There’s honestly no need for a Homecoming when Spider-Man is already Amazing. Sorry, I just had to make that corny and pointless joke before diving into my reasons behind my latest article.
In case you’ve been living under a rock, Sony and Marvel Studios have finally partnered to release Spider-Man: Homecoming, which reboots the character yet again, only this time with a younger kid and a more connected story that finally brings our favorite web-slinger into the world of the Avengers and the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Sony gives up on their previous iterations of the character and their once-planned Sinister Six follow-up to give yet another look at the character and the villains that fill up his once-tiny, but soon-to-be-large universe.
While Sony has plans for their own Venom film and other Spider-Man properties, Marvel Studios has close eye on Peter Parker and immediate Spider-Man actions, which means that Sony and Marvel will be playing the long game for some time to come.
This Homecoming talk has me reflecting back on previous Spider-Man films, including both of Marc Webb‘s Amazing Spider-Man films, featuring Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone and Sam Raimi‘s original Spider-Man trilogy, featuring Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst.
This list of 5 reasons is mostly for fun and an immediate reaction to me having seen Spider-Man: Homecoming and then coming home to re-watch The Amazing Spider-Man 2 shortly after. Both films had me thinking about what I loved and disliked from all three franchises, which had me come to the conclusion that I still prefer The Amazing Spider-Man films to Raimi’s trilogy and Jon Watts‘ new film.
Without further distraction, my list of five reasons why I think The Amazing Spider-Man is the definitive Spider-Man series.
5. Gwen Stacy
Emma Stone‘s portrayal of Gwen Stacy is easily the best filmed love interest of Peter Parker across all three franchises. Kristen Dunst gave us an energetic and lovable MJ, but her turmoil with Pete was somewhat put on the back-burner between the three films and eventually became less important to Parker’s overall arc as Spider-Man. Heck, Raimi’s films even went as far to introduce several other possible love interests, without ever really committing to one, but the films definitely tested Parker and MJ’s relationships rather quickly.
Emma Stone‘s Gwen Stacy gave us the most organic and believable part of The Amazing Spider-Man series, because of her chemistry with her on-screen co-star Andrew Garfield and because of Stone’s ability to give us a character that was equally, if not sometimes more brainy than Peter Parker himself, which helped him grow and understand the importance of his own life when compared to the life of him as Spider-Man. Stacy’s death at the end of the second Amazing film brought on well-earned tears as an emotional shifting point for Peter Parker as a person and the character of Spider-Man and what he truly stood for.
Stacy helped balance Parker’s life as a student and life as a superhero in a way that gave the films dynamics and complexities. One of my biggest gripes with Homecoming was that there’s absolutely no chemistry between Peter and any of his friends, aside from his bestie Ned.
4. The Suit
Seriously, this is the best Spider-Man suit of all three series’. I will admit that Sam Raimi‘s films had a pretty killer suit, while Marc Webb‘s first Amazing Spider-Man suit might’ve been a little too different, mostly in the textures, but he perfected in with Amazing Spider-Man 2. The big white eyes, the classic red and blue….what’s not to love? Another problem I had with Homecoming was how bland and unimaginative the suit looked. I get that it’s based on a different suit from the comics, but couldn’t they have added a little flavor to it? Also, do we really need all of Tony Stark’s gadgetry in the suit? Can nothing be left untouched?
3. The Action
One of my biggest problems with Spider-Man: Homecoming was its action sequences. It not that they were lacking in length, but that they were lacking in creativity and complexity. Sam Raimi‘s films were ground-breaking at the time, giving us some of the coolest Spider-Man battles ever, while Marc Webb‘s series managed to capitalize on that and push the boundaries even further. His use of slow motion and moving objects helped raise the stakes and make the films visual masterpieces. Watching either of the Amazing Spider-Man films in 3D proved to be a real treat, while the action itself was fluid and exciting, always capturing the emotion of any given scene, while also making for some great eye candy.
Specifically, watch the clocktower battle in 2 or the school battle in 1.
2. Andrew Garfield
Each version of Spider-Man has given us a drastically different take on Peter Parker. Tobey Maguire‘s was a little too old and “out-there” for me, while Tom Holland‘s was younger and more energetic. What Andrew Garfield brought to the table was a healthy balance of both. He was the nerdy and shy Peter Parker from high school, yet the emotionally conflicted man that struggled with his own identity and life. Dealing with the abandonment of his parents and the death of uncle Ben left him vulnerable and alone, which Webb and Garfield focused on with Parker’s relationship with Gwen Stacy and aunt May.
1. Peter’s Relationships
Peter Parker’s many relationships were best covered in the Amazing series. Homecoming does a fine job with Parker communicating and interacting with his best friend Ned, while completely skimping on Parker’s relationship with his own aunt May. Also, the lack of an origins story means no uncle Ben or parents, which gives Parker even less of a chance to interact. He spends virtually no time trying to engage with others at his school, leaving him with only Tony Stark, Happy and Vulture.
Raimi’s original films did a great job introducing us to many of Parker’s trademark associates, including Harry Osborn, J.J. Jameson, Gwen Stacy, Curt Connors and many others, which almost felt like too much. Amazing Spider-Man did a good job only focusing on a few key relationships (Gwen, aunt May, Captain Stacy, Harry Osborn) and then leaving room for more at a later date (Rhino). There was a general feel of authenticity between Peter and Gwen or Peter and May or even Peter and Connors that felt nature and organic, versus simply advancing the story. Yes, things became a little off-balanced in the second installment, but the first film did a great job balancing all of the relationships and characters.
In conclusion, there are many more reasons as to why I prefer The Amazing Spider-Man films to both Homecoming and Raimi’s Spider-Man films. I’m not saying that these two films are without their flaws, because I can definitely admit to some of the larger problems that plagued the films (the introduction of too many villains in 2, the re-tooling of Peter’s own origins in 1), but I still believe that these films are superior to the others, warts and all.
What about you? Do you think I’m completely off? Which series is your favorite? Which Peter Parker is the best? Chime in down below and let me know.
I leave you with one of the better end-notes to a Spider-Man film…