Marc Webb, who broke out with 2009's bittersweet indie romance "(500) Days of Summer" before receiving the intimidating duties of rebooting the "Spider-Man" franchise just five years after 2007's "Spider-Man 3," initially had a bit of trouble distancing himself from the earlier Sam Raimi series. 2012's "The Amazing Spider-Man" was a competent film, but also an inferior one, overcome by a sense of ennui and familiarity as its origin story of how average teenager Peter Parker found his purpose as the extraordinary, crime-fighting title superhero basically repeated much of what had already been covered in 2002's "Spider-Man." That this particular telling was no match for the earlier one, less inspired and layered and emotionally resounding, rendered it a reboot that didn't quite convince that its existence was necessary. Webb returns to the director's chair on "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" and, with all of the pesky story setup already out of the way, is free to let loose and expand his vision in sometimes startlingly brave ways. Here, then, is a lavish big-screen spectacle to be proud of, an entry in the Marvel canon that comes thrillingly close to matching the spirit and sentiment found in Raimi's original trilogy.
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