The film is not "better" than Tobey MacGuire's version of Spiderman in the first film; in fact it is not really a "remake." It's a reimagined version.
What's best about this version?
The fact we return to the original Stan Lee(creator of the Spiderman mythos)/Steve Ditko (original artist) tale of a nerdy boy who falls for Gwen Stacy. And like that original story, we have Captain Stacy, a kind Uncle Ben (played seriously by Martin Sheen) and a very sympathetic Aunt May (surprisingly well by Sally Field!).
We even get to see real web shooters! (The organic shooters from the Ultimates never made sense to me - you'd run out of blood, right? But I digress.)
One theme is family. The film starts with Richard and Mary Parker, Peter's real parents, and a mystery about their disappearance. Did they really get killed in a crash? Or is there something more? It's fine that the film leaves me hanging, as it creates a mystery to see the next one, but man!
Another theme is obsession. Peter, obsessed with the murder of his uncle, wanting that burglar, whom he actually did nothing when he could have caught him. What's interesting though is that unlike the Raimi version, we don't actually get a closure on the burglar. Another mystery!
And there is Curt Connors, who as the Lizard becomes obsessed with creating a race of lizard men (just like the comics - read it!).
Characterization: The realism is great, and the emphasis is not so much on action (though there is plenty of that) but on family, responsibility and knowing that you have a gift that you need to use it to help others. Peter has a gift and he wanted to help others but so did the Lizard, in his own demented way.
Bottom Line: I love a comics film that a general audience can understand without being familiar with the comics. My philosophy has always been that a comics film has to appeal to a more general audience and not fan boys.
There were no Easter eggs for the fans in this film (but there was a fun scene with Stan Lee in a library), and I'm sure there will be Mary Jane fans wondering why she's not here.
Ditko's vision lives in this film. Highly recommended.