1. Tobey vs. Andrew
Mr. Garfield, on the other hand, is dream casting. He nails the awkward high school outsider plus the wisecracking hero fans missed from the Raimi films. Garfield is also aces during the film's dramatic beats, which is good since the reboot has him crying more often than Demi Moore in Ghost.
Round One: The Amazing Spider-man (2012)
2. Green Goblin vs. The Lizard
This is a close match because both of these villains underwhelm. A pair of scientists who use themselves as guinea pigs and go all "I'll get you, Spider-man!" when the experiments go wrong. Both are played by renown character actors lost completely once they enter evil-mode. Rhys Ifans is replaced by a CGI dinosaur, while the mad genius of Dafoe disappears behind an immobile mask.
I'll give this round to Green Goblin because A) at least Goblin has some personality B) Dafoe is menacing out of costume whereas Ifans spends most of the film moping about his arm and C) Lizard's evil scheme to gas all of New Yorkers into becoming reptiles is truly lame.
Round Two: Spider-man (2002)
3. Kirsten vs. Emma
Stone isn't quite convincing as a high-schooler, and despite her obvious chemistry with Garfield their love scenes remain pretty lifeless since Gwen Stacy is so underwritten. Nevertheless, with due respect to Dunst, I'm giving this point to Gwen Stacy by a hair because she gets to be an active participant in the films action, and Emma Stone's formidable comedic chops elevate the movie at every turn.
Round Three: The Amazing Spider-man (2012)
The reboot follows the beats of the original so closely from the bite to Uncle Ben's murder to the triumphing over school bullies that it only serves to highlight how much more energetic and fun it was in Raimi's hands. The ways in which it stands apart from the original - mechanical webbing instead of biological, a dour prologue involving Peter's mysterious parents - remain unexplored, and seem like thankless legwork for sequels.
Round Four: Spider-man (2002)
5. Uncle Ben + Aunt May
Round Five: The Amazing Spider-man (2012)
6. Harry Osborn vs. No Harry Osborn
Round Six: Spider-man (2002)
7. J. Jonah Jameson vs. Capt. Stacy
Round Seven: Spider-man (2002)
Round Eight: Spider-man (2002)
It doesn't help that Amazing Spider-man is determined to ape the brooding color palette of Nolan's Gotham City. The drabness of the visuals only serve to drag down the film's energy further. Raimi's action scenes don't really soar until Spidey 2, but they are still head and shoulders above Webb's adequate but anonymously filmed action beats.
Round Nine: Spider-man (2002)
10. Ending (Spoilers)
2012: Peter promises Gwen's dying father he will stay away rather than expose her to danger. Then two scenes later he's all, "Haha, Denis Leary, you're dead! Imma date your hot daughter!"
Also a shadowy man with a hat reminds the audience to care about the secret of Peter's parents. Why?Maniacal laugh! That's why.
Round Ten: Spider-man (2002)
"And after 10 rounds, the winner, by a definitive 7 to 3 knockout..."
Sam Raimi's Spider-man
I think a lot of people misunderstood the post I wrote last week defending the concept of quick reboots. I wasn't cheering the idea of shamelessly rehashing the same story over and over to grab a quick buck. I was making the point that if a reboot gives a fresh, worthy take on the material what does it really matter if it comes 5 or 10 or 15 years later?
If Batman Begins had been released within 2 or 3 years of Batman and Robin I doubt people would have complained. If, on the other hand, Batman Begins had featured The Joker getting dunked in a vat of toxic chemicals and Bruce Wayne having an affair with a blond reporter - and it did it all without Tim Burton's visual flair - then I imagine audiences would have been curious why anybody bothered.
The Amazing Spider-man has a lot of room to improve, but they didn't flub the basic components of the story and Garfield makes a terrific hero. As long as the reboot is following Raimi's films so closely, here's hoping they copy the part where the sequel is a huge improvement over the first.