Film Face-off: 'Spider-Man 2' vs. 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2'

Film Face-off: 'Spider-Man 2' vs. 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2'

May 05, 2014

My Spidey senses tell me that history repeats itself, sometimes pretty fast. Ten years ago Spider-Man 2 opened up and crushed box office records. It was also very well received; it has a 94 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, and when people name their favorite superhero movie of all time, it joins the conversation with The Dark KnightThe AvengersThe Incredibles and Howard the Duck. OK, one of those isn't normally mentioned.

So, can The Amazing Spider-Man 2 match up with Spider-Man 2? Let's find out in this week's Film Face-off.

 

Peter Parker

Spider-Man 2

Tobey Maguire plays Peter Parker. As Peter he's a plucky sort who's trying to remain upbeat even though Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) may marry another. His best friend, Harry (James Franco), constantly talks about getting even with Spider-Man.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Andrew Garfield plays Peter. He is riddled with guilt over the death of Gwen Stacy's (Emma Stone) dad. He can't decide if he should or shouldn't be with Gwen. His best friend Harry (Dane DeHaan) is back from boarding school, and wants Peter's help getting Spider-Man's blood.

Winner: The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Maguire's Peter is almost always wide-eyed and feels innocent. Garfield's Peter is filled with torment and teenage love. Garfield's is more compelling. When Maguire says things like, "I've been reading poetry lately," to try and woo Mary Jane, it feels like you're watching a middle schooler. Plus, I think he could have found one night to see her play before abandoning his hero side.

 

Spider-Man

 

Spider-Man 2

His confidence is tied to his web-slinging and wall-clinging abilities. "Why is this happening to me?" he wonders to himself, and stops playing hero for awhile.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Imagine the most cocky, self-assured teenager you can. Now times that by 10, and you have this Spider-Man. He doesn't seem to have any of the inner demons that Peter does. He's just having a good time.

Winner: Spider-Man 2. There is such distance between Garfield's Peter and Spider-Man that it often feels like two different actors. Unfortunately they force lines out of Spider-Man's mouth that fall completely flat, like when a police car flies through the air, almost hitting a cop, and Spider-Man says, "Thank goodness you aren't one of those cops who rides a horse." Crickets. That "joke" falls flat and so do many others. Maguire's Spider-Man is going through enough issues, which end up zapping his powers for awhile. Plus, when he says something goofy as Spider-Man, it fits in comparison to his Peter.

 

His Lady

Spider-Man 2

Mary Jane Watson is an actress who is considering marrying astronaut John Jameson (Daniel Gillies), son of Bugle chief J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons). She's still in love with Peter, but doesn't trust his love.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Gwen Stacy is a scientist who is getting a little annoyed at Peter's inability to choose loving her. She considers moving away. Since Gwen knows about Peter's secret, she helps him figure out some Spider-Man issues.

Winner: The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Garfield and Stone have real chemistry, and Gwen actually gets things done when dealing with Peter and with Spider-Man. Mary Jane is kind of a sad sack, and is way too quick to marriage, even if it is with an astronaut. I will say, the thing that made this a little closer is how the films end. I won't get into details, but I was excited and curious with the ending of Spider-Man 2. I don't feel like The Amazing Spider-Man 2 honored or earned its ending.

 

The Villain(s) 

Spider-Man 2

Alfred Molina plays Dr. Otto Octavius who becomes Doc Ock. He feels like Spider-Man interfered with a fusion experiment that led to his wife's death. His four artificially intelligent mechanical tentacles make him schizophrenic and now he's out for revenge and more power.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Jamie Foxx plays Max Dillon, who becomes Electro. As Max, he's schizophrenic, believing he and Spider-Man are best friends. As Electro he can shoot and absorb electricity, and disappear. Green Goblin shows up at the end, and Paul Giamatti bookends the film as Aleksei Sytsevich.

Winner: Spider-Man 2. Electro quickly jumps to the top of the list as most pointless superhero villains of all time. His powers are terribly underexplained. He can disappear, yet never seems to use this to his advantage. Plus, does his imagination create his costume, or did he actually dress himself? Yes, I want to know. The Green Goblin is not someone I want to see again. I am strictly speaking about his looks here because the makeup and hair just don't work. Giamatti is just there to tease you about a future film. Having a villain get crazier as the movie goes along is the only way to do it, and that's what happens with Doc Ock. His mechanical arms are much more interesting in battle compared to Emperor Palpatine--oops, I mean Electro's electric bolts.

 

Compared to the First

Spider-Man 2

I never thought Willem Dafoe's Norman Osborn/Green Goblin was a great villain, which is odd because I normally love me some Dafoe. The daylight battles between Spider-Man and Doc Ock are amazing to watch, especially on the city train, and trump any action in the first.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

While I wasn't desperate for the reboot of Spider-Man, I thought The Amazing Spider-Man was not bad/pretty good. The sequel suffers the same disconnect between Peter and Spider-Man, and the action sequences have to rely on slow motion for you to fully appreciate them. The sequel's villains are all complaining about misunderstandings.

Winner: Spider-Man 2. Simply put, Spider-Man 2 is better than Spider-Man, and The Amazing Spider-Man is better than The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

 

OVERALL WINNER: Spider-Man 2 beats The Amazing Spider-Man 2, 3-2.

The scorecard says three to two, but this is an easy win. Spider-Man 2 gets a 9/10, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 gets a 5/10 and feels like it joins Iron Man 2 and Thor: The Dark World as a flat, uninteresting sequel. It is great to see the action sequences of Spider-Man 2 hold up. Yes, I understand its only been 10 years, but with CGI, sometimes that feels like a lifetime. With the addition of the Sinister Six, at least The Amazing Spider-Man 3 can't be worse than Spider-Man 3... Right?

 

 

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