In 2002 Sam Raimi and Columbia Pictures made a movie the likes of which no one had ever seen before. While Tim Burton's Batman was a huge hit and Bryan Singer's X-Men was well done, Raimi's Spider-Man, at least in my opinion, was really the first super hero movie since Superman: The Movie to fully embrace and understand its source material in a way that would truly do it justice. It perfectly capture both the joy of being Spider-Man as well as the tragedy of being Peter Parker; the duality of the gift and curse nature of that spider bite. In 2004 Raimi and company topped the first film to make what I would still consider to be one of the greatest super hero movies of all time. Spider-Man 3 had some serious missteps due in no small part to meddling by Sony, but there were still momentary glimmers of what made the first two films great.
So when Disney acquired Marvel Entertainment in 2009 and Sony wanted another Spider-Man movie in order to hold onto the rights to the character for a while longer, they initially went back to Raimi, however the same kind of studio meddling that so severely hampered Spider-Man 3 was back with a vengeance for the proposed Spider-Man 4, and not willing to put up with it again Raimi walked away with Tobey Maguire and several other key cast members following. In the wake of Spider-Man 4 collapsing Sony announced plans to reboot the series, a clearly desperate attempt to prevent the rights from reverting back to Marvel/Disney. So they hired a younger, cheaper cast and a younger, cheaper director to head up the reboot who had less room to argue when Sony started meddling. So here we are with the result of all these shenanigans: The Amazing Spider-Man.
How is the movie? Exactly as bad as you'd expect it to be given its troubled history. It's joyless, heartless, nonsensical, completely devoid of character or personality, and grossly betrays the very identity of its titular hero. Imagine you took the characters from Twilight, the tone from Batman Begins (without any of the compelling characters or interesting narrative), nonsensical plot threads from the Star Wars Prequels, threw it all in a blender and pushed pure and you can start to get an idea of what this movie is like. This is an origin story where almost nothing of consequence happens and every single character in the film ends in exactly the same place they began. There's no character development, there's no compelling narrative to follow, it's just a jumble of forgettable set pieces, empty dialogue, and a love story that is so unrelated to the rest of the film that it has no reason to exist. It's a shame because honestly the love story is the only thing in the movie that even kind of works which I imagine is due to the fact that Marc Webb just so happens to be the director of (500) Days of Summer.
Now the fact that this is a boring, forgettable film wouldn't be so terrible by itself, but it also feels the need to go and betray the very foundation of who Spider-Man is. I'm not sure if this was an ill-advised attempt to differentiate itself from the other films/comics or if the people involved just really really don't understand Spider-Man (possibly a bit of both), but either way, this element is what tips the scale into the territory of the truly awful. I usually try to avoid spoilers, but I can't get into why this movie is so bad without giving a few things away, so while I won't be revealing anything major I'll go ahead and throw up the spoiler tags.
So on top of completely betraying the character of Peter Parker/Spider-Man, the film also has no idea what to do with any of the other characters. Curt Connors is a nice guy who suddenly does a heel-face turn and becomes a megalomaniacal lunatic bent on world domination for absolutely no logical reason, Police Captain Stacey hates Spider-Man for no real reason other than the fact that they needed people to hate Spider-Man and didn't even want to attempt to recast J. Jonah Jameson (which is actually one of the only smart decisions they made in this film), and Ben Parker never connects on any meaningful level with Peter. The only person who is halfway decent is Emma Stone as Gwen Stacey, but they still can't manage to give her any kind of meaningful character development other than Peter Parker's smart/sassy girlfriend.
It's obvious that Sony wanted to try to capitalize on the success of Nolan's Batman films by making this "dark and gritty" but in the end, all they did was superficially suck all of the joy out of the story without having any kind of mature, contemplative, or emotionally resonant themes to make it worthwhile. Raimi's Spider-Man films were far more mature and emotionally resonant than this and they never sacrificed their sense of fun in order to achieve that. The characters were compelling, the relationships had weight, the story was exciting, and the whole experience was just fun. The Amazing Spider-Man, on the other hand has none of that, it's just a hollow film with hollow characters and a hollow story that has superficial trappings of "dark and gritty" draped over the top. This is a film that had no reason to be made and you as an audience member have no reason to see it. Avoid this one like the plague.