The first saw is without a doubt better than the rest to me. I had a saw marathon the other day and it dawned on me, the first saw seemed a bit different from the rest. Why you ask? Here are my reasons why the first saw is different but better than the rest
1. Human Compassion Between Adam And Lawrence
In the first saw we see a lot more compassion between jigsaw's victims than in the other movies, where most of the victims immediate reaction to jigsaws games are to act selfishly to save there own lives. One example of the compassion shown in the first saw is when Lawrence is introduced to the idea of killing Adam to save his family. (ignoring the fact that Lawrence did end up shooting Adam, and Adam seemed to forgive Lawrence.)
In fact when Lawrence realizes that he has to kill Adam in order to save his family, he tries to trick the man keeping them captive (Zep Hindle) into thinking he dipped the cigarette into the poisons blood in order to kill Adam. Instead of just killing Adam for real which would have been a lot easier in the first place. Another example would be when Lawrence shows Adam pictures of his family, by passing Adam his wallet. Adam then discovers a picture of Lawrence's family tied up. Adam then shows benevolence by telling a lie to Lawrence and hiding the picture away from him.
2. Less Hate More Sorrow
I find that there are two types of horror movies, the kind that makes you care for the characters and the kind that makes you think they deserve it. In the first saw you see two victims that you get to know, and start to to think to yourself "I would probably be friends with these people in real life." Your now routing for Adam and Lawrence because you feel sympathy for them. Adam and Lawrence seem like good people because they are kind to each other and work as a team. There for the ending of this movie was more of a heart breaker filled with the kind of dread that makes you want to curl up into a ball and cry, i also found that because the characters were more lovable it made the movie a bit more scary, because of the fact that bad things can happen to good people.
The rest of the saw movies gave me a real ick factor not because of what challenges and games they had to play, but how disgustingly immoral some of the victims acted towards each other, completely different from the way Adam and Lawrence treated each other, especially in saw II. I know that the whole point of the saw movies is to show how far someone will go to to save there own lives or someone else's.
3. The Ending