Today’s Prayer Focus

The Amazing Spider-Man

MPA Rating: PG-13-Rating (MPA) for sequences of action and violence.

Reviewed by: Daniel Thompson

Moral Rating: Average
Moviemaking Quality:
Primary Audience: Teens Adults
Genre: Superhero Sci-Fi Action Adventure Thriller Drama 3D
Length: 2 hr. 16 min.
Year of Release: 2012
USA Release: July 3, 2012 (wide—4,318 theaters)
DVD: November 9, 2012
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Relevant Issues
Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures

dealing with bullies

not being raised by your parent

Teen Qs—Christian Answers for teenagers
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spiders in the Bible

Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures
Featuring Andrew GarfieldSpider-Man/Peter Parker
Emma StoneGwen Stacy
Rhys IfansThe Lizard/Dr. Curt Connors
Denis LearyCaptain Stacy
Martin SheenUncle Ben
Sally FieldAunt May
C. Thomas HowellJack’s Father
Irrfan KhanRajit Ratha
Campbell Scott … Richard Parker
Embeth Davidtz … Mary Parker
See all »
Director Marc Webb—“(500) Days of Summer
Producer Columbia Pictures
Laura Ziskin Productions
See all »
Distributor Distributor: Columbia Pictures. Trademark logo.Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures

“The untold story”

You can never underestimate the power of a good story. Let’s face it, if a story is compelling enough, people will forgive the fact that they’ve heard it before. Often times, people claim they want something new and different, but what they really want is the same thing packaged slightly different. It’s these feelings of nostalgia that Marvel Studios is counting on as they release “The Amazing Spider-Man”. Just five years after “Spider-Man 3”, “The Amazing Spider-Man” is attempting to make plenty of money selling the same product with different packaging.

Almost everyone who has lived in America over the last decade knows the basic story of Spider-Man, from either the comics or the multi-billion dollar film trilogy. Our hero, Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) lives with his Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field) after the disappearance of his father. A series of coincidences results in a timely spider bite, giving Parker special powers similar to that of a spider. In this particular incarnation, Parker is battling his father’s former partner, Dr. Curt Connors, who has gained special powers of his own. Parker’s love interest, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) happens to be the daughter of the Chief of Police (Denis Leary) who is trying to catch Spider-Man.

While this new film takes itself more seriously, the similarities between “The Amazing Spider-Man” and the 2002 “Spider-Man” are many. Both films have lessons about using your powers for good and taking responsibility for your actions. The first hour of the film is almost a carbon copy of the original, as Peter learns how to use his powers while also designing his signature spandex outfit. The content of the movie is similarly clean, with only a handful of profanities and some mild flirting and kissing between the two leads.

There are some differences in this reboot, including a new villain and Parker’s romantic lead being Gwen, instead of Mary Jane. Also, the new film features a Peter Parker that does not initially take his responsibility seriously. While this does create a somewhat darker version of Peter Parker, it’s probably a more realistic reaction to such newfound powers. Peter has to work through his rebellion, before becoming a selfless hero. “The Amazing Spider-Man” also features heavy use of 3D, a technology that was not readily used in 2002.

The good news about “The Amazing Spider-Man” is that the story being repeated is a great one. It’s a story of redemption and responsibility, and viewers may still be drawn to the exposition, even if it seems familiar. For teenagers who missed out on seeing the original in the theater, this will give them the opportunity to have a similar experience, while being unique, at the same time. Also, the technology for making big-budget motion pictures has become an art form. Viewed in glorious IMAX 3D, the film is quite a spectacle for the eye. New director Marc Webb has infused all of Spider-Man’s flying sequences with a sense of poetry and grace. It’s almost worth going to the theaters just to see Spidey trapeze through the city with ease.

The bad news about “The Amazing Spider-Man” is that it is, at its core, redundant. There is really nothing new here, aside from a different cast. The new cast is fine in their respective roles, although it’s hard to believe that Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone are in high school. While the action set pieces are excellent, it takes an hour of exposition to get to them. The exposition is well executed, but because we’ve seen it before, I found myself wanting Peter to get it all together, so we could see something new.

“The Amazing Spider-Man” is undoubtedly a great story and good entertainment. For fans of Spider-Man, and those unfamiliar with the original trilogy, the story and entertainment will result in an excellent time at the movies. For those who are wondering why the film was even made, it may be an uphill battle to win them over, although, you should never underestimate the power of a good story, even it seems a bit familiar.

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Moderate—“Oh my G_d” (3), “Oh God,” “hell” (3), “damn,” “_ss” / Sex/Nudity: Moderate—woman shown in bra after Peter accidentally rips off her blouse; Peter kisses Gwen passionately; talk about kissing (between Peter and Gwen); shirtless Peter; high school couple kissing at Peter’s locker

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive—I was highly anticipating “The Amazing Spider-Man,” and it was well worth the wait. I went to the midnight showing, and it was awesome. The atmosphere in the theater was a lot of fun, but the movie itself was great. While I kind of liked the first “Spider-Man,” and really enjoyed the second, Toby MacGuire was never really a good fit for me. Even though he is an adult, he still looks like a child and acts like one, too (I felt this way about his role in the movie “Brothers,” where his and Jake Gyllenhaal’s roles should have been switched.)

However, this new film rises above Spidey’s bad reputation and turns out a thrilling, exciting, and quite emotional ride. The acting is better, Mr. Andrew Garfield IS Peter Parker, Emma Stone is obviously good, plus there’s Sally Field, Martin Sheen, Denis Leary, and Rhys Ifans does a fantastic Dr. Connors.

So, all the characters are believable, but what about the plot? Much more realistic (though still a little futuristic) than I expected. The script is well done as well, people say believable things, there are plenty of funny moments, and the emotional times don’t come off as cliché or corny. Marvel really took the initiative to make a good film here.

Stan Lee, of course, makes a cameo, probably his best yet! If you’re sitting on the fence about the 3-D, I guess it’s up to your personal taste, but the added element has great depth, and I noticed only one instance of that in-your-face gag. I like 3-D, most of the time, if it’s used right—as it definitely was here. I didn’t give “The Amazing Spider-Man” a 5-star rating, because it’s not perfect… not too many films are… but if I could, I’d probably give it a 4.8-stars. Go see this movie!!!…
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Ben Badger, age 20 (USA)
Positive—The Amazing Spider-man. New cast, new story. Great movie. I didn’t expect it would be. My thoughts walking into this movie were, “Oh, a reboot, I’m not going to like this movie.” Imagine my surprise when I walked out of the theater liking this movie more than I thought. It was quite good. The acting was good, the music was good, the plot was well thought out and well delivered. Overall, a good movie, and one that I may be adding to my DVD collection when it comes out in a few months. It’s worth the price of admission.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Alexander Malsan, age 22 (USA)
Positive— Although I think Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man will always be my favorite, I really enjoyed this one as well! The casting was all great, especially Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker. I liked how, though, it was completely different, it still had many similarities to the first one. Something I really liked about the other Spiderman movies was that the villains were usually sympathetic, and it was heartbreaking when they turned evil, because they didn't start out that way… I was glad to find that Rhys Ivans’ “Lizard” honored that tradition!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Kadie Jo, age 20 (USA)
Positive—This is the best Spider-Man yet. The characters are more sharply defined, and the irritating “boy men,” so common in recent films, are blessedly absent. The chemistry between the two leads is excellent, and there are strong supporting performances from Martin Sheen and Sally Field—great to see them again. Special effects are superb. James Horner’s score is big, and JAC Redford’s orchestration is brilliant.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Lawrence, age 44 (USA)
Positive—CONTAINS A MILD SPOILER!!! I saw “The Amazing Spider-Man” in IMAX 3-D with one of my closest friends and her father, yesterday. It’s different from the original trilogy directed by Sam Raimi, as this one sticks closer to the comics (which I’ve never read, and don’t intend to, as the story will unfold in future movies) by having Gwen Stacy as Peter Parker’s love interest. It also explores Peter’s past in further detail (his parents were mentioned only twice in the first Spider-Man film, released in 2002). Therefore, this one is grounded more in reality than the previous films were, while still maintaining a family-friendly mindset in terms of content. (More on that in a moment).

British actor Andrew Garfield does a superb job as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, and Emma Stone (“The Help”) is equally as impressive. Martin Sheen and two-time Academy Award® winner Sally Field also lend great weight to their roles as Uncle Ben and Aunt May. Denis Leary (Diego in the “Ice Age” movies) plays Gwen Stacy’s father, and he is very good. Rhys Ifans is also quite convincing as a man who wants to do the right thing, but is soon thrown into a conflict from which he must choose a side…, and he may or may not have had something to do with the disappearance of Peter’s parents. (Reminds me of Doctor Victor Frankenstein from the novel by Mary Shelley and the excellent 1994 film starring and directed by Kenneth Branagh). See all »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
D, age 26 (USA)
Positive—I enjoyed this movie with my two sons, ages 10 and 18. It is true that it covers the same ground as the previous Spider-Man film, but in a fresh way. For me this version has more personality, and I found myself liking the characters more. I think the kissing scene could have easily been shortened without losing any story. My 10 year old just covered his eyes. I liked the Uncle Ben character’s interaction with Peter. He had some good lines about responsibility and using gifts to help others, not just for your own gain. We see Peter struggle, change and grow to accept a new purpose in his life. There is some redemption and vindication, at the end, for some of the main characters. The villain is portrayed as misguided and not mindlessly evil. Three scenes are shown with multiple people fighting, but mostly Spidey and the villain do one-on-one battle. There are a few jump scenes. We left with a good feeling and talked about what Peter did well and what he needed to work on.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
Steven, age 50 (USA)
Positive—I’ve seen this twice over the past week… once in 3D, with my husband, and again in 2D, with my 7 year old son. I really liked it a lot, and surprisingly, more than the previous movies. I’ve always been a Spider-man fan anyway, but now I’m really looking forward to the sequels to this movie! The 3D was very well done, too. I usually don’t like 3D movies.

*Warning* My 7 year old is a superhero fanatic, and since he did so well with “The Avengers” movie, I decided to let him see this, as well. I was actually quite surprised how scared he was this time! (Staying up too late at a sleepover the night before may have been a factor.) I fully warned him before the movie what he’d see, who the good guys and bad guys were, and how the movie would end, but still, he was more scared than he’s ever been with any other hero-type movie. If you have young children, you should strongly consider seeing this movie yourself before taking them to see it. In the end, he really liked it, but during the intense scenes, he hid his eyes in my lap and cried (refusing to leave the movie, knowing the intensity would end eventually).
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Mom, age 36 (USA)
Positive—I admit… I am a huge, huge, HUGE fan of the original Spider-man trilogy with Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst. I love all three of those movies, and I’ve watched them all a million times each. When I first heard about the reboot, I was against the movie. I thought nothing could top off the original Spider-man films. But, I decided to go to the theater and give it a fair try. I told myself, “I better not judge this movie until I’ve seen it for myself!!” Well, I was pleasantly surprised by “The Amazing Spider-Man”. The plot was engaging, Andrew Garfield did a good job as Spider-man (considering the potential he had to live up to), and the special effects were great.

Now, I still like the original trilogy the best. For me, this movie could never top the original series. But, this was still a nice movie! If you are a Spider-man fan or just enjoy superhero movies, then you should go see this movie. I think you will enjoy it! …The only thing I did not like was that Peter Parker was a bit of a jerk in this movie. He could be rude to his Uncle Ben and Aunt May, showing blatant disrespect for them both, at times. One of the things I enjoyed about Tobey Maguire’s portrayal was that Peter Parker was very respectful, sweet, and courteous. But, this Peter Parker had an edge to him that I didn’t really enjoy. He could be sweet, but at other times he was just flat out mean and selfish. Overall, this was a very great movie. I still loved the original movies best, but this one was great fun! I enjoyed it, and hope you do too!…
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
Sarah, age 22 (USA)
Positive—This movie is well worth watching! It has no filth or blasphemy and is a lot better than the first three original films. Andrew Garfield does a fantastic job as playing as the new spider-man, and he has put Toby McGuire to shame. Enjoy the film!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
Alan, age 20 (Ireland)
Positive—I thought the movie was pretty good and had decent special effects. I thought Peter Parker was shown to be more realistic in this than Tobey Maguire portrayed. Uncle Ben clearly cares for his family and makes Peter apologize to Aunt May for neglecting her (though she does forgive him). A bully is shown giving Peter his condolences about Uncle Ben’s death. The end of the film even shows the bully and Peter starting a friendship. Spider-man risks his life, and Captain Stacy gives his in order to save New York City from the insane Dr. Connors, AKA the Lizard.

Though, like every movie, this one does have faults. In terms of sexuality, Peter and Gwen do get kind of close (inappropriately so, at times), but they definitely do not have sex as far as we see. While the bra moment on the train was not needed, Peter clearly did it on accident and apologized for it, accidentally spilling beer on the woman. I am not saying it’s justifiable, but an accident is an accident. See all »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
Peter, age 22 (USA)
Neutral—As a fan of the previous Spider Man series, I will admit I did not expect to be favorable toward this film, at all. I was, however, surprised to be so entertained by this super hero “re-boot”. The positives: the acting was excellent, the lighting was accomplished, and the camera work and costuming were outstanding. Unfortunately, there were too many drawbacks to this particular attempt at reinventing the franchise to thoroughly capture my enthusiasm; and therefore it garners a neutral from me, as I would neither encourage nor discourage the film’s viewing.

The main drawbacks I found were: the characters and the resulting relationships, especially that of Peter and his Aunt May and Uncle Ben, were underdeveloped. The romantic scenes were poorly written, and the actors, Andrew Garfield (with an evident five a clock shadow) and Emma Stone (looking ever so mature), in my opinion, were too old to play the geekier version of Peter Parker and the high school version of the comic’s college student Gwen Stacy, which were invented in this adaptation. Any great story of redemption and accepting one’s responsibility to serve should and will be retold. The challenge lies in telling it well. Although this version is extremely entertaining, the writing is lacking, and the revisions to the way in which it was told fall flat.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
M. Grubbs, age 45 (USA)
Neutral—…In the beginning of the movie when Peter is first realizing his abilities, he accidentally clings to a young woman’s shirt and rips it off. Leaving a couple minute scene with her only in a bra. Just unnecessary. …

On a better note, I found that this movie is great for conversation. Especially about redemption. Peter’s character is always looking to be redeemed for his mistakes. His efforts as the Bible would teach are in vain, because they are based on works that are his own. Not on Christ. As a result is he really redeemed? As most of us know Peter’s character only struggles more and loses much more. It’s something good to think and talk about. Not a bad movie, but I wish someone would have actually reviewed the movie from a “spotlight” sort of perspective and not a worldly one like this reviewer seemed to lean.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
Jess, age 22 (USA)
Neutral—In the first hour, I was enjoying the action and comedy of this movie. But then it bogged down into a “you know exactly what’s gonna happen” second hour. In addition, the flirting, kissing and groping between the leads was quite excessive, especially from a Christian point of view. On top of that, they lie and sneak around behind her parents’ back, and Peter sneaks into Gwen’s bedroom on several occasions. This kind of behavior, portrayed so excitingly in movies, encourages teenagers to compromise their beliefs in the hopes of achieving the same experimental excitement they saw on the screen.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
Paul, age 53 (USA)
Neutral—I watched this movie largely based on reviews from this site, and to be honest, I’m surprised that there weren’t more comments about the levels of violence and disturbing imagery in the show. I mean, there was a lot I liked about it. I thought it was very well-cast, and the overall theme—that if you CAN help people, then you SHOULD help them—was commendable. There were several parts where I laughed out loud. But beginning about halfway through, when things started heating up, I began to feel increasingly uncomfortable, and I’m starting to wish I had just turned it off at that point.

The movie starts out relatively clean and progressively builds up to the more disturbing scenes, so that I kept thinking, “oh, well, if it stays at THIS level I guess it’s okay. Oh… well, that was a little worse, but if I was okay with the last part then I guess I can handle this too.”

Here are some—not all, but SOME—of the things that show up in this movie: ***MAJOR SPOILER ALERT***See all »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
Tara M., age 18 (USA)
Negative—…I am a HUGE fan of the original Spider-man comics, “The Amazing Spider-man.” When I saw that this movie was sticking fairly true to the originals (with the constructed web-shooters instead of having it naturally, for instance), I was excited. I enjoy my superhero movies, but I also know that Hollywood has a tendency to mess up a lot of potentially really good plots. So I waited for the review on this site, and it looked good, so we went. This was a mistake. Sure, the movie was good, but not as good as the writer made it seem. “A handful of profanities and some mild flirting and kissing between the two leads” is misleading. There was more than a handful of cuss words, and multiple “Oh my G__;” uses. That really disappointed me. Not so much that the cursing was worse than stated, but that they stooped to taking God’s name in vain.

And the mild flirting and kissing?? More than mild. Those 2 were making out grossly for what seemed an eternity before they finally broke it up. When Spider-man is first learning to use his powers, his super-sticky hands rip off a woman’s shirt. That scene lasted longer than it should have, and that disappointed me as well. Back to Gwen and Peter, there was a scene (pictured in the review) where Peter is badly injured, and Gwen is helping clean him up. Peter is shirtless, and the 2 are oh so much closer and touching way more than 2 unmarried folks should be. All-in-all, sure the movie lived up to the comics, but that’s all that pleased me.

It’s hard to walk away from a movie happy, though, when it is so compromised. If you’re looking at seeing this movie and are reading this, I’d ask that you pray seriously before going to see this. Is it really worth your time and money? Can you come out without your faith being compromised?
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
David, age 18 (USA)
Negative—I was looking forward to this movie as a movie that could have unfiltered “family viewing” potential. Well, I was wrong. Although the graphics throughout the action scenes were impressive and captivating, there seemed to be some aggressive, underlying themes that could have easily been removed or rewritten without degrading the film:

1) promotion of Transhumanism, 2) the human species is abhorrent and weak, 3) adolescent rebellion is “cool,” 4) honesty, decency, respect, honor are not the qualities of a real hero.

1) Transhumanism—this is the “singularity” science that is vehemently promoted among “progressive” scientists who are trying to create a superior race/human better than what God has created. They have been quoted as claiming they are “gods” and seek to amalgamate the male and female species and create a Utopian “equality” through technology or even to amalgamate animal and human species as a new creation. This world-view permeates media, music, marketing, literature, and, yes, educational institutions. Its former thrust was Marxism/Communism; its current thrust is via Humanism/New Age with buzzwords like “Community Education” “Sustainability,” “globalism,” “one world,” etc. etc. Ad nauseam. Transhumanism is one of the marks of the New World Order mentality. See all »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3½
John C., age 41 (USA)
Negative—What a disappointment! I will say that I fully enjoyed the Tobey Maguire Spider-man series. They were fun, intense, and I really liked his character. This movie was so lame, weak and forgettable, I didn’t know what to say. In all honesty, this movie could have been PG. The acting was decent. I disliked Peters character but thought the actor did fair. I did think that they portrayed teen-dom better than the last. The action was where I started to dislike it. They were overly cartoony and awful. I considered stopping the movie, but watched on. See all »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
Jason, age 23 (USA)
Comments from young people
PositiveSam Raimi’s “Spider-Man” trilogy wrapped up on a slightly disappointing note with 2007’s “Spider-Man 3,” and when many people heard of a reboot, they were pleased, but when they heard it was coming so soon, they were a little upset. I was one of those people. I simply felt that a reboot was unnecessary, given that the first one was released ten years ago. But, wow, was I wrong. “The Amazing Spider-Man” is directed by Marc Webb, who has only directed one movie in his career, “(500) Days of Summer,” which was an independent romantic comedy. To take a director with no experience with big budget movies and allow him to direct a huge “Spider-Man” movie was a HUGE risk, but it paid off. He directs this film beautifully and, no surprise, focuses more on Peter Parker and Gwen Stacey’s relationship.

Which leads me to my next point: the performances. They are ASTOUNDING. Andrew Garfield (“The Social Network”) and Emma Stone (“Easy A”) have the best chemistry between two teenage characters I’ve seen in a long time. Talking about the previous films, Tobey Maguire was a really good Spider-Man and a good Peter Parker, but Garfield is a GREAT Spider-Man and, I’m pleased to say, a PERFECT Peter Parker. He rocks this role!

As far as offensive content, I really couldn’t find much. There are maybe two minor swear words, and obviously, the violence. There are a few scenes of kissing, but nothing too sensual. In the end, I really enjoyed this film. It was filled with breathtaking visuals, good dialog, fantastic performances, good chemistry, and a great backstory to the character of Peter Parker. It may not be “technically” as good as “The Avengers,” but I personally liked it more, and it’s without a doubt better than any of the previous three “Spider-Man” films.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Ben Lane, age 17 (USA)
Positive—I really enjoyed seeing this film! Normally, I get really bored watching a film like this, but this was really good! There were a couple of moments I just couldn’t help myself laughing. There are no sex scenes, but the kissing does get rather hot and heavy at some points, but it’s not overly ridiculous. I found the regrowth of the lizard-man a bit disturbing, and there were a few wounds and a bit of blood, but maybe I just have a weak gut.

I don’t think any Christian morals sprung out of the movie for me but it’s a good action movie and for Hollywood, I think it’s a pretty descent. Enjoy…
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Alice Stonam, age 15 (South Africa)
Positive—I was not disappointed in the least way! The special effects were breathtaking, and this Peter Parker was much more believable then Toby Maguire’s portrayal. I think the part where his hand sticks to that girl’s shirt on the subway could have been left out, but, other than that, it was a really good movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4½
CBG, age 16 (USA)
Negative—When I saw this movie, I thought it was funny, in some ways, but, honestly, the biogenetics, the kissing, his cockiness was stupid. The Spider-Man with Tobey Maguire, in my opinion, was way better. This Spider-Man can’t control his hormones, and the sneaking in the bedroom. Sheesh.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
Nicole, age 15 (USA)
Positive—“The Amazing Spider-Man” was, overall, pretty good. There is a brief moment where the Lord’s name is used in vain repeatedly, and there are also a few other swears thrown in there. I wouldn’t recommend this movie for kids under 13, with exception to mature 12 year olds. The Lizard Man, although in a way cartoonish, may scare a younger audience, resolving in nightmares. Overall I think that this movie is pretty clean. And I think that it’s a movie to see, if you’re a teenager and into superheroes.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
Amarissa Ruiz, age 13 (USA)

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