazing Spider-Man is a great reboot and well worth watching. Just don't bother with the 3D, though, because there's barely anything worth the additional hundred fifty bucks or so for it.
How does this compare to the avengers? To be honest, I find it very hard to outright say that the Avengers was the better film, even if the scale of that film was just much greater. There's just something about Spider-Man that appeals to me so much that if I see them one after the other, I might actually end up giving the nod to Amazing Spider-Man over the Avengers when it comes to which film I liked better - yet I'd probably give the same grade to The Avengers as I'm about to give to Amazing Spider-Man...
Fun Rating: A+ (It's a super-hero romp with the right amounts of comedy, drama, and action.)
Critical Rating: A+ (Well, with strong characters, a great cast, witty writing and pacing, it's hard to find any fault with this film.)