I will always say this movie came out too soon (it's been almost five years and two months to the day that the Raimi trilogy came to a screeching halt). I will always compare this film to that entire trilogy, as well as the comics and tv-shows, and I will always say this is one of the best reboots since Batman Begins.
Marc Webb's Spider-Man does everything it can to both differentiate itself from and pay homage to the Spider-Man stories that came before it, to great effect. The origin story many of us can recite in our sleep has been given some flexibility and is actually able to start, and keep, the film going at a brisk pace. In this universe Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) has not gone to college yet, has not met
Mary-Jane Watson, and is still in reeling from the disappearance of his parents. Also he has to fight a very large Lizard...finally.
The film sets itself apart by trying to reinterpret every familiar moment in past stories, and creating new scenarios or ways to put that moment on screen. It all works well because it does maintain a very fresh feel to it. The performances behind the film are also fresh, and pretty wonderful all around. Andrew Garfield has made Peter and Spider-Man his own by stripping away some of the confidence the spider bite should have given him, and replacing it with the feeling that not much has really changed for the newfound superhero, and I mean all that in the best possible way. Emma Stone's Gwen Stacy is a great foil for Garfield as they have great chemistry together, and Stone is put through the ringer as Stacy goes through her own significant changes throughout the film.
Finally, Rhys Ifans Dr. Conners/Lizard is very different than any of the Lizards before him. He's not a family man, he seems pretty far from being in he late 30s or early 40s, and he's very much in control of his actions. Instead of being a mindless monster, which could have easily happened, the Lizard is a very strong, very smart mastermind. And the only thing I found weird about him is that he didn't have the elongated jaw The Lizard is known for.
Visually this film is the definition of the word eye-candy with great moments Spider-Man swinging through New York in first and third person views. Everything is done very quickly, but very smoothly too as you can see every impossible feat of acrobatics in full view.
I couldn't find any real faults with the film other than some of the romantic elements between Peter and Gwen could have been played a little faster, and a few questions have been left for the sequel, guaranteeing that I'll come back for more