Thursday, November 7, 2013

Old vs. New: Spiderman

Hey everyone, Dana here. First, let me apologize for the lack of blog posts. Due to writer's block, I didn't make a blog post for the past three weeks. But if you caught my last post three weeks ago, I did a review of Joan Jett's new album, Unvarnished. Tonight, I'm gonna do something a little different. Yes, this is gonna be another movie review, but it's gonna be an old vs. remake movie review. Who would have thought that a ten year difference can make a movie so different, yet so similar at the same time. Without further-ado, let's dive into the 2002 movie Spiderman, and the 2012 movie The Amazing Spiderman!

So, I'm gonna break this review down into pieces. I'm gonna compare and contrast the two categories of each segment...and which ever I like better gets a point. By the end of the review, I will have decision about which version I liked better.

Let's start with this one...
Who is the better Peter Parker? Tobey Macguire or Andrew Garfield?
Let's take a look at the original version first. During the first scene of the 2002 Spiderman movie, we see Peter Parker running after the school bus as everyone laughs at him and makes fun of him for trying to run after the bus. Even when he gets on the bus, no one allows him to sit next to them. It was essentially a complete carbon copy of the bus scene from Forrest Gump! The only difference was that Peter never ended up sitting next to his love interest. His potential love interest just glanced at him and then never gave him the light of day until later on. In this version, Peter Parker is a victim of bullying from essentially everyone in the school except for his only friend, Harry Osborn. Everyone makes fun of him for being such a dork! He's a scrawny, socially inept, nerdy guy with black-rimmed glasses who is fascinated with the sciences and is not afraid to flaunt it. He's also very sensitive, but very clumsy before he inherits his spider-powers. This is the kind of character anyone can relate to; especially if you're a loner or if people call you a "dork" or a "nerd." Tobey Macguire clearly portrayed the comic book version of Spiderman in this movie. If you were to put a name/face to a definition of the word dork, Tobey Macguire's interpretation of Peter Parker is spot on. No questions asked. 

In The Amazing Spiderman, with the exception of Flash Thompson, his peers think he's a decent guy and like that he's a photographer.  In the  first film, girls would scoff if he's seen with his camera. Meanwhile in this version, girls would come up to him and compliment his photography. He even has a skateboard! Since when does a dorky, clumsy guy like Peter Parker have the balance and grace to know how to skateboard? So yeah, right off the bat, Andrew Garfield's interpretation of Peter Parker doesn't hold true to the original comics. Also, the only reason why he gets physically beaten up by Flash is because he tried defending someone else who was getting bullied. From there, Gwen Stacy immediately takes an interest in him. Meanwhile, in the 2002 version, Peter Parker does everything in his power just to get Mary Jane to even have a conversation with him! Peter Parker is known to have bad luck with women. Needless to say, Tobey MacGuire clearly did a better job portraying Peter Parker over Andrew Garfield.
As of now, the older version takes the lead.

Old: 1
New: 0

Now, let's take a look at this one.
Who is the better Spiderman? Tobey Macguire or Andrew Garfield?
When Peter Parker wakes up the next morning to discover his spider powers in the original 2002 Spiderman movie, he's amazed that his vision significantly improved, became more muscular, has more stamina and is no longer clumsy. In essence, he became a total stud over night and takes it in stride. With the exception of the confrontation with Flash Thompson, Peter really doesn't have any problems controlling his new powers. He even beats Flash Thompson in a fight and from that moment on, the bullying comes to an end. Afterwards, he catches on quite easily. Even though things tend to look up for him in the story, I wasn't too thrilled with him as the role of Spiderman. He's too busy being "Mr. Good" and doesn't have any funny or well known one liners that made me chuckle. He kind of irritated me as Spiderman in a way. Spiderman is supposed to be Peter Parker's alter-ego; a funny, good looking dude. In this, not so much. 

Meanwhile in the remake, Peter's new spider powers cause a ridiculous amount of commotion and ends up fighting the other passengers in the subway. He had no intention of causing any problems to anyone but ends up making things worse because he literally couldn't take his hand off of that woman's shirt since his hand was stuck. The confrontation with Flash Thompson is also different. There is no fight at all; Peter challenges Flash to take the basketball from him and is essentially trolls him! "Come on Flash, take it." With that, the roles are reversed; Flash is the victim and Peter becomes the bully! After discovering his new powers, he hand makes web shooters instead of them magically appearing from his wrists like in the original 2002 movie. When Spiderman catches his first criminal, he's cracking one liners at them, makes fun of them while webbing him to the wall. I legitimately laughed at some of the things Andrew Garfield said while in the new, flashy Spiderman suit. In the comics, Spiderman was known to piss off his victims  by not only catching them in the act, but also taunting them and making them feel even more stupid. THAT, ladies and gentleman, is Spiderman! So, even though I prefered Tobey Macguire as Peter Parker, Andrew Garfield is a much better Spiderman.
Looks like we have a tie going on now.

Old: 1
New: 1 

Now, let's take a look at the story itself...this will be the tie breaker.

With the 2002 movie, Peter lives with his elderly Aunt May and Uncle Ben. Since he's constantly bullied and ridiculed for being so geeky, there's a darker, sadder tone with this film. When he has a fight with Uncle Ben, he blurts out "then stop pretending to be" after Uncle Ben acknowledges that he's not Peter's father. And those are the last words Peter ever says to Uncle Ben before he dies. Ouch, that's heavy. When he gets cheated out of winning money from the wrestling tournament, he deliberately lets the thief rob the promoter; repeating the words "It's not my problem" to him.  Unfortunately, revenge on the promoter who cheated him out of winning money was the worst decision he ever made; that thief murdered Uncle Ben. Not only did Peter lie to his aunt and uncle about where he's going, but he could have stopped that thief from murdering Uncle Ben.
That, ladies and gentleman, is heart-wrenching story telling. From that moment on, we see Peter as Spiderman; avenging Uncle Ben's death and making sure no one ever has to feel the pain that he had to deal with for the rest of his life. The main antagonist of this film is The Green Goblin, who just happens to be his best friend's father, Norman Osborn. So not only did Peter lie about his identity to his best friend, but he killed his best friend's father.
This is a very heavy movie. Heavy acting, heavy dialogue, heavy storyline. Job well done.

With The Amazing Spiderman, I sensed that the tone was much lighter; more comic relief, and a storyline that isn't as deep. The story is essentially about a guy who who grows up looking for his parents but ends up finding himself. I noticed that this film was more about Peter Parker's back story instead of Spiderman himself. With that kind of storyline, this movie was extremely dragged out. I mean, the appearance of Spiderman didn't come into the movie until roughly one hour in. When I see a Spiderman movie, I expect to see more Spiderman than Peter Parker. Which is exactly why I'm not too big on the Chris Nolan Batman movies; I saw more Bruce Wayne than Batman. I also felt Uncle Ben's death wasn't as heartbreaking as this one. Peter got into a fight with Uncle Ben because he forgot to walk Aunt May home from work. Then when he goes to the convinence store to get a bottle of milk, he couldn't pay the last two cents he didn't have. Because of that, the cashier refuses the sale.
Alright, I call bull on that. I work at CVS. I work retail. If some kid wants to get something and he's short a cent or two, I give the guy a break. Two cents isn't gonna get me fired. The next guy in line robs the store after pushing stuff off the counter and takes money from the register while the cashier's back is turned. After the thief runs off, he trips and drops the gun with Uncle Ben in clear sight. Uncle Ben is shot and killed, solely because he was at the wrong place at the wrong time. Yes, he was looking for Peter, but the fact that Ben's death was caused by the lack of two cents is less believable than getting cheated out of prize money from a wrestling tournament. Also, there were people around when Ben got shot; where the hell did everybody go when Peter found him? I don't know, as much as I prefered the lighter tone in this film, I have to say that the 2002 Spiderman was much better than the remake. I think ten years is a little too soon to release a remake of a movie. Take a look at True Grit and The Karate Kid for instance. Those two remakes were released 41 and 26 years, respectively, after the first two movies were released for the first time.

Old: 2
New: 1

I must say, even though I prefer the original over the remake, The Amazing Spiderman was not a terrible movie. All movies have flaws, but I just feel ten years is just too soon to remake a movie. If a Spiderman movie had Tobey Macguire play Peter Parker and Andrew Garfield played Spiderman, that would be awesome. I just want to thank you again for taking the time to read my blog posts. Have a great weekend, everyone. 

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