The Amazing Spider-Man is a film duology of the iconic Marvel Comics superhero, directed by Marc Webb of (500) Days of Summer and starring Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, alongside Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy, Sally Field as May Parker, Campbell Scott as Richard Parker, Embeth Davidtz as Mary Parker, and Denis Leary as George Stacy. The official designation for the reality these films are set in is Earth-120703.
It was a Continuity Reboot of Sam Raimi's Spider-Man Trilogy, but was still handled by Columbia Pictures (which is owned by Sony). It was produced by Avi Arad (who also produced the aforementioned trilogy) and Matt Tolmach. The film series is notable for being an ambitious attempt at a wide media franchise, but was cancelled due to numerous creative woes that Sony faced in trying to build a Shared Universe without access to the characters of the greater Marvel Universe.
After Raimi had a falling out with Sony over the creative direction of the fourth film in his Spider-Man series, Sony decided to cancel his franchise and reboot the series without him, leading to the removal of trilogy stars Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst as well. Most of the crew who worked on the trilogy remained on board to work on the rebooted franchise, but were now entirely under Sony's creative word.
The series was planned to span at least four main films and many spin-offs, though only two films were produced. Webb was set to direct the third installment, but would not return for the fourth. Ultimately, all further films in this series would be cancelled after the disappointing reception of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and several behind-the-scenes issues.
The movies are not a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as Sony planned to build an extensive Shared Universe consisting of Spider-Man characters. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was used as a launching point for this universe, with the movie setting up many spin-offs and sequels. Just about every Spider-Man related character was being considered for a movie, with dozens of films planned or proposed.
Amazing 2 was a critical and financial disappointment, and a number of internal issues at Sony created additional issues behind the scenes, leading to the film series being discontinued. Afterward, Sony struck a deal with Marvel Studios that would allow Spider-Man to appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Tom Holland was cast as Peter Parker, and first appeared in Captain America: Civil War. Holland then helmed his own trilogy of films, with appearances in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.
The animated film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and Venom were the only survivors of Sony's planned slate of spin offs, while everything else was cancelled or reworked, leaving this film series' story unfinished.
However, with the MCU's addition of Spider-Man: No Way Home, this film series was retroactively added to the MCU wider Multiverse, with its versions of Peter Parker, Electro and The Lizard reappearing, once again played by Andrew Garfield, Jamie Foxx, and Rhys Ifans respectively. The movie serves as a crossover with the Spider-Man Trilogy and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, while also providing some closure to a few of the lingering plot threads left from Amazing 2.
- The Amazing Spider-Man/Marvel Cinematic Universe crossovers — Originally planned for 2016 with Captain America: Civil War, but cancelled after the decision to reboot the character. The two universes would eventually cross over in Spider-Man: No Way Home.
- Venom — Released theatrically on October 5, 2018. The project is completely unrelated to the MCU, and represents the start of Sony's Spider-Man Universe, a Spiritual Successor to the TASM-Verse concept. A sequel, Venom: Let There Be Carnage was released in 2021, and a third entry is in development.
- Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse — Animated film starring Miles Morales, released on December 21, 2018. Not part of either this series or the MCU, which is a major plot point within the movie. A sequel, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, is set for release in 2023 with the immediate sequel following suit in 2024.
This franchise contains examples of:
- Adaptation Distillation: The series is largely inspired by the Ultimate Spider-Man comics, but also takes a lot of different elements from the mainstream Spider-Man mythos.
- Adapted Out: Thanks to Sony Pictures not having the film rights to the other Marvel Comics properties, none of the known Marvel characters aside from Spider-Man and his related characters exist in this universe. This was eventually lampshaded in Spider-Man: No Way Home when both Peter and his Raimi-verse counterpart were bewildered when their MCU counterpart bragged about being part of The Avengers.
- Alternate Continuity: This series in comparison to the Spider-Man Trilogy and the Marvel Cinematic Universe - all of them feature Spider-Man, but they are both separate fictional universes.
- The games and the films became this, with the second game following a very loose adaptation of the second film’s plot. The iOS versions of the games are also set in their own continuity, being very loose adaptations of the films, though the second iOS game adapts elements of both the second film and the second game.
- Alternate Universe: No Way Home officially establishes these films to be this trope in comparison to the MCU. It's also an Alternate History since it's a more grounded world that lacks any other superheroes except for Spider-Man, who debuted around three years earlier, while companies that don't exist in the MCU like Oscorp exist in this universe.
- Big Bad:
- The Amazing Spider-Man: Dr. Curt Connors is an Oscorp scientist working on a serum to regrow lost limbs, subsequently mutating into the Lizard and attempting to turn all of New York into similar reptilian creatures.
- The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Electro (aka Max Dillon) is an insecure Oscorp electrical engineer accidentally mutated into a being with control over electricity, lashing out at the city after a perceived betrayal by Spider-Man. Harry Osborn, suffering from a fatal disease and denied a potential cure, frees Electro after his initial defeat to form a Big Bad Duumvirate and help him reclaim Oscorp.
- Bittersweet Ending: The second movie - which also serves as the end of the franchise. Gwen dies, and Peter sulks for months on end before finally getting back into the game. Harry has been turned into the Green Goblin, and The Gentleman is still out there plotting something.
- Canon Foreigner: Oddly enough, Spider-Gwen was originally conceived as a character for the unproduced movies due to the popularity of Emma Stone. While the circumstances of her return are unclear (be it via an Alternate Universe version of the character, coming Back from the Dead, or being cloned) - or how she even became Spider-Girl - she was set to star in a team-up movie. Marvel was very fond of the idea, and she was written into Spider-Verse, which is her first appearance in any medium. Given that this film series was outright cancelled - and the team-up movie with it - Spider-Gwen is one of the few concepts that made it out of Sony's drawing board.
- Continuity Reboot: Of the Spider-Man Trilogy.
- Cut Short: Seeing as the The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is the final film in this series, many things will be left unresolved, such as Spider-Man's battle with the Rhino, and Harry Osborn's and The Gentleman's formation of the Sinister Six. Also, the setting up of future super-powered characters such as Alistair Smythe and Felicia Hardy will never be brought to fruition.
- Darker and Edgier: The franchise is overall grittier and more grounded than the Sam Raimi films as well as the succeeding MCU Spider-Man films, though the sequel is lighter in tone than its predecessor.
- Film Adaptation (Live-Action): Adaptation based on the Spider-Man comics.
- Greater-Scope Villain: Oscorp as a whole is responsible for many of the superhumans, and so far only one is a good guy. This extends to Norman Osborn as well, who oversees the company without actually fighting Spider-Man directly.
- In Spite of a Nail: May Parker, Flash Thompson, and J. Jonah Jameson are present in all three cinematic Spider-Men's lives.
- Jerkass Has a Point: For any and all of Peter's faults, it's always very understandable where he's coming from; ignoring the mistakes he makes that any normal human would make, the things he does tend to have a lot of justification for them. Hitting back at Flash (who had been bullying him and others for a long time), yelling at Uncle Ben (who was trying to guilt trip him at the time, which was pretty unfair), not keeping the promise to George (as noted by Gwen in the second film, it's not George's decision if the two date, and the promise was likely to hurt Gwen a lot (who, frankly, needed her boyfriend to be there for her after what just happened) if they kept it), and refusing to give Harry his blood (which as well as giving him false hope as there's no guarantee it would work the way he believes, but also risks turning Harry into a monster, if not just killing him quicker) are all good examples.
- Knight of Cerebus: Green Goblin was intended to be this. Following his murder of Gwen Stacy, the series was going to become darker and more dramatic. Had the films continued, from that point on, things would be much more dramatic. Unfortunately, the rest of the film series being canceled means this was never followed through on.
- Meta Origin: Every superpowered character's origin is connected to Oscorp in some way.
- A Minor Kidroduction: Both films open showing Peter's last night with his parents.
- Movie Superheroes Wear Black: The Amazing Spider-Man doubles-down on this trope from Spider-Man Trilogy, making the costume's colors much darker and changing the overall design to be more modern. Fans were not amused. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 averts it, making the colors much brighter and redesigning the look to be as comics-accurate as possible. Fans at the time were still not amused, but the suit has, over time, become one of the most liked suits for its accuracy and general design.
- Myth Arc: The ongoing mystery of what happened to Richard and Mary Parker, Peter's parents, and how Oscorp ties into it. The first film touches upon it, while the sequel expands on it to a greater degree.
- Mythology Gag: There are quite a few in the movies themselves, but the Daily Bugle Tumblr features a ton of references to characters that have yet to appear in the film series.
- For starters, the Daily Bugle's staff includes John Jonah Jameson, Kathryn "Kate" Cushing, Isabel "Izzy" Bunsen, Joy Mercado, Edward "Ned" Leeds, Dilbert Trilby, Eddie Brock, Frederick Foswell, and Ken Ellis - all of which appeared in the comics and worked under the news publisher. As an added bonus, most of the articles written by these characters refer to their preferences in reporting.
- In the first newscast, the Russian Mob is mentioned as one of the threats the NYPD is focused on dealing with - and it's eventually revealed that Aleksei Sytsevich, the man who becomes the Rhino, is among them.
- The Big Man is mentioned as a recurring criminal, who is later revealed to be Frederick Foswell. Interestingly, Foswell also wrote many articles on the his alter-ego, and noted that he disliked the name that the police gave him. He even mentions that he assembled "The Enforcers", which was something his comic counterpart did all the way back in 1964. He also mentions the Crime Master, another villain from that period of Spider-Man comics. He's then killed off while serving his sentence.
- Donald Menken works at Oscorp, like his comic counterpart.
- Spencer Smythe is mentioned for being responsible for creating a military flight harness and advances in robotics, which allude to the Vulture's wings and the Spider-Slayers, respectively. He also mentions that his son, Alistair Smythe, could take his job at the rate his engineering skills are developing. Indeed, he is forced to resign after the NYPD investigates Oscorp, and his son does take his position. Adrian Toomes also worked on the wings in question, and is not pleased when their development apparently falls apart.
- Dr. Curtis Connors claims that the crimes he committed were not his own fault, but the fault of his insane Lizard persona. This is an excuse used by Connors in the comics. Anne Weying served as his defense attorney, and in the comics, she became She-Venom. He is eventually sent to Ryker's Island, a prison that is eventually used to contain supervillains - though officials from Ravencroft, a similar institution, claim that their prison is better suited for him. His wife is eventually interviewed after the trial, and she mentions their son.
- One editorial from JJJ himself is entitled "Spider-Man: Threat Or Menace?" This same headline appeared as far back as 1981, and has been a recurring joke across many Marvel adaptations that feature the character.
- The construction of hydroelectric towers is discussed semi-frequently, which are strongly implied to be blueprinted by Max Dillon (Electro), and their presence could also be alluding to Hydro-Man. These are seen in The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
- Several of the citizens reported upon for "Spidey Sightings" allude to Spider-Man characters or characters from the whole Marvel Universe, though it's possible that they are coincidences. These include:
- "Ian C.", which may be an allusion to this character.
- "Melissa B.", which may either be an allusion to a minor character from Ultimate Daredevil And Elektra, or (more likely) the mother of recurring Spider-Man character Tandy Bowen, better known as Dagger.
- "Robert B.", which most likely would allude to the person that becomes Speedball.
- "Kevin B.", potentially alluding to a minor character.
- "Jack H.", which could be referring to Deadpool's sidekick Weasel, real name Jack Hammer.
- Flash Thompson also is included in one of these, geeking out over Spider-Man.
- There is a robbery reported from the G.K. Mason Bank - which is a reference to a character that appears in the Superior Spider Man series that was running at the same time that the blog update was posted. The writer behind the update gets bonus points for using the Goblin King's initials - which may also counts as foreshadowing towards the identity of the character. Furthermore, Stanley "Stan" Carter is an NYPD representative (as he was in The Spectacular Spider-Man) that looks into the incident, and in the comics, he became Sin-Eater. In addition, Herman Schultz (the Shocker) is the one behind the crime. Jean DeWolff expresses disgust with him upon his arrest.
- A report by Joy Mercado features a GIF that zooms in on a white room in the Oscorp facility. A variant of this room is seen in a deleted (but plot-important) scene where Norman Osborn's head is preserved after his apparent death. Otto Octavius (the man who becomes Doctor Octopus) is mentioned as a scientist that Oscorp is in contact with.
- Daniel "Fancy Dan" Brito, Jackson "Montana" Brice, and Raymond "The Ox" Bloch (The Enforcers) get into a conflict with relatives of Silvio Manfredi (known later as Silvermane) before Spider-Man gets involved and curbstomps the criminals, delivering his trademark insults as he did so.
- The phrase "'Nuff said" is used on the page - a phrase that was commonly used in comics written by Stan Lee.
- Fireheart Industries (originally known as Fireheart Enterprises in the comics) pays for repairs to Midtown Science High School. The CEO of that company, Thomas Fireheart, becomes the Puma.
- Harry Osborn was sent to Europe to study, as he did in the comics, and Donald Menken prophetically mentioned that Harry is a little "green" when it comes to running Oscorp.
- The Empire State University (which Peter is slated to attend) is apparently studying into the cloning process - and it's being taught by Miles Warren (Jackal). You should know what this means.
- A gesture that Flash Thompson does at a basketball game is referred to as the "Spider-Signal" - which is one of Spider-Man's tools.
- Fittingly enough, Eddie Brock reports on the arrest of Serial Killer Cletus Kasady - the former becomes Venom, and the latter Carnage.
- In the scene in which we first see Max Dillon's Spiderman-String Theory-filled apartment before he becomes Electro, the small cake he pulls out of his fridge for a Surrogate Soliloquy is decorated with the green-white-yellow colors and lightning emblem of the Silver Age Electro.
- Non-Indicative Title: It's called The Amazing Spider-Man but it draws most of its inspirations and influences, and stylistic aspects from Ultimate Spider-Man.
- Official Couple: Peter and Gwen's romance is the film duology's most popular element.
- Orphaned Series: The movie series was abandoned in favor of the MCU version of Spider-Man, although the Myth Arc of this franchise may be told elsewhere.
- Parental Abandonment: Being a main character's parent in this version gives you high mortality rate. Peter's biological parents died in a plane crashnote , Peter's adoptive father gets murdered for stopping a thief, Gwen's father gets killed in the line of duty...
- Superhero Movie Villains Die: Averted. Villains in this series have a very good chance of surviving their films, most likely because Sony wants to make villain-based spin-offs, as well as the fact that Sony only has the rights to Spider-Man villains as opposed to the entirety of the Marvel Universe. The only (possible) exceptions may be Electro, who disappears but can regenerate, and Norman Osborn, who dies offscreen but is shown being preserved in a jar in a deleted scene. Avi Arad, the producer of this series, actually said that he wants to defy this trope. What tends to happen to villains instead was that they would simply be Put on a Bus. The Lizard reverts to Dr. Connors and is sent off to Ryker's Island, and while Electro disintegrates, it is established that he is able to regenerate.Avi Arad: One of the things that's unique to Spider-Man... was that Spider-Man cannot destroy a villain. He cannot kill a villain. We'll never cross that line.
- Trilogy Creep: The main film series was announced as a trilogy, then had a fourth film added before the second was even finished. And then it was expanded into a hexalogy before the final trailer for the second movie was released, provided that you're counting spin-offs. Subverted as of 2015, as it seems that the franchise is being abandoned in favor of a cross-company deal with Marvel. However, as mentioned above, there were as many as 34 movies that were planned to be made as potential sequels, spin-offs, and Alternate Continuities.
- Villain Episode: The two spin-offs that were planned focused on members of Spider-Man's Rogues Gallery. These are notable in the sense that they were going to be the first big-budget Superhero movies announced that star the villains of their franchise... until Suicide Squad (2016) was announced to be released well before the original release date for Sinister Six.