Retrospective: From SPIDER-MAN (2002) To THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (2012) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Retrospective: From SPIDER-MAN (2002) To THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (2012)

One of the highly-anticipated summer movie blockbusters of 2014 is no doubt THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2. Set for release in the local cinemas here on May 1, Marc Webb's superhero sequel has already premiered in some parts of the world including UK, Italy, Belgium, Germany and Australia. Reviews so far were decidedly mixed, where the movie is currently holds a fresh 72% rating at Rotten Tomatoes.

To coincide with the release of THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2, let's take a look back at the previous four SPIDER-MAN movies that have been around since its first big-screen adventure in 2002:


Prior to the release of SPIDER-MAN, comic-book movie at that time was often dismissed by critics and movie observers as box office disaster. This was evident especially after the huge debacle of 1997's BATMAN & ROBIN, which had somehow single-handedly killed the box office prospect for comic-book movie. However, the arrival of 1998's BLADE and 2000's X-MEN had seen a minor resurgence for comic-book movie. Of course none of them made bigger impact to the critics and of course, the general public across worldwide when SPIDER-MAN arrived in cinemas in the summer of 2002. Thanks to Sam Raimi's profound interest for comic-book sensibility, his energetic direction worked wonder as he and veteran screenwriter David Koepp successfully mixed effects-laden spectacle with emotionally-heartfelt drama. The cast was also top notch, with Tobey Maguire stood out as both Peter Parker and his alter-ego, Spider-Man while Willem Dafoe delivered a memorable villainous performance as Norman Osborn/Green Goblin. Then there's of course, Cliff Robertson, who stole the show as Uncle Ben. He was particularly unforgettable during a crucial scene where he delivered a now-classic line, "With great power comes great responsibility". While some of the CGI here tends to look unconvincing and the action was somewhat lightweight, SPIDER-MAN had certainly opened a new door for more future comic-book movies to come.

SPIDER-MAN 2 (2004)

Highly regarded as one of the best comic-book movie sequels of all time, SPIDER-MAN 2 managed to upstage the already-superb 2002 original and improved further with a terrific blend of exhilarating action (the train battle between Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus was especially the main highlight), solid characters development and compelling human drama.

SPIDER-MAN 3 (2007)

When SPIDER-MAN 3 first screened in 2007, many critics and viewers weren't impressed the way Sam Raimi and his company juggled three villains (Sandman, New Goblin and Venom) into one movie. No doubt the result was overcrowded while some of the scenes felt forced (such as the underdeveloped story of Topher Grace's Eddie Brock turned into Venom) and awkward (especially the one where Peter went emo with his dual personality). Still, SPIDER-MAN 3 remained a satisfying third movie. Special effects were improved, while the action was equally top notch. Not to forget also was the story's effective theme of forgiveness where viewers could at least identified the multiple conflicts that erupted between Peter, Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst), Harry (James Franco) and the rest of the involving characters.


Before the eventual reboot was set for THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, there was a time where Sam Raimi supposed to return for SPIDER-MAN 4 with John Malkovich slated to play Vulture. However, Sony Pictures got cold feet with his idea and subsequent disagreement has prompted Raimi to depart the project altogether along with his original cast. Sadly, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN wasn't as good as any of Sam Raimi's previous SPIDER-MAN trilogy (and yes, that includes the much-maligned SPIDER-MAN 3). The reboot may have tweaked its origin story by introducing Peter's parent, but the story took too much time investing on Peter's personal agenda and even dragged a lot on the romance angle between Peter and Gwen Stacy. Still, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN remained an above-average summer movie blockbuster that had its few redeeming values. Andrew Garfield was effective as Peter Parker/Spider-Man and Emma Stone was equally charming as Gwen Stacy. The effects-laden action sequences were so much better this time around, as watching Spider-Man swinging from one building to another building gave me a certain sense of vertigo.

Seriously, with THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN wasn't as amazing as the title itself, can Marc Webb improves further with the sequel? Check back tomorrow for my exclusive review of THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 to see whether the sequel manages to live up its massive hype... or not.

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