Ever since Amazing Spider-Man came out I’ve been hearing people making fun of Tobey’s version, claiming that Andrew’s is far better. Is this really true though? Today I rewatched both Tobey’s first film and Andrew’s version and am going into an in-depth comparison. Looking into which origin film really is better. Be mindful of spoilers.
A look at how they are before getting the powers.
Tobey is given a much better introduction I think as the nerdy student that’s picked on. Even the bus driver laughs at him while watching Peter try to catch the bus! He’s constantly picked on having Flash after him all the time, and even out of school gets Jameson being a jerk towards him. What does Andrew get? An opening basketball to his head. Besides that, Andrew is shown as a loner. Not a nerd with a target on his back like Tobey, just a loner. Sure Andrew gets beaten up by Flash near the start, but that was for he tried to stop Flash from beating up another student. There really is not much of Andrew coming across an actual nerd who is hopelessly picked on.
What is Love? Baby don’t hurt me…
Looking at their love interest
Love interests I find are pretty much in the same ring. Both shown more or less as seemingly out of reach. Tobey’s a little more so as MJ comes off more the popular girl than Gwen does in Amazing, but overall its around the same level I think. Of course MJ stays out of reach the entire film while Andrew and Gwen start dating nearly at the start. The fact really that Tobey really stays dateless the entire film just helps add to his patheticnerdness. Not to mention in the end Tobey gives up MJ to protect her while Andrew ignores Chief Stacy’s final wish that Peter doesn’t endanger Gwen’s life with a rather quick and lame decision that himself getting hanky panky is more important than her safety.
Tobey meets Norman and he goes off on nano-technology. Enters the lab and he starts spewing off about the equipment, about various spider facts, etc. Andrew’s we see he can help fix a broken basement appliance and that is about it. Really. The decay Rate Algorithm? That PURELY was just him remembering the formula off his father’s notes. There is the moment at Oscorp where he spews off some facts, and sure he has to create his web shooters which is rather neat to see, but he still doesn’t come off, to me, as smart as Tobey’s version. Maybe its for Andrew’s facts he spewed off came from the research he did 5 minutes before going to Oscorp, or that Tobey just does a better job sounding enthusiastic when he spews off his random facts. That and much of what Andrew does are things most people would do in that situation; find out a close friend of your long dead dad of course you’d try to look into him, be bitten by a bug with odd side effects and you’d probably go into WebMD to look up possible side effects. To go back to the web shooters, again cool but it seems most of it came from an Oscorp mail over kit, and that most of what he did was just build it and put it onto bracelets.
Uncle Ben and Aunt May
How his family plays a role
My original comparison review listed the Bens as basically a tie, and I still find that to be true. Both painted nicely as father-figures, both Peters get into an argument with Ben (though Andrew’s does feel more angsty, and we get to see him brood a bit longer while he goes vigilante over the killer and Tobey’s jumps to the end of high school shortly after, but over all its about the same.
The Mays now! Tobey’s May doesn’t do much really until after Ben dies, but she then does a lot more I feel, and she’s a lot more supportive and beneficial to Tobey’s world. She becomes a beacon to help guide Tobey. Andrew’s May makes meat loaf (apparently bad meat loaf), has Peter pick up eggs, yells at him – a lot, and only finally near the end of the film gives him some advice which really is not even relevant at that point.
The Amazing Spider-Man!
Powers, discovering them, and Ben’s killer
Sam Raimi (or whoever’s idea it was) did a great job with Tobey’s glasses scene. Really though most things are handled rather fast (in both films). Reflexes, Spider-sense, wall climbing. The biggest time seemed to be spent was on the webs, which came prepackaged with Tobey’s powers. Why when they already set him up as being quite smart they did this, I don’t know. I almost feel that this decision was mocked in the movie though while Tobey tries to figure out how to use it. Andrew has to spend time making web shooters which was cool. Anyways most of their findings is accidental, though Andrew ends up a jerk and actually starts fights with his.
Andrew never does catch the killer while Tobey does, but really the end results is still pretty much the same. The realization of “With great power comes great responsibility”, and the knowledge that they let Ben’s killer go which ultimately brings about Spider-Man as a hero.
Really, they’re basically the same
Both villains are basically the same concept. Sure one is the Lizard, one is Green Goblin. Both end up villains though due to being driven insane from procedures they did to themselves. Using themselves as test subjects due to closing deadlines. Both look rather funny too. Seriously while the Goblin outfit was a bit odd looking (even if it was realistic), the Lizard looks rather odd too, mainly his face. They really should have gone with a more full blown lizard look.
Tobey’s identity being found out is pretty… well kind of weak. A fight just before Thanksgiving dinner to get cut and so leads Osborn to him. Even so its far better than the conviniently placed camera Andrew had with his NAME RIGHT ON IT!
Tobey’s bite seems much more plausible than how Andrew got into the spider-filled lab by seeing a code put into a high tech security system from 20 yards. Jameson and the Bugle in Tobey’s version was nicely done, and so was the tributes to comics like the drawings, the wrestling time, and the subway guy playing Spider-Man’s song.
Final round up
I still think Tobey’s movie is very good. Even though some special effects haven’t aged the greatest, they still hold up farely well. And sure things get cheesy at times with Tobey’s film, mostly things dealing with the Goblin (and the suit does look a bit funny, but really, so does the Lizard in Amazing).
What Tobey’s version does better? It has a complete story! It feels a lot more connected from start to finish, while Andrew’s does not (there are lots of reviews that go into detail over Amazing’s missing plot). Tobey looks extremely nerdy and really there are not many actors outside of DJ Qualls who naturally looks nerdier than Tobey. More so Parker is a good, very caring guy. Tobey leaves Mary Jane alone at the end afraid that she’ll get targeted and hurt if they stay together, and you know what, that is something I can very well seeing comics (both 616 and Ultimates) Spidey doing! Lastly, a lot of what make’s Parker who he is is his support. Yes he’s a nerd, but he still has support. In Tobey’s film he has Harry, Aunt May plays a much bigger role, there is MJ, and at least for part of it Norman Osborn is legitimately looking out and giving Parker further support. Who does Andrew get? Well everything for Andrew basically centers around Gwen, and I suppose Conners gives a little more support in Amazing than Osborn does in Tobey’s film. Not much for Andrew though.
What Andrew’s version does better? He moves more like Spider-Man, but this may not be as fair a comparison due to differences in budget and special effects available. He’s a mouthier Spider-Man too. In the first film Tobey really does not really do many quips, and there was some opportunities for it just completely missed. Granted some of Andrew’s comes off as him being an ass while he does it. A bully not just making lame jokes like the comics would do, but fully trying to be a jerk and an ass towards these criminals. I suppose it mostly comes from Andrew being emo over Ben at the time, but it still takes away some of that Spidey feel. Having actual web shooters for Andrew is nice too, and his slimmer frame gives a bit better look for Spidey.
Tobey wins, bishes!
Overall Andrew may move more like Spider-man, Tobey’s film was actually far better. Tobey’s story felt complete, his support structure feels more complete and doesn’t just revolve around one character. Sure Tobey’s film gets cheesy at times (mainly times dealing with Osborn/Goblin) and the special effects haven’t aged the best, but they still hold up fairly well actually. Doesn’t help that Cal C. was right and that much of Andrew’s version comes off as a bully.