Spider-Man is one of the handful of heroes that endure, from comics, and it was bizarre that it took decades for Spidey to come to the big screen. And, truthfully, he’s actually done pretty well: I’d argue even Spider-Man 3 has points to recommend it. But, if you grew up reading Spidey, The Amazing Spider-Man is the movie that best nailed the spirit of the character.
Spidey Is Actually A Teenager
No offense to the cast of Spider-Man, but come on: Nobody bought that Tobey Maguire was a teenager, and the movie rather rightfully rushed Peter off to college post-haste. But part of what made Peter work is that he really is just a kid taking the world onto his shoulders, and worse, now and again discovering that he was right to.
Spidey’s Guilt Is Well-Deserved
As we all know, in the original comics, a cash-obsessed Spidey ignores a burglar because there’s no money in catching crooks. It turns out, of course, that same crook kills his beloved Uncle Ben, and thus begins the guilt that hangs over Spidey to this day.
But truthfully, it was always awkward as a story device. In a city of millions, Uncle Ben’s the one who gets shot? How do you pull off that coincidence?
That’s what makes the movie work so well: Peter is a douche to Uncle Ben, and wanders off. Ben follows, because he cares, and Peter more or less leads him right into the line of fire. It makes a lot more sense than somebody robbing the take of a pro-wrestling match.
Spidey’s A Smart-Ass
One of the points about the Spider-Man trilogy that always bugged me is that Peter’s wisecracks got largely dumped. Sure, he has the occasional smart remark, but mostly, it’s just him dealing with the fight at hand.
The Raimi films were funny in other ways; Spider-Man 2‘s relentless dumping on Peter is in some ways classic Stan Lee. On the other hand, you do miss the moments where Spidey asks a car thief if he’s really dumb enough to think a guy in tights and a mask is a cop.
Peter Parker Is A Scentist And Fairly Brilliant
One of the nice touches of the original Spider-Man is that his main superpower is often his ability to apply his knowledge of physics and chemistry to problems. Take the web-shooters: Sam Raimi has a point in that Peter really should have created and patented a webbing gun and sold it to 3M instead of making web-shooters, but it’s also a defining character moment. Peter solves his problems through engineering.
And, Finally, It Wasn’t A Fourth Spider-Man
Again, not to knock Raimi and team, but the truth is that it’s hard for any franchise to go three films without a turkey, and generally, number four is where they crash-land. Can you imagine the burning sensation you’d feel in your soul sitting through the Spidey equivalent of this?
If the option was that or a reboot, we’ll take the reboot.