I’m just going to go out and say it. Sam Raimi’s trilogy is certainly far better than the two Amazing Spider Man movies. It would seem that most of the world is in agreement with that as well.
But what makes it all that much better? Well, I am just going to talk about 2 things that really bug me.
But before I get to that, let’s take a look at the main character. I find this to be interesting, for I feel Toby McGuire played a better Peter Parker, while Andrew Garfield was the better costumed hero.
Both did good jobs at their alter-egos, but Garfield really nailed the humor and sarcasm Spider Man is known for, while McGuire’s seemed to lack that severely, while Garfield’s Peter was far to “hip” and not at all nerdy. You didn’t feel bad for him. When he became Spider Man, it was like, oh okay.
But when McGuire becomes Spider Man, you are so happy that something good happened to him, because for the 10 minutes of the movie he does not have powers, he is being crapped on by everyone he meets.
So we’ll put them at a tie for main character. So what about their love interests? Both Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) and Mary Jane, (Kirsten Dunst) do great jobs at being those characters and giving them their own personalities.
This was what I immediately hated about The Amazing Spider Man. Gwen and Peter are classmates that seem to barely know each other beyond “that kid in my class,” but they have like two conversations and instantly fall head over heels, deeply, madly in love. Yes, it’s implied Peter has had a crush on her already, but their coupling happens so instantaneously that it is very unbelievable that it put me off from their relationship. The lack of character development for both of them also puts a disinterest in their personal love affairs too. I don’t know, just going from less than acquaintances to destined lovers in minutes is just a bit farfetched.
In Sam Raimi’s trilogy, it becomes immediately clear that Peter has wanted Mary Jane, his next door neighbor, for his entire life, and she has hardly spared a glance for him. She was the exact opposite of him. He knew he didn’t have a shot at her at all. When he gets his powers, he becomes a little more confident, but still fails to make a move.
So instead, Pete’s best friend dates her instead. Eventually she falls for Spider Man, which gives Peter the confidence to move forward as himself. When he finally can have her, he shuts her down to protect her. The second movie is a roller coaster of emotion. he basically gives up his whole life to be Spider Man, truly a noble act, but when he can bear it no longer, he gives it up, only to have Mary Jane say no. He returns as Spider Man when Mary Jane realizes she made a mistake and tells him she wants to be with him.
Again, Peter stays away to protect her. This is so powerful because both at this point know that they love each other so deeply, and neither of them truly understands why they won’t allow themselves to be with the other. They are constantly struggling with themselves, so by the time they end up together, in the last scene of the movie, you are about as happy as they are.
So in otherwords, McGuire and Mary Jane take two full movies to finally come together, while Garfield and Gwen take two scenes.
My final reason for today why Sam Raimi’s is so much better is the whole way Uncle Ben died.
In Amazing, Ben and Peter have a huge fight, one worse I think than in Raimi’s movies, so that’s a plus. But the circumstances leading up to Ben’s murder are pretty lame and would not impose as much guilt on Garfield, thus the viewer does not feel as much sorrow or whatever for Peter either, or really, the entire situation.
Allow me to explain what I mean. In both movies, Peter has a run in with the criminal who kills Uncle Ben moments before he does that heinous act. Peter has a chance to stop them, and doesn’t, thus Peter always believes it is his fault.
So in Amazing, Peter goes to a store to buy a little thing of milk for himself. He is short two cents and tries to take it from that “leave a penny, take a penny thing.” The clerk is a real d-bag and gives him a hard time, saying he can’t just take money without leaving any in return or something. It doesn’t really make sense. But the clerk says it’s “store policy,” and an angered Peter leaves the milk behind and shuffles off, just as the criminal enters the store. He robs the register and even gives the milk to Peter, thus technically making him a shoplifter. When the robber takes off, the clerk yells to Peter to go and catch him. The clerk gets mad when he doesn’t and Peter says it’s not his policy.
This is what ticks me off. Why is the clerk so mad and expectant of Peter? He doesn’t know he has powers. Why would anyone expect some random person to go chase down a criminal. The only person who is aware that he could easily stop the criminal is Peter himself. And because he didn’t have enough money to buy the milk, he took it out on the store clerk.
So the criminal gets away and shoots Uncle Ben. The only satisfying thing about this is the childish reason Peter let the criminal get away. That could weigh heavy on someone’s mind for sure. But yeah…pretty lame.
In Raimi’s film, Peter wins a wrestling match to win $3000 but gets scammed and winds up only getting like $200 for basically being too strong. He’s trying to win the money to buy a car, but the man tells him he fails to see the part where that’s his problem. So he gets screwed and leaves all ticked, just as the criminal goes and robs the cash that Peter rightfully won and then some. Pete lets him pass to get away and the man says that you could have killed that guy. Peter says it’s not his problem. This is much better because Peter just proved that he was able to easily crush anyone in his path and the man knew it. He wasn’t just getting ticked at a random customer. Peter could have also easily stopped him without revealing his powers since he was face to face with the man. Garfield was in the middle of a street that would have attracted far too much attention.
In short, Garfield is mad because he didn’t have enough money, and McGuire was mad because he was screwed out of 3 grand. So yeah. Raimi’s is a lot better in that respect.
There are many other reasons why the older ones are better, but I could be here all day talking about it. The original trilogy is even more impressive because they were made before there were countless super hero movies. They were essentially a guinea pig and they were better than anyone expected. Even now, when the first movie is nearly 20 years old (wow!) they still hold up today.
And for the record, I do enjoy all of them, just some were very disappointing. From worst to best I would rank them
The Amazing Spider Man 2
The Amazing Spider Man
Spider Man 3
Spider Man 2