It’s symptomatic of the attitude that movie studios currently take towards their major projects that the answer to the question, “Why is there a new Spider-Man movie coming out today?” is related to business, not creativity. If Sony hadn’t put a new film into production, the film rights to Spider-Man as a character would have reverted to Marvel, which happened with the Hulk. After talks to continue the original Spider-Man series broke down, and Sam Raimi departed, Sony decided to hit the reset button and bring on an entirely new cast and creative team.

This is nothing new. It’s already been done with Batman, after all. For that matter, franchise reboots didn’t even start with the superhero genre. James Bond has cycled through six main actors and dozens of directors. Indeed, producers of superhero films might do well to look to Bond for inspiration as their franchises move forward. Spider-Man was the first major film of the new superhero era, and it’s the harbinger of what’s to come for the more recent series. Stars grow older, after all. Marvel has already stated that they’re comfortable with replacing Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man in the future. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Superheroes are immortal, after all, and endlessly open to new interpretations. There are decades’ worth of characters, storylines, and ideas in the comic books that are still waiting to be tapped for inspiration.

But with all that potential, why would you not just reboot, but also re-do what’s already been covered? Why is The Amazing Spider-Man an origin story? That was done in the first Spider-Man. There’s nothing inherently bad about wiping the slate clean only five years after the previous film (especially since Spider-Man 3 left a bad taste in so many people’s mouths), but what’s the point in telling a story that has already been told? Even though Batman Begins had Batman’s origin as part of its reboot, that aspect was something that hadn’t yet been on screen. So again: what’s the motivation behind this?

When Marvel rebooted the Hulk, they took care of the origin in a few quick flashes during the opening credit sequence. They knew not to bother going back over things that the audience was already familiar with. Spider-Man’s origin is nigh ubiquitous, something that’s soaked into pop culture enough that everyone knows it. And from all reports, The Amazing Spider-Man doesn’t do anything extraordinarily new with this. All the same beats are there: nerd Peter Parker, spider bite, powers, irresponsibility, the uncle’s death, realization of responsibility. It’s all the same as before. Is this a reboot or half a remake?

The fact is that studios will play things as safe as possible, whenever they feel that they can get away with it. With the new Spider-Man, Sony and Columbia were already coming on with an artistically vapid motivation, wanting nothing more than to retain their rights to a profitable property. Much of the news around this film smacks of people unsure of what direction they were trying to take. Earlier trailers talked of the “untold story” angle, apparently focusing on Peter Parker’s parents, and by most accounts, that thread has been edited out now.

There was no imagination as potent as Sam Raimi’s behind the movie this time around. The Amazing Spider-Man has been controlled by committee from the ground up, and this is the result. Apparently having no idea what to do that won’t make audiences uncomfortable, Sony seems to have decided that the best way to draw them in is to start with a story they’ve already heard. It’s a cynical move, and one that will likely be rewarded. Because the fact is that the name Spider-Man alone is probably enough to draw in hundreds of millions of dollars, regardless of quality. Maybe that’s why they took such a lazy direction; they knew they could get away with it.