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You need to watch Sony’s most underrated Spider-Man movie on Netflix ASAP

It may not be the best Spider-Man, but it stars the best Peter Parker.

Ten years ago, the superhero genre was in a very different state. Thanks to the release of The Avengers, the MCU was starting to become a Hollywood behemoth, but it hadn’t yet reached the heights it would throughout the late 2010s. Meanwhile, in 2012, Sony and Fox were both making their own Marvel movies in an attempt to build out their own interconnected superhero franchises.

Every studio wanted its own MCU, and for Sony, those ambitions were first manifested in 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man, the film that tried but failed to spawn the successful Spider-Man universe that Sony is still trying to build. But it’s unfair to define The Amazing Spider-Man solely by how it failed to launch a franchise.

The film itself is actually a lot of fun. It’s thrilling and goofy in the ways all Spider-Man movies should be, and it centers on a lead performance that audiences are only just now starting to appreciate. The Amazing Spider-Man is due for a re-evaluation, and it’s arrived on Netflix for a proper second chance.

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: The Amazing Spider-Man follows a teenage boy named Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) who suddenly gets superhuman powers after being bitten by a radioactive spider. Following an intense personal loss, Peter decides to become a vigilante, only to find himself facing off against his former mentor, Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), after Connors accidentally turns himself into a rampaging lizard. Hey, it happens.

None of this really matters much, and none of the twists The Amazing Spider-Man brings to Peter Parker’s origin story are inventive enough to be noteworthy. The film’s action sequences are entertaining too, but its visual style never comes close to matching the vibrant and energetic aesthetic of the Sam Raimi-directed Spider-Man trilogy that preceded it. Instead, where The Amazing Spider-Man shines is in its exploration of Peter Parker’s loneliness and his relationship with Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone).

Gwen and Peter’s love story fills The Amazing Spider-Man with more than its fair share of heart, and the chemistry between Garfield and Stone is palpable. If nothing else, the film understands what makes Parker tick, and his desire to love and be loved is made heartbreakingly clear through one of the best romances in superhero movie history.

Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker and Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy in 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man.Sony Pictures Releasing

Andrew Garfield himself is the best reason to re-watch The Amazing Spider-Man. As was made clear in his appearance in last year’s Spider-Man: No Way Home, Garfield is more in tune with who Peter Parker is than any other actor who’s played the character. His Peter is not only the funniest but also the most emotionally compelling and relatable.

Garfield’s performance grounds The Amazing Spider-Man even in its most misguided and ill-judged moments. While the film never quite hits the spectacular, cartoonish highs of Raimi’s Spider-Man movies, it’s still a unique comic book adventure about a superhero whose search for love conflicts with his drive to do the right thing at all costs.

The Amazing Spider-Man is streaming now on Netflix.

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