Join Date: Apr 2000
Re: An In-Depth Ranking of Every Marvel/DC Movie Superhero
Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man
When I first heard that they were rebooting the franchise so soon, I was slightly angry and saw it as a pretty cheap money grab. A movie that shouldn’t even exist, and was only going to exist because of the stupid “have to make a movie or lose the rights” laws. I WANTED Spider-Man to revert to Marvel so I could see their take on it and have him interact with Iron Man and the Hulk on the silver screen. Still, when Garfield was cast, I was cautiously optimistic, as I thought he was great in Social Network and other works and could see him as Peter Parker.
I really hoped against hope that this film would NOT be an origin movie. Everyone knew Spider-Man’s origin, everyone already knows what happened, I desperately wanted this to be a movie where it started with him already being Spider-Man and told its own new storyline. And then…I heard that it was going to be the origin again. I was pissed. We already saw this stuff not that long ago, are you seriously going to make me sit through the spider bite and him failing to nab Uncle Ben’s killer and all that crap AGAIN? Because of the original comics, the movie, the Ultimate version, and the various Spidey cartoon shows, I had seen that story a million times and wanted something new, like they did with Incredible Hulk where they started en media res.
So despite the fact that Spider-Man is my favorite comic character by far, heading into the summer of 2012, it was actually my least anticipated comic book movie between itself, Avengers, and TDKR. I just thought it was so unnecessary and blatantly made for commercial and business purposes that I felt bad about it.
Despite that, it’s not like there was any doubt that I was going to see it. So my friends and I went to the theatres and saw it.
And I loved the hell out of it.
Say what you will about the producers and their nefarious intentions, Marc Webb and the other people involved in this film did their damndest to create a great Spider-Man film, and they succeeded.
In all fairness, I may enjoy this film more than most because the two biggest complaints about the film I heard about it were things I was totally okay with. Both of these complaints involve “dropped subplots.” The first “dropped subplot” is about the mystery of Peter’s parents. I didn’t consider this a dropped subplot at all, and thought it was very clear that it was a mystery they were saving for the sequel. The second “dropped subplot” is the fact that he gives up on finding Uncle Ben’s killer and never actually finds him – again, I never thought that this was a “dropped subplot,” and thought they resolved it and thoroughly enjoyed their take on it – after he saves the kid from danger, he decides that his revenge on Uncle Ben’s killer doesn’t matter, and gives up this pursuit in order to pursue a life of general heroism.
I also greatly enjoyed the portrayal of Peter Parker, in a modern update. He’s not a 60’s era total nerd – he’s a loner, sure, but he’s a longer because he likes to skateboard by himself while listening to Coldplay instead of the fact that he’s a science geek with a pocket protector. And he shows himself to be noble – he gets beaten up by the jocks not because he’s the ultimate nerd on the bottom of the totem pole, but because he’s the longer guy who speaks up for the nerds on the bottom of the totem pole who are getting beaten up. This, I thought, was a great change. (on a side note, even though this doesn’t relate to the Parker character, I absolutely loved the fact that we actually see a character arc for Flash Thompson in this film, albeit briefly – as evidenced by the current excellent Venom series, Thompson is actually a very compelling character with a lot of depth, even before he became Venom, and the Raimi films portray him as a one-note stock character while this film actually gives him some depth as he shows Peter a great deal of sympathy after Uncle Ben’s death. What a wonderful touch to add to the movie.) I liked the changes regarding Peter Parker, but mostly really liked his take on Spider-Man, finally giving us a Spidey on film who actually makes funny quips. I liked the changes regarding Peter Parker, but mostly really liked his take on Spider-Man, finally giving us a Spidey on film who actually makes funny quips. In addition, his chemistry with Emma Stone was far superior to Maguire's chemistry and relationship with Dunst.
In many ways, this film was both hamstrung and also aided by the fact that there was an exist Spider-Man origin film released ten years ago. It was hamstrung by it in the fact that it did its best to avoid recreating scenes that happened the 2002 version of the film, so they tinkered with elements of his origin a bit. Peter never becomes a wrestler, and the circumstances causing him to not stop the burglar are completely different and involve a greedy shopkeeper not letting him buy milk instead. In addition, he never actually stops Uncle Ben’s killer, likely because they didn’t want to recreate a scene that we already saw. So in some cases this is a bit weird, and the fact that he never actually catches the killer was a big negative point in a lot of people’s reviews. In both cases I think they handled the maneuvering around the classic scenes pretty deftly, although maybe not allowed to go to their full emotional impact.
So while those elements slightly hamstrung it, the movie’s obvious pre-existing knowledge of the Raimi films and their flaws also served as a benefit.
One of the things I enjoyed most about the film…hell, probably the thing I enjoyed the most about the film…was how damn efficient the relationships between the characters are. There is no hemming or hawing or pausing or silent knowing looks between them, they all get to the point and express what they want, and very quickly, and for the most part, get it. There is no long, drawn-out “will they or won’t they get together?” drama between Peter and Gwen…they are attracted to each other, so instead of pussyfooting around, they start dating almost immediately. Yes, thank you! And then, she starts to suspect that he is Spider-Man, and he realizes his identity as Spider-Man might complicate their relationship. Uh oh, will this be another drawn out thing where he has to protect his identity, and he has to hide this side of himself from her….no, it’s not! He just comes out and tells her…almost immediately! And she’s cool with it! Yes, thank you! You just accomplished in 45 minutes what the Raimi films took four hours to do. Later on in the film, Peter, with knowledge that a lizard villain has been terrorizing the city, visits Dr. Connors, suspects some suspicious activity and then sees a lizard rat. Is he going to take this into his own hands? No, he goes to visit the police to tell them about it like a normal person would! Thank you! And he tells the police of this suspected connection, and George Stacy dismisses him, saying he thinks Curt Connors is a good man…okay, typically contrived “force the hero to work on his own” stuff. I was fine with it. But then…Stacy turns towards the other police officers and decides “Hey, that sounded a bit off, but just in case he has a point, let’s investigate Curt Connors anyway.” Hell. yes. No contrivances or misunderstandings here, let’s cut through the BS.
But the best moment, by far, comes at the end. Captain Stacy, as he lays dying, tells Peter to respect his dying wishes and stay away from Gwen because of the danger. Respecting him, Peter keeps his distance, not attending his funeral and staying away from Gwen.
And then Gwen comes to him. She asks where he has been, why he hasn’t been there for her…he gives some cryptic answer…
And then she IMMEDIATELY figures out exactly why he’s giving that answer! “Oh, my father told you to stay away from me as he was dying, didn’t he?” Oh. Hell. Yes. I almost did a fist pump at this moment.
Ok, so now we’re left at a crossroads. Even though Gwen knows the reason Peter wants to keep his distance from her, will he actually do it? Will this be something that keeps them apart, that we will be left wondering about in the next movie? Nope! Peter comes to her and says “You know, rules are meant to be broken.” No “will they or won’t they get together?” crap. He comes to her and says they should be together. These characters are too smart to fall for any faux-relationship drama bullcrap.
How can you even compare this against the Raimi films? It’s not fair. It’s like putting a boxer with no knowledge of his opponent against an opponent who has been able to meticulously study the first boxer and observing his weak points, who then attacks him brutally with full knowledge of how to do so. The Amazing Spider-Man has studied its opponent, and its weak points, and can cut through them with a knife, while the Raimi films had no idea what hit them.
As I said above, I loved the Amazing Spider-Man, even thought it was a bit stunted by the presence of Spider-Man 1.
Still, this comparison seems a bit unfair, as the Garfield version only appeared in one film while the other appeared in three (one pretty good, one excellent, and one bad).
I guess it would be easy to say that Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man 3 cancel each other out, and that the verdict is left to determining which is the better film between Spider-Man 1 and Amazing Spider-Man.
To that end, I say that Amazing Spider-Man is a better film than Spider-Man 1. I actually thought Spider-Man 1 was a deeply flawed movie…although most of that was because of the cheesiness of the Green Goblin himself and not the Spider-Man character. To be sure, Spidey uttered lines like “You’re the one who’s out, Gobby – out of your mind!” so the character can’t be completely exonerated from the cheesiness, but the Goblin’s Power Rangers outfit and terrible lines were the majority of what I considered offensive about the film, and Spider-Man’s origin was handled quite well overall.
That being said...I’m not using that as the tie-breaker. Instead, as a fan of fantasy sports, despite the fact that I pretty much listed nothing but positives about Amazing Spider-Man and half of my Maguire Spider-Man analysis consisted of complaints, I’m going to pull out and insight from my years as a fan of fantasy sports to settle the score. And that trick is…
“In a fantasy trade, the manager who gets the best player in the trade wins.”
And to that end, even thought Amazing Spider-Man is a tight and extremely effective movie that I enjoyed the hell out of, and even thought Spider-Man 3 was a putrid piece of crap that makes the other movies worse and is the worst movie that appears in the top 24, Maguire’s “best” is better than Garfield’s “best.” Spider-Man 2 is the best Spider-Man movie ever made, out of the four.
I loved Amazing, but the highs experienced by Spider-Man 2 overcome the rest of the odds. Maguire wins. By a hair.
16. Spider-Man/Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield, The Amazing Spider-Man, 2012)
15. Spider-Man/Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire, Spider-Man, 2002; Spider-Man 2, 2004; Spider-Man 3, 2007)
Last edited by bbf2; 12-28-2012 at 02:04 PM.