If you know me, you know that Spider-Man is my all time favorite superhero. When I was in fourth grade, I remember walking into the theater to watch the original Spider-Man, and I walked out amazed. Little did I know that two years later Spider-Man 2 would come out and top its predecessor, and to this day I believe it to be one of the top superhero movies ever. Now, I could argue that Spider-Man 3 is not as bad as everybody thinks it is because it has some very good parts that possibly outweigh its really dumb parts. However, I don’t think that you can argue that the third installment was not the beginning of Spidey’s downfall because the two movies that came after did not stand up to the three came before them.
I do not hate The Amazing Spider-Man. As a matter of fact, I bought it on blu-ray, but that was mostly due to my loyalty to the name. However, my loyalty was broken. It was shattered after the latest installment. I’ve never seen such mediocrity. It was so heartbreaking to see how far my hero had fallen since the original trilogy. If you don’t think so, you’re not just disagreeing with just me, you’re disagreeing with America. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was the lowest grossing Spider-Man film of all time. That means that its predecessor was not good enough bring people back into seats. On the other hand, Spider-Man 3 is one of the top 40 highest grossing movies of all time, with the 10th highest opening weekend gross ever. This is obviously because Spider-Man 1 and 2 were straight masterpieces.
I’ll break down Spider-Man’s fall. The main issue that The Amazing franchise brought was was Peter Parker, both his character and the person who played him. People complain about Tobey Maguire’s portrayal of the nerdy antagonist, but at least it was believable. I have nothing against Andrew Garfield as a person, but he was a poor choice for the role. He stood up to his bully in front of everything, rode his skateboard in the hallways, and was ridiculously smart and good looking. I didn’t believe for a second that he had no friends, which defeats the point of Peter Parker. He is supposed to represent that lonely and outcast part of all of us. That’s what makes it so groundbreaking when he receives his powers. A dorky kid from Queens gets great power, but after he takes the suit off, he returns to the struggles that he had before. Tobey nailed it.
Peter in the new Spider-Man films fell short. In the original film, there was a profound effect on Peter after Uncle Ben died. His act of omission directly caused it. This was not the case in The Amazing Spider-Man. The thief did not even run past Peter. That moment is everything to Spider-Man’s origins. The biggest flaw comes after Uncle Ben dies. The Amazing Peter does not change one bit by the death of his beloved uncle. It could even be argued that he doesn’t change at all throughout either movies. He just goes from being single to dating and back a few times before his girlfriend dies in a way she was kind of asking for. But whether he was single or dating, Amazing Peter was boring. I’m convinced that the people who defend these movies like them just because of the attractive male lead, similar to the reason people like Suits. The main theme of The Amazing Spider-Man movies was how to date and be a superhero at the same time.
Original Peter also has the girl issues, but the overall themes are much deeper. These movies actually have heart. They tackle themes of identity, morality, sacrifice, friendship. There is no depth in any of these areas in The Amazing franchise. Side note: Crying does not equal depth of character. Somebody should inform the Amazing creators because everybody is mopey all the time, heroes and the villains. Side side note, craziness does not equal interesting. Have a better motive for villains than mental imbalance please. Okay, back to the main point. The struggle was real in the original Spider-Man movies. I felt the difficult decision Peter was forced to make in Spider-Man 2. A worldly life is so tempting in the face of adversity. Without the suit, Peter has a successful future ahead of him, but he was called to a greater purpose. The whole movie is about him making the choice to put off his old self and put on the suit, no matter the cost.
An even newer Spider-Man is set to return to theaters next year, but my expectations are low. Hopefully the studios can return to the heart of the character that was displayed so well back in the 00’s, and I pray that it is not too late for our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man to win back the heart of America.