Monday, July 30, 2012

Guest Post: Old vs. New: Which Spiderman Comes out on Top? by Samantha Gray

Old vs. New: Which Spiderman Comes out on Top?

When I found out that Marvel was completely rebooting the Spiderman films and starting from scratch, I felt a bit devastated. Throughout the last three Spiderman films, I had grown attached to the romantic, heartfelt storyline Tobey Maguire, James Franco, and Kirsten Dunst created through their fictional characters Peter Parker, Harry Osborn, and Mary Jane Watson. Two years ago, however, it was decided that the film series needed a new beginning and some major revisions. I'll be the first to admit that the last two Spiderman films needed a bit of a facelift. Both the acting and plots had been on a downward spiral from the first film, and it seemed that if a fourth film were to be made, some serious changes needed to take place.

The newest Spiderman – The Amazing Spiderman – debuted to audiences in July 2012 and drew in a huge box office opening. The reviews, though mixed, were mostly positive, and the new cast was applauded for their undeniable chemistry and individual acting performances. The first Spiderman film, however, was praised in similar ways when it came out ten years ago. So when it comes down to it, I was curious to find out which of these two Spiderman films came out on top. I compared and ranked the Spiderman films based on acting, comic-book consistency, and use of graphics.


In both Spiderman films, the two main characters were Peter Parker and his main love interest – either Mary Jane Watson or Gwen Stacy. Overall, I'd say that Andrew Garfield was the better Peter Parker and Tobey Maguire was the better Spiderman. In the first film, Tobey Maguire does a great job of bringing a sincere humanity and well-rounded personality to Spiderman, but struggles to make us believe him as the geeky, insecure Peter Parker. Andrew Garfield, on the other hand, weaves through the emotional and inner struggles of Peter Parker brilliantly, but struggles with living up to the notorious Spiderman hero. Had Tobey Maguire been able to convey Peter Parker better, I suspect he would have been the better Spiderman overall. The award for Spiderman's leading lady, however, has to go to Emma Stone, who elegantly portrays Gwen Stacy. For the past two years, Stone has been on the rise in the acting world with movies such as Easy A and The Help, and Spiderman reaffirms she deserves to be up at the top. She not only acts her individual scenes well, she also flawlessly connects with Andrew Garfield. Kirsten Dunst, on the other hand, was always borderline cheesy in all of her scenes and lines from the very first Spiderman up until the last one. In this case, I'd say The Amazing Spiderman wins for acting.

Comic Book Consistency

From the beginning, the old Spiderman films got a lot of flak for stepping away from the storylines the comic books created. The Amazing Spiderman, however, stays more true to the comic book. In fact, when I started looking into the luxuries the first Spiderman took from the comic books, I was rather amazed it did so well amongst diehard Spiderman fans. For one thing, Mary Jane Watson doesn't come into Peter Parker's life until much later on, following Gwen Stacy. Furthermore, the webbing that Spiderman uses is actually something he builds and designs on his own; in the first Spiderman film we see that Tobey Maguire's character acquires webbing during his transformation into Spiderman, but The Amazing Spiderman actually stuck with the storyline and has Andrew Garfield design the webbing himself. Lastly, The Amazing Spiderman focuses more on the background and development of Peter Parker's life, as opposed to jumping right into him becoming Spiderman. As you can imagine, the comic books focused much more on Peter Parker's life before he became Spiderman, and I believe The Amazing Spiderman stayed more true to that story. In this instance, The Amazing Spiderman comes out on top again.

Use of Graphics

I went back and forth on this one, but when it boils down to it, both films did a remarkable job in their use of graphics. You have to remember that Tobey Maguire's Spiderman came out ten years ago, and even in that decade graphics have made tremendous strides. All the same, both films neither overused nor underused their graphics. They both balanced the action sequences and character scenes very well. In fact, I can't point to one instance in which one of the films did better than the other in action sequences.

For all intents and purposes, The Amazing Spiderman is the better of the two Spiderman films based solely on acting, comic-book consistency, and graphics. I've heard people argue in reverse, but I'd say that The Amazing Spiderman wins for being the better of the two films.

Samantha Gray is an expert in online education and a freelance writer. Pursuing an online bachelor's degree is often fraught with myths and misconceptions. Samantha shows her readers the way. She wants to hear your feedback and ideas, too, at