Forget Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans). This time around, Spider-man’s true nemesis is the shadow of Sam Raimi, which he must desperately find a way to escape from.
Raimi gave Spider-man fans what they had always wanted – their favorite superhero on the big screen. And though his films weren’t always perfect (especially Spider-man 3), he got right more than he got wrong. Most of all, he captured the dark edge of the character – the gray cloud constantly floating over Peter Parker’s head – the joy of webslinging and the levity interjected through one-liners and ridiculous circumstances.
As much as I would have liked to have gone into this film with a blank slate (and as much as the makers of this film would love me to as well), it was difficult not to constantly compare this film to that franchise. The last Sam Raimi-directed film came out just five years ago. It’s still fresh in all our minds.
It’s a tough line for the filmmakers to walk. Rebooting an old franchise is easier because you are able to modernize it. Or if you are rebooting a movie that didn’t quite work the first time around or strayed far from the source material, you are able to give it another take fixing the flaws of the original. Director Marc Webb doesn’t have that luxury with this franchise.
To their credit, Webb and the writers have done all they can to make this film stand apart. Many of their choices seem like they purposely did the opposite of Raimi just to be different. The film features Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) as the love interest instead of the more iconic Mary Jane Watson. Curt Connors is the bad guy, while Norman Osbourne is simply an unseen force. The homemade webslingers are back instead of the organic webs Raimi’s Spider-man spun. The costume has been subtly tweaked.