It's only been 10 years since the Spider-man franchise began on the big screen. But, I'm guessing that since the third installment--featuring the Sandman, an incredibly weak villain, and Venom, a great villain completely misused--was so awful, that it was determined a reboot was in order. Thank goodness!

The Amazing Spider-Man is a fresh take on the blockbuster series as it retells, in great detail, the Spider-man origin--going all the way back to Peter Parker's childhood and the mysterious circumstances under which his parents disappeared and were later killed. This, of course, led to his being raised by his Uncle Ben and Aunt May, who are now played by Martin Sheen and Sally Field.

This, along with the casting of The Social Network's Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker/Spider-man, contemporizes the whole story, almost immediately. Although I will admit that there are those who might think devoting the full first hour to his beginnings is overkill, I loved it. It sets up the Parker character expertly, and it gives the whole film more of a "real feel," oddly enough.

In the first three web-slinger movies--and despite the fact that I liked the second one--New York City always had a slightly phony quality about it. But The Amazing Spider-Man gives us what feels like a completely authentic Big Apple.

The villain here is the Lizard, a mutation of Peter Parker's mentor, Dr. Curt Connors. His genetics experiments, in an attempt to regrow his missing right limb, go horribly wrong.

Admittedly, the Lizard isn't the most interesting of Spider-man's villains, but, for some reason, that doesn't seem to be important this time around. It's the full character development of Peter Parker and Spider-man that stand front and center here.

This Peter seems more like the one from the comics that I read from the time I was 6-years-old on into high school. This one makes more sense than the Tobey Maguire version in the previous three.

I am very pleasantly surprised by The Amazing Spider-Man and want to see it again.