Finally saw the Emma Stone comic book re-boot of The Amazing Spider Man and my first thought was, "This is no Batman Begins". The Amazing Spider Man movie spent more than two hours to prepare us for the sequel.
While it is slick, visually impressive and not a bad movie, it just slightly misses the mark. It tries to be dark but there is no emotional power to it. It was not an upgrade over the original Spider-Man made in 2002.
Peter Parker: Tobey Maguire vs. Andrew Garfield
He physically looks like the Peter Parker from the comic book. He was small, and conveyed a nerdish invisibility. It probably helped, a lot, that director Sam Raimi was a huge Spider Man comic book fan and committed to its origins.
Garfield was agitated and a bit more physically imposing. They brought a different feel to Parker.
Spider Man: Tobey Maguire vs. Andrew Garfield
Physically Garfield is far more convincing to believe as little Peter Parker turned arachnid-kicking bad a$$. He looks and moves like a guy who can beat you up. The physical element to Spider-Man was the one element Maguire struggled to make convincing simply because he is a smaller guy.
The Girl: Kirsten Dunst vs. Emma Stone
Hands down. Not that Dunst was bad as Mary Jane Watson, but Stone is an upgrade as an actress in the re-boot as Gwen Stacy and Spidey's love interest.
Either way, it is really nice to see a progressive Hollywood continuing to empower women with roles such as "the hot girl who needs a man to save her".
Bad Guys By Day: Willem Dafoe vs. Rhys Ifans
As Dr. Norman Osborn Dafoe uses such a menacing array of facial expressions to convey just the right amount of sinister.
Ifans is Dr. Curt Connors, and relying on his English accent he is ... just another bad guy. His character felt forced and flat.
Bad Guys By Night: Green Goblin vs. The Lizard
The origins of both bad guys is interesting and convincing enough, but the Goblin just looks and feels far more believable than the cartoonish Lizard.
Ben Parker: Cliff Robertson vs. Martin Sheen
Both are veteran actors who played this role nearly exactly the same way.
May Parker: Rosemary Harris vs. Sally Field
Other players: J.K. Simmons vs. Denis Leary; James Franco vs. Irrfan Khan
These are not the same characters. Simmons plays a cartoonish newspaper editor chasing Spider-Man. Leary is a police chief, who happens to the father of Spidey's love interest. Leary played his role straight and hard while Simmons had fun with it.
Franco was his usual solid self as Peter Parker's friend with the derranged dad (Dafoe). Khan was quite good in his limited role as a bad guy.
Overall Movie: Spider-Man vs. The Amazing Spider Man
This is not a case of nostalgia. The 2002 version was just better.
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