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When Sony announced plans to ‘reboot’ its lucrative Spider-Man franchise, arachnerds everywhere felt their spider-senses tingle. After all, the first chapter in Sam Raimi’s spider-trilogy perfectly captured the spirit of Marvel Comics’ marquee character; the exceptional follow-up raised the bar for big screen superheroics; and the ambitious if underwhelming threequel had barely gathered cobwebs. So how does this new instalment fare? For the most part, very well. The story beats remain familiar, but indie director Mark Webb endeavours to keep things fresh. Wisely, he downplays the ‘man-in-spandex’ angle, focusing instead on the relationships that define the tumultuous existence of the wall-crawler’s alter ego. Importantly, Andrew Garfield offers a compelling revision of Peter Parker – whereas Tobey Maguire’s hero was soft-spoken and earnest to a fault, Garfield’s bright albeit troubled teen is a skateboarding quipster who stands up to bullies but is hamstrung by the loss of his parents. Also impressive is Emma Stone who is charming as Peter’s sassy love interest. Despite the lingering sense of deja vu, the film deserves praise for its vivid characters, convincing special effects, webtastic action and a memorable cast. Oh, and watch out for an inspired cameo by Spidey’s creator, Stan Lee!

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