Old vs. New: Spider-Man
May 20th, 2014
Cue the Nostalgia Critic opening.
Fade to NC sitting at his computer when Black Willy Wonka appears.
Wonka: Why so glum, Critic?
NC (sighing): It's this "Hyper Fangirl" from the last review. She asked me out on a date, I said, "no", and now she's doing that Facebook thing where she writes down these very vague, miserable messages, but then asks people not to ask her about it.
He shows a message.
Fangirl: My life is Hell... don't ask why.
NC: 2 minutes later...
He shows another message.
Fangirl: There is no hope for humanity... don't ask why!
NC: 1 minute later...
He shows another message.
Fangirl: I am the saddest and loneliest person who has no friends to ask her about her problems... DON'T ASK WHY!!!!!!
Wonka: Well, why don't you just un-friend her?
NC: I can't do that, she's a fan! That means somewhere in there, there's a glimmer of brilliance trying to get out.
Wonka: Hmm, well, as a popular holdover from the last review, I recommend either compromise, or caramelizing her until her insides are stretchy and sweet.
NC: (sighing): Well, maybe there's something to be said about--WHAT?!......Maybe there's something to be said about compromising. I'm gonna contact her, you...don't destroy anything.
Wonka (before leaving): I make no promises.
NC contacts Fangirl who is looking in a mirror.
Fangirl: You are a whiny and pathetic little loser...DON'T ASK WHY!!!!!!!!
Fangirl (gasping): Is that you, my hipster love?
NC: I'M NOT A HIPSTE- ...Second, I'm doing an Old vs. New of the Spider-Man movies. I heard you were a Spider-Man fan.
Fangirl: I may have dabbled.
She quickly takes down a fan-picture as the two Spider-Man franchises are shown.
NC (voiceover): Both movie series were a huge hit, bringing in a brand new audience to enjoy the web-slinging Spider-Man himself. But as you would expect, audiences seem to be very split on which series is actually the better Spider-Man series. Which one had the better story? Which one had the better action? Which one had the better villains? And, of course, which one had the better Spider-Man?
NC: I would invite you along to be a part of it, but we all know the new Spider-Man films are better, so I guess there's no purpose to--
Fangirl: Whoa, whoa, wait a minute! The new ones aren't better. The old ones blow the new ones out of the water.
NC: Oh, come on! With "Teary" Maguire?
Fangirl: Oh, I'm sorry. He did overstay his welcome, like that whopping 2 minutes of the Rhino.
NC: Maybe there is a bit to talk about with these Spider-Man movies. What do you say we go over it together as friends, and no getting super-obsessed over anything, got it?
Fangirl (now dressed as Spider-Man): Like you need to ask.
NC (sighing): Well, no use in delaying the battle. This is Fan vs. Fan in the newly restored Old vs. New.
A new version of the Old vs. New opening is shown: The "new" (Chambers) is playing baseball with a...football(?) while is "old" (Ray) is walking like an old man. When suddenly, they notice each-other and prepare to battle! They strike their bat and cane at other, mimicking the original opening's pose and the battle begins...
NC: Now keep in mind, this is all opinion-based and naturally, there's gonna be a ton of spoilers. Also, keep in mind that we're gonna move the order around a little bit. Seeing how the name of the movie is "Spider-Man", it only makes sense to judge Spider-Man last.
Fangirl: Less talk, more Spider.
NC (sighing): With that said, let's take a look at "Story" first.
Round 1 - Best Story Edit
NC (voiceover): Now it's pretty obvious that anyone who can take a story about a kid being stricken with super-spider powers seriously deserves a lot of credit, and both these films take very different approaches.
Fangirl (voiceover): The original looks at it more from a comic-book point-of-view with over-the-top action, funky camera angles, and classic mad scientist stories.
NC (voiceover): Sadly, the dialogue is just as corny, too, where the new version tries to tackle the story more like a movie, with more realistic characters, a grittier tone, and a spy-thriller edge.
Fangirl: But if it's based on a comic book, wouldn't you want it to be more like a comic?
NC: But if you're turning it into a movie, wouldn't you want it to be more like a movie?
NC (voiceover): This is where the big debate comes in. We know the original has a lot of corny moments, but you could argue it's part of the classic comic-book style, just like the original Superman movies were. This is why you'd think it'd be obvious that the original had a more complicated comic book story and the new one would keep it to a self-contained two-hour flick, but no; it's surprisingly backwards. The original films are actually very easy to follow: boy loves girl, get powers and turns into a superhero, fights off supervillains who most of the time are his best friends, with great power comes great responsibility.
Fangirl (voiceover): The new films, on the other hand, has all of that, plus his parents disappeared when he was young.
NC (voiceover): Okay, fair enough.
Fangirl (voiceover): They discover a biological miracle that can be used as a weapon.
NC (voiceover): Yeah, okay...
Fangirl (voiceover): A plan is underway to create a league of supervillains...
NC (voiceover): Got it.
Fangirl (voiceover): ...which results in three villains in one movie whose motivations all have to be started from the ground up...
NC (voiceover): Okay--
Fangirl (voiceover): ...as well as axing off other characters who are just going to be replaced with new ones that'll take time to establish.
NC (voiceover; annoyed): See your point!
Fangirl (voiceover): Oh, it looks like Jameson and Black Cat haven't had much screentime yet.
(NC finally snaps, annoyed)
NC: Okay! Christ and biscuits! I get it already!
Fangirl: Oh, and Ghost Leary.
(Footage of Denis Leary's character is shown, complete with a dialogue bubble with "Boo" written in it. NC lets out an annoyed groan)
NC (voiceover): Yes, for all the simple dialogue and hokey moments, the original Spider-Man films did always have a flowing three-act structure. Even the third one that had three villains. Each one had established motivations and arcs. Hell, some of them even took the extra time to build their story arcs early. Harry starts off as an early villain in 3, but we had two movies prior showing exactly why. The second Amazing Spider-Man threw three new villains at us, all having to be established. That's way too much to throw in a movie and still be emotionally invested in all of them. The original still took time for every character. And, yeah, a lot of it was silly, but it still allowed us time to make, at the very least, a little bit of a connection with all of them.
Fangirl (joyous, apprehending the best): So does that mean...
NC (sighs, defeated): Yes, as much as I hate to admit it, the original Spider-Man films did have a better understanding of a flowing narrative. Point goes to the old.
Fangirl: When I win, we all win.
NC: Oh, shut up!
Winner (Story): Old
NC: But what good is story in an action movie? To the Transformers films, nothing. This is "Best Action".
Round 2 - Best Action Edit
NC (voiceover): Now this one is really tough as both movies have their high points and low points in terms of action. For example, the first time I saw Spider-Man hanging upside-down, it was pretty cool to see. We've only seen that in drawings and to see that pose physically come to life was pretty cool. Also, a few moves incorporating his powers like this are always fun to see, too. But the rest of the action was surprisingly underwhelming. The setups were good, like a parade with giant balloons and fighting to hold onto a giant car from a bridge, but they all looked a little too slow and, honestly, kind of phony. The CG was a little too rubbery at times and a lot of these moves look like a Disney stunt show than they do an actual fight going on. It just didn't seem very fast and it looked a little too rehearsed. With the newer films, the fighting is a lot more slick, blending in fast acrobatics with the speed of what CGI can do. But with that said, the setups were a little bit more mundane. A fight in the sewer is not a very riveting location, or a school for that matter. I mean, okay, cars hanging off of a bridge is pretty neat, but didn't we already do "saving cars from a bridge" already?
Fangirl: Wait. Are you dismissing the incredible train chase in Spider-Man 2?
NC (slightly annoyed): No, no. I was just getting to that.
Fangirl (relieved): Ah, good. I thought I was going to have to caramelize your insides until they are stretchy and sweet.
NC (confused): You know, I don't like how that's becoming a thing.
NC (voiceover): The train sequence is where things got really good with the older movies. Yeah, it's obviously CG, but the creativity and the speed and the way each moment builds on top of one another, it's just a jolt. I felt like I needed a nap after seeing that scene. Even in Spider-Man 3, the fight sequences incorporated the CG with the actors much better. This way, when Harry and Peter are fighting each other, you don't see computer generated puppets. You see Harry and Peter actually fighting each other. But I think what works a little better with the newer versions is that, because the locations are kept so simple, it allows you to feel the urgency of every move, despite how fast they're going. It's like watching Jackie Chan as a webslinger; you just feel the weight but also the speed of how he operates. When Spider-Man holds that car on the bridge in the first film, we don't really get a feeling of how heavy it is because they never really showed how strong his powers could be, at least not to that extent. With the new one, you feel how heavy everything is. It takes effort to hold that car, but not quite beyond his range. The slo-mo is also utilized much better. In the original, I never got why they slowed certain scenes down. Is watching him get hit just to hold onto the car again like we saw before really deserving of watching one more time so closely? With the new one, it's like watching a ninja Sherlock Holmes. You see a car flying towards him, one webshooter goes out and the spider-sense is picking up that others are going to be dead if they touch the rail. This needs to be slowed down because we need to see in a split second not only what the problem is, but how he's going to get out of it, making his recovery from it all the more impressive. I guess I just saw more of the effort and technique with the new Spider-Man movies. Not that there was none with the original, but it's kind of like Indiana Jones. You constantly feel the sweat and tears going into all of his moves, where half the original just looked like a Power Rangers episode. And on top of that, when this Spider-Man is swinging around, you really feel like you're swinging around with him. The original just kept it at a medium shot, always like you're watching a video game version, and seeing how a webslinger flying through a city was a big part of Spider-Man's charm, that makes a big difference to get it right, too.
NC: So, close call, but I think I am going to go with new films for the better action.
Fangirl (pouting, arms crossed): I am still not convinced. Name one other moment that was better than the original.
NC: The best Stan Lee cameo ever.
(Footage of Stan Lee during the fight in the high school library in The Amazing Spider-Man)
Fangirl: Okay, fair enough.
NC: Point goes to the new.
Winner (Action): New
NC: But action is only deserving if it's going to a good purpose. Is there anything more evil than comic-book villains?
Fangirl: Actual murderers?
NC: Aaaand you made it weird. This is "Best Villains".
Fangirl (embarrassed): You asked.
Round 3 - Best Villains Edit
NC (voiceover): Again, in many respects, a tough choice. Apparently, nobody's born into crime or just chooses crime anymore. They all come from experiments gone horribly wrong. Groundbreaking genius; oh, no, science. Owner of a booming, profitable business; oh, no, science. Science, science, science, ... science; oh, no, science. Most of these villains have a ton of time devoted to them, and they need to, seeing how most of them suffer from hammy Jekyll-and-Hyde-itis. Seriously, do we ever get one that didn't have a split personality?
Fangirl: Oh, what? You have never had the voice of a loved one mentally torture you inside?
NC (confused): No.
Fangirl (surprised): Oh. Well, neither have I. (looks over to her left) Quiet, Grandma!
(NC looks even more confused)
NC (voiceover): The only one who seemed to get annoyingly sidelined in the original was Venom, who went from being one of the coolest jock badass villains of all time to that whiny "70's Show" kid (Topher Grace) asking Jesus if he could perform a hit for him. Yeah, I'm sure that's how it works.
Eddie Brock: I come before you today to ask you for one thing: I want you to kill Peter Parker.
NC (as a hitman): Okay, but it's gonna cost you some Hail Mary's.
Fangirl: Whoa, wait a minute. If you're talking about rushed, what about Edward "Electro" Nygma?
(Footage of Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx) from The Amazing Spider-Man 2, with a picture of Edward Nygma (Jim Carrey) from Batman Forever right next to it)
Fangirl (voiceover): His turn was so quick, he could win the Indy 500 with it.
NC: Okay. Granted, there wasn't as much time devoted to him because of all the other stuff in the movie, but you gotta admit, you've known a lot of weirdos in your time.
(Hyper Fangirl looks confused at that comment, then there is an awkward pause)
NC: ... I assume, and you know a lot of them probably do strange things on the turn of a dime.
Fangirl: But there's no time to show his change.
Fangirl (voiceover): He forcefully becomes obsessed with Spider-Man, forcefully becomes a supervillain, and forcefully decides he now hates Spider-Man.
Fangirl: The other movies at least gave more of a progression.
NC: He doesn't need much progression. He's just a weirdo.
Fangirl (hurt): Well, all weirdos have stories, too.
NC (sighs, annoyed): Look, is it so hard to grasp that sometimes strange people do strange things?
(Suddenly, Mac (a parody of Max Dillon portrayed by Malcolm Ray) enters the screen and sits next to Hyper Fangirl. While that is going on, NC looks on in confusion)
Mac (talking fast and with a nerdy accent): Hi, Hyper. How's it going? Got any fanarts? I'm working on a slash fiction between... (he turns towards the camera and notices NC) Oh, my God, is that the Nostalgia Critic?
Fangirl (a bit annoyed): Yes, Mac.
NC (awkward): Hi! How are you doing?
Mac: He said "hi" to me. I am instantly in love with you!
NC (confused): What!?
Mac: What? What do you mean, what? Are you doubting our connection?
NC (even more confused): I didn't say that...
Mac: That's it. From now on, you and me are enemies.
NC (even more confused): What!?
Mac: There you go again with that word. "What"! You just better pray that nothing powerfully bizarre happens to me.
(Mac leaves the room, leaving NC and Fangirl stunned. Suddenly, a power overload occurs, surprising Hyper Fangirl and NC. Mac comes back as Electro, his skin blue and wearing a hoodie)
Electro (speaking with a distorted voice): Something powerfully bizarre happened to me.
NC: Good God, what did you do?
Electro: I got bit by a lightning bug while I drank Red Bull. Now I'm all electric-y.
NC: HOW IN THE HELL IS THAT POSSIBLE?
Electro: I don't know! It's just science. Now I'll make you pay for your insulin.
NC (unsurprised): Don't you mean insolence?
Electro: That, too!
(Electro flies upward, but hits the ceiling and crashes back down on the floor. Hyper Fangirl looks back at the NC with a wry smile on her face)
Fangirl: Well, I don't know about you, but that made a bunch of sense to me.
NC (defeated): Point taken.
(Then it goes to the commercial)
(Return back from the commercial)
Fangirl (voiceover): Speaking of wasted villains, do I even need to bring up the Rhino in The Amazing Spider-Man 2?
NC (voiceover): It does kinda go without saying that the villain, as well as choosing great acting giant Paul Giamatti to play him, was...pretty...much...pointless. I know, I'm sure they're building him up for another sequel* where he'll be pushed to the side again for other villains, but by God, imagine you're Paul Giamatti and you've gotten the role in one of the Spider-Man movies, one of the biggest superhero franchises of all time. How would you react if you found out that you were only in it for a couple of moments?
*(Big note: The third sequel and all spin-offs related to The Amazing Spider-Man have been cancelled)
(Footage of Sideways where Miles (Paul Giamatti) is on the phone with his agent. The agent is dubbed over by Malcolm Ray)
Agent: Hey, Paul!
Paul (as Miles): It's your favorite client.
Agent: Checking in on the Spider-Man role, huh?
Paul (as Miles): So what's happening? There's still no word.
Agent (hesitant): Well, actually there is word.
Paul (as Miles): Alright, and...
Agent: You're playing one of the main villains, the Rhino... but only exactly for two minutes.
(Miles stops walking, unpleasantly surprised)
Agent: Um, isn't that great?
(One minute later...)
Paul (as Miles) (emptying a vase full of wine in his mouth in anger): How's that?
NC (voiceover): But come on, the Lizard's got a lot of sympathy and attention, and Harry Osborn's relationship with Peter was certainly given a good amount of time, and both of them played the roles much more seriously than the goofiness of Dafoe, Molina and so on. All of the other villains in the original were completely over-the-top.
Fangirl (unimpressed): All right, if you can answer this one question correctly, I'll admit defeat.
NC: Okay. Shoot.
Fangirl: What is one line of dialogue any of the villains have in the new movies?
NC (confident): HA! Easy. (NC starts to think of dialogues, but finds himself struggling to find one. He then answers unconvincingly.) Hi, Spider-Man. I'm the Lizard. (Hyper Fangirl looks on with curiosity) This is why Superman works alone.
Fangirl: Now, how about the old Spider-Man movies?
NC (confident): Oh, sure. (speaks in various hammy accents) Follow the cold shiver down your spine. Peter Parker, smart but lazy. (Hyper Fangirl looks on satisfactorily, vindicated) You knew this was coming, Pete. The Itsy-Bitsy Spider... (NC slowly comes to a realization) Oh.
Fangirl (satisfied): Uh-huh.
Fangirl (voiceover): The villains may be corny, but you remember everything about them. You remember their plans, you remember their costumes, you remember their motivations. Because the new movies try to be somewhat more realistic, it can't go all-out and therefore aren't as memorable. Even when they do go all-out, it doesn't match the rest of the movie and comes off as... kinda silly.
NC (voiceover): Yeah, as much as Harry seems more messed up in the newer films, I do remember the conflict in the original ones much more. Even the birth of the Sandman. There's no line of dialogue in that scene, but you completely feel every bit of emotion because they let it play out. That's one of the greatest births of a supervillain I've ever seen in a movie. The newer films seem more concerned about squeezing in too much for building other sequels. Even though I do take them a little bit more seriously, I do find the old villains are just more colorful, threatening, interesting and just all around more memorable. Sure, a lot of it's kinda dumb, but that's part of the comic book style. It's kinda like watching a Tim Curry performance versus a Henry Fonda performance. You know Henry Fonda is gonna give a good performance and is probably gonna be better, but you ALSO know that Curry is gonna be MUCH more entertaining and leave a much bigger impact on you. And seeing how the villains play a big part in a comic-book movie, it's probably best to side with the ones you remember the most. So, yeah, as much as I hate to let something as goofy as this pass...
Norman Osborn (crawling towards his Green Goblin mask): TELL ME HOW!
Green Goblin: THE HEART, OSBORN! FIRST, WE ATTACK HIS HEART!
NC (voiceover): I have to admit, it probably is more fitting than the alternative.
NC: So, yeah, I accept defeat. Point goes to the old.
Fangirl (looking slightly to her left): You made Grandma very happy.
NC (confused): What!?
Fangirl (quickly): Nothing. (short awkward silence)
Winner (Villains): Old
NC: But every story needs a little bit of love.
Fangirl (excited): OOH, OOH! Can I do the lead-in on this one?
NC (stern): No!
Fangirl: But I have the perfect love sonnet.
NC: You said we would just do this as friends.
Fangirl: I promise this has nothing to do with anything.
NC (annoyed): Then why are you even saying it?
Fangirl (pleading): PUH-LEEEASE!!!
NC (annoyed groan): All right, go ahead.
(Excited, Hyper Fangirl takes a piece of paper from her Spider-Man mask and clears her throat. Suddenly, Electro wakes up from being knocked out and Fangirl hits him in the head with a My Little Pony doll lying on the couch, knocking him out. Fangirl resumes her stance, but the title card for "Best Romantic Lead" interrupts her)
Fangirl (voiceover): DAMMIT!
Round 4 - Best Romantic Lead Edit
NC (teasingly): Why don't you start with the original?
Fangirl (hesitant): Oh, no! That'd be rude.
NC: No, seriously. I want to hear you defend this one.
Fangirl: It's your show. You should start.
(NC and Fangirl start speaking over each other, telling the other to go first. It goes on until...)
NC: NAME ONE GOOD THING ABOUT MARY JANE!
Fangirl (hesitatingly): Um... She has pretty hair?
Fangirl (defeated): Okay, yeah, she kinda does.
NC (voiceover): Okay, to be fair, let's talk about some of the good things about her. She is supportive...when she's not dicking Peter around, though, to be fair, he does it just as much to her as she does to him. She is given a bit of an interesting backstory with her coming from a broken home. And Kirsten Dunst does everything in her power to make this an interesting character. But aside from that, she is a tool. She is something for Peter Parker to chase. She is someone for him to save, someone to always be concerned about, someone to look at him in awe, someone to always give him pity. In short, she's only there to make Spider-Man look good. She's not a character, she's a character's girlfriend, someone to be appealing superhero arm candy, someone to look pretty in Spider-Man's arms.
Fangirl: Now, to be fair, the comics have written her much better over the years and have given her a truly defined identity.
NC: But the movies?
Fangirl (dejected): Uh, no. She still kinda sucks in this.
NC (voiceover): It doesn't help either that the romantic dialogue given makes it practically impossible for them to have any chemistry to begin with.
Mary Jane: You're taller than you look.
Peter: I hunch.
Mary Jane: Don't.
NC (voiceover): (as Mary Jane) I'm benign. (as Peter) I'm stupid. (as both) We belong together. (normal) Also the fact that she's dated every male character who got two seconds of screentime in these films. Seriously, who was this guy again?
J. Jonah: My son, the astronaut.
NC (sarcastic): Oh, yeah, how can we forget the impact that guy made?
NC (voiceover): In the new movies, we got Gwen Stacy, who, face facts, is ten million times more interesting. She's a science genius, she's got a good sense of humor, she's constantly helping Peter in every way possible, and I mean, like, ACTUALLY help. Not just cheering him on or saying "You have my support", but actually coming up with scientific reasonings to defeat the villains.
Gwen: The antidote is cooking.
Spider-Man: No, no, no. Conners is on the way. You leave right now.
Gwen: I need to get everybody out.
Spider-Man: Did you hear me? (Gwen hangs up on him) Oh, Mother Hubbard!
NC (voiceover): Remember the last time Mary Jane tried to help?
(Mary Jane tries to knock out Doc Ock with a plank of wood, but gets outsmarted and knocked aside. NC gives a sarcastic thumbs up)
NC (voiceover): On top of that, I'm just gonna say it. Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy, they're just fucking adorable.
Peter: This is the most clichéd hiding place you could have chosen.
Gwen (sarcastic): Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't take us to the Bahamas of hiding places.
NC (voiceover): I mean, I have no problem believing both these two are in love. Their chemistry is BEYOND precious. They made me use the word "precious". That's how good it is.
Gwen: I'm coming with you. You know that you need me...
Spider-Man (covering her mouth): No, no, no, no, no.
Gwen (through his hand): I'm coming with you.
Spider-Man: You're coming with me?
Spider-Man: Shut the thing. (Gwen goes to close the trunk, but Spider-Man webs her hand to the trunk) Sorry. I love you. Don't hate me.
NC (voiceover): It's a million times better than the forced romantic dialogue from the first film.
Aunt May: You saw her for the first time, you grabbed me and said: "Aunt May, is that an angel?"
NC: If by "angel" you mean "a lifeless statue who does nothing but looks pretty".
NC (voiceover): The only time we see Mary Jane start to form her own character was in 3, when we see, for once, she needs support given to her instead of the other way around. But even then, that's done so much better in the newer films. She's off to Harvard (actually Oxford), she has huge opportunities ahead of her, and if anything, Spider-Man is going to work around HER schedule. In the old, we still gotta wait TWO movies before Mary Jane even figures out that he's Spider-Man.
Peter (as Peter): I was in the neighborhood.
Peter (later, as Spider-Man): I was in the neighborhood.
NC (voiceover): Oh, come on! He's not even disguising his voice. Will you get a clue? This gets very little time for the relationship to bloom because they're constantly going back and forth whether or not they even want to be in a relationship, and that's no fun. We want to see them like each other, we want to see them get along, we want to see them go through actual relationship stuff. And in 3, we started to until we got that whole bullshit about Harry forcing them to break up and, bada-bing, we're back to the same bullshit that we started with before. I swear, if they followed through and killed off the girlfriend at the bridge scene like they did in the comic, I wouldn't have given a crap in the original. But because of how likeable their relationship is in the newer films, it's a legitimately sad departure.
Fangirl (once again on the defensive): But the original was MUCH closer to how that scene should've worked.
NC: Maybe in the conflict between Peter and the Goblin.
NC (voiceover): But in the new one, they not only got the tragedy of losing somebody dear to you, but also of being so close to saving them yet ultimately resulting in their destruction, and to me, that's a much more tragic and heartbreaking angle. Why? Because she would've been interesting even if you took Spider-Man out of the equation. Mary Jane would not be.
NC: BUT WHAT?!
Fangirl: ...BUT HER HAIR IS REALLY PRETTY!
NC: Point goes to the new.
Winner (Romantic Lead): New
NC: It's all tied up and it comes down to the big one. Let's wrap up "Old vs. New: Spider-Man" with "Best Spider-Man".
Round 5 - Best Spider-Man Edit
Fangirl: Now this one, you KNOW you have to give to Tobey Maguire. He's the perfect...
Fangirl (voiceover): ...geeky, awkward teen of the original comic.
NC: Really? Cause I thought Andrew Garfield captured the...
NC (voiceover): ...confident, joking, smart-ass superhero of the original comic.
(NC and Fangirl both look quizzical for a moment trying to make sense of what they said)
NC (cautiously): So maybe neither of these captured Spider-Man completely.
Fangirl (voiceover): Peter did start off as a weak nerd who would suddenly turn into the city's greatest hero.
NC (voiceover): But after he turned, he became a cocky smart-aleck spewing one-liners left and right. So, somewhere in between these two, there is a perfect Spider-Man representation trying to get out. Do you lean more towards the sympathetic loser, or more with the triumphant badass? Now, to both their credit, each one has dabbled in the other persona. Maguire certainly has a few badass moments, and Garfield definitely has his socially awkward moments. Both have their disadvantages, too. Maguire, for example, is given WAY too many crying scenes and WAY too many moments of him being a doofus.
Fangirl: Wait. Are you against males crying in movies?
NC (annoyed): No, I'm not against males crying in a movie but, good God, he does it at fucking anything.
(To prove a point, he drops a penny on the desk. Cut to Tobey Maguire bawling, complete with audio of a bawling baby)
NC: Hell, he cries more than SALLY FIELD does, ...
NC (voiceover): ...and that's the QUEEN OF CRIERS!
Fangirl (sarcastic): Well, it's not like Garfield doesn't repeat a ton of clichés.
NC: Now that's true, too.
NC (voiceover): Garfield's cockiness at times can get a little grating. I always wondered how many lives were constantly put in danger because he was too busy making jokes to the Rhino rather than stopping him from running cars over with his truck. But the big turning point for me is that, despite them both capturing how hectic and stressful it can be doing what they're doing, Garfield is evolving into more of a man. Maguire isn't. Every time he takes one step forward, it seems like Maguire is taking two steps back. Between being Spider-Man, not being Spider-Man, being with Mary Jane, not being with Mary Jane, being emotionally in control, letting his emotions make all of his choices, and, of course, just...
(Footage of Peter prancing in a black suit in Spider-Man 3)
NC (voiceover): ...this. God! I never felt he came all that far by the end of the series. Garfield, though making similar mistakes, seems to learn more and more about the responsibilities of being a hero, and tries constantly to put them into practice. From talking a guy out of a bad situation to trying to be there for his supportive aunt, he does it all without whining and without complaining. At least... after he's Spider-Man. Both are allowed breathing room beforehand, but, yeah, how many times have we heard Maguire bitch about something? There's a sense that Garfield will always confront a problem and try to figure it out, while Maguire seems constantly lost and having no idea which direction to turn. Garfield would just take any direction and somehow translating it into moving forward, making the best of any situation. If he sees an opportunity for something to help someone or make himself better, he'll take it. It's not always the right choice, but at least he's committing to something. On top of that, Maguire is so quiet and so awkward, it's kind of hard to imagine him running around in an outfit like that. This guy is so eccentric, so energized and just such a show-off that you can completely see him going around in a silly get-up like this. He's kind of like a mad genius who's thinking of ideas a mile a minute and creating them even faster than he can mentally process them. Of course he'd do something this insane. It's like Steve Jobs as a superhero or something.
Fangirl (excited): HOOO! I think I have fanart of that
NC (slightly annoyed): I trust you.
NC (voiceover): The only time he quits being Spider-Man is after Gwen's passing and, fair enough, anyone would be thrown off after something like that. With Maguire, it's just the stress of the job, and don't get me wrong, I can identify with that. But by comparison, you're starting to see my point here? One quits being Spider-Man because his girlfriend died, the other one did it because it was just hard. Which one do you think is going the extra mile? Which one would you rather be? Which one would you look more up to? Which one would you put the most faith in saving the day? Which one would you grow up reading a comic book saying: "Yeah, I want to be like this person when I grow up?"
(Cut to Peter prancing in a black suit in Spider-Man 3)
NC: Garfield, the superior hero.
Fangirl (pleading): NO!
NC: Sorry, Hyper Fangirl, but this Spider-Man is more interesting, more entertaining and more thought-provoking. Point goes to the new, which means that the all-around winner is the new Spider-Man series.
Winner (Spider-Man): New
All-around winner: New
Fangirl: No! How can you possibly like the new better than the old?! (buries her face in her Spider-Man pecs)
NC: Well, honestly, looking back at them again and in light of your commentary, it was actually much closer than I thought.
Fangirl: (looks up) Really?
(Footage from both Spider-Man series play out as NC speaks)
NC (voiceover): I used to think the newer films blew the original out of the water, but the more I look them over, the more I realize they both have a lot of advantages and disadvantages. Neither one of them are perfect representations of the Spider-Man stories, but they both come in their own unique way to some interesting interpretations. Some are for the best, some are for the worst. What I realize now about both of them is that they both tried their best to stay faithful to the material, but also tried to do things a little different while also being self-contained movies. It's hard to take an idea as silly as this and make it sell to a movie-going audience. But, sure enough, we have two movie series that seemed to have done just that, and both in their own way, hit their own personal bulls-eye.
NC: So, thanks again, Hyper Fangirl. You actually did open my eyes up to a few things, and I'm glad we could do this as mature friends.
Fangirl: Oh... um, yeah, I'm glad I could help.
NC: Say hi to your... I don't know, grandmother, I guess.
Fangirl: Oh, I don't know what you mean.
NC: Yeah, whatever. (clicks off)
(Fangirl looks into her mirror)
Fangirl: A friend. I guess that's all I'm supposed to be. A friend.
(Fangirl's reflection suddenly turns into her grandmother played by Lewis Lovhaug) (music intensifies)
Fat Grandma: Now you listen here, missy! No grandchild of mine is gonna give up that easily!
Fangirl: But... he's my friend.
Fat Grandma: And I'm your fat grandma, and you must avenge me!
Fangirl: You're not even dead.
Fat Grandma: Mind your own business! Now, are you gonna go after that Critic or not?
Fangirl: (smiles) Oh, Grandma, you always know just what to say!
Fat Grandma: Less talking, more stalking!
Fangirl: Right! (dresses up in NC's getup over her Spider-Man costume)
Fat Grandma: The heart, pudding child! First you start with the heart!
(Fangirl gazes off in the distance, smiling)
Linkara: (voiceover) And by the way-
(Fangirl looks back at her mirror)
Linkara: I am personally offended that I was not called in for this comic crossover!
Fangirl: Where's Fat Grandma?
Linkara: (confused) Who's Fat Grandma?
(Fangirl puts down her mirror, then it rings and Fangirl picks it up again to show Last Angry Geek)
LAG: Oh, is someone doing a Spider-Man review?
(Fangirl groans with annoyance)
LAG: (voiceover) You know the Raimi films sucked.
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Peter: I hunch.