SPIDER-MAN Vs. THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: Which Movie Tells The Better Origin Story?

SPIDER-MAN Vs. THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: Which Movie Tells The Better Origin Story?

Both Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man tell the origin story of Peter Parker's journey to becoming the world's greatest superhero. Here I pit the two against each other, looking at everything from the costume to the death of Uncle Ben and the web-swinging. [SPOILERS AHEAD]

PETER PARKER


Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield deliver two very different interpretations of the same character. In fact, the easiest way to distinguish them is that the former is the Stan Lee/Steve Ditko 616 version, while the latter is the Brian Michael Bendis/Mark Bagley Ultimate version. Maguire's Peter perfectly embody the bullied weakling turned superhero, but Garfield's actually has an air of confidence about him before being bitten and getting superpowers doesn't really result in any sort of major change in attitude. Overall, Maguire was far closer to the character best known to comic book readers, although he arguably failed to ever truly nail the intelligence of Peter as Garfield does. This makes it difficult to choose one over the other as both actors epitomize the character so perfectly in very different ways. Ultimately however, Garfield gives a better performance, but is not quite the better Peter Parker.

WINNER: Spider-Man



SPIDER-MAN


So, Tobey Maguire was the better Peter Parker, but Andrew Garfield is hands down the better Spider-Man. The fact that so much more of The Amazing Spider-Man puts the actor in the suit gives him a slight advantage from the off, but everything from the movements to the attitude and quips made by Garfield are the perfect representation of the character so beloved by fans. Both actors spend a lot of their respective final battles with their faces on display and are arguably equally as good in displaying the necessary emotion required by them. However, there is nothing in Spider-Man which comes close to the scenes such as the one in the sewer in which Spidey shoots webs in all directions in an effort to track down the Lizard. The practical and visual effect shots also play a massive role in bringing him to life like never before, but its Garfield who really makes this Spider-Man stand out.

WINNER: The Amazing Spider-Man



THE COSTUME


The redesign of the costume in The Amazing Spider-Man may have been a controversial topic with some comic book fans, but it still looks incredible on the big screen. The suit in Spider-Man looks as if it was taken straight from the pages of the comics (a rare treat, especially as most films completely redesign them during their journey to the big screen) but it looked very stiff and awkward at times, especially when it became clear that Tobey Maguire's voice was dubbed over because he couldn't talk with the mask on. Despite the fact that we see a zipper on the back and it often wrinkles and creases as he moves around, the suit in The Amazing Spider-Man pops off the screen and looks simply AMAZING both in the live-action and visual effects shots.

WINNER: The Amazing Spider-Man



WEB-SWINGING


For a 2002 film, the special effects in Spider-Man hold up very well, even a decade later. At the time however, it was top-notch, and managed to effectively and convincingly bring Spidey's web-swinging to the big screen. However, the difference between the practical and visual effects were always blatantly obvious as the suit restricted movement and the stuntman who was swinging around in it looked clearly uncomfortable (it wasn't hard to tell that he was on a wire either). Marc Webb's reboot managed to find a far more natural looking blend of real and computer generated web-swinging, and although the latter still looks noticeably better, it's generally much harder to notice the difference throughout the film. The movements are also far more realistic and much closer to what fans have seen in the comic books.

WINNER: The Amazing Spider-Man



POWERS


The Amazing Spider-Man best represents the web-swinging, but what about the rest of his powers? Spider-Man does a much better job at exploring Peter Parker's new-found abilities, showcasing the fact that he is now much stronger, whereas Marc Webb's movie assumes that fans will already know this. The same goes for Peter's Spider-Sense. While Spider-Man makes a point of highlighting this power, the reboot once again assumes that the audience will know he has it and frustratingly only allows him to use it when it suits the story. Wall-crawling is wall-crawling, and there's no complaints here with either. Regardless of the fact that the organic webbing in Sam Raimi's film was a controversial decision with comic book readers, Peter's powers were arguably portrayed and handled far better in that film for the most part.

WINNER: Spider-Man



UNCLE BEN'S DEATH


Both Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man feature a Peter Parker who doesn't bother to stop a robber because the victim of the crime has somehow rubbed him up the wrong way. This ultimately results in his Uncle Ben being shot. Both films also feature a Peter has had an argument with his Uncle, resulting in him being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The fact is that the similarities between both are so strong, it's a little hard to distinguish them in order to pick a winner here. However, Spider-Man just beats The Amazing Spider-Man simply because of how much better the situation as a whole is handled. Whereas Ben's death is partially his own fault for struggling with the robber in the reboot, Spider-Man made it so that the fault was entirely on Peter's shoulders. Throw in the fact it culminated in a fantastic scene in a warehouse which saw Peter realise exactly that, and it's clear which best sets the charater on the path to becoming a hero.

WINNER: Spider-Man



THE VILLAIN


This is a tough one. Norman Osborn and Curt Connors are both very similar and very different. While their respective transformations are the results of experiments gone wrong, Connors is a far more sympathetic villain in comparison to Osborn (who is just a thoroughly nasty piece of work). Of course, their ultimate plans are equally as unconvincing in some respects - the Green Goblin wants to "rule the city" with Spider-Man, while the Lizard wants to turn everyone in New York into Lizard creatures immune to disease and disabilities - but there's a very clear winner here. The Green Goblin is a truly evil villain who not only attempts to kill a group of children and Peter Parker's aunt and girlfriend, but also beats him within an inch of his life in a brutal and fantastic final battle. Making Connors a sympathetic villain was the right choice for The Amazing Spider-Man, and despite the fact that The Lizard is a brilliant visual creation and how wonderfully their fight sequences are put together, he's still not quite a match for the Green Goblin.

WINNER: Spider-Man



THE LOVE INTEREST


Mary Jane Watson and Gwen Stacy. Most comic book fans are sure to have a favourite, but which of them made for the better love interest for Spider-Man? Well, while Mary Jane had a lot more screen time and was far better fleshed out as a character, Gwen made for a much better match for Peter and the relationship in The Amazing Spider-Man was far more convincing all in all. However, the decision to have Peter just reveal his identity to her so early on very nearly caused this to go the other way, but the broken promise at the end of the film is such a perfect set up for the Green Goblin (as if Peter going back on his promise to a dying Captain Stacy won't come back to haunt him...) it makes for a far more interesting dynamic than the same old will they/won't they story. Of course, a big part of this has to do with the performances, and the fact that Emma Stone is a far more likeable on-screen presence than Kirsten Dunst inevitably played a role in this decision.

WINNER: The Amazing Spider-Man



THE SCORE


While Marc Webb scatters some great songs throughout The Amazing Spider-Man, James Horner's score lacks the iconic theme song for Spider-Man we got in Sam Raimi's 2002 movie by Danny Elfman. Horner doesn't do a bad job by any means, but it's unlikely that you'll leave the theatre humming any particular piece of music from the film other than what we got from the likes of Coldplay. Like Superman and Batman, Spider-Man is a character who deserves to have a piece of music associated with him that truly resonates and will remind you of the character regardless of where or when you hear it. Unfortunately, that is where The Amazing Spider-Man is lacking and so Spider-Man wins this one.

WINNER: Spider-Man



THE FINAL SWING


There's not a lot to say here as The Amazing Spider-Man easily comes out on top here. Spider-Man's final swing was undeniably impressive, but Marc Webb's less staged and far more authentic looking style was well-suited to such a scene. The final shot of the movie is so iconic that it will leave comic book readers and fans of the character feeling utterly breathless with delight. The reboot is a visual spectacle from start to finish and the final swing is absolutely amazing (no pun intended) and solid evidence of why Marc Webb was always the right man for the job to bring Spidey back to the big screen.

WINNER: The Amazing Spider-Man



FINAL VERDICT: DRAW


Well, they both scored five each, but a draw seems appropriate in this instance. Both Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man get a lot right and wrong, but each serves as a fairly solid origin story for the character. While the reboot never quite tells "The Unknown Story" (a very interesting theory about that can be found HERE) it is a solid big screen outing for the Marvel superhero and there's no getting around the fact that Marc Webb did a fantastic job. Sam Raimi also did an equally great job back when he introduced Spider-Man to moviegoers for the first time a decade ago. However, it doesn't seem too unfair to say that we have yet to see THE perfect origin story on the big screen. There are plenty of other points which could have been included here (the wrestling match and how well New York City was portrayed for example) but the ten listed above still give us a pretty good idea of each of their strengths and weaknesses. Comparing them is far from essential and if you haven't already - SERIOUSLY?! - then check them both out because you most definitely won't regret it. Sound off with your thoughts on all of this and your own ideas in the usual place. Check out my interview with Marc Webb HERE and be sure to click HERE to read my 4* review of The Amazing Spider-Man.








The Amazing Spider-Man is the story of Peter Parker (Garfield), an outcast high schooler who was abandoned by his parents as a boy, leaving him to be raised by his Uncle Ben (Sheen) and Aunt May (Field). Like most teenagers, Peter is trying to figure out who he is and how he got to be the person he is today. Peter is also finding his way with his first high school crush, Gwen Stacy (Stone), and together, they struggle with love, commitment, and secrets. As Peter discovers a mysterious briefcase that belonged to his father, he begins a quest to understand his parents' disappearance - leading him directly to Oscorp and the lab of Dr Curt Connors (Ifans), his father's former partner. As Spider-Man is set on a collision course with Connors' alter-ego, The Lizard, Peter will make life-altering choices to use his powers and shape his destiny to become a hero.


STARRING:

Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker/Spider-Man
Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy
Rhys Ifans as Curt Connors/The Lizard
Martin Sheen as Uncle Ben
Sally Fields as Aunt May
Denis Leary as George Stacy

RELEASE DATE: Out Now.


Posted By:
Josh Wilding
Member Since 3/13/2009
Filed Under "Spider-Man" 7/6/2012
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