So here's the big question: What's different from this film than the other films that came out between 2002 and 2007? The answer: Not a whole lot. Like the Batman series, pretty much everyone knows the basic back story of Spider-Man. Loser science geek Peter Parker (Brought to us today by Andrew Garfield, last seen in The Social Network) is being raised by his aunt and uncle when he's accidentally bit by a genetically altered spider and is thus given the "abilities" of something you smash with a newspaper (honestly, if I saw a spider swinging at full speed through my house, and shooting webs 5X the length of it's body, I would freak). His uncle is killed when he uses his powers for selfish reasons and he decides to become a super hero to make his father/uncle proud. A strange difference Amazing has to the previous series is that Spidey's origins is stretched out through the entirety of the film, creating this oddly placed theme of missing father throughout the piece. Usually a super hero's back story is done in the first 15 minutes and the hero all but forgets it by the second act. It does add this unique lost father concept that the comic books rarely touch on, which is a point for the film, but honestly isn't enough to salvage it from what I'm going to say next.
The real problem with this film was that it just went nowhere. The idea of adding Gwen Stacy without Mary Jane, Spider-Man's other love interest, is a terrible mistake. Mary Jane and Gwen are supposed to be rivals for Parker's love.Without her, Gwen just feels like a blonde version of Mary Jane, maybe a little more nerdy, but nothing to get excited over. The villain, Lizard, ends up being incredibly confusing, since he's apparently able to heal almost instantaneously from gunshot wounds, shotgun blasts, and even carbon dioxide, that was supposed to be his big weakness. He also has this weird habit of putting on a lab coat, only to later rip it off when it gets destroyed by bullets and masonry, presumably because the Lizard in the comic books always wore a tattered lab coat, but here it just doesn't make any sense. The film is meant to be seen in 3D, which means if you see it in a normal theater like I did, all the funky web slinging shots and excruciatingly long skateboarding scene just feel confusing and altogether makes the film feel like it has a run time of ten hours. Even the aforementioned lost father theme gets confusing at times, with Peter Parker's school bully turning best friend for some unknown reason, presumably because his father figure is also dead.
The shear star power of the film is mind-boggling considering the script. America's sweetheart Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy, the legendary Sally Field and Martin Sheen as Aunt May and Uncle Ben, and Rescue Me's Denis Leary fill out the supporting cast, but this also creates the problem of they're just being too many characters fighting for screen time. People see super hero movies to see super heroes, not the hero's entire Facebook friend list.
In the end, the whole film was just mediocre. It had a feeling of heard-it-before-but-better, like listening to the karaoke version of your favorite song. The notes are all there but they just have no flare or individuality. If you've got kids old enough to get into super heroes they'd probably like it, but if not it's probably best just to watch the Avengers over again and wait for Dark Night to come out.
P.S. There is crap after the credits, but it's honestly not worth sticking around for.