3 Reasons the Original Spiderman Trilogy is Superior to the Reboot

November 20, 2012 11:00 am

This week, the Amazing Spiderman came out on DVD and along with it, came the praises of how much better Marc Webb’s reboot of the Spiderman franchise is. Because most people are unable to compliment one film without insulting another, there have been several declarations that the original trilogy is pitiful in comparison. Henceforth, I felt it was time for someone to fight Sam Raimi’s corner with this article.

I am going to come right out and say it: I thought the Amazing Spiderman was the disappointment of the year. It isn’t a bad film, but I went into the cinema with high expectations. Personally, I thought Sam Raimi made the better films for the three following reasons. Of course, I am welcome to arguments, so post your opinions in the comments below.

3 – SOME OF THE SUB-PLOTS ARE FORGOTTEN MID-FILM

One of the most frustrating problems I had with the film was the fact that several of the storylines set up in the first half of the film were forgotten by the time the climax kicked in. The thing that intrigued me the most was the trailer focused on Peter Parker’s parents, a strand of the Spiderman Universe that I am not familiar with. After a thrilling introduction and a couple of name-drops from Uncle Ben and Dr. Connors, Peter’s father was never mentioned again. Maybe Webb wants to explore the Father in future sequels, but I felt cheated somehow.

Also, there was the case of Uncle Ben’s killer. The build-up of the film seemed to revolve around Peter’s need to avenge his Uncle, rather than a natural sense of do-goodness that Tobey Macguire’s Peter Parker had. Don’t get me wrong: I think that this is a good move, as it makes Parker seem like a more relatable character, but after a few false alarms, he gives up. The death of the carjacker is meant to be one of the principal moments in the origin story, a line that Parker vows never to cross again. And Webb left it out of the film. These lack of conclusions made the ending of the film slightly hollow for my taste and a little less satisfying.

2 – THE VILLAIN WAS POORLY PORTRAYED

OK, right now, I am going to sound slightly similar to the typical nerd who automatically hates the film because it wandered slightly off the original comics. But in this case, I think it would have made the film more entertaining. Basically, I wanted the Lizard to be a mindless monster and Dr. Connors to be the desperate doctor covering up his tracks, almost like Jekyll and Hyde (or to keep it to its Marvel roots, the Hulk and Bruce Banner). I think this would have made Dr. Connors a more sympathetic character – Rhys Ifans tried to bring humanity to the role, but I feel it didn’t come across properly. And if you argue that the Lizard being mindless would have robbed the film of a good plot, the film already had an over-arching villain ready to step up: Irrfan Khan’s mysterious Dr. Rajit Ratha. His character was interesting, yet underused. I would have loved to see Dr. Ratha manipulating an out of control Lizard in Manhattan.

In addition, personally I feel superhero films should have outgrown the villain’s origin story occurring at the same time as the hero’s. Looking at the Dark Knight series, the villains have appeared from the darkness, automatically set-up as the powerhouses they turned out to be. Somehow the Lizard’s character arc seemed almost a step backwards from the great superhero movies that we’ve seen recently.

1 – SAM RAIMI GOT MORE OUT OF THE ORIGIN STORY

I understand Marc Webb wanted the origin story to stay in high school, which limited the extent of it, but I still feel that Sam Raimi summed up the origin in a cleaner way. He managed to fit in most of what Webb had in the Amazing Spiderman, plus Spiderman’s first appearance in the wrestling ring, Harry Osborn, and the fantastic J. Jonah Jameson, a character the Amazing Spiderman sorely lacked.

In general, the Amazing Spiderman felt like an average film, whereas Sam Raimi’s Spiderman was the innovative first superhero film that kick-started the influx of hero films we have today. Yes, it feels partially out-dated now (see the earlier point of the villain’s origin story), yet it has become a classic that I don’t think the Amazing Spiderman is able to live up to. And, as for the rest of the trilogy, most people believe Spiderman 2 was even better than the original (I do not agree, but can definitely see the validity in the argument behind it), and while Spiderman 3 is definitely the weak link in the franchise, I don’t believe that it is as bad as it has been made out to be (however, defending that film will take so long, it may need an article of its own!).

However, I must now remind readers that I do not feel that the Amazing Spiderman is a bad film: I just prefer the original three. Where the Amazing Spiderman beats Raimi is in the actual character of Peter Parker. Andrew Garfield seems born for the role and Emma Stone is perfect as Gwen Stacy. Their scenes together take the movie from mundane to (if you pardon the expression) Amazing. I predict that despite its shaky start, if the right villain is chosen by Webb, the sequel could be a contender for the best Spidey film yet.

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  • Tom

    I generally agree. Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man is a better film, but Andrew Garfield is a better Spider-Man, bringing out more of the sense of humour that is prevalent in the comic books and cartoons. I loved J. Jonah Jameson in the origials, too.

  • Myles Cowper-Coles

    I agree with you Luke. When I watched the original spiderman I thought it was amazing, and spiderman 2 even better. I didn’t come out of the cinema having watched the Amazing Spiderman with that same feeling. It lacked something, and I think you have hit some of the nails on the head.

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