I may not go much for the mainstream movies, but if there's one type I can get behind, it's the superhero movie!
The primary base of the story differed little from the first Tobey Maguire Spider-Man movie released ten years ago. Peter Parker, this time played by Andrew Garfield, is bitten by a radioactive spider while touring a laboratory. Shortly after, he begins to display spider-like qualities. He decides to use his new-found powers for good, spurred in part by the sudden death of his uncle. He also has to contend with the disapproving eye of an influential figure (the police chief in this film as opposed to a newspaper editor) and take on a former mentor turned supervillain (now Dr. Connors/Lizard as opposed to Norman Osborn/Green Goblin). Many of the differences between this and Tobey Maguire's first Spider-Man film are largely in smaller details. A big change, however, is the love interest. This movie presents Gwen Stacy as the high school love interest (which, I've heard is truer to the comics) and he gets the girl in the first film.
I don't know if I think this movie is better than the 2002 film, but there are certain things I like a lot more. The actors are one of them. I didn't dislike Tobey Maguire as Spiderman, but Garfield seems better suited to the role. Maguire seemed almost too dorky, whereas Garfield comes off more like the troubled kid trying to hide his intelligence. I also definitely like Emma Stone a lot more than I liked Kirsten Dunst (though I've warmed up to her, now). This movie, however, comes only five years after the last live-action Spider-Man flick; a result, I heard, of the studio not wanting to lose rights to the character. In some ways, particularly the script, the film seems rushed...there were definitely some awkward lines. The actors, however, do a great job with it and I think I prefer many of the differences presented here.
The Shins - "No Way Down"
Coldplay - "Til Kingdom Come"
Phantom Planet - "Big Brat"