With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility: A Review of the Spider-Man Franchise
Prior to watching Spider-Man: Homecoming, I thought I'd rewatch the prior films. This includes both of the Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield versions. There will be some spoilers so you have been warned.
This film debatably started the comic book movie resurgence. It starred Tobey Maguire as the titular character, Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane Watson (MJ), Willem Dafoe as Norman Osborn/Green Goblin, Rosemary Harris and Cliff Robertson as Aunt May and Uncle Ben, J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson, and James Franco as Henry Osborne. Each person was cast well even though the kids do not seem like high school graduates and more young professionals. This is my favorite versions of the characters that have been presented on screen. This film was before Franco became known as Seth Rogen's best friend. I think Dafoe and Simmons were phenomenal picks for the Green Goblin and Jameson, respectively. They both embody the roles with the extreme dexterity and give us great scenes that are memorable even past the credits. The one scene with Norman talking to the Goblin is great. Some of the CGI does feel a little dated and I still don't know why the Goblin's mask has his mouth open all the time. I also think MJ's feelings escalate really fast. She realizes that Peter is more than a friend and within seconds goes to "I love you." Otherwise, this film is still a lot of fun and it gives us one of the most famous kisses in cinematic history and the entire film is supported by Danny Elfman's score.
Rating: 4.0/5.0 bowties
Spider-Man 2 (2004):
How do you follow up with a film that is great? You give one that's even better. Raimi took the superhero that he brought to life in the first film and analyzed the man behind the mask. What if Peter Parker doesn't want the responsibility that comes with the power? In addition to that, the villain of Doc Oc (Alfred Molina) is just as strong. This film had great dialogue and great action again supported by Elfman. Only flaws are related to the romance drama that happens between MJ and Peter. I found myself bored with their drama. I will say that prior to seeing Spider-Man: Homecoming, it is the best film in the franchise.
Rating: 4.5/5.0 bowties
Spider-Man 3 (2007):
Ah, now we have reached the wonder that that is Spider-Man 3. They took one of the best stories regarding Spider-Man, the Venom story, and added emo musical interludes with "cool guy" pointing. I mean I know Raimi had a studio conflict and he did this on purpose but come on...why do this to the fans? Topher Grace as Eddie Brock/Venom aside from one shot was terrible. Bryce Dallas Howard was forgettable and annoying as Gwen Stacy but not as much as her role in Jurassic World wherein she outran a T-Rex...in heals. This film had way too many villains, Sandman (Thomas Haden Church), Venom, whatever Harry was, and Spider-Man himself. There just honestly is too much going on though I didn't mind the Sandman plot and if he was the only villain, it could have been better. The Peter/MJ relationship was just agonizing to watch and by the end of the film, I did not care if they ended up together or not...which you don't really know after this film. However, the CGI doesn't look terrible and lives up the prior two films but overall it's still painful to watch this average film.
Rating: 2.5/5.0 bowties
The Amazing Spider-Man (2012):
After Spider-Man 3, Sony decided to restart the franchise with Andrew Garfield as the titular role and Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy. The plot is not that different from the first film: Peter gets bitten, Uncle Ben dies, and then Peter becomes Spider-Man. The differences are that this film adds a new mystery of what happened to Peter's parents which really isn't even flushed out until the next film. I liked the casting of Emma Stone as she was much better as Gwen than the previous rendition. I also enjoyed Sally Field and Martin Sheen as Aunt May and Uncle Ben. I do prefer the ones from Raimi but they don't do bad jobs. Rhys Ifans as Dr. Curtin Conners/The Lizard isn't terrible but as a villain, he was a tad underwhelming. I was not a fan of the writing of Peter. He seemed too cool to play the part. What made me like Peter as a kid was that he was the nerd that was able to do things even when he was looked down upon because of his intelligence. While Garfield himself acting isn't bad, it was hard for me to attach myself to a nerd that also skateboarded and broke the school rules. I did like the sarcasm that they added to the character but otherwise, I was not a fan. Though I will say the action was decent and the chemistry between Garfield and Stone is good, I was also not a fan of the new CGI looking suit. It wasn't as bad as Green Lantern but I liked the first rendition better. While not for me, this film does have some good bits that I can see a lot of people liking.
Rating: 3.0/5.0 bowties
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014):
The third Spider-Man film brought in too many villains and it ended up being overpopulated. This film isn't much better. Paul Giamatti shows up sparsely as Rhino, you have Dane DeHann who plays Harry Osborne/"Green Goblin" and Electro played by Jamie Foxx. None of them are developed effectively. Harry has this genetic disease that he needs Spider-Man's blood to fix, Electro is unwanted OsCorp employee, and Rhino is only in two scenes. I will say that once Foxx smurfs up, he does look like he's having fun and I didn't mind him that much. I still did not like Garfield as Peter and his relationship with Gwen is the main plot of this film. Because that's what you want to see in a Spider-Man film, an off and on relationship story. It got just as annoying as the one in the Raimi films did. I know they were trying to attempt to do the famous Gwen Stacy death story for this film which is why they focused a lot on their relationship. But Peter gets over it extremely fast afterward that I don't think it really bothered him that much and thus wasn't that powerful. Not saying it's good, but I personally don't think the hatred towards this film is warranted as much as it is. I only just don't care what happened to any of these characters.
Rating: 2.0/5.0 bowties
Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017):
Going into this, I am expecting the film to be better or equal to the first two Raimi films. I did enjoy Tom Holland as Peter in Captain America: Civil War and am confident in Marvel Studios to make a good movie. I am also excited to see Michael Keaton as Adrian Toomes/Vulture and Donald Glover in this film. I don't know who the latter will be playing but I really like him as an actor, comedian, and rapper. Keaton does really well in villain roles and it'll be fun to see him again in a comic book movie. I'm not the biggest fan of Marisa Tomei as Aunt May as she seems too young. The average rating for the Spider-Man series is 3.2 which is between "good but unenjoyable" and "good but enjoyable" in my book. This film, I expect, will bring this score up.
What did you all think of the film? Let me know in the comments section.
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