PETER PARKER/SPIDER-MAN: Tobey Maguire vs. Andrew Garfield. As I said in my previous post, I never really had a problem with Tobey Maguire in the original films. He worked for the films he was in and made a very cartoonish super-hero, which happened to convey the exact tone that Sam Raimi was gong for. What I don't care for? His voice, and his ugly crying face. And that as Peter, he has no sex appeal whatsoever (the one exception I'll grant him is where he sees his physical transformation haha) I understand he's not the cool guy in school, but was he the biggest nerd ever in the comics? I don't know maybe he was, I'm no comic expert. But I much preferred that Andrew Garfield came across as completely relatable; the ultimate everyman. Just a guy you'd know, yet better because he was somehow full of this irresistible confidence and charisma. That didn't make him the popular guy in school, it just showed him as a guy who knew himself really well and knew what he wanted. He is absolutely 100% likable in this role and I haven't met a single person who thought otherwise. He just shines in this role and it's in a completely natural way. Tobey was perfectly good in his movies, but Andrew MAKES his movie and I don't know if that's necessarily true in the other films. So for me, Andrew takes this one by a long shot. Can't wait to see more of him. WINNER: ANDREW GARFIELD, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN.
LOVE INTEREST: Kirsten Dunst's Mary Jane Watson vs. Emma Stone's Gwen Stacy. I pretty well already knew the answer to this one BEFORE even needing to rewatch the original Spider-man, but boy howdy was it ever solidified when I did. I never thought Kirsten was a particularly strong aspect of the movies, (like OMG you need to watch Kirsten in this, she makes an AMAZING heroine,) but I always thought she and her character were decent enough. Watching it again though? Oh man, why does anyone even like this girl? She flits from boy to boy without even a care and barely shows a personality at all besides being completely shallow (even if she has a soft spot for that old bag Aunt May.) She seems completely disinterested in Peter the entire time except when he's showering her with compliments (either given to her, or to Spider-man ABOUT her.) She kisses Spider-man while she's still dating Harry...in fact she never really has the decency to break up with Harry at all. And suddenly throughout it all she discovers that all along she's loved Peter? Bull. She loves the attention she GETS from Peter. And I've found that the line "I thought...I hope I live through this...so I can see Peter Parker's face one more time," is my new favorite thing to mock. Kirsten isn't really that bad..but she's not that good, and her character is kind of terrible. Why are we rooting for them to get together again? Emma Stone, on the other hand, is wonderful. She just has such a freshness about her and seems completely down to earth. She exudes her personality on screen with every movie she's in and it makes sense why both Peter and the real Andrew Garfield would fall for her. She, like Andrew give entirely REAL performances and they work together incredibly well. She plays her part very well and is NEVER annoying. Quite the feat for that kind of role. WINNER: EMMA STONE, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN.
AUNT MAY: Rosemary Harris vs. Sally Field. This category almost completely sums up the differences of the movies as a whole. Cartooney old woman (seriously why is his aunt so old? was there a 20 year gap between siblings and these were the only people you could get to take care of your son??) vs. down to earth mother figure that everyone feels like they really know. Rosemary Harris was probably more integrated into the plot and had more to do, and for her part she's fine. She is exactly what they wanted. But there really is something about Sally Field that you can't not just love. She seems so genuine and that always shines through in any role she plays. She's very warm and real and I think that sums up the tone of the whole movie in general. So even if she doesn't have much to do, I think I prefer that take. WINNER: SALLY FIELD, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN.
DIRECTOR'S TOUCH & TONE: Sam Raimi vs. Marc Webb. Okay this is probably the hardest category for me, because again these sum up each film entirely. Basically this is funny too, it's pitting the directors of my top two films in 2009 against each other. Drag Me to Hell (my number 2) vs. (500) Days of Summer. What's a girl to do? It's funny because in actuality, those films in a nutshell accurately describe the tones and touches of each director and what they brought to those projects as well as Spider-man. Raimi's films were very much comic book superhero movies and they were down right fun. Webb's version is very down to earth, fresh and has a realness to it that I myself find irresistible. Obviously back in 2009 I made my choice and chose real over fun, but when it comes to Spider-man? It's a lot harder for me to do. I feel like both approaches work beautifully and bring different things to the story. Both directors are absolutely skilled and I think I can say I equally love both visions. I myself would probably fall more along the line of preferring realism, but objectively I have to say they both are really good. So this one is a tie... WINNER: DRAW.
BACKSTORY: The intriguing story of what happened to Peter's parents (which his parents were not even mentioned once throughout the other trilogy) vs.. what backstory? Uh that he's been a nerdy kid living with his aunt and uncle and crushing on the girl next door his whole life? I'll take the new one. And I'm really excited to see where this storyline goes in the sequels. WINNER: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN.
GETTING THE POWERS: Okay in the Raimi version we have Peter on a field trip, distractedly taking pictures of Mary Jane and a spider comes out of nowhere and bites him. We briefly hear the person guiding the tour telling that the spiders have been mutated or some such nonsense, but is anyone really paying that attention? And why are these spiders out in the open like this for high schoolers to see? Not all that believable. In the new one, the spiders are kept far away from the average high schooler and after some major snooping he comes across them. But the real reason it's better in the new one is that it actually explains WHY those spiders are the way they are, and Peter is actually tied into it. Therefore getting powers from that bite is a bit more believable too. Oh and I like how the villain gets the powers better in this one too, and how they're kind of intertwined. WINNER: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN.
LEARNING HOW TO USE THE POWERS: This was one of my favorite sequences in Spider-man and I think part of the reason it became so classic. It really has the benefit over the new one in having established some things so well, and this was one of them. Watching him master his powers was definitely one of the best parts of that movie, and while I think it is very well done in the new one...this is one of the areas that is definitely hard not to compare and think how well it was done before. WINNER: SPIDER-MAN.
LOSING BEN: The argument that kind of leads to the accident, in the older film definitely feels a bit more staged (like who could really get mad at Cliff Robertson anyway?) but in the new one Andrew Garfield really sells the argument he has with Martin Sheen.You believe his anger for sure. The way this sequence is intercut definitely creates more suspense because we can sense something is coming (even though most people already knew there was having known the story and seen the other one) Whereas in the old one he just comes back after his wrestling match and sees the consequences of helping the crook get away. It's effective, but I don't think its as effective as seeing him get killed before our eyes. I'll admit that the scenes of them letting the crooks go are eerily similar, but for the death I give the edge to Amazing. Plus you could feel the real tragedy when Aunt May is told I think. Also the original had the crying Tobey face so... WINNER: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN.
CHOOSING TO DON THE MASK/BECOMING A SUPERHERO: In the original he begins first with the brief wrestling stint with his noble desire to win money to impress Mary Jane, but after Ben's death heeds his powerful "with great power, comes great responsibility" line. Thus a superhero is born. Pretty sweet and simple. In The Amazing Spider-man, after Ben's death he definitely gets thrown into it and is on the quest to find the killer, since unlike the original, this one got away. Along the way he discovers he needs to help people, he doesn't go right into that like in the original...and I think it makes a little bit more sense. We see a little more clearly the thought process he goes to in becoming a full blown hero, and it's a lot less montagey. The idea of a costume feels a little more realistic (especially in the looks of said costume. the one in the original is pretty flashy for some dude to have just made himself.) I think both are well done, the original is simple and to the point...it doesn't waste much time which is nice. But the new one we can clearly see his train of thought and motivations a little bit more clearly I think. WINNER: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN.
KISS: Okay there's no way around it. That kiss in the rain is purely iconic and has become one of those famous movie moments. Cinematically, it is very beautiful...and it's pretty hot. (Still could do with a wardrobe change for Dunst...but I'm sure it's a huge factor in the reason some horny guys like it.) That said, I really really enjoy the kiss between Gwen and Peter as well. It's an incredibly sweet moment, and HE, rather than the circumstances surrounding the first one, makes it hot enough to rival the first. For many people I know they probably think this one is a no-brainer, but I really disagree and say they're both great for different reasons. WINNER: DRAW.
Conclusion: These films are incredibly tough to compare considering the original Spider-man has a ten year advantage of already being established as THE definitive version. But the new one proved that it wasn't necessarily untouchable. Things could be, and were improved upon....and for that it should be given credit. It's true some scenarios are similar and can't help but be compared....with the favor going to the original since it did it first. But the new one really is good and should be given a chance and taken on its own merits. However, as I've said from the start and actually in my last blog too...I think quality and enjoyability-wise (yes not a word spell check, I'm aware.) they're very much equal and I really do have a love for the 2002 film. So...I still can't say I have a definitive preference either way even if right now I'm feeling more eager to defend the new installment. However....according the my categories .. The Amazing Spider-man wins 8 categories outright to Spider-man's 4. So give it credit is all I'm saying, and look forward to the sequel :) And as I've said before, we can love them all can't we? Anywho that's probably more than enough to say on the subject (probably was 500 words ago..) But stay tuned for a blog on all things Christopher Nolan..coming soon! I'll leave you with this great video I found that shows Tobey's wonderful impact on the trilogy with his Tobeyface. (As an editor though I have to say watch out for dozens of flash frames that weren't caught!)