The Spider Becomes a Man — and a Joy — in The Amazing Spider-Man

This is a print review that will run in the July 4 Issue.

The Amazing Spider-Man, an inexcusably good reboot-thing from director Marc Webb, celebrates the heartwarming arachno-genetic bar mitzvah in which a boy becomes a spider, and a spider becomes a man, a rite of passage last observed in Sam Raimi's uneven but often pretty great trilogy in the oh's.

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And there's definitely no getting around the film's resemblance to Raimi's version, partly because both directors made only minor deviations from the original comics. Additionally, the screenplay is by venerable old Alvin Sargent, who worked on Raimi's films, this time with James Vanderbilt and Steve Kloves.

In the first 45 minutes of any superhero's origin movie, nobody is super, and a bunch of busy plot threads converge toward a moment everyone already anticipates. It's kind of a formality at this point, like a commencement address, and it's generally relieved only by anomalies like Robert Downey Jr.'s charisma or General Zod inside that hoop thing.

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