In a world full of movie remakes, what measures are there to decide which version is best?
Welcome to Original V Reboot, a monthly analysis between an original movie and the rebooted version of it. By comparing the story, the characters, and a few miscellaneous details I will be able to determine which version of a movie is superior. I will keep a running total of points at the end of each topic.
In this month’s analysis I will be looking at the original Sam Rami Spider-Man and Marc Webb’s reboot The Amazing Spider-Man. Spoilers galore as I will be going in depth with each movie.
Both movies follow the same basic story beats. In both, Peter Parker is a nerdy high school kid. After being bitten by a radioactive spider he gains all the abilities of a spider and becomes the superhero Spider-Man. Rami’s Spider-Man follows this story beat for beat, Peter becomes Spider-Man and has to take on the Green Goblin. In The Amazing Spider-Man, Peter does the same thing (fighting The Lizard instead of the Green Goblin), but the story also focuses on Peter’s search for his parents.
While the angle of learning about his parents is compelling in The Amazing Spider-Man, this plot point is dropped about halfway through the movie. With that plot point gone the movie turns into Spider-Man going after a super villain, and I think the original executed that aspect better. Peter’s reason for being Spider-Man is better executed in the original; more on this in the protagonist section. The tone is lighter in the original; while Spider-Man does have some dark moments in the comics, he’s not a dark and brooding character like Batman.
For these reasons I have to give the story point to Spider-Man — 1:0
Peter Parker/Spider-Man is the protagonist and both movies have a vastly different take on the character. In the original, Tobey Maguire’s Peter is fairly close to his comic book counter part. He is an ideal version of a comic book nerd; he wears glasses, is super smart, and kind of weak. Even after being bitten, in order to keep up his secret identity he sticks with those classic qualities (minus the glasses). Maguire’s Spider-Man also has a nice balance of cheery super hero and wit that is seen in the original comics. In The Amazing Spider-Man, Andrew Garfield depicts a more modern take on the character. He’s an angsty teen and there are no noticeable changes after he is bitten.
Maguire’s reason to become Spider-Man is also more compelling. While they both make the choice to do so after Uncle Ben’s death, Maguire’s reason is more in line with the motto “with great power, comes great responsibility.” He becomes Spider-Man because it’s his responsibility to do so. Garfield’s reason is more revenge oriented. He chooses to be Spider-Man solely so he can catch Uncle Ben’s killer. He has no call to do so, it’s purely for selfish reasons.
For these reasons I am giving the protagonist point to Spider-Man — 2:0
For every hero, there must be a villain to challenge them. This one is interesting because while both movies have completely different villains, they act sort of the same. In Rami’s version, the villain is Norman Osborn/Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe). After becoming the Green Goblin, the two characters have psychological conversations with each other and are completely insane. In Webb’s movie, the villain is Dr. Curt Connors/The Lizard (Rhys Ifans). After becoming The Lizard, the two characters have psychological conversations with each other and are completely insane. That’s right, I recycled the same sentence the way these movies recycled the same characters.
The thing is though, I like Ifan’s villain more than Dafoe’s. Even though I like Dafoe’s interpretation of the character, I have never liked the costume he wears. While The Lizard isn’t 100% comic book accurate, he still looks cooler and thinks what he’s doing is right. This makes him a more complex character.
For these reasons I am giving the antagonist point to The Amazing Spider-Man — 2:1
I’m just going to rattle off some miscellaneous things I like about each movie.
-I like that Garfield’s character makes his own web shooters rather than having organic ones like in the original; this shows off his scientific intelligence, more so than in the original — 2:2
-I prefer the supporting cast in the original; having more comic book characters, like Harry Osborn and J. Jonah Jamison, helps with the world building — 3:2
-For some reason I like Uncle Ben’s death more in the reboot.; it always punches me in the heart — 3:3
-I like the fact that Uncle Ben says the line “with great power, comes great responsibility” in the original film — 4:3
-The theme song is better in the original film — 5:3
-I like the spider suit more in the original — 6:3
While they were pretty close in comparison, the original Spider-Man movie is a better film than the reboot. For me it has a better story, a better protagonist, and there are little details that make it a more compelling film.
The winner is Spider-Man with 6:3.
What do you think? Am I right? Which version do you prefer? Which two movies should I compair next? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Written by: William Sherick