Continued from page 1

After moving through some of the iconic elements of the Spider-Man story, the film brings in a new villain from the comics: the Lizard, as transformed from the scientist Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans). The film reminds one that Spider-Man remains a young man’s superhero: It works best as a coming of age story. Had “Spider-Man 4” gone ahead (Maguire is now 36), producers said it would have been the last of the series.

“A big part of the DNA of Peter Parker is that adolescent quality,” says Webb, whose “(500) Days of Summer” was also a story of transition into adulthood. “It’s a time in your life where you’re imperfect and you’re unpolished and you make mistakes and you’re discovering things and every emotion is apocalyptic.”

Certainly, unending serial storytelling is part of the spirit of comics, which typically flow in constant weekly or monthly installments.

“I want to live in a world where Spider-Man stories are being told over and over again,” says producer Matt Tolmach. “Sometimes, people leave things sitting on a shelf for too long.”

It’s also an enormously lucrative franchise, with robust merchandizing and popular accompanying video games. “The Amazing Spider-Man” keeps that machine churning. Early reviews have generally been positive and global box office expectations are running high.

A sequel is already in the works, with production expected to begin early next year. The huge success of “The Avengers” has stoked speculation that Spider-Man could be roped into the next episode, of which Arad says, “Anything is possible.”

Either way, the future possibilities for more Spider-Man are again limitless. Says Arad: “This can be so many movies.”

___

Contact Jake Coyle at: http://twitter.com/jake_coyle