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YMMV / The Amazing Spider-Man Series

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  • Adaptation Displacement: Venom replaces Carnage in the iOS game.
  • Angst Dissonance: Unlike the first film, where he was written as being fairly proactive about his problems, Peter spends almost the entirety of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 angsting, moping, and feeling sorry for himself along with the fact that he is very sad about how he wants to be with Gwen, but he can't be with her because of her dad. However, he still pursues her anyway. He also whines about how he wants to know more about his missing parents but his investigation has unfortunately hit a dead end along with how he wants to help Harry but he can't know what will happen if he gives Harry his magic spider blood as well as about how people don't like Spider-Man. A lot of people found it tiresome, boring, and obnoxious, especially since a large amount of screen-time is devoted to his circular and one-note teen angst at the expense of other underwritten characters like Harry Osborn and Max Dillon.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • Does Aunt May know Peter is Spider-Man?
    • As noted around, Peter in the first film is quite polarizing. He's either interpreted as being a put-upon Nice Guy who spends the film at first lashing out at those who've hurt him before dealing with, and coming to terms with, his Uncle's death, integrated with a superhero film or a selfish douche bag who treats people like dirt the second he gains powers and doesn't learn at all throughout the film. Though many felt that the sequel presented him as a much nicer guy, he still suffers the consequences of his choices in the first film.
  • Audience-Alienating Premise:
    • This is likely a reason why the films were less successful than the previous Spider-Man film franchise and Marvel's other film franchises. It's a Continuity Reboot mixed with an Ultimate Universe, only a few years after the previous franchise ended (that still holds a lot of fans and nostalgia in addition to being the most commercially successful iteration of the character), made with the aim to hold on to the film rights and keep it out of the hands of the new-fangled Marvel Cinematic Universe and its Disney owners (the first Amazing movie came out the same year as The Avengers). It also puts focus on a plot-point from the comics that was controversial with fans (his parents' legacy), reimagines and/or redesigns a significant amount of characters from the comics, and seems to draw a ton of inspiration from The Dark Knight Trilogy, Blade, and the X-Men Film Series rather than the light-hearted tone of the previous films from the previous trilogy consisting of Spider-Man films.
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    • The sequel became subject to this by unashamedly featuring three supervillains, which is generally not seen as a good thing by audiences after Batman & Robin (especially after a similar issue was part of the Franchise Killer of the previous trilogy, Spider-Man 3), and kept people from seeing it. The sequel also switched tone from dark and gritty to Lighter and Softer like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which only furthered suspicions that these movies were heavily influenced by a corporation following whatever the current trend is. Then, the alienation went even further with the movie's borderline Cruel Twist Ending, which killed off a character that people considered to be one of the good things about the movies and resulted in a number of people being discouraged from watching the movie again.
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  • Audience-Coloring Adaptation: Emma Stone's portrayal of Gwen and the writing emphasizing her being Peter's science equal and budding genius has ultimately bled over into later versions of Gwen, either in cartoons or in spin-off comics like Spider-Gwen and Spider-Man: Life Story. It has overwritten many of her previous depictions, either in classic or Ultimate Marvel.
  • Author's Saving Throw: Depending on who you ask, Sony's decision to cancel this franchise and reboot the character into the MCU was the best thing that they could have done with the franchise (for various reasons).
  • Base-Breaking Character: Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker. Some people like his interpretation of the characte, while others simply can't stand him, with a fraction of them feeling this way simply due to Garfield being Tobey Maguire's replacement. Interestingly, though, a number of these people are fine with him as Spider-Man, but consider Peter to be a weaker character than the versions from the comics or the other movies. Others think that Garfield is a good actor but is wrong for the part, while others are open with a more flawed and edgy Spider-Man but simply felt that it wasn't executed well.
  • Broken Base:
    • Gwen being explicitly smarter than Peter (even Emma Stone says "he's the muscle, she's the brains") has also proven divisive; some fans are delighted that it turns her into a stronger, more capable character who knows her own mind and is a genuine asset to Spider-Man. Other fans feel her upgrade came at the expense of Peter who Took a Level in Dumbass compared with the comics or even the first film where he was portrayed as a genius and turns Gwen into a borderline Mary Sue (but then, that's always been an accusation thrown Gwen's way ever since the comics). Although all things considered, Peter is still portrayed as highly intelligent in these movies, performing scientific experiments and conducting an investigation into the deaths of his parents.
    • Also related to Gwen: her death in the sequel. While many think that it was executed well, others believe that it should have been utilized in The Amazing Spider-Man 3 and that killing her off so soon only alienated the audience. Those who dislike her being killed off also make the case that Gwen's death worked in comics because she was actually a Satellite Character for Peter's romance with the far more popular and interesting Mary Jane Watsonnote . Making Gwen the central romance (someone who knows and accepts Peter as Spider-Man which Comics!Gwen never did) simply removed the original reason for her death, making what was already a textbook case of fridging in the comics, more gratuitous in the film, since all it does is make Peter brood and mood off until he's back to being the quippy guy in the climax, which many note is unbelievable for a hero who failed to protect and save the love of his life, having undergone too much trauma for the audience to realistically believe he can really be a Motor Mouth hero, whereas in the comics, he did achieve some form of catharsis by chasing the Green Goblin and then having the Goblin die and/or disappear for decades, while he healed and moved on to a more compelling relationship with MJ.
    • Also, was Gwen a better character in the first movie or the second one? Some claim that she was boring in the first film due to the more somber tone and more lively and interesting in the second, while others say she was closer to the Gwen Stacy from the comics in the first film whereas in the second she's just Emma Stone playing herself in a romantic comedy.
    • The concept of creating a whole slew of spin-offs (which would have introduced the Sinister Six, Venom, and possibly Black Cat) between The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and The Amazing Spider-Man 3 was met with mixed reception. Although the idea was praised as far as a method of expanding the cinematic universe while giving the plot threads time to develop (as 2 was accused of trying to cram too much into one movie), others saw it as a series of blatant cash-ins. In addition, the implication that they would feature Spider-Man's supporting characters but not Spider-Man himself was disliked, leading some to believe that Sony was digging themselves in a deeper hole with green lighting these spin-off movies.
    • Speaking of the concept of a cinematic universe, whether the idea of Spider-Man having an entire cinematic universe to himself either would have allowed for a greater degree of character-development for the cast or substantially limited the creative potential of the series. Its somewhat notable that Spider-Man, being historically Marvel's biggest character, has an entire mythology to himself, including many side-heroes and supporting figures, completely divorced from most of the Marvel Universe (after all, you rarely see Prowler rubbing elbows with Captain America); as such, many feel that doing this would have given those elements a chance to shine in live action, something they'll undoubtedly never do as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, there's the question if those elements would have been important or even interesting enough to justify appearing in live action, and the obvious fact that Sony was likely pushing it to make more money.
  • Contested Sequel: Or rather Contested Reboot. Many people liked the direction the new movies took, others not so much. The critical consensus seems to be more in favor of Sam Raimi's movies (with the possible exception of Spider-Man 3).
  • Designated Hero: Peter Parker in this film series does a few things that make some viewers feel less-than-sympathetic towards him. These include ignoring his Aunt May's feelings, lying to get a chance to see Dr. Connors (thereby causing someone to lose his chance at internship), breaking the promise he made to Gwen's father (the man who died to save Peter), and still going out with Gwen, stringing Gwen along, cruelly toying with his adversaries, and refusing to give Harry his blood so he can find a cure for his disease.
  • Dork Age: This film series unfortunately has the dubious honor of being seen as "the two Spider-Man movies that Sony made just to hang onto the rights before working out a deal with Marvel" in contrast to the (mostly) well-received Sam Raimi trilogy and Spider-Man's role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As such, a lot more criticism has been laid toward the duology since it's been released, putting the film series in a state that causes these movies to be seen less favorably to previous and forthcoming Spider-Man movies. The actual release of Spider-Man: Homecoming to rave reviews on par with Spider-Man 2 has only further cemented this sentiment, with many saying this franchise could have never existed and nothing of value would have been lost.
  • Fandom Rivalry:
    • There is a noticeable one between fans of this film series and those fans of the Sam Raimi film series who didn't want a reboot. This is notably in that Raimi opted out of a fourth movie and his cast left with him due to the problems presented by the script.note 
    • Many fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe wanted Marvel Studios to have the Spider-Man movie rights in toto. Thus this film series is criticized for maintaining the status quo with Sony and Columbia Pictures. Even some of Sony's supporters have said that the franchise would directly benefit from featuring crossovers to and from the MCU if Sony would swallow its pride and shared the character. As luck would have it, they eventually came together.
    • The film series forced the cancellation of the highly popular series The Spectacular Spider-Man and things only got worse with its short life, with many fans of Greg Weisman resenting that he lost another highly acclaimed series stuffed with insanely dense continuity purely because of arcane copyright issues that didn't go much of anywhere anyway.
  • Franchise Original Sin: A lot of the complaints people voiced about The Amazing Spider-Man Series, greater focus on romance over superhero action, the Hero irritating audience because he is not fully committing to a decision with his girlfriend (i.e. going back-and-forth between It's Not You, It's My Enemies and They Do and lapsing and backsliding as and when the plot chooses) can be traced to Sam Raimi film series, especially Spider-Man 2. At the end of Spider-Man, Peter decided that he can't endanger Mary-Jane since his superhero work nearly got her killed and brought personal trauma to Harry even if MJ returned his affections, but in the sequel he keeps sending her mixed-messages which she calls him out on, similar to the much-criticized "but those are the best kind" gag at the end of The Amazing Spider-Man. Likewise the entire film focuses on their romance taking screentime away from Dr. Octopus whose plot and characterization is very similar to Curt Connors' Lizard, complete with Generic Doomsday Villain plot of completing a dangerous science experiment regardless of its hazards.
  • Never Live It Down:
    • Why no, a 60s-set prequel involving Aunt May was never on the table for a potential spin-off. Why yes, it does get brought up in many discussions about the plans that were had for the setting before the film series was cancelled.
    • The film series as a whole seems to have become this for Spider-Man's live-action cinematic ventures, with it and its woes being sandwiched between the (mostly) well-received Sam Raimi trilogy and Spider-Man appearing in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Not helping is that it's the only one of the 3 not to get a third movie, with the franchise as a whole getting somewhat of a Memetic Loser reputation after it was announced that a third MCU Spider-Man movie was in the works.
  • Only the Creator Does It Right:
    • You will find plenty of people on the internet that preferred the Sam Raimi movies and hope that he comes back to direct another one.
    • A lot of the aforementioned fans are convinced that these movies would have been better if they were being produced under Disney instead of Sony and Columbia — which can be supported by the critical acclaim that the nearly all the MCU movies have received compared to the mixed reception that the series attained. A common complaint by detractors of the film series is that Sony was more concerned with making money off of the Spider-Man brand than making an enjoyable experience for both fans and audiences — even going so far as to potentially turn the series into a Franchise Zombie if it meant keeping the rights from going all the way back to Marvel. Generally speaking, many fans were relieved when it was announced that Marvel and Sony would be working together in the future, and Spider-Man's appearances in Captain America: Civil War and Spider-Man: Homecoming are beginning to cement the MCU's version as the definitive film adaptation of the character.
  • Replacement Scrappy:
    • Andrew Garfield himself seems to be this to Tobey Maguire, as many Maguire fans see Maguire as their preferred Peter and somewhat resent Andrew for not being him. Doubly ironic considering many comic fans have commented on the fact that Garfield's portrayal is much closer to the original Lee-Ditko comics, and was much closer to John Romita Sr. redesign of Peter, which has been his default look for the majority of comics and in the Ultimate Spider-Man comics, as opposed to Ditko's Spider-Man which is the Early Installment Weirdness of the franchise. Complaints usually involve Andrew's Peter being far less likable than Tobey's, which is mostly because Garfield portrayed the character as a Classical Anti-Hero whereas Maguire is portrayed with a more traditional heroic personality. Andrew's emotional range as an actor has also been called into question as being too flat and too wooden throughout the movies (though it must be said that similar complaints have been leveled against Maguire's performance). Other comic book fans, however, welcomed the film and reboot.
    • Richard Parker gets flak from fans for hijacking the plot of the sequel and removing much of Uncle Ben's impact on Peter. A lot of critics have noted that the entire subplot involving him and his operation against Oscorp was actually unnecessary for the story of the sequel and the time spent developing it should have been reserved for other characters.
  • Ron the Death Eater: Andrew Garfield's Peter Parker isn't really that bad of a guy; he's a Classical Anti-Hero and Byronic Hero, much like he is in the comics. However, many seem to nitpick and exaggerate every act he does as apparent signs of him being a completely unlikeable jerk, many of which seem to hold No Sympathy or forgiveness for any of his mistakes. Its likely a side-effect of not being as traditionally heroic as Tobey Maguire's Peter, who was largely a put-upon Nice Guy who largely didn't do anything; Garfield's Peter goes through just as much heartache, if not more-so thanks to the deaths of George and Gwen Stacy and the angst over his father, but because Garfield's Peter is more willing to fight back against his issues, people seem to ignore the fact he generally has good reason to get angry whenever he does.
  • Spiritual Adaptation: As noted by Gerry Conway and a few others, Emma Stone's Gwen is actually a more accurate take on Mary Jane Watson than Sam Raimi's films and that aside from her hair color, her background and her death, she's nothing like Gwen in any version. Many have also noted that Emma Stone would have made a perfect Mary Janenote  had the film chosen to hew closer to Ultimate Spider-Man as Marc Webb otherwise did.
  • Strangled by the Red String: The complaint in the original film trilogy was that Peter and MJ's romance dragged on too long especially since the movies never spend significant time showing them in a relationship. Some claim that this movie went to the reverse extreme with Peter and Gwen, who pretty much hook up in their second scene together without giving some sense as to what they see in each other, other than the plot demanding they hook up (with the actors chemistry really making it work as opposed to the writing). Many fans felt that showing Peter and Gwen in a relationship for most of the two films actually eased some of the frustration and improved on the Raimi films which milked the Will They or Won't They? to the hilt, but others claim that the focus on the romance comes at the expense of the superhero action rather than working alongside it.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: The flip-side of negative comparisons to the Raimi films, as opposed to It's the Same, Now It Sucks!. Some of the most criticized changes, especially the artificial web shooters, tend to actually be things from the comics that the Raimi films changed, while the stuff about Peter having a genius scientist for a Dad comes from Ultimate Comics albeit the movies emphasizing Richard over Uncle Ben as Peter's main parental model was a step that even Ulimate Marvel did not take.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: More like Wasted A Perfectly Good Franchise, as many of the series' ideas did have potential both in isolation and as a way of differentiation from the Raimi films: bringing Peter back to high school, delving more into the lives of his parents, using members of Spider-Man's supporting cast/rogues gallery (Gwen Stacy, Flash Thompson, The Lizard, etc.) neglected in the Raimi series, basing the storyline off the highly-regarded Ultimate comics, setting up The Sinister Six, and having Harry Osborn become the Goblin instead of his father Norman. However, it's almost universally agreed that most of these ideas were poorly executed or outright squandered.
  • Took the Bad Film Seriously: Despite the criticism directed at the writing and style of the films, the actors received a lot of praise. Many agree that Andrew Garfield is a good actor (after this film he went on to work with Martin Scorsese) and his chemistry and romance with Emma Stone is the most compelling element of these films, while Rhys Ifans, Dane DeHaan, Sally Field, Martin Sheen, are all credited with doing good work with their limited parts.
  • Tough Act to Follow:
    • After Blade and X-Men, Spider-Man helped kick off the 21st century "superhero movie boom" still going strong today, and Spider-Man 2 is often considered one of the best superhero movies ever. While The Amazing Spider-Man was decently received, it couldn't reach the acclaim the first two Raimi films had, though it was better received than Spider-Man 3, which ultimately turned out to be better received than The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
    • Marc Webb was also criticized for not having the pedigree Sam Raimi had when he made Spider-Man, his only prior movie being (500) Days of Summer, a romantic comedy. Many people who found the romantic scenes to be the best part of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 even noted that he is very clearly a director best suited to romantic comedies, as when it comes to the superhero stuff, he fumbles and clearly isn't as interested in it. Others have argued that the reboot's fight scenes are more nuanced and well thought out, playing to characters' strengths and weaknesses.
    • On a lesser note, this is the reason J. Jonah Jameson never appears in this film series (the closest he comes is being The Ghost in The Amazing Spider-Man 2). The producers themselves said there was no actor they could find who matched J. K. Simmons' iconic performance in the Raimi trilogy.
  • The Woobie:
    • Gwen (loses her father), Aunt May (loses her husband and sees her nephew go down a bad path) and Peter (loses his parents, his uncle, and has to live with the guilt of his girlfriend's father dying to save him, along with his girlfriend dying in the crossfire) all count.
    • Also, Peter was bullied most of his life, his parents left him as a child and died shortly after, and his uncle dies shortly after he gets his powers, with the film largely being about Peter coming to terms with his uncle's death. Some classify him as a Jerkass Woobie, though, thanks to his anger over Uncle Ben's death, his Acquired Situational Narcissism from his spider bite.


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