Anyone ready for a remake of the ''Lord of the Rings'' trilogy? ''Harry Potter?" Steven Spielberg's ''Catch Me If You Can?"
''Catch'' and the second installments of ''Lords'' and ''Potter'' all came out in 2002, the same year as Sam Raimi's ''Spider-Man.'' Say what you want about ''Spider-Man 3'' (which was playing in theaters only five years ago), but Raimi's ''Spider-Man'' launch was pretty amazing, and the first sequel was even better.
Going back to the beginning with another origin story when it was done so well so recently seems like an odd choice, and it's one that ''The Amazing Spider-Man'' doesn't overcome completely.
That said, the movie largely works on its own and tells that origin story in significantly different ways. Some of the differences are in the plot - Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), not Mary Jane Watson is the female lead/love interest; there's no Green Goblin and no newspaper job for Parker at the Daily Bugle - but the bigger difference is stylistic.
Raimi's ''Spider-Man'' was set in the present, but its style and storytelling devices were rooted in the original comic book created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko in the early 1960s. Director Marc Webb's approach has a more contemporary vibe. The only anachronism is that shutterbug Parker still is shooting on film instead of digital.
By far the best thing about ''The Amazing Spider-Man'' is its star. Andrew Garfield looks too old and too good to be an outcast teenager. But he brings a youthful exuberance to Peter that makes him seem younger than he looks. He makes the viewer feel the sense of discovery that Peter has as he tests the limits of his new powers, and he gets a big toothy grin of self-satisfaction when something goes particularly well. There's an impulsiveness to the way he portrays Peter/Spider-Man that is fun to watch.
WHAT: ''The Amazing Spider-Man''
STARS: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Martin Sheen, Sally Field, Chris Zylka, Campbell Scott and Embeth Davidtz
STORYLINE: A teen searching for the truth about his parents' deaths gets bitten by a genetically mutated spider, which gives him powers he uses to fight crime and pursue his family secrets.
DIRECTOR: Marc Webb
RATING: PG-13 for sequences of action and violence
That attitude can be seen when Peter extracts revenge on the basketball court against a high school bully (played by Howland native Chris Zylka, who has a substantial role in the big-budget film). The emotional swing when Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) rights his moral compass and convinces him that he should take no pleasure in humiliating someone else, no matter how deserving, also is handled deftly. The few scenes between Garfield and Sheen are among the film's highlights.
Emma Stone isn't too convincing as a 17-year-old either, but the chemistry between Garfield and her makes it easier to overlook. Even though Stone is playing a different character than Kirsten Dunst did in the 2002 film, the roles largely fill the same function, and ''Amazing'' is good enough to make audiences look forward to seeing Garfield and Stone in a sequel where they will be less bound to a story we've already seen.
In this version, Parker's curiosity about his parents' disappearance and eventual death leads him to his dad's former research partner, Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), and OsCorp. Connors, who only has one arm, is obsessed with research on reptiles that are able to regenerate their own body parts when lost. Connors hopes that his research could benefit himself and all humans, creating a world of equals. Peter's access to his father's old papers leads to a breakthrough - one with dangerous side effects.
That Connors isn't the stereotypical megalomaniacal bad guy also is a plus for the film.
Webb, whose only previous feature was the clever romantic comedy ''500 Days of Summer,'' doesn't seem overwhelmed by the scale or the demands here. The action sequences are handled well and the computer-generated effects pop visually. This ''Spider-Man'' is shot in 3D, but outside of a half-dozen or so shots that exploit the technology, the choice has more to do with cash flow than storytelling. Opt for the 2D version.
A bigger problem is the screenplay by James Vanderbilt, Alvin Sargent and Steve Kloves that is filled with logic flaws that grow increasingly annoying. Would a high school student ever have the access and authority that Gwen has at OsCorp? And Spider-Man's powers and vulnerabilities seem to fluctuate with the needs of the story. He can fall 50 stories and crash land on his back into a floodlight and suffer no apparent injuries. But a single bullet to his leg seriously hampers him - until it magically stops.
In a briskly paced action sequence, it's the kind of thing a lot of moviegoers will overlook. But the hardcore fans, the ones who will go see it multiple times if they like it and parse every detail, it's the kind of thing that keeps this ''Spider-Man'' from being amazing.