Marvel Movie Bracket Game: Spider-man Vs. Spider-man 2

Spider-man Vs. Spider-man 2

Avengers: Age of Ultron kicks off the summer movie season on May 1.  To celebrate, we’re spending the first half of May looking at Marvel movies.  The superhero genre was dominated for decades by Warner Brothers with its Batman and Superman movies.  But in recent years, Marvel has become the dominant force.  Not only have they taken the momentum from their distinguished competition, they have pushed superheroes into the spotlight.  Nowadays, the cineplexes are overflowing with movies based on Marvel comics.  Which one will rise above the rest?  That’s up to you, True Believer.

Marvel Movies

Yesterday, the original Blade triumphed over the darker sequel.  That means the first appearance of the Daywalker will face off against a Wall Crawler in the next round.  The question for today is, which Spider-man movie will go up against Blade?

Spider-man was in development for ages.  The movie rights were tied up in legal limbo through most of the 90’s.  At one point, James Cameron had a treatment which is rumored to be truly terrible.  Eventually, Sony came up with the rights to make a Spider-man movie and they tapped cult film director, Sam Raimi, to helm.

In retrospect, Raimi seems like an obvious choice.  But at the time, he really hadn’t done much.  His Evil Dead movies were beloved by a small group of fans.  Darkman was comic bookish but far from a mainstream blockbuster.  Raimi’s attempts to go mainstream like A Simple Plan and For Love of the Game disappointed at the box office.  But that changed in 2002 with Spider-man.

Tobey Maguire was cast as Peter Parker.  Several other actors were considered for the role including  Leonardo DiCaprio, Edward Furlong, Freddie Prinze, Jr, Chris Klein, Wes Bentley, and Heath Ledger.  Fun fact: one of these actors is about to get his own WTHH article.  Kirsten Dunst, who already has her own WTHH article, was cast as Mary Jane a month before shooting.

The first movie told Spider-man’s origin story and featured Willem Dafoe as the Green Goblin.  It got mostly positive reviews and was a blockbuster.  It wasn’t just big.  It smashed records.  The romantic elements allowed Spider-man to appeal to audiences who didn’t typically go to see superhero movies which made Spider-man the biggest superhero movie at that time.  Spider-man opened the door to mainstream acceptance of the genre.

Naturally, Sony wanted a sequel.  Although Maguire almost didn’t return.  According to Maguire, he had a back injury while filming Seabiscuit and needed a little extra time to recuperate.  But the studio saw this as a bargaining tool tied to Maguire’s request for more money.  They came very close to replacing Maguire with Jake Gyllenhaal as a result.  But Maguire’s back recovered in time for him to keep his job.

Spider-man 2 was considered by critics to be superior to the original.  It currently holds a 94% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes compared to the 89% score held by the 2002 movie.  It was also a big hit at the box office although not as big as the first movie.

Three years later, Raimi, Maguire, Dunst and James Franco all returned for Spider-man 3.  The final film in the trilogy was not as well-received as the first two movies.  It performed well enough at the box office that Sony considered making a fourth movie with the original cast.  But ultimately that didn’t work out and the series was rebooted in 2012.  The reboot and its sequel did not perform up to expectations so Sony ended up cutting a deal with Marvel that they hope will prove mutually beneficial.

But today, we’re focused on the first two Spider-man films.  Do you prefer Peter Parker’s origin story or his fight against Doc Ock?

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Posted on April 28, 2015, in Bracket Game, Movies, Super Heroes and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 33 Comments.

  1. The big difference between the first two Tobey Maguire Spider-Man movies is the treatment of the villain. It would be easy to imagine purists objecting to the changes made to Doctor Octopus’ backstory, but it was done so well (and performed so wonderfully by the fantastic Alfred Molina) that I actually had to remind myself that they really were significant changes. Where Raimi succeeded was in understanding the spirit of the source material and in delivering the iconic visuals that went with them. The action sequences between Spidey and Doc Ock were straight out of the books in a way that the original did not quite achieve. The advantage of a bigger budget certainly didn’t hurt.


    • The treatment of the villains is a big thing. Green Goblin is harder to adapt than Doc Ock. They still haven’t come up with a good look for the character despite three different attempts (if you include Goblin Jr in Spider-man 3).

      The other big difference is that the first movie spends about half of its runtime on the origin story. Origin stories are boring. I don’t know why Sony is so obsessed with telling Spider-man’s origin story over and over again. We all know it already. Get to the good stuff! Spider-man 2 didn’t have to go through all the exposition that Spider-man had to deal with.

      My big complaint about Spider-man 2 is the nonsense with his powers fading in and out. I get what they were going for. Peter didn’t want to be Spider-man anymore. But why that would cause his powers to fail is a mystery. And the guy spent a lot of time without his mask. Could have done with less of that. And what’s up with the cake girl?

      J. Riddle at The Dig wrote a piece that was very critical of Spider-man 2. Here’s a link if anyone is interested in his take.


      • I actually really liked the cake girl. Yes, it seemingly came out of left field, but it felt like it was out of the world of the books to me, and gee whiz Peter needed somebody to be nice to him at that moment.

        I’ve read that article before and it makes a lot of good points…none of which really matter to me because the movie as a whole delivers on a level that NO comic book movie had ever managed to before. As the form has become very popular we have seen a variety of success and failure on film, but I have to say that not a single other comic book movie has managed the tone that Raimi did. (I could do without the added scene of JJJ wearing the Spider-Man outfit, though).


        • Yeah, I reread the article just now and while I agree with some of the points it doesn’t really change my mind about Spider-man 2 at all. Perhaps if I was a bigger Spider-man fan, I would feel differently. But for my money the second movie had a better bad guy, better pacing, better fight scenes… I don’t consider to to be vastly superior to the first movie. But I do prefer it.

          Cake girl didn’t have enough screen time to make me hate her. But it definitely felt like it was out of left field. I think the movie would have been stronger without her. And then she came back for Spider-man 3!


        • That review was sort of complicated by the fact that I was critiquing it without as hard a separation between how it works as an adaptation vs. how it works as a film (though i don’t think it works either way), and probably from the dashing of very high expectations engendered by the first movie. It really is just a bigger, much dumber, inferior remake of the first movie–Spider-Man 1 For Dummies–and I didn’t want or need that.

          And yes, if you were a big Spider-Man fan, I suspect you would feel differently.

          The Raimi pictures got a lot right about Peter but totaly fouled up the Spider-Man identity while the AMAZING pictures got the Spider-Man persona right which carrying over some of the Raimi films mistakes about Peter and adding a few new ones. The first AMAZING has what is easily the best live-action Spider-Man action scene ever committed to film (the fight with the Lizaard in the high school). It would be nice if someone could get it ALL right for a change.


        • Rank the Films: Spider-man:

          4th – Spider-man 3 (2007)
          Rotten Tomatoes: 63%

          Ahh, Spider-man 3. With possibly the exception of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, has there been a bigger let-down in recent blockbuster history?

          Maybe that sounds a bit harsh, but you know deep down, that this is a terrible movie. First off, the decision to throw as many villains at the screen as humanly possible (one of which, Sandman, is really bland) was a massive mistake.

          It’s common knowledge that the film was effectively produced by a committee down at Sony, rather than by Sam Raimi himself. As it turns out, too many cooks really do spoil the broth, as this film lacks focus and is a complete shambles at times. Sandman’s origin story is so contrived, Green Goblin’s resurgence in the form of Harry Osborn was tacked onto the end of the previous film, and it was some genius’ idea to make Peter Parker turn into some kind of hip-swaying/emo-fringe madman mid-way through the film.

          Also, the opportunity to include iconic villain Venom is completely wasted. Tacked onto the final third of the film, Eddie Brock’s transformation into Venom is rushed, and lacking in the gravity it deserves. In all honesty, his arc should’ve formed the basis of the majority of the film, rather than compressed into the movie alongside many vying plotlines.

          Anyway, Spider-man 3 is a complete step in the wrong direction for the series, and ultimately resulted in everyone involved jumping ship and Sony starting from scratch with The Amazing Spider-man in 2012. In that respect, it ain’t all bad.

          3rd – Spider-man (2002)
          Rotten Tomatoes: 89%

          The first Spider-man is where it all begins – the superhero film renaissance. Some say it begins with Bryan Singer’s original X-Men, but things really get motoring here, in what is a sublime first entry into a defining superhero trilogy.

          Casting the dorky Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker/Spider-man and Kirsten Dunst as girl-next-door Mary Jane, director Sam Raimi charmed audiences in this delightfully well-told origin story that saw Spider-man go toe-to-toe with Willem Dafoe’s villainous Green Goblin.

          And whilst it is a great film, can we really say that is has aged well? Over a decade on from its release, and I can’t help but feel that Spider-man has aged a lot faster than Singer’s X-Men, or even Tim Burton’s original Batman films.

          First off, Goblin looks awful. His suit is garish and is possibly trying to be accurate to the comics a little too much. Secondly, after 10+ years of repeat viewings has left the Maguire/Dunst on-screen chemistry feeling very soggy and flat to me in this first entry. And of course, some of the SFX look a little mediocre by today’s standards.

          This isn’t to say the first film is bad – oh no, there are lots of defining superhero film moments here. Bits like where Peter first discovers how to swing with his web, catches Mary-Jane and then everything on her tray, and where Goblin and Spidey fight it out during the parade are classic. And of course, THAT stupid upside down kiss in the rain. Ugh, so cheesy.

          2nd – Spider-man 2 (2004)
          Rotten Tomatoes: 94%

          Widely regarded as one of the most complete films the superhero genre has seen, Sam Raimi’s stellar Spidery sequel sees Peter Parker face off against the villainous Doc Ock.

          So why does Spider-man 2 dwell down in 2nd place on my list? Personal preference to be honest. There is nothing inherently bad about Spidey 2, just that I prefer Garfield/Stone over Maguire/Dunst. I prefer the overall tone of the new Spidey series to the original trilogy – even as blasphemous as that may sound.

          The plus sides with this second film is the kick-ass action – like I said, whilst Spidey 1 has aged in my eyes, this second film still holds up 10 years on. The train sequence, the bank sequence, the final showdown on the Hudson River; pretty much everything here is fast-paced, thrilling and defining of the genre.

          Despite having seen this film possibly more than any other superhero film, Spider-man 2 is still a fantastic film that checks all the right boxes along the way. Now if only they had kept up that quality for the third film…

          1st – The Amazing Spider-man (2012)
          Rotten Tomatoes: 73%

          Now, this may come as a shock to some of you, but I’m going to stick my neck on the line and put Amazing Spider-man up here at the top, ahead of Spider-man 2. Why? Well, let me break it down…

          First up, Andrew Garfield. The guy is fantastic as Peter Parker, much more likeable and entertaining than moany Maguire. Sure, his character isn’t as much of a dweeb, but the guy’s love for the character (Garfield is a life-long Spidey fan) comes across in his acting. He’s cheeky, awkward and has a lot of fun with the high-school scenes.

          Secondly, Emma Stone, for two reasons. 1) Phwoar. 2) Her chemistry with Garfield is brilliant, one of the best aspects of the new series Sony is crafting.

          Thirdly, I liked that the film sowed the seeds for future entries into an Avengers-esque universe. People may dismiss this as annoying sequel bait, but you have to credit Sony’s ambition with this reboot. They are aiming high and planning far into the future – separate movies for Venom, The Sinister Six and more are all on the table. What’s even better, is this element is set to continue in the soon-to-be released Amazing Spider-man 2.

          Sure there are some downsides – Lizard (Rhys Ifans) has a very generic origin story, Martin Sheen isn’t as iconic or memorable as Uncle Ben, and Peter’s transformation into Spidey is kind of rushed, but on the whole, I enjoy this film a lot more than any of the other Spidey films previously put together.


      • Ranking all Spider-Man Movies Worst to Best:

        Spider-Man 2

        Spider-Man2 redeems almost all flaws present in it’s predecessor – it’s larger, darker, edgier, more gripping and overall more visually striking – it’s one of the best Spidey films and one of the greatest CBM’s of all time – up there with TASM. Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker improved her – Maguire is overall a better actor and the character was better handled and characterised. Even James Franco and Kirsten Dunst (even though I don’t like the former too much) were at their best here.

        The narrative well depicts the themes and consequences of being Peter Parker and Spider-Man – balancing several arcs, and respectively adapting the Spider-Man: No More arc, whilst weaving in masterfully directed action sequences and a well-handed crisp, refined script – a well picked cast and a wonderfully crafted antagonist – The Doctor Octopus.

        Worlds cannot describe this film – it’s a Masterpiece…


      • Best to Worst — The ‘Spider-Man’ Movies Ranked:

        2.) Spider-Man 2

        This one is everyone’s favorite Spider-Man movie and I know it. I used to only find this movie okay, believe it or not. At the time when I saw it, I was disappointed because the trailers really hyped up the confrontation between Peter/Spider-Man and Harry (pictured above). But instead we got a cool reveal with a “hey, we have to deal with this later” line. This is even some people’s favorite Marvel movie ever. It never was that for me. I just watched this again today to try and see what I missed, and I missed a lot. I didn’t appreciate the fantastic villain that Dr. Otto Octavius aka Doc Ock (played by the amazing Alfred Molina) back then. He is a very sympathetic villain who has many layers to him. Plus he’s a badass. But you get the feeling that he is extremely similar to Peter, aside from taking a small detour in his path that led to him becoming a villain. I argued years ago that I felt it wasn’t a Spider-Man movie because we didn’t get much Spider-Man, but that is actually what makes it great. Peter goes through a journey that is really heroic. The poor guy is down on his luck and feels the heavy weight of responsibility. I’ll look away from the losing of his powers just because he “didn’t want to be Spider-Man” aspect, because that was bad. This is definitely a lot better than I used to give it credit for.


      • I do like origin stories, but in the case of this film and “Batman Begins”, I think they took the concept too far. Eventually, you just have to get the story moving.


    • 25 Best Superhero Movies Since Blade:

      Spider-Man (2002)

      Tobey Maguire was a supremely — and, I’d argue, delightfully — odd choice to play Spider-Man. He’s not particularly funny, for one thing. And his mannerisms and line readings give off the vibe of an alien wearing a human suit. But his performance, like the rest of Sam Raimi’s Spider debut, is as charming as it is awkward. Here is a movie where no one seems to be in the same movie, what with Willem Dafoe seemingly bored by everyone except himself (and he is fascinated by himself), James Franco operating in the transition zone between teen heartthrob and holier-than-thou artiste, Kirsten Dunst thinking she’s in another teen drama, and Maguire speaking directly to the viewer with his aforementioned eerie awkwardness. Oh, and Macy Gray is there, too, for some reason. The result is an uneven mishmash that never rises to the level of greatness, but it was a noble first step toward building the modern superhero template.


  2. jeffthewildman

    Spider-Man 2 is my favorite of the first three Spider-Man movies. Having gotten the origin story out of the way, they’re able to really get down to the nitty gritty and they do it pretty well.

    The original Spider-Man was good overall. But the handling of the Green Goblin could’ve been better.


    • Ranking the Spider-Man Movies:

      Spider-Man 2
      Released 2004

      Upon its release, Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 immediately became the new superhero movie by which all others would be judged — a title many would say it holds to this day. Spider-Man 2 pit the web-slinger against Doctor Octopus, who was given his own emotional journey from Peter’s mentor to supervillain. The movie encompasses Spider-Man in a way no other Spidey movie has been able to, showing the character’s true struggle with being a hero and being a man, inspiring hope in the city and sacrificing his own happiness.

      It’s a complex journey for every single character involved, and Raimi balances it all with utterly thrilling action sequences like the aforementioned train fight and the great climactic battle with Doc Ock. But Spider-Man 2 also has great moments of levity that is a staple of the Spider-Man world and even a great throwback to Raimi’s Evil Dead roots. From any point of view – as a Spider-Man fan, a filmmaking enthusiast, a hopeless romantic – Spider-Man 2 delivers on every level. IGN Logo


  3. I will need to check with my Spiderman consultant and will comment later (i.e. after my consultant gets home from school and the homework is finished.)


  4. I’ve never been able to get into the Spider Man movies. I liked them for the most part, but I was never wowed the way I’ve been with Batman, X-Men, and many of the MCU movies. Hard for me to put my finger on why. It may be that the first two movies had so-so special effects which made me constantly aware I was looking at CGI whenever Spiderman was swinging around. The third movie was a mess, Amazing Spider Man was ho-hum, and Amazing 2 was truly terrible. I’d watch Spider Man 3 over Amazing 2 any day.

    Of the 5 Spider Man movies, #2 was the best. Since it is going up against the very mediocre Blade next round I guess I’ll even vote for it twice! That’s it though as every other movie in the bracket (not counting Howard) I like better.


    • Amazing Spider-man 2 is wretched. It’s Batman and Robin-level bad.


      • Thankfully I didn’t pay money to see that movie. It was playing on an overseas flight I took last summer. I think Sony biting the bullet and licensing Spider Man back to Marvel/Disney is the best thing that could happen to the character. I guess if Amazing 2 wasn’t so bad that might not have happened. That’s the nicest thing I can say about it!

        Liked by 1 person

        • That’s a glass half full approach. I like it.


        • 10 Big Mistakes That Forced Sony To Give Up On The Amazing Spider-Man:

          Rebooting Too Soon

          Spider-Man 3 was an unqualified disaster. Nobody is questioning that. The last entry in Sam Raimi’s initial trilogy of wall-crawler films was a laughing stock (for all the wrong reasons) with audiences – not that that would necessarily put a studio off of powering forward, but it made the least money out of any of those films so far.

          So, instead of going ahead with Spider-Man 4 (and 5 – both of them were in the works), Sony decided to just go ahead and rip it up and start again. A scant few years after Tobey Maguire was disco dancing along the streets of New York with a Fall Out Boy fringe, Andrew Garfield was replacing him as the awkwardly charming, dorky Peter Parker everyone knew and loved.

          But even though the Amazing movies were a marked improvement – if not quite living up to their title – many viewers were confused. Wait, this is a new one? So we’re doing the origin story again? Won’t these be just as terrible as that one with the sand guy? They didn’t leave enough time for fans to get excited about another Spidey movie.

          Not Figuring Out The Tone

          They also didn’t leave enough time to figure out what exactly went wrong with the Sam Raimi movies, and decide what mistakes they didn’t wish to repeat. Part of what made those early Spidey movies – especially the third one – such a mess was the wildly varying tones. For all the dramatic pathos ripped straight from the comics, the Evil Dead director couldn’t resist putting some idiotic Three Stooges-cribbed slapstick in there as well.

          Which meant that moments of genuine shock or upset were undercut by, well, that dancing scene. It seemed like The Amazing Spider-Man was going to go with a more serious tone; not quite stony-faced Dark Knight, but still a little more grounded than James Franco being super stoked to eat a pie.

          Instead, The Amazing Spider-Man wound up having its own tonal issues. Especially in the second film, which includes both the super serious death of Gwen Stacy and a scientist with a German accent that’s only ever spoken by American actors playing mad scientists. It’s like Victor Frankenstein walked on set.

          Stupid Supervillains

          One thing that audiences certainly couldn’t take seriously throughout The Amazing Spider-Man films were the villains. Again, they were something of an issue in the Raimi films: Willem Defoe was good casting as the Green Goblin, but his costume was silly; ditto for Alfred Molina as Doctor Octopus in the sequel; then the third film was stuffed with way too many villains to keep track of.

          The Amazing Spider-Man pared things back a bit. Instead of having a whole host of bad guys for Peter Parker to contend with, they stuck with Rhys Ifans as The Lizard. Which he was pretty good at! Well, so long as he was Curt Connors, anyway. Then he turned into a hench, CGI version of the Goombas from the Mario Bros. movie.

          Even worse was the sequel, which ignored the lessons of Spider-Man 3 and also blew its load, villain-wise. Paul Giamatti seemed to be the only one who knew what movie he was making as the overblown, mech-driving Rhino, whilst Jamie Foxx’s Electro a) made no sense and b) had a ludicrous motivation. As for Dane Dehaan’s Goblin? Nah.

          Setting Up Mysteries (And Not Solving Them)

          Despite repeating some of the mistakes of the Sam Raimi films, The Amazing Spider-Man movies thus far have actually tried to do something different. For one thing, they’ve decided to draw from a fairly obscure corner of the source material, digging deep into the comic book archives and resurrecting an oft-forgotten plot-line about Peter Parker’s parents being killed because they were spies.

          Peter’s orphaned status in the Raimi films was rarely commented upon. He was more upset about losing his Uncle Ben, because he raised him, and because his death was the motivation for him to become a superhero. It is a well-known fact you can only do good deeds when fuelled by grief over the death of a loved one.

          But they screwed the pooch by setting all this spy intrigue up in the first film and then… never following up on it. Based on the early trailers, there was supposed to be more of this, and they eventually got around to exploring it more in the sequel. A bit.

          Killing Off Gwen Stacy

          Other times, meanwhile, the filmmakers’ slavish devotion to the source material was their downfall. Raimi’s first Spider-Man film toyed with the iconography of the most classic Spider-Man story (other than his origin), The Night Gwen Stacy Died; except they swapped out MJ for Gwen as the damsel in distress, kidnapped by the insane Green Goblin and held over a precipitously high drop from a bridge in New York. And she didn’t actually die, which was actually a neat subversion of what came before.

          Deciding that was too smart for them, the makers of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 decided to follow the comic books to a tee and kill of Gwen Stacy at the end of that movie. Which was a terrible decision – they lost Emma Stone, one of the big draws to the franchise, thanks to her own star power and genuine chemistry with Andrew Garfield.

          Replicating that with another actress is going to be tough. It was also not anywhere near the big twist it was supposed to be. If there’s one thing everyone knows anything about Gwen Stacy, it’s that she gets killed. Everyone saw it coming. It was pointless, bad storytelling and bad for business.

          Meddling In The Wrong Way

          Whilst nominative determinism might have played a part in his being chosen to helm the rebooted franchise, it’s really Marc Webb’s skill at directing romance that got him the gig. And you can see that skill come through in all the scenes between Peter and Gwen involving no supervillainy.

          But supervillainy there had to be. In fact, at times it seemed like Webb and the screenwriters wanted to tell a far more grounded, nuanced and interesting story with The Amazing Spider-Man films, but never got a chance. Most likely because Sony just wanted to go with the knock-down drag-out CGI action they know sells tickets.

          Just take a look at all the scenes from the trailers for both films that didn’t wind up in the movies. That spy stuff should’ve been wrapped up in the first movie, but it got cut. Curt Connors could’ve been more interesting, and seeded the Oscorp business – but it got cut.

          A Lack Of Confidence

          All these previous issues point to a distinct lack of confidence on Sony’s part. Which is a weird thing to say about a huge, multi-billion dollar studio that’s part of an even bigger multi-squillion dollar electronics empire, but it’s evident. There’s absolutely no sureness of hand in the making of The Amazing Spider-Man films, and all the doubting and second-guessing is right up there on the screen.

          It’s there in the obvious cuts, reshoots and re-writes. It’s there in the wildly varying tones, sometimes even getting close to that Christopher Nolan levels of serious business, whilst at others heading further into pantomime than Sam Raimi ever dared. It’s even there in all the behind-the-scenes meddling.

          Each movie had multiple screenwriters working on multiple drafts – which is fairly normal in the blockbuster, but none of those drafts seemed to gel, nor match with what Marc Webb or any of the actors were doing. If Sony had just believed in somebody to lead the project, they might’ve got something more coherent, a singular vision. Too many cooks spoilt the broth.

          Trying To Build Their Own Cinematic Universe

          You can see why they’d be scared, though. Whilst they and Fox had been presiding over the superhero blockbusters with their Spider-Man and X-Men series, respectively, out of nowhere there came an unexpected challenge to their throne. In fact, nobody could’ve predicted that a few years after Iron Man, Marvel would be a major player.

          Not only a major player, but basically calling all the shots. The Marvel Studios films have done so well and amassed such a huge following that other productions are falling over themselves to catch up, mainly by trying to copy the formula Marvel nailed. DC are doing it right now, Fox are apparently bringing the X-Men and Fantastic Four together.

          And, for a moment, it looked like Sony was going to build its own Shared Cinematic Universe. Except, whilst Marvel had all of the Avengers to play with and spin off into solo films, Sony have Spider-Man. And his enemies. They even considered giving Aunt May her own film. None of this would’ve worked. Would anyone wanna see a Sinister Six film with no Spider-Man?

          Never Being Happy

          Like Icarus, Sony ultimately flew to close to the sun. Actually, that’s not quite accurate – Icarus was overcome with hubris and arrogance, not greed. Sony are more like the character in every film/book/kids cartoon who joins an undersea expedition and finds themselves sinking to their death because of the amount of treasure they’ve nicked, unwilling to give it up, even if it means dying.

          Sony actually had a pretty good thing going with the Spider-Man films. Even when the third film didn’t connect with fans, it wasn’t making bad money – less than the previous two, but still recouping its budget (and then some). The Amazing Spider-Man movies always did better at the box office than it did in reviews and, really, isn’t that all that matters?

          Not to audiences, obviously, but to studios. The artistic quality of huge blockbusters matters less than how much it makes. Hence why Transformers 5 is in the works. Sony wanted more though: they wanted the mega-success and audience of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And in chasing that, they forgot how to make good Spider-Man films.

          Not Handing Themselves Over To Marvel Sooner

          According to those leaked Sony emails, they’d been considering teaming up with Marvel for a while – only for negotiations to break down (this was around the same time they considered doing an animated comedy Spider-Man with 21 Jump Street/LEGO Movie directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller).

          This morning, it turned out those talks actually continued, and eventually they reached a settlement everyone was happy with. The next Spider-Man is now part of Marvel’s upcoming slate – meaning they had to move Black Panther and Captain Marvel’s release dates – and that seems like the best result for everyone involved.

          In fact, this news is the first time the audience at large seems to be excited about a Spider-Man film since, well Sam Raimi’s second one. If Sony made one huge mistake that effectively tanked the franchise, it was not handing over the keys to the kingdom to Marvel sooner. It remains to be seen if the results are worth watching, but PR-wise? This is a banner day in the Spider-Man franchise.


      • Spider-Man: All Movies Ranked From Worst To Best:

        The Amazing Spider-Man 2

        The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was meant to put Spidey back at the top of the superhero pile. Instead it ended up being the least successful superhero movie of 2014, beaten at the box office by a Captain America sequel, an X-Men time travel story and a Guardians Of The Galaxy movie. It’s getting embarrassing that Sony seem so inept in dealing with the hero.

        It’s stuffed with so many supporting characters and concepts trying to set up the long list of clearly desired sequels that it forgets it needs to win over audiences first. The fingerprints of executive meddling are all over the film, with attempts to build a shared universe akin to Marvel’s overriding the unique voice that originally brought director Marc Webb to the series in the first place.

        The hunt for Uncle Ben’s killer, a plot point that traditionally defines the entirety of Peter Parker’s character, is ignored, the mystery surrounding his parent’s disappearance is lazily tied up and primary villain Electro is given a campy backseat to allow ample setting up of The Sinister Six movie. There’s no sense of cohesion or even a basic understanding of the material, with the only thing remotely commendable being the admittedly breathtaking web swinging sequences.

        Emblematic of the film’s confusion is how it handles The Night Gwen Stacy Died. One of the series’ most iconic moments, seeing this brought to life should have been a defining moment of superhero cinema. Instead, thanks to a web hand and hollow head clunk the farewell to Emma Stone, the best thing in the movie, was laughable rather than moving.


        • Spider-Man: ranking the films in order of quality:

          The Amazing Spider-Man 2

          In plenty of respects, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a decent, well-made action film: anchored by the strong chemistry between lead actors Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone, and filled with well-shot and entertaining action sequences. But as a Spider-Man film, just about every decision it makes in terms of plot and character is the wrong one, leading to a film that doesn’t so much misunderstand the core themes of Spidey as take one look at them, laugh cynically, and throw them out of the window.

          It’s true that in his earliest appearances, Spider-Man was something of a cocky and arrogant character – a strong through-line in those early stories was the idea of Peter Parker as an embittered nerd, picked on throughout adolescence for simply trying to be a good and studious guy, suddenly liberated by being able to be energetic and powerful while hiding behind a mask. But it’s an equally key part of his character that he learns pretty quickly that he can’t be the bully, or punch down – that since (as we all know) with great power comes great responsibility, a big part of that is simply being a better person.

          But the Garfield Spidey seems to have been going through that process in reverse: already, the first film had established Peter as somewhat more confident outside the mask anyway, but in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 it’s quite startling just how much of his screentime sees him occupying a position of smug superiority.

          This is thrown into sharp relief by the plotline involving Max Dillon/Electro – someone who, just like a younger Peter, is a largely-shunned outsider: a science nerd with obvious social problems who, thanks to a quirk of circumstance, ends up getting terrifying powers that he didn’t ask for. But instead of sympathising with Dillon, or trying to help or rescue him, Peter’s solution is to come up with a plan that literally involves blowing him up. Not attempting to capture or even cure him, but simply to kill him.

          Is this what we want from Spider-Man? A reinforcement of the idea that might makes right? Or, worse, that the weird and unusual, the people we don’t understand and who don’t understand us, are the enemy? Or, to cite another example: a Peter Parker who flat out refuses to help his dying best friend, while giving neither Harry nor the viewer any actual reason?

          It’s the biggest problem with the latest film, but it’s far from the only one. The tweaks to Peter’s backstory might seem like something only the most hardcore of nerds would get upset about, but again, it’s a thematic problem rather than just being annoyed at change for change’s sake. Peter gaining his powers as a direct result of his blood being used in the experiment that created him (an experiment devised by his genius father) detracts from the idea that he’s just an ordinary kid in the right place at the right time. He’s no longer ‘the hero who could be you,’ he’s another instance of the ‘chosen one’ convention that’s infected films of this type in recent years (see also Man Of Steel).

          It’s also baffling that an entire Spider-Man film should pass by with barely a mention of Uncle Ben – Peter instead finding time to agonise over both his father and Captain Stacy, but not the man whose bringing-up and moral code inspires the most important aspect of Spider-Man’s personal ethos. We can only be thankful that a planned scene in which Richard Parker was actually revealed to be alive was left on the cutting-room floor.

          The frustrating thing about The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is that several talented people have got together to make a film that’s highly technically accomplished (albeit with several moments of flat out stupidity and coincidence in its plotting) – but all that talent and quality is being wasted on entirely the wrong story. Its single standout scene – the death of Gwen – is superbly realised, and is a rare example of the series taking a direct cue from the comics. But even that was a poor decision – carrying over an outdated plot element simply because it’s famous and memorable, rather than it having any relevance to this version of the character. It’s indicative of a script that, at its heart, has no heart – it’s cynical, and nasty, and as such the opposite of everything a Spider-Man story should be.


    • The Definitive Ranking Of Spider-Man Movies, From Best To Worst:

      Spider-Man 2

      This is the easiest choice of this entire list. Raimi’s second Spider-Man movie is not only head and shoulders above the rest, it’s one of my all-time favorite superhero movies. Almost all of Sam Raimi’s movies have this odd ability to seem borderline sarcastic and intensely earnest at the same time, where characters always seem right on the verge of breaking character… but then they don’t. It’s that weird tightrope dance between parody and schlock that works perfectly with comic book material. Raimi doesn’t try to soften the inherent silliness of the story (like Chris Nolan), he just bathes in it. I realize Sam Raimi’s style is intensely polarizing, but if you don’t like Dr. Octopus’s giant sentient robot arms smashing cars while lighting a cigarette and a superhero movie that ends with an 80s sitcom-style freeze frame, I just don’t know what to tell you. I wholeheartedly love this movie.


      • Ranking The Spider-Man Films From Worst To Best:

        Spider-Man 2

        Easily the best film in the entire series thus far has to be Spider-Man 2. Raimi upped his game from the first film, delivering an excellent villain and also an engaging, emotionally led story. Raimi’s confidence was clearly on a high here, his direction of action had improved considerably and he even found the time for an excellent visual reference to his own Evil Dead film. Spider-Man 2 has everything a summer blockbuster needs and should have been the blueprint for the rest of the series. In fact, while the current Spider-Man series is on an unplanned hiatus, its creators would do well to watch this film again to remind themselves of how good the franchise can really be.


        • Every ‘Spider-Man’ Movie Ranked:

          “Spider-Man 2″

          Whereas every other Spider-Man movie has suffered because of its villain, at least in some capacity, Raimi’s sequel is only enriched by the presence of Alfred Molina as Dr. Otto Octavius, who follows an arc equally, if not more compelling than Peter Parker’s crisis. On top of intelligent and emotionally satisfying character moments throughout, Raimi filled the screen with memorable set pieces and the strongest presence of his personal style in the series. “Spider-Man 2″ became the bar for all other superheroes after its release and remains as a benchmark for the genre.


        • Ranking Spidey’s Big Outings:

          Spider-Man 2 (2004)

          How can any of Raimi’s movies possibly compare to the rebooted franchise you ask? Much like X-men 2 and The Dark Knight; Spiderman 2 delivers a movie that is bigger, better, and more layered than its predecessor in nearly every way. In true Empire Strikes Back fashion, this film complicates Peter’s relationships with both Mary Jane and his best friend Harry Osbourne while also pitting our hero against a foe that is more formidable, more sympathetic, more conniving, and more believable than the Green Goblin ever was. The action set pieces are still spectacular(no pun intended) ten years later and Peter’s struggle to balance his life as a superhero with his work and personal life is still something that is almost universally relatable to viewers of all ages.

          Sure it still has Raimi’s trademark camp, but it also hits a vulnerability and desperation with the character that none of the other films have been able to capture. What is it like to be a loving well intentioned person who seems to have hit rock bottom and lost it all? How can we decide to remain altruistic so we can help others when we can hardly take care of ourselves? This movie hits on all of these questions while delivering ton of scene chewing fun. Spiderman 2 may be from another era of the superhero genre, but it remains the strongest film the franchise has seen yet thanks to a perfectly fine tuned balance between character drama, action, camp, and moral life lessons.


    • Best To Worst: Every Marvel Movie Ranked:

      “The Amazing Spider-Man” (2012)
      Rebooted only five years after the last Sam Raimi/Tobey Maguire film (a fourth installment of that series, with John Malkovich and Anne Hathaway as villains got close to production before it was canned), Peter Parker swung back onto screens in 2012 with a new youth-friendly take, spiked with added “darkness” inspired by Christopher Nolan’s “Batman” films, courtesy of “Zodiac” writer James Vanderbilt and “(500) Days Of Summer” director Marc Webb. Webb did some things right: the casting is pretty much bang on, with Andrew Garfield making an excellent Parker and Spidey, Emma Stone a spunky Gwen Stacy, and the pair sharing plenty of chemistry together. Indeed, when it’s just the two of them hanging out (or scenes with Aunt May and Uncle Ben, nicely played by Sally Field and Martin Sheen), the film displays promise of matching or even topping the Raimi pictures. The trouble is everything else: the story (hacked up heavily in the cutting room, with entire sub-plots or characters left dangling) is nonsensical and unsatisfying, the villain (Rhys Ifans) weakly motivated and underdrawn, and the action pretty poor. If the imminent sequel were just Garfield and Stone in a rom-com, we’d be delighted, but we’re a lot warier of the villain overload promised by the bajillion trailers. [C-]


      • The 31 Modern Marvel Movies Ranked From Worst to Best!

        The Amazing Spider-Man 2

        ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ is a train wreck. Outside of spirited performances from Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone as Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy, the film is loud and stupid, driven by an obnoxious score and characters whose decisions are head-scratching at best and moronic at worst. Somehow, ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ manages to be both too small and too big, needlessly making Spidey’s origin part of a grand conspiracy while shrinking his rogue’s gallery so that each of his foes have an identical place of origin. This stinks.


    • Ranking the Series: The Spider-Man Franchise:

      The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)

      Just like with Spider-Man 3 this is another film that suffers from having too much going on. Again there are three villains, one is only there to set things up for the next film, and not enough time is given to them to make them really matter. Harry Osborn gets a little more to do than Electro but neither Dane DeHaan nor Jamie Foxx give particularly good performances. There are some things to enjoy that mostly come from the human side of Spider-Man. His relationship with Gwen is a strength just like the first film because Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone have great chemistry together. One thing that’s present here which isn’t in most superhero films is real emotion. Certain moments pack a real punch while others are a swing and a miss. Sally Field is another positive, as are the special effects, but this one falls short of its predecessor.


    • Ben Garbow’s Definitive Ranking of Spider-Man Films:

      Spider-Man 3 (2007)

      If it was possible for me to rank this any lower, I would. Spider-Man 3 is not just by far the worst Spider-Man movie made to date, but one of the worst superhero movies ever made. It’s a bloated, unfocused, atrocious, awful, hideous, cringe-worthy mess.

      Buckle up, people, because this is going to get ugly.

      To start, there’s not one, not two, but three main villains. That’s too many. And in the process of stuffing so many different storylines and characters into one film, Spider-Man 3 ruins nearly everything. Gwen Stacy is reduced from the strong, smart leading lady we see in The Amazing Spider-Man and in the comics to a footnote. James Franco’s Green Goblin is fine, but he easily could have made up his own movie, just like Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin did. Sandman, on the other hand, isn’t nearly a strong enough villain to justify stealing as much precious screen time as he does. And then we have Venom, who is easily the coolest villain in the Spider-Man universe and, I think, one of the coolest super villains period: a parasitic alien goo that latches onto a host and gives it enhanced super powers while slowly corrupting it. And what is Venom in the film? A tertiary villain and subplot. At the very least, Venom’s existence would have been at least tolerable had it not produced the now infamous bar scene. I’m going to link to it here in case you for whatever reason haven’t seen it, but be warned: it’s bad.

      Spider-Man 3 subscribes to the “more is more” school of thought, but there’s just so many characters and villains and conversations and fight scenes that nothing really sticks together. It’s an awful, awful movie that tarnishes the legacy of the original trilogy and all copies of it should be destroyed by any means necessary.

      The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)

      As I hope I’ve made clear in my thorough trashing of Spider-Man 3, more villains do not a better film make. So imagine the horror, the horror, oh the horror, I experienced upon learning that the new Spider-Man movie would have three villains: the Green Goblin, the Rhino, and Electro. Would The Amazing Spider-Man 2 learn from the egregious mistakes of Spider-Man 3, a Spider-Man film made only seven years prior that also featured an excess of villainy?

      Yes. Yes it would.

      The Amazing Spider-Man 2 shows us what Spider-Man 3 could (and should) have been. Each villain’s storyline is told with a tight narrative and strong performances all around. While some could argue that there was room for more development for Electro—his anti-Spidey rage did seem a bit sudden and forced—the two main villains certainly make formidable foes. And oh my god—Dane Dehaan. If there’s anyone who can inherit Willem Dafoe’s green throne made of pumpkin grenades, it’s Dane Dehaan. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 works, even with its many villains, because each storyline is handled separately and independently. Yes, they eventually do come together in the end, but each villain is given room to breathe and be rightfully scary, rather than shoehorned in to fit the plot. We don’t get half-baked villains like we do in Spider-Man 3. We get fully baked, terrifying villains, like we would expect in any other superhero movie. They just get a little less screen time to accommodate each other. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that the fight sequences are just gorgeous.

      The Amazing Spider-Man 2’s main strength comes once again from its two leads, Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone, and the amazing chemistry between them. Spider-Man’s comedic crime-fighting stylings only get amped up—Garfield really has a ton of fun with Spidey’s trademark quips and puns. And Garfield gets a chance to show his dramatic acting chops as Peter Parker’s struggles to balance his personal life with his superhero life are portrayed to heartbreaking effect. (Sorry, Tobey Maguire. It’s not that you’re bad, it’s just that Garfield is fantastic.) Were there some things that didn’t work? Sure: some plot lines could have benefited from a diet or been cut entirely. There were some odd pacing choices and some music decisions that really took me out of the film. But overall, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a marked improvement from Spider-Man 3 (which, to be fair, isn’t exactly difficult to do) and reinforces Garfield’s strength as the web-slinger. While definitely not a perfect film, it’s entertaining, emotional, and lays the groundwork for a damn good sequel.


  5. Of the actors who were considered to play Peter/Spider-Man going to get his own article soon, my bet is between Furlong, Prinze and Klein.


  6. My expert says that 2 was better. She states that the first was a “wonderful origin movie” and both were extraordinary, but the second movie was “what the comics were all about.” How Harry Osborn was obsessed with Spiderman and the genius casting of Doc Oct captured how a good man had gone bad. The first movie gets you situated so that you can get into the characters. The storyline in the second was more exciting overall and can be watched over and over, especially the thrilling train scene. When Mary Jane realized who Spiderman was that was awesome too. Tobey Maguire is the best Spiderman.

    OK there you have it. The above is the first comment I have ever posted here where I have no idea what any of it means.


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