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Face-Off: Spider-Man vs. Spider-Man 2

Mar. 7, 2013by: Paul Huffman
In last weeks Face-Off, we anticipated the release of 21 and Over with a match between two comedies that echoed the new release's alcohol filled premise in their own ways in Superbad and The Hangover. While The Hangover won the article's verdict, our readers chimed back singing a different tune giving Superbad the edge. As I stated, both were great comedies that had their own justifiable reasons for scoring the victory.

This week, in anticipation of the release of Sam Raimi's latest outing Oz: The Great and Powerful, we've decided to show love to him by putting together a match between the first two big screen Spider-Man films. Raimi's first Spider-Man film, like the first X-Men contributed to the resurgence of the dominance comic book films had over the box office. Sam followed that up with what is arguably not only the best of the theatrical Spider-Man films, but to many stands today as one of the best comic book films to hit the scene so far. Do you agree with the latter? Or are you going to surprise us with the opinion that the first was more your cup of tea? Let's discuss.
Story
After being bitten by a radioactive spider, teenager Peter Parker decides to use his new found powers to earn some money to impress a certain red-headed hottie. After the night ends in unspeakable tragedy, Parker dons the identity of Spider-Man to infest the city with webs while making up for it by contributing to ridding said city of crime. Meanwhile, after another freak accident a new menace brews close to Parker, future enmity seems inevitable. I'm a sucker for a good origin story, and except for a few artistic liberties I think Raimi nailed it. The story flowed so naturally, it's hard to nitpick about the flaws some people have found in it years later.
Peter Parker has found it hard to juggle life between being regular old Peter and his extraordinary alter ego as Spider-Man. His crime fighting ways have directly affected his personal life, and the poor schmuck questions whether he can handle it anymore. After (you guessed it) another freak accident involving an acquaintance of Peter's, he has no choice but to suck it up and continue with his "responsibility" to the city. The drama was definitely amped up in this sequel, I dug Peter's struggle with the various people in his life here, as opposed to going full emo in the third film. A lot of that praise needs to be credited to the cast, who gave their best performances here.
Action
Is it bad that the element of action I geeked out most over was Peter's cage match with the late great "Macho Man" Randy Savage? He got his ass handed to him while at the same time we see him getting a hang of how to incorporate his powers into battle. Other notable action breaks are the mayhem the Goblin causes at the city parade, the sequence in the burning building that resulted in Goblin learning Spider-Man's identity, and the final fight in which Spidey got the sh*it beat out of him. All that aside, I'm still standing by the cage match being pretty much the best damn thing in the whole film. Oooooh yeaaah!
Bigger...and better! These are the words that describe the action sequences in Spider-Man 2. The fight sequence in the train and what followed stands as one of the best things I've seen in a comic book film. It was Doc Ock letting Spidey know that he had his work cut out for him. A less hectic, but still pleasing debut for Doc Ock saw him robbing a bank. While the train sequence alone awards the sequel this category, I have to say I was more pleased with the final battle between Spidey and the Green Goblin in the first film. Am I alone in this? Just seemed a bit more personal and climactic.
Villain
Willem Defoe chewed the scenery in every single scene he was in, as he often does and was the epitome of what we call "cheese". You can tell he really had a blast portraying Norman Osbourne gone crazy, the dude was just insane. I dug the sequences between a conflicted Norman and the crazed Green Goblin alter ego, range yo. Some people let themselves be pulled out of the performance from displeasure with Green Goblin's character design (in which he looked more like a villain suited for a Power Rangers episode). What mattered to me was the man behind the suit, and the man behind the suit delivered.
Much of the universal praise Spider-Man 2 received, can be attributed to Alfred Molina's portrayal of Doctor Octopus and it's much deserved. he role has been described as menacing, complex, and even sympathetic. Doc Ock was all this and more in my humble opinion. Loved that he started out as a man we were rooting for, but after losing his wife and gaining a new...well...deformity, gained a twisted view of what needed to be done and was willing to do whatever he had to, to obtain it. We're 4 official Spider-Man films in, and Doc Ock has maintained his top spot? Disagree? Harry Osborn, who had a lot of meat to chew on in this sequel as an evolving villain. The fact that they didn't do the character justice in the third film is for another discussion.
Overall
I can remember the hype me and my father felt when that first teaser for the film hit theaters, and I remember not being disappointed after seeing the film. It did the character of Spider-Man justice, it had drama, it had it's moment of lightness, it had a great villain (shitty costume design and all), it introduced us to J.K. Simmons' OWNING the role of J. Jonah Jameson, and it had Kirsten Dunst in a wet shirt. Bottom line, to its credit the first film holds a special place in my heart for being the first glimpse I got of Spider-Man on the big screen. It was a magical experience, and the film holds up.
Spider-Man 2 getting as much praise as it did, and the legacy it carved for itself as one of the best comic book films of all time was no fluke. It had all the elements that makes a film of this kind great. It's in this film I bought into the drama and the struggle of Peter Parker most, it had the brilliant performances to compliment it. As previously mentioned, I was a big fan of Franco's complex performance as Harry Osborn in this film...his best work in the trilogy. We all can imagine relating to the pressure the savior of a city would have on us, the weight it would carry. That's what makes this film great, and it's what made many comic book films that came after it great. It set a bar.
Spider-Man 2
There you have it ladies and gentlemen, Spider-Man 2 stands as the best of Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy...all the elements came together and damn near made perfection. The first film was a great introduction for the character, but the sequel went above and beyond. But I've been surprised with opinions before, and maybe it will happen again. So it's time for you schmoes to chime in.

If you have an idea that you'd like to see in a future FACE OFF column, feel free to shoot an email to me at paulhuffman@joblo.com with your ideas and some ideas for the critique to base your ideas off. Thank you and in the meantime...

Which Spider-Man film is your favorite?
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11:16AM on 03/08/2013
"Go get em, Tiger." --- yeah that was the slam dunk. The perfect ending to a great film.
"Go get em, Tiger." --- yeah that was the slam dunk. The perfect ending to a great film.
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11:12AM on 03/08/2013
Spider-man 2 was great. Doctor Octopus was a great villain.
Spider-man 2 was great. Doctor Octopus was a great villain.
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11:38PM on 03/07/2013

Spider-man

Both are in my top 5 comic book movies of all time. I think 2 is technically the better film, but my personal favorite is the first one, if only for nostalgia. I consider Spider-man THE comic book movie that started the super-hero movie trend that continues to this day. After Superman IV and Batman & Robin, there was a gap of super-heor films. There were a few like X-men and Blade, but Spider-man was on a whole different level.
Both are in my top 5 comic book movies of all time. I think 2 is technically the better film, but my personal favorite is the first one, if only for nostalgia. I consider Spider-man THE comic book movie that started the super-hero movie trend that continues to this day. After Superman IV and Batman & Robin, there was a gap of super-heor films. There were a few like X-men and Blade, but Spider-man was on a whole different level.
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-1
10:35PM on 03/07/2013

Raimi rules, Sony sucks

All 3 of Raimi's movies are better than the abortion reboot.
All 3 of Raimi's movies are better than the abortion reboot.
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7:45PM on 03/07/2013

Spider-Man 2

The first Spider-Man is INSANELY formulaic, in fact, most super hero movies are. #2 definitely has its fair share of cliches but it felt to me like it was actually ABOUT something. A lot of the situations and dilemmas feel a lot more character based, as if it's not completely on auto-pilot. I still think it's one of the best super hero movies ever made.
The first Spider-Man is INSANELY formulaic, in fact, most super hero movies are. #2 definitely has its fair share of cliches but it felt to me like it was actually ABOUT something. A lot of the situations and dilemmas feel a lot more character based, as if it's not completely on auto-pilot. I still think it's one of the best super hero movies ever made.
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3:14PM on 03/07/2013

Next Face off should be a 3 way

Do a 3 way faceoff: Matrix Trilogy
Do a 3 way faceoff: Matrix Trilogy
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4:58PM on 03/07/2013
Me as well. ;-)
Me as well. ;-)
4:55PM on 03/07/2013
Hahaha. I wish they didn't.
Hahaha. I wish they didn't.
4:40PM on 03/07/2013
They made sequels to The Matrix???
They made sequels to The Matrix???
2:03PM on 03/07/2013
I love the first one even still. Do you know why? It doesn't take itself too seriously. It's fun. The second one is more mature and by far the better film with greater depth, but that was the point. The series evolved greatly. Just imagine if Raimi had been concerned with "finishing his story" rather than getting pressure from the studio. Raimi was able to mix cheesy tones with serious elements in these films, which is friggin hard to pull off and he does it twice. This was the problem I had
I love the first one even still. Do you know why? It doesn't take itself too seriously. It's fun. The second one is more mature and by far the better film with greater depth, but that was the point. The series evolved greatly. Just imagine if Raimi had been concerned with "finishing his story" rather than getting pressure from the studio. Raimi was able to mix cheesy tones with serious elements in these films, which is friggin hard to pull off and he does it twice. This was the problem I had with Amazing Spiderman. It made no attempt to do this at all. It doesn't have that fun element. It takes itself too seriously.
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1:52PM on 03/07/2013

Good call

Spidey 2 is easily better.
Spidey 2 is easily better.
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+3
1:46PM on 03/07/2013
While I like Spider-Man 2, I didn't love it as much as the original. The thing that killed it for me was how Doc Ock was only evil because his arms were controlling him... or something. And at the end he could just snap out of it and be a good guy again. Still scratching my head over that one.
While I like Spider-Man 2, I didn't love it as much as the original. The thing that killed it for me was how Doc Ock was only evil because his arms were controlling him... or something. And at the end he could just snap out of it and be a good guy again. Still scratching my head over that one.
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+7
12:44PM on 03/07/2013

No brainer, "Spider-Man 2" all the way

This is a no brainer, not even a challenge. Until "The Dark Knight" came along "Spider-Man 2" was the dominate recent modern superhero film. The first one is mildly entertaining and barely a 3 out of 4 star film, in my opinion. "Spider-Man 2" took the series into a whole new world of possibilities, especially with it's characters, and it's theme of "choice". Trying so hard to be someone that you forget who you truly are. This film was and still is one of the top greatest superhero films of all
This is a no brainer, not even a challenge. Until "The Dark Knight" came along "Spider-Man 2" was the dominate recent modern superhero film. The first one is mildly entertaining and barely a 3 out of 4 star film, in my opinion. "Spider-Man 2" took the series into a whole new world of possibilities, especially with it's characters, and it's theme of "choice". Trying so hard to be someone that you forget who you truly are. This film was and still is one of the top greatest superhero films of all time. This face-off is missing a lot of topics to face-off with, "characters", "production/effects", "story". Also, The Green Goblin doesn't hold a candle to the characteristics and internal conflict for Doc Ock.
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-24
11:37AM on 03/07/2013

Sm2 = garbage

Great casting of the bad guy(s), great design to him (them) but man this movie was so full of plot holes and inconsistencies that one would think it was made by an amateur.
Great casting of the bad guy(s), great design to him (them) but man this movie was so full of plot holes and inconsistencies that one would think it was made by an amateur.
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+2
10:38AM on 03/07/2013
I love both movies but I prefer the first one. Am I alone?
I love both movies but I prefer the first one. Am I alone?
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9:55AM on 03/07/2013
I love the Raimi Spider-Man films (the first two).

I absolutely hated the hipster douche that Parker became in the reboot. Parker is supposed to be a clean cut science nerd with rotten luck, not some quirky hipster. Talk about getting a character completely wrong. The Raimi films weren't perfect, but they got the heart of the character right.
I love the Raimi Spider-Man films (the first two).

I absolutely hated the hipster douche that Parker became in the reboot. Parker is supposed to be a clean cut science nerd with rotten luck, not some quirky hipster. Talk about getting a character completely wrong. The Raimi films weren't perfect, but they got the heart of the character right.
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9:13AM on 03/07/2013

At that time..

..I considered Spider-Man 2 to be the gold standard for superhero films.
..I considered Spider-Man 2 to be the gold standard for superhero films.
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8:49AM on 03/07/2013
This was obvious. Spiderman 2 is one of the greatest comic book movies out there.
This was obvious. Spiderman 2 is one of the greatest comic book movies out there.
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8:47AM on 03/07/2013

Spider-Man 2.

I LOVE BOTH films for different reasons and consider them two of the greatest comic book films I have ever seen, but I have to pick Spider Man 2. It had the perfect mix of action, drama, and comedy. And I loved the storyline of how Peter had to juggle everything together, his personal life and superhero life all together then ultimately decides to sacrifice one for the other for a bit.

And also the train scene between Spider Man and Doc Ock is the greatest scene in the entire trilogy. And
I LOVE BOTH films for different reasons and consider them two of the greatest comic book films I have ever seen, but I have to pick Spider Man 2. It had the perfect mix of action, drama, and comedy. And I loved the storyline of how Peter had to juggle everything together, his personal life and superhero life all together then ultimately decides to sacrifice one for the other for a bit.

And also the train scene between Spider Man and Doc Ock is the greatest scene in the entire trilogy. And in this film Mary Jane and Harry both find out who Spider Man is.

This film is the definition of ultimate epic sequel.
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8:14AM on 03/07/2013

BONE-SAW! BONE-SAW! BONE-SAW!

That wrestling scene is hands-down one of the best portions of any of the Spider-man movies. I think it was at that point I remember thinking, "Yeah, this movie is gonna be pretty great."

I'm fine with the victor, both are excellent pieces of comic book cinema IMO. We have a lot to thank these movies for--without their success, we might not see the movies we're seeing today. Tobey McGuire WAS and IS the best Peter Parker they're ever going to find
That wrestling scene is hands-down one of the best portions of any of the Spider-man movies. I think it was at that point I remember thinking, "Yeah, this movie is gonna be pretty great."

I'm fine with the victor, both are excellent pieces of comic book cinema IMO. We have a lot to thank these movies for--without their success, we might not see the movies we're seeing today. Tobey McGuire WAS and IS the best Peter Parker they're ever going to find
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7:09AM on 03/07/2013

How about

A comparison between Burton's Batman and Nolan's The Dark Knight. They were both good and most people would say TDK is better but is it a landslide for TDK or is it a toss?
A comparison between Burton's Batman and Nolan's The Dark Knight. They were both good and most people would say TDK is better but is it a landslide for TDK or is it a toss?
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4:56PM on 03/07/2013
It should be against Batman Begins, which is the best of three IMO anyways
It should be against Batman Begins, which is the best of three IMO anyways
12:41PM on 03/07/2013
LANDSLIDE..........
LANDSLIDE..........
-3
6:08AM on 03/07/2013
Spiderman 1 is excellent for its introductory quality.
But Spidermantu is the perfected Spiderman formula.
Btw, I wrote "Spidermantu" on purpose, because I'm a fucking comedian.
The Amazing Spiderman is for Starbucks drinking, iPhone worshiping, trendy, hipster douchebags. It's so snotty and pretentious, like watching a shitty movie made by high schoolers, but with an enormous budget. It's the Twilight of Marvel movies.
Spiderman 1 is excellent for its introductory quality.
But Spidermantu is the perfected Spiderman formula.
Btw, I wrote "Spidermantu" on purpose, because I'm a fucking comedian.
The Amazing Spiderman is for Starbucks drinking, iPhone worshiping, trendy, hipster douchebags. It's so snotty and pretentious, like watching a shitty movie made by high schoolers, but with an enormous budget. It's the Twilight of Marvel movies.
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3:54AM on 03/07/2013
Spider-Man 2 for me. I especially like the ending. You can see the uneasiness in Mary Jane's eyes when she saw Peter web-swings away. That's hardly a proper ending for superhero movies and I love that.
Spider-Man 2 for me. I especially like the ending. You can see the uneasiness in Mary Jane's eyes when she saw Peter web-swings away. That's hardly a proper ending for superhero movies and I love that.
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11:25AM on 03/09/2013
You mean the ending where Spidey and Ock can stand in waist deep water to duke it out, but when the story needs it Ock can sink the sphere in the "bottomless depths"?
You mean the ending where Spidey and Ock can stand in waist deep water to duke it out, but when the story needs it Ock can sink the sphere in the "bottomless depths"?
7:19AM on 03/07/2013
That's true. But the looks in her eyes, it just seems uneasiness of her seeing her boyfriend goes out and fight with bad guys without knowing if he'd be alright.
That's true. But the looks in her eyes, it just seems uneasiness of her seeing her boyfriend goes out and fight with bad guys without knowing if he'd be alright.
4:15AM on 03/07/2013
she ends up with him at the end of 2.
she ends up with him at the end of 2.
3:34AM on 03/07/2013

neither

i pick the amazing spider-man!!!these two films are horribly dated and just about as overrated as films can get. Toby mcguire is awful.
i pick the amazing spider-man!!!these two films are horribly dated and just about as overrated as films can get. Toby mcguire is awful.
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3:34AM on 03/07/2013

Spider-Man 2 just has the right balance of everything

No contest: Spider-Man 2 blows 1 out of the water.

Spider-Man 1 does not hold up as well as I remembered. That said, while it's clunky, it's still fun and engaging and I like that it wears its heart on its sleeve, things that ASM - for me that is - just didn't accomplish.
No contest: Spider-Man 2 blows 1 out of the water.

Spider-Man 1 does not hold up as well as I remembered. That said, while it's clunky, it's still fun and engaging and I like that it wears its heart on its sleeve, things that ASM - for me that is - just didn't accomplish.
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3:37AM on 03/07/2013
2 is worse than 1. the second is so hard to sit thru its painful. the middle gourd where nothing happens is terrible. mcguire is such a poor peter parker its unreal. Andrew garfield is far better fit for the role. as least he makes wisecracks!!
2 is worse than 1. the second is so hard to sit thru its painful. the middle gourd where nothing happens is terrible. mcguire is such a poor peter parker its unreal. Andrew garfield is far better fit for the role. as least he makes wisecracks!!
3:15AM on 03/07/2013

The next Face-Off should be.........

Scary Movie vs. Epic Movie......The categories should be something like, Worst Story, Worst Screenplay, Worst Actors, Worst Jokes, Worst Characters. Then, Overall - Worst Movie.
Scary Movie vs. Epic Movie......The categories should be something like, Worst Story, Worst Screenplay, Worst Actors, Worst Jokes, Worst Characters. Then, Overall - Worst Movie.
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+8
2:04AM on 03/07/2013

I'm sure we can all agree that either one...

Is still better than The Amazing Spider-Man (UPDATE) AND Spider-Man 3 with Peter's fruity little jazz hands and emo self.
Is still better than The Amazing Spider-Man (UPDATE) AND Spider-Man 3 with Peter's fruity little jazz hands and emo self.
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11:40AM on 03/07/2013
Ummmmm no.........
Ummmmm no.........
-5
1:24AM on 03/07/2013
I would rather see a Spiderman 2 v.s evil dead 2
I would rather see a Spiderman 2 v.s evil dead 2
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12:47AM on 03/07/2013
i would rather see a comparison of "Spider-Man" and "The Amazing Spider-Man". I'll hold bad on my judgement of SP2 (excellent) and ASP (pretty good). But i recently sat down and re-watched "Spider-Man" and found the plot to be over simplified and campy. I know that what you come to expect from Raimi and for many people thats a positive thing. When you compare it to recent Comic Book movies, even the original X-Men movies, it just seems dated. I won't call it a bad movie, not by a long shot, but
i would rather see a comparison of "Spider-Man" and "The Amazing Spider-Man". I'll hold bad on my judgement of SP2 (excellent) and ASP (pretty good). But i recently sat down and re-watched "Spider-Man" and found the plot to be over simplified and campy. I know that what you come to expect from Raimi and for many people thats a positive thing. When you compare it to recent Comic Book movies, even the original X-Men movies, it just seems dated. I won't call it a bad movie, not by a long shot, but i think it would be worth comparing to the new Webb film
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