'Amazing Spider-Man' Successfully Reboots The Series

The unmistakable air of Hollywood calculation hangs over The Amazing Spider-Man but this isn't necessarily a bad thing. The world was ready for new stars in a retelling of the comic book saga, thanks to strong performances from actors Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone.

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LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

The hashtag #Spider-Man will be trending today. It's opening day for "The Amazing Spider-Man," the new movie. This Spidey is a reboot of the series, with a brand new cast. It's the fourth Spider-Man film in the past 10 years. Los Angeles Times and MORNING EDITION film critic Kenneth Turan says it's a fresh take.

KENNETH TURAN, BYLINE: The unmistakable air of Hollywood calculation hangs over "The Amazing Spider-Man," but this isn't necessarily a bad thing. The world was ready for new stars in a retelling in the comic book saga, thanks to strong performances from actors Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN")

EMMA STONE: (as Gwen Stacy) He's one of Midtown Science's best and brightest.

RHYS IFANS: (as Dr. Curt Connors) Really?

STONE: (as Gwen Stacy) He's second in his class.

ANDREW GARFIELD: (as Peter Parker) Oh, second? You sure about that?

TURAN: Garfield, indisputably one of Britain's top young actors, brings an interesting whiff of James Dean's teen anguish to the role of Peter Parker, a high school student turned into a superhero by a nasty spider bite. The gifted Emma Stone is equally good as Parker's fetching high school classmate. So whether it's getting to know each other, getting romantic or fighting the villainous Lizard, the times these two interact on screen are all they're supposed to be.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN")

GARFIELD: (as Peter Parker) So, you want to - I don't know. I don't know. I don't know we could - or we could do something else or we could, you know, like, we could...

STONE: (as Gwen Stacy) Yeah.

GARFIELD: (as Peter Parker) Yeah?

STONE: (as Gwen Stacy) Yeah, either one.

TURAN: In addition to the romance, "Spider-Man" does contain some impressive 3-D vistas. But the film has to overcome the burden of an overextended running time and a tendency to treat Parker's story with excessive reverence. And though the Lizard, heaven help him, is not quite an opponent for the ages, actors Garfield and Stone are good enough to ensure that you won't be missing their predecessors.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN")

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: (Singing) Wherever there's a hang up, you'll find the Spider-Man.

WERTHEIMER: Kenneth Turan reviews movies for MORNING EDITION and The L.A. Times. This is NPR News.

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