The Path of Spider-Man: From Sam Raimi’s Charm to a Disconnected World
With the recent release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 there are now 5 live-action Spider-Man films since 2002, averaging just less than 1 movie every couple of years. Now that pace may not be too uncommon nowadays, but the Spider-man franchise has the unique trait of being “rebooted” within that 12-year span. Many resented The Amazing Spider-Man simply because it existed, a criticism that this writer is unwilling to accept because it is an irrelevant criticism in itself. The movie exists. Judging it with the basis that a film’s existence should be otherwise (joking aside) is unfair and useless.
Before getting too far off track though, this article is meant to be a retrospect of the Spidey franchise, even phenomena if you will and a look into what may be going wrong with the Peter Parker and friends experience. The series has turned itself into a staple in the Marvel universe and the character has gained an amount of ultra-popularity that may now only be rivaled by Bruce Wayne and his Batman alter ego.
There are plenty of questions and observations that are apparent in the path this series has taken in the decade plus of existence, some positive and some not so pleasant, but there is no denying the impact the red and blue suited snark-filled character has had on the superhero universe, so it should be interesting to take a look back at all 4 previous installments, and also share some thoughts on the latest.
While looking back, the goal will not only be to make clear the opinions of this writer as they pertain to the quality of these films, but to determine how this franchise became so popular in the first place and what may be expected from further web-slinging efforts in the film industry. So, without further ado, lets take a look back at this franchise to see where it came from, and what may lie ahead.
It was highly unlikely that a film with so much money and advertising was going to fail, but the massive success that came with the first entry in the Sam Raimi trilogy was not really what anyone expected. However, this type of Spider-Man success is exactly what you get when you spend a lot of money and actually try to… you know… make a good movie.
Re-watching all 4 previous Spider-Man films recently was a reminder of how the finished products (at least of the first 2 films) seemed like labors of love from the director. The first film managed to keep the origin story interesting and charming and developed a tone that would carry on throughout the first two entries. Raimi was also not afraid to link this movie with previous superhero films like Superman (with Christopher Reeves for all you young kids who just got confused) and Tim Burton’s Batman efforts. There’s a clear influence present from those films in this opening film, which shows an appreciation of what makes the superhero genre work.
Making an origin story is not very often an easy task. They tend to be plodding and there are typically too many things that need explanations. Spider-Man stands out as one of the best handled superhero origin stories told on the silver screen, so much so that it’s hard to believe anyone who tries to reboot this series (again) would do anything all that different.
While the success may in part be due to the simplicity of how Spider-Man began, it has been proven that something stupid can be done with the material (but more on that later). Peter Parker’s discovery of powers was something that was nearly flawlessly incorporated into the structure of the film. Showing off superpowers is something with which these films often seem to struggle, specifically pointing to a scene in X-Men: First Class, in which the audience is subjected to a shameless display of teenagers showing off their powers.
Instead with Spider-Man the audience gets a fully thought out experience of Peter’s development into the masked vigilante. He gets bit, gets sick, gets better, finds out he can do some cool things, and tries to use those skills to impress a girl before finding out what type of responsibility he carries when obtaining such powers. This was quite straightforward, and was done very well.
Another benefit of this first entry was the introduction of a cast that, at the time, was just about perfect (even if some weaknesses were revealed after the trilogy somewhat wore out its welcome). The movie had a great mix of younger performers (Tobey Maguire, James Franco) and some savvy veterans (Willem Dafoe, J.K. Simmons) who really helped to ground the movie in some sort of reality and managed to balance it with what may be the most important element in films of this nature… fun.
The only real complaint? The Green Goblin looked like a Power Ranger.
See the resemblance?
The clear pinnacle of the Spidey franchise, and quite possibly the pinnacle of the Marvel experience, was the second entry from Mr. Raimi. This was a film that took everything from the first film and improved upon the work, including the all-important improvement of the main adversary of Spider-Man… Dr. Otto Octavius aka Dr. Octopus.
Spider-Man 2 appears to be one of the exceptions in the Marvel group of films in that it actually cares about the villain, and as far as Marvel movies go, this entry is akin to The Dark Knight’s Joker (please note the qualifier because it’s really not that close. The Joker was absolutely a better villain). Marvel films have tended to ignore the villains (although it may be getting better), and the only villain that may stack up to Doc Oc may be The Ian McKellen/Michael Fassbender Magneto combo.
If a film is aiming to have an adversarial approach to the story, the film must have give some screen time to the villainous side as well as the hero, and that’s exactly what Spider-Man 2 managed to do with Alfred Molina in his eight limbed role. The film provided an efficient arc for the Octavius character, and Molina was about as close to perfect for the role as one could get, particularly for a film that managed to find the perfect balance between ridiculous fun and a certain amount of darkness.
While the first Spider-Man film was very much about Peter Parker discovering his powers, the second film puts those powers to the test and provides a sense of the weight put upon a person for having such a special ability and the feeling of such responsibility. The Peter Parker presented by Tobey Maguire in this entry is a very complex character for this type of movie. On the surface all the audience may see is the fantasy of a nerd who gets superpowers, but Parker is a character who never seems to catch a break. He’s conflicted to say the least, and this second installment does a very effective job in showing his inner conflict with scenes such as the ode to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid when Parker briefly quits his life as Spider-Man and a scene as simple as a nice girl offering Parker a piece of chocolate cake.
The bottom line with Spider-Man 2 is that it managed to find a perfect balance of everything one expects from the superhero genre and is arguably the Marvel film that set the standard for all future, past and present Marvel efforts. It’s everything a superhero movie should be.
The end of the Sam Raimi trilogy was admittedly and initially a (giant) disappointment. There were many complaints of the film being overloaded with too many villains and the odd vision of an emo version of Peter Parker going to a jazz bar. There was an awful lot of Mary Jane Watson screen time worrying about her career and doubting her relationship with Peter, and lip-syncing to a voice that was very clearly not that of Kirsten Dunst’s. There was a lot of James Franco acting intentionally brain dead after Harry Osborn lost his memory in the process of trying to kill Spider-Man. All of the complaints may very well have been valid. However, calling Spider-Man 3 a “terrible” movie seems to be an exaggeration.
The mistake that many sequels and trilogies tend to make is giving into a preconception that each succeeding film has to be bigger, badder, grander, more action-packed, more… everything than the predecessor. This is a flaw that has been magnified over the years due to the increased popularity in trilogies and sequels. This is exactly the trap that Spider-Man 3 fell upon, and it would probably be a good guess that what happened with this third entry was due to studio pressure, since the original plan from Raimi was to have 5 films.
Instead, Raimi ended up packing this third film with everything possible, and while many of the elements from the previous two entries remained, a reason for which this cannot be considered a complete failure, there was clearly a lack of time available to give to the gluttony of characters. There’s even less time to give the newer characters when the film is giving so many odd things to the main characters to do, especially pertaining to the relationship issues between Peter and Mary Jane. The relationship between the two was very much in tune with sitcoms and was also presented as if it could have been its own musical. While this would have been a welcome distraction in many films of this ilk, it ended up being another distraction in a film already chalk full.
Quite simply put, Spider-Man 3 is a film that has a whole lot of really good things going for it, but when all of those good things were combined at once, they became one bundled up mess of a movie. Overall though, the movie is entertaining enough to not deserve so much hate.
The Amazing Spider-Man
Enter Marc Webb. The reboot of the Spider-Man franchise is really unprecedented in that it was indeed just 10 years after Sam Raimi’s initially outing with the webbed crusader. As previously mentioned, much of the criticism for this film seemed to be due to it simply existing. Now, when one argues that a film like The Amazing Spider-Man was a bad movie because it shouldn’t have been created there is a giant hole left in the middle of the argument. When one argues about a film being necessary, it will inherently bring into question what movie is necessary. Of course The Amazing Spider-Man is an unnecessary reboot of a series that was created just a decade earlier. However, a bad film this does not make.
If there is a true problem with this film pertaining to its predecessor, it should actually be argued that the initial entry in the Amazing round of Spider-Man had difficulty separating itself from Sam Raimi’s vision. By holding onto the “responsibility” approach used in Spider-Man, The Amazing Spider-Man failed in making itself an entity of its own, and essentially turned into the same film as the first Spider-Man, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, when there’s something that has recently been created and the material is being covered again, it is important to differentiate the material to tell the story more effectively. This is something that the FX miniseries Fargo has done a wonderful job in accomplishing.
Although it does fail to separate itself, The Amazing Spider-Man was a good entry into the franchise with a fresh, enjoyable cast and a Spider-Man more in line with the times (although that may not be a good thing, but we’ll get to that for the sequel). Andrew Garfield plays a slick new Spidey, and although Emma Stone should be getting into much better roles, it’s hard to complain about her being in anything.
The film does some things better than the first first Spider-Man, such as the overall performances from the actors, but it also does some things much less effectively. For instance, it’s difficult to imagine there wasn’t a more effective path for Peter testing out his powers than going to an abandoned building and perform some skateboard tricks. Added to that is a heightened sense of cheesiness combined with a film that may have taken itself too seriously.
This is certainly an adequate volume in the Spider-Man library, however it didn’t quite hit the sweet spot the first two Raimi films were able to discover.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2
In Marc Webb’s sequel to The Amazing Spider-Man, there seems to be a lack of anything truly amazing. This is a film that adds new problems on top of the issues that plagued Spider-Man 3. It is difficult to say Amazing 2 is an awful movie. In a world where everything is either terrible or amazing, it feels like there should be room somewhere in the middle for something. However, this is a film that comes much closer to echoing the Joel Schumacher Batman films than the Tim Burton Batman films to which the first Spider-Man trilogy seemed indebted.
This movie is not only overloaded, it’s disconnected and from its own world and it feels as though there’s a lack of interest in this particular Spider-Man world from just about everyone involved. Peter is more interested in his relationship with Gwen Stacy and finding out more about his father than dealing with the big blue Dr. Manhattan-like bore of a villain. Harry Osborn is more interested in finding a cure for his disease than figuring out what the heck is going on at Oscorp. Even Gwen Stacy wants to leave New York for London.
Exploring all these personal elements would be great if it weren’t for the obligatory action sequences that are thrown into this film, seemingly without any thought of how they were actually useful. This of course is partially due to the film simply having too much with which to deal. The aforementioned issue with which all sequels struggle definitely come into play in this episode with the “disease of more”. With a 2 hour, 20 minute runtime Amazing 2 barely has enough time for anything that it’s trying to accomplish, and it doesn’t help when it has at least 3 different villains, 3 different Peter Parker personal problems (ALLITERATION!), 1 Gwen Stacy dilemma, and a partridge in a pear tree. That “disease of more” even appears as if it will continue into The Amazing Spider-Man 3 based on what is seen in the background when Harry Osborn is going through his transformation.
Aside from adding more villains and plot lines into Spider-Man’s web, there was another disturbing trend in this film. This is most certainly a version of Spider-Man that is more in line with the current times, but with that trait also comes a certain level of disconnect. In the previous Spider-Man films, including the first Amazing Spider-Man, the city of New York and the people of York have been a fairly significant character. Whether it be people throwing shoes and various objects at Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin or some construction workers giving Spider-Man some cranes to swing on, the city of New York has been crucial to understanding Spider-Man. This new world seems to be one of exclusion, evident in the audience being introduced to Mr. Jameson, formerly played by J.K. Simmons, via an e-mail scene in which all we see is a reply of the editor that states WRONG, hearkening back to the character being someone who yells a lot. There is no personal interaction.
Based on this lackluster sequel, it doesn’t appear audiences will be getting scenes as great as an unmasked Spider-Man being carried through a train by the people of New York after an exhausting act of heroism. Instead it appears the franchise is headed in a direction of immediate gratification and introduction of more of everything, with the exception of what actually makes people care about this sort of experience.
Overall, the path the franchise has taken can almost certainly be described as a metaphorical roller-coaster, however with the almost guaranteed popularity of films like whatever the 4th Transformers movie is called, it doesn’t appear Spider-Man is headed in the right direction. The franchise looks to be primed to suffer from superhero fatigue and instead of balancing Peter Parker’s life with his responsibility as Spider-Man, the films are trending towards sprinkling in action sequences involving Spider-Man as a separate entity from Peter Parker.
This is somewhat disheartening since Spider-Man is one of the more fun characters to keep track of in the marvel universe. However, there are 5 Spider-Man movies and there is plenty about all of them that makes them worth revisiting at times, even if a few of them are messy. With a few characters freed from the Spider-Man realm and a promising cast there is still hope for The Amazing Spider-Man 3 to end up as an improvement. While this may be unlikely, one could treat the bloated reboot sequel as a purge of some sort. And who knows? With all the money this current version is making, maybe another reboot will be on its way sooner rather than later after audiences become tired of this “amazing” (or not so much) reboot.
What do you think? Leave a comment.
Never liked the 3 Spiderman films due to the fact of EVERY VILLIAIN DYING!!!!
Could you maybe expand on this comment? I’m not sure why this would be an issue. I’m not a comic-book reader so maybe that might be part of it as it pertains to faithfulness of adaptations?
However, from my understanding of the comic book world the stories tend to take liberties themselves in taking different story lines, killing characters, etc.
I would just like more detail on why it’s bad to kill off villains and if this is bad for any movie that kills its villains?
Why? What’s the big problem? Unlike Batman, Spider-Man does not have a set-in-stone no-kill rule. Even then, none of the supervillain deaths (as far as I could remember) were not directly killed by Spider-Man.
Heck, in the first Raimi Spider-Man movie, the Green Goblin is killed in the exact manner he was killed in the comics (albeit with him coming back to life many years later because death is cheap in comics), so you can’t claim that the presence of villain deaths are a foreign concept to the Spider-Man mythos.
Spider-man 2 was the best film. Toby Maguire just did a much better Peter Parker, and you get that total “dork” vibe from him. Andrew Garfield, didn’t really have that going for him.
I agree, although I would say this really depends on how one prefers their Peter Parker. I’m not a follower of comics so I only have the viewpoint as a viewer of the films, but I have heard some say that the wit/sarcasm/arrogance displayed by Garfield is preferable.
Yea he felt more like a cool kid than a dork, or a wallflower to put it better. Garfield is a better Spider-man, but Maguire was definitely the better Peter Parker.
Spiderman 2> Spiderman 1> Spiderman 3> ASM
After re-watching each one a few weeks ago I’m leaning towards agreeing with your ordering, however the experience with ASM2 may be influencing my opinion of the ASM1.
Before giving each a 2nd watch I probably would have had it in this order:
Spider-Man 2 > Spider-Man 1 = ASM > Spider-Man 3 > ASM 2
I think the weakest part of the Raimi movies, besides the fact that they were made at a time when all comic book movies had to be mostly fluff and silliness, is the casting. Tobey and Kirsten are easily some of the worst casting I’ve seen in a comic book film, EVER. Alba is worse in Fantastic Four sure, but they’re near the top.
Garfield was one of my favourite parts of the new one, with lizard being the worst, and without being completely sold Emma Stone.
Interesting, but I think an argument can be made that along with X-Men, Spider-Man was the first of the comic book movies to bring the quality a audiences have come to expect from the Marvel universe. While it is likely none of the Marvel films will be considered classic examples of artistic film, very few of them are complete duds any more.
Spiderman 1 will always be a personal favorite of mine. It perfectly shows the journey of a skinny and flawed nerd into a caring and thoughtful superhero.
I agree. I can’t get into the character of the Amazing Spiderman’s Peter Parker – sarcastic and charming. I always thought there was a distinction between a superhero and their secret identity. i.e. Superman and Clark Kent. Superman is perfect and Clark Kent is a big, lovable clutz. However, in the Amazing Spiderman movies both Peter Parker and Spiderman are sarcastic and charming.
I really enjoyed this piece. Like you I am not a follower of the comments, but I do harbor a deep love of superhero movies. Spiderman in particular has always been of interest to me. I really liked your perspective on these movies, and I felt that you were justified in saying most of it. The primary disagreement I’d have is of your opinion of Spiderman 3. Honestly, I didn’t really find that movie very enjoyable, especially compared to the first 2. While it was an okay movie, it really didn’t compare to the first 2 on any sort of level.
I really enjoyed your comments about the most recent installment, The Amazing Spiderman 2. I really agree with your perspective there. While I enjoyed the movie (Garfields portrayal of Spiderman is absolutely fantastic) I felt that the movie tried to tackle too much. Not only were we switching between Peter, Gwen, and Harry’s personal issues, but also two new villians (Electro and the Green Goblin). All of these plots were very interesting stand alone, but when trying to incoorporate them into all into the same movie, these issues ended up underdeveloped, and made the movie seem jumbled and confusing.
Overall I sincerely enjoyed reading this piece, and look forward to reading more of what you’ve written 🙂
In regards to my earlier response, I meant *comics* instead of comments. Must have missed that!
I have a feeling Spider-Man 3 truly turned out the way it did mostly due to studio pressure. I know Raimi was meant to have 5 total movies and I think they were meant to spread out the Arc of Harry becoming the Green Goblin. I would’ve loved to see how that turned out.
Raimi’s Spidey had some flaws (not enough jokes from Spidey, Maguire’s emo-ness, the lack of a high school setting), but I think overall they did a solid job mixing superheroics, teenage drama, and a sympathetic villain in the form of Octavius. Also, it had the cooler costume! Spider-Man 1 is great, but lacks the gravitas of its sequel.
Raimi trilogy is near perfect (i really don’t mind spiderman 3 as much as other people) while ASM has a long way to go to get to the same level.
I honestly don’t enjoy Sam Raimi’s films for a variety of reasons, but right up there is because Peter Park’s character was rather destroyed. In the comic books spider-man has always been a snarky, sarcastic character. Yes, he was awkward and dorky, but part of his charm was his ability to talk through uncomfortable situations with that same kind of snark. Also, Parker’s development of his webshooters is extremely necessary. His powers don’t include shooting webs out of his body, and they never had. Sure in spin-offs maybe, or even in that arc when he was BECOMING a giant spider, but not more than that.
Also, Gwen Stacey was entirely replaced by Mary-Jane Watson. MJ was destroyed in her depiction as a “girl next door.” The fact of the matter is that Gwen Stacey is Parker’s first love and has most affected his character. Yes, there was tragedy in Uncle Ben’s death, but most of all Gwen Stacey’s death is what pushed Spider-man down the “responsibility” rout. In the comics her death was pivotal both in the comic book world and to Spider-man personally because he needed to lose. He was getting too in over his head and did not take enough responsibility for his actions. It was an extremely necessary step to take.
I love the insight that went into the article, and bravo to you for choosing a side and sticking to it. That being said, I personally could not agree with it with my sympathies towards the comic.
Also, I did love the first film by Sam Raimi, and Willem Dafoe is always amazing hehh.
I do enjoy hearing views from the comic book perspective. A majority of your issues seem to be based on how faithful the films are to the comics.
I personally have trouble buying into the argument of faithfulness when dealing with adaptation because a film is a completely different medium and whether the film is faithful to it’s source has little to do with the actual quality of a film. I try to separate any film from it’s source material when trying to determine how much I like the film. It’s understandably a very difficult thing to do.
I could probably go into an extremely long rant about adaptation, but I’d rather not at the moment.
Write an article on it! 😀
I totally get wanting to separate, but I think there’s still a way to adapt and be faithful while still making the film its own. I mean the Avengers movie, Captain America, and Iron man all put their own spins on the films but still managed to invoke a very nostalgic quality that satisfied most comic book fans.
There’s absolutely a way to be faithful while still making these films. I don’t deny that, however I don’t believe being faithful should be a goal of the filmmaker, or at least a main goal.
Most films come from some sort of source material (I should probably specify other than the screenplay), and there are certain genres that seem to get over-criticized for the mere fact they were unfaithful to the source material. Noah is a movie that really got it bad recently.
I guess the question I would pose is why would being faithful be all that important when one can just go back to the source material to enjoy the story in the way they prefer? Wouldn’t differentiating be preferred if the original way the story is told already exists?
It’s certainly a matter of preference, but it really shouldn’t factor into the “quality” of the film. I look at it as more of a bonus to the fans of the source material.
The first 2 Spider-Man movies Sam Raimi made were great, but the 3rd one sucked. He did too much that really didn’t make sense. I live Mark Webb’s version better because it’s sticking more to the comics, especially in the Marvel Universe series – with a more modern approach to it. I can’t wait for the Amazing Spider-Man 3 and the upcoming projects Fox has with Spider-Man.
Aside from the sticking to the comics more, I had almost the exact same view before giving Spider-Man 3 a second viewing. And while I agree it’s messy, there are things to like. There was a recent excerpt from Wesley Morris in his review of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 that discussed Raimi’s third film:
“A comic book could take you anywhere, and the good ones always did — sometimes until, with the change in creative personnel, they leapt off a cliff. However, if they had you, then over the cliff you went, too. That’s the story with Spider-Man 3, one of the strangest and cleverest of the Marvel movies. The whole thing is built on doubling and brings Maguire as close to classic Nicolas Cage lunacy as any actor playing super has come. Spider-Man 3 is just like what certain issues of comic books were: stuffed with randomness and quirks that were the product of either inspiration or inertia. I like that movie. It’s not serious but takes the enterprise of making a $250 million movie seriously enough. Raimi will give you a showdown with Sandman, but he’ll also take Peter to a jazz club and let him do Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face.”
For the full article go here: http://grantland.com/features/amazing-spider-man-2-review/
I firmly disagree with your view that ASM is closer to the comics.
My biggest beef with ASM is the travesty that is the new origin story, which completely misses the point of Spider-Man. In the classic origin story (that is more-or-less perfectly retold in the first Raimi Spider-Man), Peter is motivated by guilt (over his role in Uncle Ben’s death) to become Spider-Man, while in ASM, Peter is motivated by revenge and pretty much accidentally stumbled into being a superhero. It is this change that completely torpedoes all claims that ASM is more accurate to the comics.
And that is just the tip of the iceberg.
It’s hard to take nostalgia for the Raimi trilogy away to make an unbiased argument about which is better. I’m a fan of Webb’s directing style, but I feel that he was shoved into this world of action that he has no experience in handling. The most impressive pieces of the new series is the romance angle between Gwen and Peter, and with that being taken away, it’s hard to think about where this series is going. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 fails because The Amazing Spider-Man failed to set the movie up. Harry is an important character in this franchise, but he’s just thrown in at a moments notice with no build up. How is the audience who haven’t invested in the comics of seen previous movies suppose to know about this friendship that many may be unaware of? It all comes down to what you mention about the disconnect. The best example of this is when the power is out in NYC, and the audience is treated to a pair of pilots about to crash into another plane. The suspense that I’m assuming this scene is trying to build doesn’t exist because the audience doesn’t care about anyone on those planes.
Isn’t it amazing we’re talking about nostalgia for a film series that isn’t even a decade old yet?
Anyway, I do think calling the Gwen and Peter relationship impressive is a little bit of a stretch. The dialogue between them in the series has been less than stellar (that scene in the first one where he tries to ask her out is almost unbearable). I do think the Gwen and Peter aspect is the part Marc Webb is more interested in, and I think that really comes out in Amazing 2, because of how clumsily the action sequences are intertwined with the story.
I do want to ask a question about the comment “The Amazing Spider-Man 2 fails because The Amazing Spider-Man failed to set the movie up.” Should that be the goal of any movie… to set the next one up? I think you may have identified a problematic trait in these types of films with that thought. And it may be a reason for these films becoming overloaded.
Personally, I just feel like the “Amazing Spider-Man” movies are more fun. In the original trilogy (yep, I just used that term ;D), I rarely got the sense that Peter Parker was at all enjoying his time as Spider-Man; he was always gettin’ the screw put to him, and he graduated from high school and “became a man” in a big hurry, bills and all. Do you know how disappointed I am every time I see someone gain superpowers and immediately start brooding? VERY disappointed >_< .
With Garfield, though, I actually get the feeling that he has fun with it. When he's out looking for Uncle Ben's killer, he still cracks jokes and plays around with his target's more than he'd ever need to. And why wouldn't he? He's the AMAZING Spider-Man! He could crush those thugs like flies. Why take the hunt too seriously when the prey is such an easy catch?
Ultimately, I feel like Garfield's Peter is much more dynamic and, yeah, more faithful to the comics. I definitely thoroughly enjoyed Raimi's Spider-Man films, but I'm enjoying Webb's a lot more. Very nice article, though.
I didn’t really like any of Rami’s movies. But IMO I enjoyed the ASM films and am very excited to see what the next films hold.
I didn’t see the newest Spider-Man movies, probably because I enjoyed the ones with Toby McGuire so much. I didn’t see them because I hated them for existing, I just figured I knew what happened already. But it’s a different take, like you said, and worth a view. I’ll put them on my list. Nice article~
Spider-man 3 was my favorite… *prepares to get lapidated*
I don’t think you’re alone. Check out the excerpt I left from a Wesley Morris Article up above.
Back when it first debuted, the Spiderman franchise was THE superhero franchise in Hollywood. It constantly broke box office records and set a template for other origin story superhero movies that followed. But with this new Amazing Spiderman franchise, I feel like the character has become just another hero among the increasingly large group of heroes that continue to fill the big screen. As much as Sony wants to say that this Spiderman is bigger and better than ever, I don’t feel like there’s anything that makes it stand out from every other superhero franchise.
I find the thing that really bothers me about the Amazing Spiderman movies is the fact that there is a certain hollowness and corporate cynicism that seems to really pervade every shot. What really separates them from the Raimi movies, in my opinion, is the fact that you can tell when watching the Raimi movies that the director and his team really loved the property and wanted to tell a sincere story. I just don’t get that from the new movies. They are missing, for lack of a better term, a heart. The first Amazing Spiderman seemed cheap and rushed out simply so Sony could keep the rights. Then, the second one seemed way more preoccupied with setting up a cinematic universe and setting up for sequels a la the Marvel Studios universe than telling an actual good, cohesive story.
I agree on many points. The last Amazing Spider-Man film, and the last Spider-Man for that matter, were very bloated and rushed – but not necessarily bad films. It is difficult to pinpoint the reasoning behind their choices without stating author intention, which is something we may never know. Beyond that, I feel that the Spider-Man franchises are two very different works and they demand to be seen that way. The Peter Parkers that we see within the two films are two very dissimilar characters with very different roles within their respected films.
“Many resented The Amazing Spider-Man simply because it existed…”
Knowing that this is very early Marvel, with poor-production values, even by that era’s standards, and that action films depends on said values being high, I fully understand why.