I compared the first films of each series when it hit DVD/Blu-Ray, and since Amazing 2 just came out, I figured I’d run at it again. Do a side by side comparison of both Tobey and Andrew to take a look at which second film is better, and what Spider-Man/Peter Parker is better. This will follow a similar format to the first, albeit with some differences, and please beware of potential spoilers.
The Romance! (ooo-lala)
Taking another look at their love interests
This… I first thought would be a little tricky at the beginning of this, but in a sense the romances between Tobey/MJ and Andrew/Gwen actually run somewhat similar. Tobey does run dateless, adding to his pathetic nerdness, for almost the entire film before he finally gets MJ. So it takes Tobey basically two entire films before he gets his girl. Andrew, well he starts with Gwen, but they do somewhat quickly hit a break up. While that leaves a slightly different dynamic between Andrew/Gwen than Tobey has with MJ, it overall leaves the two in the same boat. Both longing after the girl out of reach, and both getting her near the end. Granted, Andrew gets his a little earlier, but that helps lead up into a nice twist that some saw coming (spoiler warning for this come misc section). Either way, Tobey/MJ have a good dynamic, but they can’t really touch Andrew/Gwen’s, so Andrew takes the first point.
How intelligent is each of our Spideys?
Tobey when spewing out his facts comes off very enthusiastic over it. Like a nerd who is simply excited to have a chance to talk about things that are normally beyond people. But at the same time, Tobey feels a little less brainy in this film. Maybe it’s just me, or perhaps it was done on purpose as they got out a good deal of Tobey being nerdy in the first film, that less was needed in this one and more action and relationship building between characters could be set up. Either way, Tobey gets to use some of his smarts to help with the end fight, and some of his smarts is shown in the start of the film talking with Otto. Otherwise, the small bit we get is more of footnotes about Tobey being smart, mainly from Doc Connors. Andrew I feel really steps up his game here. Talking with the kid he saves about the windmill he actually sounds pretty enthusiastic. Working on how to counter Electro was a really good add in. And the touch of Andrew doing more research to find out stuff on his dad was a nice touch as well. I almost hate to do this, but I think Andrew takes the Spidey-Smarts for this film, even if barely so.
(just) Aunt May
Because Ben isn’t really an issue this round…
Tobey’s May (played by the very fitting Rosemary Harris) does a good job. She and Tobey have some touching moments thinking about Uncle Ben and such, and she gets to play (yet again) damsel in distress. She works rather nicely as a pillar for Tobey, but since he’s out on his own and has been the entire film, her as a pillar of support feels a little smaller in this film compared to the last. Sally Field however really gets a better written role for this film. She’s not making bad meat loafs, demanding Peter to go shopping constantly, or otherwise yelling at him. Like Harris in Tobey’s second film, Field and Andrew get some bonding time. Actually, I feel Field gets more, this time. It’s almost not fair, because Tobey’s films never dealt anything with his parents, while this one had Andrew researching them. As such, Field got to have a good bit on how she was his mother and such, that was nicely written and touching. Another point for Andrew’s film 2.
Because its not a Super-Hero film without them!
Tobey gets Doc Ock. The character gets some nice set up as a brilliant mind that Tobey looks up to (or at least respects) before his accident and going insane. He runs things kind of the same as Goblin-Dafoe making a couple hits, inadvertently using someone close to Tobey as a hostage, and then striking out purposely at someone close to Tobey. While talking to his arms is a little funny at times, he gets some nice build up and gets to hold the stage as the lone villain of this film which is nice when most super-films now like to have at least a couple bad guys for the hero to face now. And yes I know there is Harry (James Franco) in this film kind of acting as a villain, but really its more of a build up for him to be a villain in the third film. It’s refreshing. Andrew now has kind of a few. Let’s start with the main villain of Electro. Electro starts off a sad sad victim of circumstance. They build up him as being a little unstable mentally, which does help explain his push into true villain at the movie’s end though I still felt it was a little fast. Andrew’s Harry (Dane Dehaan) works as more of a villain in this film than Franco. This was a hard move, and one I felt was not handled as nicely as it should. Mainly for Tobey’s films Franco gets two films to build him up into a bad guy. Andrew’s film Dehaan only gets one film to not only build him up as Andrew’s friend, but then transform him into a villain to jump in on the final fight. Mostly, I thought Dehaan’s set up worked pretty well, I just would have left out him jumping in as Goblin at the end as it mostly felt unneeded. His one main action could have been brought about by Electro if they wanted to do it that way. Overall though I only have two main complaints with this, Dehaan’s kinda dues-ex-machina suit, and how quickly he figures out Andrew’s identity at the end just for seeing Gwen there who happens to be one of the few people in the city with good knowledge of that grid. Then Andrew also got Rhino. More of a tack on and not a big focus, but he’s there so I may as well give a mention. This is a hard one, and while I kind of want to lean towards Doc Ock, he wasn’t perfect so I’ll set this as a tie.
Living the Life
Well, they DO have to juggle being Spidey and Peter
Now Tobey runs around with a pizza job… for a short while (and swinging them around like that would have the pizza ALL over the box). He still works as a photographer for money. More so what I love to see is he’s struggling to pay the rent for his crappy apartment. Tobey is struggling to even BE Peter Parker. He tries, and he wants to, you can see that. But he feels too obligated to help everyone he can which causes him to look like a bad nephew to Aunt May at times, makes him seem to be a horrible friend to Franco-Harry and MJ. I completely love this, for its often a big thing in the comics is Peter fails to be Peter because he’s ALWAYS throwing on the Spider-Man suit. Even seeing Tobey stop being Spidey is nice, for it really helps show the struggle he is having at wanting to help people, and simply wanting his own life. Andrew here… Andrew Andrew… He doesn’t really get to live a life. He sits at home still living with Aunt May. Save spying on Gwen a little, his summer is spent mainly being Spider-Man. The only time Andrew really has to juggle being both Peter and Spidey is the very start when he’s late to graduation. I suppose you could list Dehaan needing Andrew-Spidey’s blood, but that didn’t play that big a role of really making Andrew juggle being both personas. Tobey steps up for one point, as he truly got to juggle being both characters.
That loudmouth Spider-Man
For Spidey gives lip, and tends to have awesome fights
Sadly, like the first film, Tobey again fails at the bad jokes. I mean he has a few, and they aren’t bad, but he’s not really lippy like Spidey tends to be. And when he is, they don’t hit as well as they should. A mix I think of writing, and Tobey’s performance. I mean Tobey does great being a nerd, but his one liners could use a bit more work. Tobey’s fights now are rather fun. Swinging around, contorting through the air and around a train… He gets some really good fights in this film, and unlike the first movie for Tobey, the special effects (while not perfect all the time) still hold up rather well even today. He may not be quite the contortionist as Spider-Man can be, but the fights are still really nicely done (outside the already stated lack of good puns). Fight wise for Andrew, his were amazing. Effects, the lighting, it was all really nicely done, especially the early fight seeing Andrew juggle all those jars was nicely done. But if this was just to the fights and movements, I’d actually tie them due to 10 year difference in special effects. Andrew takes the point however for he really can handle Spidey’s puns and lame jokes.
Yep, other stuff.
We have Tobey getting to interact and deal with Jameson which is AMAZING to see. We get that touching (if maybe a little overly dramatic) train scene where the citizens save him, give him his mask back, and don’t bother to take any photos to sell off showing that while Jameson may badmouth him, he overall has the respect of the people like he often (well sometimes) does in the comics. The power thing with Tobey however is a little funny. They never really explain why, though if I recall its suppose to just be because Tobey was doubting himself and such? Personally, it feels a little weak to me, especially when they could have pushed that issue a little more, or even carried with it into the third film and gone in a different direction like when his powers go out of whack in the 90’s cartoon. Did I mention its really nice to have an actual JJ around too?
Andrew’s film I feel was hurt a little near the end by two things. First, that plane incident was completely unneeded. I feel the film makers simply felt it would up the stakes of the fight for Andrew and Electro if there was a countdown timer to it. All it really did was pull away at times from the fight, killing it a little bit. The ending Rhino bit, while I know some like it, I felt was done in bad taste. I mean letting a little kid run out like that? What a horrible mom. What horrible police officers to let that happen too. So nice of Rhino to stop shooting, not to mention for Rhino to just sit there and let Andrew and the kid chat it up. On the other hand, killing Gwen was a really nice move I feel. I know some were expecting it from some previews, and that it happens in the comic, but its still a nice touch. Comics don’t like to take big stakes. Movies even often don’t like to do that, or they try to overdo it that it kills the meaning (like a certain god in blue/red from DC…). Having Gwen set up over two films and letting the chemistry between Andrew and Emma build up just to kill her off really works nicely. Its a much better pay off than Tobey/MJ building up for 2 films before actually happening. I hope they don’t end up butchering how Andrew deals with it in the third film, but that will be a wait and see.
Andrew takes this one!
Both films are good, and to be truthful I do feel Tobey’s is a little less convoluted due to less villains to toss around. Plus Tobey should get mad points for really showcasing the struggles of trying to balance being both a normal person and a hero (which is one of the reasons Tobey’s 2nd film is regarded so highly), but with the set up, Andrew takes it. He moves a little better and has a little cooler fights. More so though he has that Spidey feel with a slimmer body, and is really good at spewing out bad jokes like Spidey. Not to mention Andrew got to shine more mentally, and the loss of Gwen helps give more points his way.
I believe there’s one more film to go. While I’m one of the few who actually defends (most of) Spider-Man 3, I think we all know who the winner will end up being. Unless the Amazing team somehow figures a way to outdo Emo-Tobey.