the spider-men comparison: sequel vs reboot


To make my life easier as a lazy writer, the 2002 Spider-Man (and it’s sequels) will just be OSM and 2012 The Amazing Spider-Man will be TASM. Got it? Good.

Now it’s come to my attention that there are folks out there that are confused as to why Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst from OSM are no-shows in this new version known as TASM. I will admit, I may have been a bit lazy in my recent review in detailing what the difference is between this reboot and the original franchise. But I think the best way to explain it is chronologically.

Spider-Man 4
Sometime after the box office success of OSM3, it was a no-brainer to go forth and continue with what would have been OSM4. An important fact to include is the brilliance of Sam Raimi who had directed all 3 films thus far. Most fans and critics would agree he’s done a great job, up until making Peter Parker go emo in OSM3, along with other criticisms that I forget. Regardless, with Raimi at the helm, fans had little to worry about because he knew how to treat the Spider-Man character (whereas other directors would find a way to put nipples where they shouldn’t be, like on a batsuit).

Sam Raimi

Anyway, the point here is that Raimi was pivotal to the OSM franchise, and with that comes Tobey Maguire. In other words, if Raimi wasn’t going to direct, Maquire didn’t want to be involved. Similar to Chris Nolan and Christian Bale in the rebooted Batman franchise.

So talks began, and according to Wikipedia, not only were there plans to do a 4th, but they were in talks to do at least 6(!) films. I will admit that I wasn’t aware of that many sequels to come. A lot of the news I read start out as rumors, and I heard rumor of 5 films. Regardless, Raimi and the studio had disagreements, mostly creative and not being able to deliver in a timely manner, so OSM4 was cancelled.

Reboot
However Spider-Man wasn’t dead and it was decided it would get the reboot treatment similar to Batman, Superman (twice, or so it felt (I’ll explain later)), and of course Hulk. What’s the difference between a reboot and a remake? I’m glad you asked, imaginary person. On the surface, there’s very little that’s different. It’s still a story that’s being retold, but a reboot is usually reserved for a film series (or franchise) so a studio can hire new directors, writers and actors. Normally a remake would just be for a single film, either one that is old or possibly forgotten, or a foreign film remade for an American audience.

Just in case you still don’t follow, Ocean’s Eleven with George Clooney and Brad Pitt is a remake of a Rat Pack movie of the same name. Another remake example: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Reboots: The Incredible Hulk is a reboot of Hulk… because it was just that bad it needed to be done over again. Superman is getting rebooted as Man of Steel. For a long time I was confused with Superman Returns–was it a reboot, a sequel? I think it was meant to be both, picking up after Superman II and ignoring III and IV. But the studio had since decided to reboot the series altogether with a new director and actors.

Hopefully I didn’t confuse you too much. But The Amazing Spider-Man is basically retelling the story with a few creative liberties, new cast and new director, but isn’t remaking the same Spider-Man from a decade ago. Also, I don’t think Tobey Maquire could keep playing Spider-Man considering he’s inching closer to 40 despite his boyish good looks, but considering this is a reboot, it’s hard to believe a guy that old playing a teenager.

The Man

Additional Review, Compare and Contrast
Back to a question I may have alluded to earlier, how does TASM compare to OSM? Other than Peter Parker being bit by a radioactive spider, learning the ways of the spider, falling for a girl at his school, fighting a chemically-altered villain who is a friend in normal life, the story of tragedy of Uncle Ben, the always lovely Aunt May, and cameos from Stan Lee… they are different enough. Honestly, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen OSM. But I still think it’s worth seeing for what it is.

The following is what you’ll find different in TASM vs OSM.

  • The love interest is Gwen Stacy and not Mary Jane Watson.
  • Spider-Man does not shoot webbing organically, he has a device he creates with the help of Osborn tech (which I hear is similar to the comics).
  • In fact, I think TASM shows more of his intellect than his photography skills.
  • Speaking of photography, Peter is still in school. So he’s not working at the Daily Bugle but he’s still found to be taking pictures.
  • Better yet, check out this link.

While none of the same actors appear, I hope the bring back J.K. Simmons for J. Jonah Jameson. I also can’t imagine anyone else playing Norman Osborn than Willem Dafoe. Needless to say, they weren’t in TASM, so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens in this sequel, coming 2014, apparently.

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One comment on “the spider-men comparison: sequel vs reboot
  1. [...] One of the first questions I was asked was how does this film compare to the “original” back in 2002. My answer: it’s complicated. I still feel it was too early to do a reboot but I will also admit that this film feels fresh enough to set itself apart from the previous films. The obvious changes are the actors and director. When it comes to plot, the major difference is the story deals a bit more with Peter Parker’s dead parents, and features Parker’s first love interest (according to the comics) Gwen Stacy. (Read my analysis here) [...]

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