The last fifteen years have seen a grand total of six Spider-Man movies, including #SpiderManHomecoming which will be released this year. With that many webslinger flicks, there's no way all of them can be good, and the tide of opinion has turned against the short-lived Amazing Spider-Man franchise.
Starring the endearingly handsome Andrew Garfield and the quippy Emma Stone, the Amazing Spider-Man movies took an alternate approach to a tired origin story, with 500 Days of Summer director Marc Webb adding a fresh, indie movie style. And yet, with increasing fan pressure to add Spider-Man to the #MCU, resentment of the Amazing Spider-Man series grew — which wasn't helped by the fact that the second movie was overcrowded and kind of shaky in terms of plot.
Now, the Amazing Spider-Man movies have something of a notoriety, which honestly they really don't deserve. Poor Marc Webb is frequently asked about where he went wrong and what he regrets about the series, most recently in a new interview with Collider, which prompted him to defend the movies.
"It’s hard for me to think about it in terms of regrets. There are so many things that I’m proud of. There was an ambition with the second movie, in particular. The idea that it’s a superhero that can’t save everybody is something that I’m really proud of. I’m really proud of the ambition of that because it’s an important message, and I believe in that. I believe in what we were after. They’re really, really difficult movies to make. They’re complex in ways that people don’t fully understand. They weren’t disasters."
Webb points out a few of the alternative ideas he incorporated to the Amazing Spider-Man films, especially the fact that rookie hero Peter Parker didn't actually manage to save everyone (specifically, Gwen Stacy's father) and that guilt haunted him in the sequel — which also saw him inadvertently create not one, but two villains because he couldn't save them.
Perhaps this is one of the reasons people don't look back fondly on these films, but at the time the Amazing Spider-Man movies added an interesting dimension to the superhero genre, while acting as a counter to the MCU movies.
However, there's something to be said here about selective memory. When the first Amazing Spider-Man came out, people raved about it, praising Peter's characterization as closer to the wise-cracking comic Spidey than Tobey Maguire's mopey version of the character. The relationship between Peter and Gwen was also a major talking point, as their excellent dynamic became the heart of the movies while providing much of the entertainment.
The 2012 Amazing Spider-Man has a 73% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, although the 2014 sequel rang in at only 53% from critics (and 65% from audiences). All in all, that's not bad, so why are these movies remembered with such derision?
It seems to mostly stem from exhaustion with the Spider-Man origin story, and frustration that he wasn't part of the MCU. When the Sony and Marvel Studios deal allowed Spidey to swing into Civil War and finally join the Avengers (or at least, Team Iron Man), fans were overjoyed, and Amazing Spider-Man was quickly criticized as a misstep. But that might be too harsh a judgement for movies that are, if not brilliant, then certainly fun.
"I am proud of them, in many ways, and I stand by them. I’m certainly not a victim, in that situation."
Explaining that he never had an "adversarial" relationship with Sony, Marc Webb also said that he continues to stand by the Amazing Spider-Man movies — and honestly, so will I.
What do you think of the 'Amazing Spider-Man' films?