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'Spider-Man' amazes

7/11/2012

The Amazing Spider-Man" is the latest entry in a long line of Hollywood reboots. While the tradition of retelling great stories is certainly nothing new, it can be a little fatiguing when it is as front and center as it is in the film industry.

The Amazing Spider-Man" is the latest entry in a long line of Hollywood reboots. While the tradition of retelling great stories is certainly nothing new, it can be a little fatiguing when it is as front and center as it is in the film industry.

This film is very much a reboot. It is another origin story that takes a new direction with new cast and a (somewhat) new approach to the character.

Andrew Garfield plays the lead role of Peter Parker/Spider-Man very well. Garfield gives the character a refreshing youth that didn't come across when Toby Maguire wore the mask in Sam Raimi's trio of films last decade.

To me, that particular bit of acting and direction is essential.

Spider-Man has always been a kid struggling to be a kid and struggling to be a hero. Many 17-year-olds have more than enough trouble just dealing with being 17. "The Amazing Spider-Man" sells the idea of one of those 17-year-olds being given the safety of New York City to bear as a responsibility and watching him very admirably rise to the challenge.

This outing into Spidey's world sets a darker tone than its predecessors, which I felt was very appropriate. The problems and the villain that Spider-Man faces, in this first chapter of what is already planned to be a new trilogy, weaves a web that will hopefully carry the story on a more interesting arc than Sam Raimi's films did.

I really enjoyed this movie. The animation and effects are breathtaking and the film is full of fast-paced action.

My initial impression is that "The Amazing Spider-Man" has supplanted the original "Spider-Man" as my favorite depiction of the character, and it easily trounces the second and third installments of the Raimi trilogy. This film is second only to "The Avengers" in my favorite films of summer 2012 ranking, which is indeed high praise.

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James Gerstner works at the Fort Hays State University Foundation and is the founder and editor of Six Horizons Media at sixhorizons.com. Contact James at james@sixhorizons.com, @sixhorizons on Twitter, Facebook.com/sixhorizons.