ByTom Burton, writer at
Pure Cumberbitch!
Tom Burton

2007 saw the much-anticipated release of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3. His original was released to very good reviews and rejuvenated the superhero film genre. The sequel received even better reviews, earning a staggering 93% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

After the third Spider-man film, they opted to scrap the series and replace it with a reboot. Which brings us to 2012, when the film was released. People were torn over it – some praised the difference in tone from Raimi’s version, while others hated the liberties it took with the story. Which leaves us with a question: which film version of Spider-Man’s origin is better? The original 2002 version, or the rebooted 2012 version?

Let’s analyze the major differences, one by one….

Origin Story

Stuck very closely to the established origin story of Spider-Man. You could take a copy of the original comic book and check off what happened in both. “Spider bite on a field trip, check. Becomes a boxer, check.” Thousands of comic book fans were pleased by the faithfulness to the comics.

The Amazing Spider-Man:
Clearly couldn't do the exact same story all over again. Granted it was a similar story, but not the exact same. In this version, we were given many deviations from the source material so that the story could keep fresh. The essentials were all still there (radioactive spider bite, uncle gets killed, etc) but it was done in a much different way.

The Winner:
Would probably be the original 2002 version, but that’s coming from a guy who read the first 100 Spider-Man comics, and many more of the modern ones. Both versions had a good story, but as far as faithfulness to the comics goes, Sam Raimi wins.


Took one of Spider-Man’s most iconic and feared villains, the Green Goblin, and made him look like a rejected Power Ranger. The man portraying him – Willem Dafoe – is an excellent actor, but was masked through most of the film. Although to be fair, he looks more scary without the mask on.

The Amazing Spider-Man:
took another of Spidey’s most famous foes – The Lizard, whom we had never seen on the big screen – and made him arguably more powerful and fearsome than in the comics. They also gave plenty of screen time to the actor playing the role, while not getting so bogged down in his life that they neglected his alter ego (you know, the Lizard).

The Winner… is definitely the 2012 version.

Love Interest

Had the shallow, wooden Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane Watson, who added nothing to the movie beyond screeching and getting in the way. Perhaps Raimi was afraid his movie was going to be too good, and decided he needed to find some way to ruin it and to raise the audience’s blood pressure.

I think you can see where this is going…

The Amazing Spider-Man:
Starred Golden-Globe nominee Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy, who not only proved to be a useful and important character in the 2012 film, also has the coolest voice of any actress today. She’s featured in a string of highly successful films, most notably 2011′s The Help, in which she starred opposite Bryce Dallas Howard, who played Gwen Stacy in Spider-Man 3. Mind. Blown.

The Winner… Are you kidding me?! Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy!


Directed by Sam Raimi, veteran of mostly horror movies, however he had also directed a superhero film before (1990′s Darkman). Through his experience in these movies, he was already prepared to be able to direct the Spider-Man film, and brought to it many distinctive shots and cool camera techniques.

The Amazing Spider-Man
Helmed by Marc Webb, who had directed…. um…. music videos, and a romantic comedy, and an episode of The Office. Whoa.

Not to say he didn’t do a good job on the movie, but I really wonder what the process for choosing him as director was. Was there a board meeting at Sony where the executives were sitting around a table saying “Who should we get to replace Sam Raimi? That guy had loads of experience! How can we get someone just as good?”

“I know!” shouted another man. “I saw a Maroon 5 music video that was the bomb! Let’s get that guy!”

The Winner… without a doubt, Sam Raimi.

Peter Parker

Starred Tobey Maguire in the lead role. He played Peter Parker as an emo teenager, who acts as though he feels forced into the role of Spider-Man, due to the regret over allowing his Uncle Ben to die.

The Amazing Spider-man:
Features Andrew Garfield – an English actor – in the role. He conveys a Peter Parker who is more light-hearted, and approaches his web slinging in a more carefree attitude (aside from when his friends or family are endangered). He is still dedicated to his newfound niche, but isn’t angsty about it all the time.

The Winner… has got to be Andrew Garfield. Not only is he more enjoyable to watch in the role, he even portrays his character closer to the original comics than Tobey Maguire did.


This film gave us the ‘true’ version of Spider-Man’s beginning. It was the film that pleased comic book fans and moviegoers alike, and kickstarted the superhero movie genre. While some may argue the X-Men film did it first, Spider-Man tripled the previous film’s box-office, and showed superhero movies could be a lucrative endeavor.

The Amazing Spider-Man
This film took a step back from the current fashion of dark and gritty superhero movies and said “Whoa, take it easy! It’s still possible for a comic book movie to have fun with itself.” It presented to us a movie with an entirely different atmosphere, one that was about a superhero but wasn’t constant punching-out the villain, but rather was a kinda mysterious comedy-suspense.

The Winner… while the 2002 original definitely had a bigger impact, as a pure piece of cinema, The Amazing Spider-Man wins it.


Which film do you prefer?


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