Spider-Man Showdown: Which Origin Story Was Better?

By now, we’ve all had enough time to soak in the latest big-screen adaptation of Marvel’s web-slinging superhero, and the second try at depicting Spider-Man’s beginnings in nearly a decade’s time. Yet Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man adopts a different tone than Sam Raimi’s 2002 Spidey opus, which marked the first effort in an eventual trilogy. The main villain, love interest and climactic set pieces have all been updated, but most crucially, Webb casts Peter Parker in a different light this time around—instead of Tobey Maguire’s congenial good guy, we have Andrew Garfield as a brooding, whiny teenager, trying to make sense of his father’s death.

Comic book fans will debate whether or not The Amazing Spider-Man is more faithful to the Marvel Comics than Spider-Man, but our debate is more simple: which one is the better movie? Check out our critical comparison of the two cinematic beginnings of the superhero, and see which one we thought offered more overall satisfaction (Warning: heavy spoilers ahead).

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Let’s Talk About Sexism in Movie Reviews, You Guys!

A few weeks ago, Lola Versus was released in theaters and received mediocre reviews. It’s really a shame, because I thought it was quite good! Sadly, a lot of (mostly male) critics did not, and a lot of them did what many male critics do: they compared it to other things about young women. You see? This thing about a woman is just like that thing about a woman, because those two things are about women! UGH, dumb women, always trying to get men to watch chick flicks and shit. Why do they keep making them anyway? Ugh, because they are dumb, I guess. 

Obviously that is not how I feel, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a review of Lola Versus that would openly call all women dumb. Having said that, let’s hop back into our internet time machines and go back to a place just a few weeks ago!

On The Hairpin, writer Jessica Hopper wrote about seeing Lola Versus to check out if the movie was actually not good or if the negative reviews were actually kind of sexist. She is a woman, and you know how they are—she kind of liked it! And she also found an unfortunate trend among the reviews of the film!

The Lola Versus folks may not be able to correlate their lagging box office directly to the bad-to-awful reviews that they got from mostly male critics, who gave it a collective HELLS NAW and did some deep shitting upon the little film, but the facts of a critical gender split on the movie remain: of the 64 Google-able reviews of the film that were written by men, 65% of them were negative. In comparison, of the 39 reviews by women, 79% of them were positive. The unifying theme of the critique? There can be only one show/movie with a quirky single lady having questionable break-up sex in New York, U.S.A. — and that show is Girls.

A quick stroll through some of the notable negative review finds consensus — once we have seenGirls, we should be sated. Lena Dunham, uber alles.

“This is the kind of cutely alienated indie relationship comedy that Lena Dunham’s HBO series Girlshas made irrelevant.” – Entertainment Weekly

"Lola Versus" deserves the bulk of the ire being misdirected at the new HBO series "Girls."  – Indie Wire

“It’s all like an extended episode of “Girls,” minus that series’ self-lacerating sense of humor." – New York Film Critics Circle

“I’m sorry, but in the season of  “Girls” a secondhand, sentimental sex comedy, however well-meaning, is not going to cut it.” – So sayeth an uncharacteristically sharp A.O. Scott of the New York Times.

“You’re better off with HBO’s “Girls” if you want a sharper and more fulfilling take on the 20-something female experience in New York.” – The Playlist

Wait, facts and statistics and numbers? I thought girls were bad at math? Anyway, I think what we have learned here is that Lena Dunham is a bad feminist because she is TOO SMART AND GOOD and has ruined it for the rest of the women who want to create art about being women. Case closed!

OH NO, but wait! I am only kidding, because not only is Lena Dunham smart and talented, but so are a lot of other writers, like, for example, Zoe Lister-Jones, who co-wrote Lola Versus before Girls premiered on HBO. In fact, I saw Lola Verses months before I first watched Girls, and other than the fact that both the film and the TV show depict a young woman living in New York City, I found them to be very different! Am I the only one? 

That’s a rhetorical question, obviously. But here is one that is not rhetorical: Why the fuck is there another Spider-Man movie? For that matter, why are we going to have The Dark Knight Rises? And what the hell was up with The Avengers—hadn’t we already seen those characters before? And why, please God, WHY, are all of these movies getting good reviews? Is it because they are, like, works of art? No, they are about adult men wearing spandex and shooting shit at other adult men wearing spandex! The sort of feeling I’m getting is: It is OK for there to be a million movies about dudes blowing shit up, but, nope, no more comedies about young women in their twenties because we already have Girls. And also, women need to stop trying to be funny because Bridesmaids showed that they can make jokes and poop in streets just like dudes can, so it’s time for the ladies just to chilllllll with their feelings and stuff because it’s summertime and that means it’s time for the men to finally wear the tights. 

The News: Supermodels, Tall Boys and a Lizard Monster

Still-gorgeous former supermodel Linda Evangelista is locked in a nasty custody battle with her baby daddy, luxury goods magnate Francois-Henri Pinault, who just so happens to be married to Salma Hayek. Evangelista, who once famously declared that she wouldn’t get out of bed for less than $10,000 is hitting Pinault up for $50,000 a month in child support so that their five-year-old son, the product of a four-month fling, can live in style. The only way that we can think to solve this dispute? A walk off. [USA Today]

A new trailer for the upcoming “The Amazing Spider-Man” has dropped, giving us a better sense of what we can expect from our new Peter Parker, “Social Network” star Andrew Garfield – and it looks good, especially the crazy lizard creature. [YouTube]

As Facebook nears its IPO, it looks like the social networking behemoth might allow regular people – you know, the ones who create all of its content and give it all of its power – to buy shares in the company. Most of the stock will go to big, evil banks, but not all of it. See how not evil Facebook is, guys? [DealBook]

Because nothing makes us thirstier than seeing a can of bubbly sugar drink with a dead man’s likeness on it, Pepsi has announced that a new series of cans – regular size and tallboys, one billion in all – will feature the image of one-time spokesman Michael Jackson. Get ready for the “Jesus juice” jokes. [Rolling Stone

New ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ Trailer Reveals a Snappier, Dreamier Peter Parker

The specifics of The Amazing Spider-Man have been largely been kept under wraps for now, because Marvel knows that the longer details are withheld, the greater the frothy rage that can be elicited from its shovel-ready audience, so eager to spam the "like" button whenever a significant piece of information gets tossed out there. This brand new trailer is that type of thing worth waiting for: two and a half minutes of Spider-Man glory, cutting through the new storylines and characters to sum up what’s new about the old, and how star Andrew Garfield is a Peter Parker for a new decade: he’s younger, handsomer, funnier, darker, overall cooler. There’s just no way it can go wrong.

This reboot already looks more polished than Sam Raimi’s first Spider-Man — which, if you’ll remember, was broken into two disparate parts: 1) Peter gets powers, and 2) Peter hangs out and waits for stuff to happen. Here, there’s an overarching plot involving Peters’ long-gone parents and the mysterious research they were working on to serve as the thematic backdrop about loss and maturation and adulthood, or something, I don’t know. It’s a "serious movie" now, as punctuated by Peter getting all My Chemical Romance-y on the bullies in school and brooding in an alley like he’s got all of the feelings there ever were. (SPOILERS: Him and Emma Stone also put their faces on one another, but duh, of course.)

It’s such a change of pace. For years, Parker was a pale, lanky dork just like the rest of us. Now, he’s an eloquent dreamboat with gravity-defying hair and cool glasses, breaking the illusion that we, too, could be just like Spidey. Oh, the trials and pitfalls of fighting for proper white male nerd representation. No one will ever know our pain. Just remember that Garfield is about the same age as previous star Tobey Maguire was when the first Spider-Man came out, which means we’ll probably see another reboot in a decade or so. It goes on, and on, and on, and on…