Five Things that Did and Didn’t Work With The Amazing Spider-Man
If only Sony had chosen to do this sooner, then it might have had a chance. Following the 2007 release of Spider-Man 3, the famous wall-crawler went on a five-year hiatus on the big screen. Then, in 2012, Sony rebooted the live action hero with The Amazing Spider-Man, a more modern, realistic take on Spider-Man’s origin story. They followed this up two years later with The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and had plans to make a film franchise around the character.
It never happened, though. Sony axed the Marc Webb films and finally let the webhead join the MCU. Tom Holland’s proven to be a natural fit for the legendary hero. However, the question remains what was it about the Marc Webb films that failed? Were they doomed from the start to be the black sheep of live-action Spider-Men? Not necessarily. With Spider-Man: No Way Home, which could tie the MCU to the Raimi and Webb films, releasing next week, now’s a chance to look back on the franchise that never was. Here are three things about The Amazing Spider-Man films that worked, and three things that didn’t.
What Didn’t Work: The Timing
When The Amazing Spider-Man came out in 2012, it was one of the top grossing films of that year. Sony had reason to believe that the hero still had cinematic star power, giving them the confidence to go ahead with the sequel. Then, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 turned out to be less well-received than they wanted. As a result, they canned the planned sequels and spin-off films, and used Venom to go back to the proverbial drawing board. Besides the overstuffed film and plot threads that never went anywhere, there may be another reason why The Amazing Spider-Man film franchise was never going to work: the MCU.
When the Sam Raimi films came out, superhero movies were still seen as a big risk in Hollywood. The only competition they had was the likes of X-Men and Blade. Less than a year after Spider-Man 3, though, we got Iron Man, which started the Marvel Cinematic Universe. By the time The Amazing Spider-Man rolled out, the MCU had progressed to The Avengers, which made movie history. Avengers proved that a shared superhero universe could work on the big screen. So, just like that, solo superhero movies that weren’t part of a “larger universe” became less feasible. With Spider-Man being Marvel’s most famous character, it was only a matter of time before fans would want him in the MCU.
In other words, Sony got on the bandwagon too late to make a viable film franchise out of Spider-Man. People were already looking to see him in the MCU when The Amazing Spider-Man 2 came out.
What Did Work: The Amazing Spider-Snark
Spider-Man is famous for many things, but one of them is for his propensity of dishing out quips. Spider-Man acts like a jokester, frequently taking the chance to mock him enemies even while they’re trying to kill him. Besides doing it because he finds it hilarious (and it is), his taunts are a big part of his tactics. By angering his opponents, they’re more likely to make mistakes, giving him the chance to web them up and get the job done. Sadly, this side of Spidey was largely absent from Tobey Maguire’s interpretation of the hero.
In contrast to this, Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man embraced the power of the quip. His Spidey spends just as much time beating up baddies as he does making quips. It works very well, making him a much more lively and energetic hero in the process.
Too bad its abl double edged sword.
What Doesn’t Work: Peter Starts off Too Cool
Andrew Garfield may not meant to come off as this, but his Peter Parker had a problem before he even became Spider-Man: he was already too cool.
No, seriously. Almost every iteration of Peter Parker has him as a social outcast in high school due to his smarts and nerdy physique. Garfield’s Parker is meant to be a modern version of a geek and outcast, but the guy rides a skateboard and frequently stands up to school bullies.
Now, contrast this to Tobey Maguire’s tenure as Peter Parker. He was a soft-spoken boy who wore glasses and let himself get walked over by everyone. It may have made him feel like a doormat, but it was more in line with how Parker was before he got his powers.
Moral of the story: find a middle ground between stereotypical nerd and adorkable outcast.
What Does Work: Death of the Stacy’s (Sort of)
Some people may not have heard of the Stacy’s before they appeared in Spider-Man 3 and The Amazing Spider-Man, but they had a big impact on the Webhead’s early years. In the comics, Gwen Stacy became Peter’s love interest once he started college, and her dad actually liked him. Then they both died, well before their time.
Firstly, Captain Stacy was watching as Spider-Man battled Dr. Octopus. During the fight, Doc Ock caused debris to rain down, threatening to crush a nearby kid. Captain Stacy saved the kid, but the resulting trauma was too much, leading him to die in Peter’s arms. Secondly, Gwen Stacy got kidnapped by the Green Goblin, and when Spidey tried to rescue her, she died, too. Both deaths haunt Peter to this very day.
Surprisingly, The Amazing Spider-Man films made an attempt to be comic-book accurate. In the first film, Captain Stacy dies helping Spidey take down the Lizard. At the climax of the second, Gwen falls to her death in a manner just like she did in the comics. Granted, it wasn’t as good as it was in the comics.
What Didn’t Work: The Wasted Plot Points and Characters
Sony shouldn’t even have excuse for what they did with Uncle Ben’s Killer. Or rather, what they didn’t do. In almost every iteration, the criminal that kills Uncle Ben ends up being the first person that Spider-Man apprehends. While Spider-Man 3 did change this up with Sandman, the fact remains that Spider-Man almost always hunts down the person who killed Uncle Ben. However, The Amazing Spider-Man never sees that happen. By the time of the second film, there isn’t even any mention that Peter’s still looking for his Uncle’s killer.
The lack of resolution regarding plot threads is one of the biggest problems regarding the Marc Webb films, and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 only makes it worse. Given how the film has a post-credits scene teasing the birth of the Sinister Six, it’s clear that Sony had bigger plans. However, their reboot failed, so they let Spidey join the MCU where he rightfully belonged. Such a waste.
Honestly, How it Should Have Ended did a better job with The Amazing Spider-Man 2 than Sony did.