Ever since Spider-Man: Homecoming came swinging into theaters, #Marvel nerds have been in an internet battle about who is the better Spider-Man. The popular votes always go to Tom Holland and Tobey Maguire but people are sadly forgetting about the hard work Andrew Garfield put into the Spider-Man role in the short-lived Amazing Spider-Man series.
While most can agree that the second film was pretty underwhelming due to a script with too many plot points and the poor use of Norman Osborn, a lot of fans agree that the first Amazing Spider-Man is good. Not great, not terrible, but a perfectly serviceable Spider-Man film. Which is fair, as there are plenty of flaws with this movie but what a lot of people overlook what this movie improved on Sam Raimi's spin on the character from back in 2002.
While we shouldn't forget the kind of impact the original #SpiderMan trilogy did for superhero movies, we also can't forget that these are not perfect films (especially the third one). While a lot of fans have their problems with the Amazing Spider-Man, it did improve on a lot in comparison to the original Spider-Man film, especially with regards to the character's origin story.
For those who don't know Spider-Man's origin
When Peter Parker got his powers, he first wanted to use them to become rich and famous, going as far as using them to win a wrestling match and becoming a TV star for a little while. However, after a robbery was being committed where he worked, the burglar ran right past him.
Being all about himself, Parker decided to let the criminal get away, stating that he was looking out for number one. Unfortunately, when he got home that night, he learns that his Uncle Ben was fatally shot during a home invasion. After learning that the murderer was held up at a warehouse, he decides that he wants to get his hands on the killer before the police do.
After confronting him, he learns that the man who shot his uncle is the same man he let get away earlier in the day. Completely distraught, he turns the killer over to the police and vows to only use his powers for the greater good.
How did 'Amazing Spider-Man' improve his origin story?
Now, in a lot of ways, Amazing Spider-Man's origin is very similar to that of 2002's Spider-Man. In The Amazing Spider-Man, Uncle Ben tries to teach Peter about responsibility, Peter throws Ben's advice back in his face, Peter then lets a criminal get away with a crime and said criminal ends up shooting Uncle Ben dead.
In all honesty, the whole death of Uncle Ben was pretty rushed in the Amazing Spider-Man. We see Peter wanting to buy milk, but the cashier is being a jerk just for the hell of it because Peter is two cents short. A man then takes money from the register whilst the cashier is distracted, and Peter just lets him go.
It wasn't as well executed as the 2002 version as they went into more detail about why Parker let the criminal go free. After winning a wrestling match fair and square, the fight promoter cheats him out of a large sum of money. So when the burglar robs him, Peter has more gripe to want to let him go because he was denied so much. In the Amazing Spider-Man, all he was denied was milk, not as compelling.
However, everything Amazing Spider-Man does after Uncle Ben's death completely reinvented Spider-Man's origin and the whole meaning behind "With great power comes great responsibility." The one thing that Peter remembers about the man who killed his Uncle was that he had a star tattoo on his wrist. He uses this information and a police sketch on the guy to literally go on a manhunt to find him.
Peter Parker starts viciously beating on any thug that remotely resembles the man that shot Uncle Ben. And this isn't done in one night, he goes on a crusade every night to avenge his uncle. He is literally using his powers for the exact opposite as what his uncle would've wanted him to use them for.
However, after an incident on the Williamsburg Bridge where he battles the Lizard and saves a bunch of people from falling to their death, one of them being a child, he finally learns that he needs to start using his powers more responsibly and needs to give up on his search. That's right, in this version of Spider-Man, he never catches the man that killed his Uncle Ben. He abandons his manhunt to become the hero his uncle wanted him to be.
That's not only one-upping what the original movie did but that's also one-upping the original '60s story. Spider-Man actually robs himself of the satisfaction of bringing closure to the death of the only father-figure in his life, because responsibility is more important to him.
However, that's not the only thing 'Amazing Spider-Man' improved
A lot people also overlook the character of Flash Thompson in this movie and it's not hard to understand why they would. Very bland and generic, he comes across as a dumb jock bully, which is a cliche that has been done to death. Who didn't have a little snicker and eye roll when he acted tough to the girl painting in the gymnasium, telling her to "watch her back."
But again, after the death of Uncle Ben, his character does a 180. At the beginning of the movie, we see Thompson as a mean-spirited bully who actually beats Parker pretty badly in front of a crowd. However, after the death of his uncle, Flash actually starts behaving friendly towards Parker, even extending a hand of friendship to help him through his tough time. Again, this is something that we haven't seen from this character before.
He even understands when Parker grabs him and pins him up against a wall in a fit of anger, saying that he knows it feels good to let out his frustration. This actually humanizes a character that we have never connected with before. The film shows that he is a jerk, he is violent and that he can be a bully, but when faced with a tragedy, he does the right thing and tries to help him. This shows that this isn't just a character but a real person. It's a small detail in the movie but it really does add to the overall project.
#TheAmazingSpiderMan might be a very flawed #superhero film, but credit must be given where credit is due. No matter what problems you have or had with the film, you can't deny huge improvements were made on something we didn't even know could be improved. That alone deserves a couple of brownie points.
Do you agree that Amazing Spider-Man improved on Spider-Man's origin story?