Out of all the critiques I’ve heard about The Amazing Spider-man, the most common is that it’s the same story as Raimi’s 2002 version, Spider-Man. Same ol’ same ol’, people say. This is quite a heavy charge to lay against a movie, because everyone knows Hollywood hates coming out with the same story more than once, amIright? For me, the similarities between the films weren’t big enough to crush the tension or make me lose interest. But here I want to compare and contrast the films.
A big part of both of the films revolved around Uncle Ben’s death. If I had been in the screenwriter’s shoes for one day, I’d definitely have cut out Uncle Ben’s death sub-plot, or drastically changed it. Who says Uncle Ben has to die the same way in every re-telling? Who says he even has to die in this film? Martin Sheen did a phenomenal job and could have stuck around until the next movie. As I watched the sub-plot fight/robbery/murder take place and evolve into the vengeance rampage, I couldn’t help but think of 2002 Spider-Man, and that’s a direction no director should take films. If this sub-plot had been cut and another one put in, perhaps one regarding Peter’s parents, then I think it would have made the film much stronger.
Another part that was the same was the theme of responsibility. However, 2002 Spider-Man concentrated on big-picture responsibility and The Amazing Spider-man concentrated on day to day responsibility. Tobey Maguire was forced to recognize that he had a responsibility to the citizens of New York (which I personally think is bullcrap) and Andrew Garfield was forced to recognize that he had a responsibility to care for those he loved. Bringing organic eggs home when you’re asked to is heroic in a way we all relate to. This marvelous difference in theme upped the quality of the story.
The webbing-through-the-city scenes were much the same. Very impressive shots in both the films.
Obviously, Mary Jane is different than Gwen, as one is a fun lovin’ popular movie star and the other is a brainy, family-centric scientist. Obviously, both are beautiful and played by talented actresses, though I think Garfield and Stone had about two-hundred times more convincing chemistry than Maguire and Dunst. And the reason why I was convinced of their friendship and attraction was because they were given screentime to interact, which I thought lacked in 2002 Spider-man. You can never underestimate the power of one good, long conversation between love interests. And they were given several.
And then we come to the actual character of Peter Parker. To me, they are vastly different and that’s why I’ll object if anyone says The Amazing Spider-man is same ol’ same ol’. With Garfield, we get a complete character who has joy in life even before he gets superpowers, and the powers only enhance his character traits. With Maguire, we get a burdened boy who, by the end of all three films, is crushed. Just in the simple detail that Garfield is a skater means that he is athletic and adventurous even before he gets bit. Spider-man isn’t a new being, he’s simply Peter Parker, enhanced. And in Spider-man, that enhancement isn’t held up by Maguire’s strong character.
In conclusion, I would say the movies told the same story but with different characters. It’s an interesting look at how much character development effects films.
What similarities did you see between Spider-man and The Amazing Spider-man? What differences?