OPINION: Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man: Homecoming are in the Same League
Since the release of Marvel's first collaboration with Sony/Columbia Pictures film, Spider-Man: Homecoming, fans have been debating over whether or not the feature is better or worse than the Sam Raimi’s superhero hero classic, Spider-Man 2. The Internet and Spider-Man community have been going back and forth about who is the best Peter Parker, who is the better web-head, which movie got the better representation of the hero, and much, much more. Well, today, I am here to not fuel the debate or give a biased stance, I’m actually here to end it. Both Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man 2 are on par with each other.
Now you may be screaming at me already, “Steven, get out of here with that nonsense!” If you happen to be one of those people, well then you're just the person for this article. I will break down aspects both films have that clearly point out why they are on par with each other, and explain my stance about both fantastic entries.
I should say that this article may include spoilers for both Spider-Man films mentioned. However, judging that you clicked on the article after reading the title, I can safely assume that you've seen them already. Let's get into this.
Both Films Did Peter Parker Right
Starting off with something that is already known, both films handled Peter Parker as Stan and Jack did all the way back in their hay-days. Peter Parker is a nerdy, quirky, shy teenager who does his absolute best to fit in. When he puts on the mask and is ready to fight crime, he’s quick, clever, and witty. Both Tobey Maguire and Tom Holland portray Peter perfectly and nail the character's traits on the mark, perfectly capturing the torn essence and internal conflict to a tee.
There's more to Peter than just those specific aspects, however. He's down to earth and especially loving to his friends and his caretaker, Aunt May. Both Peters have this strong connection with May and both of them risk their lives multiple times to protect her. The writers handle Peter respectfully and true to the source in both cases. Of course, this was just a low-hanging fruit argument, however. We've seen these two representations many times now but these two films aim for the money.
One of the more heavily debated aspects of Homecoming particularly is the screenplay. Spider-Man 2 was grounded, perfected, dark, and handled a good story with grace and class. But Spider-Man: Homecoming is no different. It is grounded, it does have the good story, and it's on par with Raimi’s classic on a screenplay level. Fans frequently go after this aspect of the later film because of the way in handles the larger universe and the influences of the Avengers film, but if you remember, Tony takes away that same suit he gives him in the second act of the film. Theres obvious parallels to be made there with the entire power-loss arc from Spider-Man 2, but both films handle this lesson taught to Peter perfectly.
When Tony takes away the suit, Peter can’t just throw on his suit and go out crime-fighting. He has to become responsible, spend time with Aunt May, he has to make time for school. Both Spider-Man 2 and Watts’ high school drama ground Peter in his ways as a teenager and as a hero.
Why does there have to be a fuss about the two if they have the same concepts, just done differently? The one thing that matters is that they are both grounded and flesh out the character the way the writers sought out, and remain faithful to the source material.
There's no need for me to say that Otto Octavius is a better villain than Adrian Toomes, it is sort of common knowledge, and I won’t deny Alfred Molina’s masterful interpretation of one of Spider-Man’s greatest foes. Both The Vulture and Doc Ock had different motives set to fit the story and although Keaton’s performance and character don’t exactly hit the mark of Octavius’, its fantastic and form-fitting in its own right.
The performances from both were sublime, both nailing the characters the way the story and tone set forth. Alfred Molina and Michael Keaton are both outstanding actors, and their portrayals of these villains were nothing short of amazing. The antagonists got real close to Peter, Octavius by being an inspiration to him and Toomes by shockingly being the father of his crush. Both films nailed the personal aspect which is required of a Spidey villain.
They’re Both Amazing (Pun Intended)
Fans of Homecoming have problems with the film for a multitude of different reasons, most being valid due to the subjectiveness of them. However, all too often in Homecoming discussions do you hear, “Disney made it for kids,” “The film is too comedic,” or “it’s not as emotional as Spider-Man 2!” But when you really look at it, Spider-Man: Homecoming does have the same hits and grand slams that 2004’s Spider-Man 2 has. It doesn’t always work for some, but the aspects are there nonetheless.
The “Disney made it for kids,” argument is always a frustrating one, considering that Spider-Man: Homecoming had just as high stakes as its masterful predecessor. The girl that Peter likes in trouble, the villain close to Peter, Peter learning to be a normal teenager again. It’s done differently, yes, but Homecoming is more reminiscent of Raimi’s 2004 smash hit than any other Spidey film we’ve seen since.
The film being “too comedic and not emotional,” is another confusing one, considering the movie was influenced by John Hughes classics such as Ferris Bueller, The Breakfast Club, and Weird Science. Those films are filled to the brim with the perfect blend of comedy and emotion, which Homecoming nails perfectly as well. Jon Watts mixed up the Spider-Man formula while still remaining true to the character and adding in his own touch. Spider-Man: Homecoming is great at giving homage to those films while still very much being its own thing. It’s more of a high school comedy-drama where the protagonist just so happens to be a superhero.
Fans are inevitably still going to go at it and debate on which film is the superior one, it’s the nature of superhero cinema, of course. To me, both films execute the amazing hero very well. Both contain aspects that anyone could compare or contrast, and in the end, I think both have more in common than they do different. One thing is for sure, however, Spider-Man is a timeless hero who is easily adaptable into many different forms and genres. He will simply never get old.