When I first heard about this movie, I was intrigued, but hesitant. I mean, it came out only a decade after the first in the Raimi trilogy, and 5 years after that trilogy ended. Plus, I had reservations about the aptly named director Marc Webb, mostly due to his previous film being the delightful rom-dramedy (500) Days of Summer.
Still, I decided to give this one a chance, because it's better to reboot things and try to start fresh as opposed to trying to rebuild on where the other films left off. As such, this is a conflicted movie, and it's obvious how much they try to distance themselves from the others, and, while they succeed here and there, the film doesn't live up to it's title, nor does it quite forge it's own unique territory.
That said, I found it to be really good, and quite enjoyable. This film can't totally deviate from what the others did, but it does put its own spin on things, suchas having a nice back story involving Peter's parents, which I liked in general, but really liked more because of how they tie it into the rest of the story. Also, as neat as the organic web shooters were, I really liked this take on the character, as he's both edgy and modern, yet still a socially outcast nerd, whose brainy side is actually on display a lot, like, they really do something with it, like having him make his web shooters a la the comics.
Plus, the film does something we've yet to see with a cinematic Spider-man, which is give us the Lizard. It was teased about in the Raimi films, but now we get Dr. Curt Connors/The Lizard in all his scaly glory. It's a pretty well done take on the character, too. Maybe not excellent, but definitely satisfactory.
The film does do a lot of things right, like having great cinematography, terrific music, passable stunts and action, good casting and solid performances, and a nice balance with the tone. It's dark, gritty, yet still playful, fantastical, and pretty funny. Andrew Garfield is a great choice for Peter/Spidey. I liked Tobey, but Andrew seems a bit more believable. He's got some great chemistry with Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy, and I liked how they use Gwen, and not MJ, which is more in line with the source material. Stone is good, but it took me a while to get used to seeing her as a blonde, even though that sadly is her natural hair color, despite how awesome she is as a redhead. Sally Field and Martin Sheen prove an enjoyable duo as Peter's aunt and uncle, Denis Leary makes a nice cinematic return as Capt. George Stacy, and Rhys Ifans is quite good as Connors.
The action isn't quite as stunning as it was with the Raimi films, but since there's a sequel, perhaps that will change. I thought they were done decently though. And, unless you want me to just nitpick this to death, about the only real complaint I have is that the pacing felt quite uneven after the first hour.
All in all, a surprisingly decent and passable film, despite its shortcomings. I give it a solid B to a light B+.