—by Nathan on September 4, 2012—
Spider-Man has been handled by two different directors in film. Sam Raimi (known more for his horror films) did the spectacular trilogy which sported such ground-shaking titles like Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, and Spider-Man 3. Marc Webb (who, I think, was chosen just because of his name...I mean, it's perfect!) did the recent Amazing Spider-Man, which beats Raimi's movies in the title department by only a hair's breadth. But enough jokes. This blog will go over Raimi's first movie and ASM. I personally like the first Spider-Man a bit better, but this isn't a contest. I'll go over various points about each movie. Like I said, this isn't a contest; this is more like my explanation/discussion type blogs. Sounds good? Great. The Raimi Spider-Man Trilogy consists of three of my favorite Marvel movies, but the Webb flicks are shaping up to be pretty good themselves. So, grab your web-shooters and let's get swinging (as always, there will be spoilers).
ORIGIN: Peter Parker, all around high school nerd, gets bit by a radioactive spider, which grants him superhuman powers, including strength and the ability to scale walls. Both movies follow this same idea, but in different ways. In Spider-Man, Peter Parker is on a class field trip when he gets bitten. In ASM, Peter is at OsCorp, trying to learn more about his parents from Dr. Curt Connors, when he gets bitten after sneaking into a room he finds interesting because of a similarity between a sign and something on notes of his father's. What I didn't really like about ASM's origin is the fact that Peter has to break some rules. At first, he lies about being an intern and then he goes off sneaking. Yes, it could be painting a picture of humans and their flaws, but it just didn't sit right with me. Both movies also have the escaping burglar, whom Peter allows to get away, who then kills Uncle Ben. I think ASM painted that better, because Uncle Ben is shot seconds after Peter allows him to escape. I think that was poignant. However, ASM lacks both the capture of said burglar as well as the famous "with great power comes great responsibility" lesson.
HERO: Spider-Man. Shouldn't have too many differences, right? I guess not. Both versions are fairly funny. Andrew Garfield's character is younger than Tobey Maguire's, being a high school student who stays in high school instead of going right off to college. And maybe this is why Maguire's version of Spider-Man seems more mature. Garfield's Parker/Spider-Man seems more prone to acting with his emotions than thinking things out logically. Garfield also doesn't seem as much the wall-flower type guy and he may be a bit smarter than Maguire (who didn't have to develop his own web-shooters). As Spider-Man, Garfield starts out somewhat arrogantly, another small thing that kinda bugged me (pun unashamedly intended). Both are heroes, willing to risk their lives to save others. But what really differentiates the two is, like I said before, age. Garfield's Peter understands responsibility; Garfield's Peter is learning. In the long run, I guess Garfield's Spider-Man will mature over the course of other movies. He's a kid. He'll grow eventually. I'm not saying that he didn't grow. He did, but it may just be a longer process.
VILLAIN: The Lizard debuts in ASM, but the Green Goblin made his appearance ten years before. In ASM, there are mentionings made of Norman Osborn, particularly that he's dying. Well, there you go. Gobby could be in ASM 2. I actually think this will be better than what they did in Raimi's Spider-Man. The Goblin was a pretty cool villain and it makes sense that he would be in the first Raimi movie. But then I also think of what Nolan's Batman movies did, keeping The Dark Knight's greatest arch-enemy, the Joker, out of the action until the second movie. This builds suspense, and that may be what this new franchise is seeking. Hence the Lizard. At first, I thought it was kinda odd to have the Lizard, since people were probably thinking he was gonna be the baddie in Spider-Man 4. His character was changed a bit. In the comics, Spider-Man usually relied on some sort of serum to change Lizzy back to Dr. Curt Connors. In this film, the Lizard and Connors are like Jekyll and Hyde, the Lizard turning back to Connors after some time. That was interesting and kept up a bit of mystery as to who this Lizard guy really was. Also, unlike the Raimi movies, the Lizard lived. Maybe Webb's looking to do a Sinister Six type film someday? That'd be cool. The Green Goblin was still neat, but the Lizard's plan was bigger. I do like the idea of keeping the Goblin in the background for this movie, so we'll have to see how he compares to Wilem Dafoe's version.
SUPPORTING CAST: Both films had Aunt May and Uncle Ben, the latter of whom dies by the infamous criminal known only as the Burglar in comics. Said Burglar is caught by Spidey in Spider-Man, but not ASM. Still, the message that Peter is responsible for his uncle's death is evident in both movies. Gwen Stacy takes the place of Mary Jane Watson as Peter's girlfriend in ASM, which actually, I think, is a rather bad premonition. I mean, Gwen is killed by the Green Goblin in the comics, so...fill in the blank. Gwen was in the third Raimi Spider-Man film, but she seemed like more of an airhead. ASM's Gwen was smarter, being an intern at Oscorp. As mentioned before, Norman Osborn is mentioned, but he's never seen, very unlike the big roll he had in Spider-Man. There's no Harry Osborn to be Pete's best friend in ASM. Gwen takes both the girlfriend and best friend rolls. No J. Jonah Jameson or any other Bugle staff in ASM. Actually, Peter only uses his camera once, but then the Lizard destroys it. I guess the Bugle can be put into the second movie, establishing Peter's job as a freelance photog. And, of course, Dr. Connors is far larger in ASM then it was in Raimi's trilogy.
Those are just a few ways to compare and contrast the two Spider-Man franchises. I loved what Raimi did, but I do think Webb has established a great first movie. I mean, it's hard to go wrong with Spider-Man. We'll have to see what the future holds for the Web-Slinger, but that doesn't mean I can't sit back and enjoy the past.