Peter Parker Has Balls: Comparing Trailers Reveals Spider-Man’s New Backbone

Posted by on February 8th, 2012

Two movies, ten years apart, one friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.

Both were preceded by teasers which didn’t quite hit as intended. Sam Raimi’s independent mini-story containing all original footage that wouldn’t be seen in the film was understandably shelved after 9/11 due to a final shot of a baddie helicopter ensnared in a web between the World Trade Center towers. Meanwhile, Marc Webb’s first peak into his Spidey universe was criticized for an over-serious tone, origin story fatigue and underwhelming “MADE FOR 3D” first person perspective sequence.


But let’s focus on the big trailers… the one that in 2001 proved to give us the most accurate look at 2002’s film and whose modern-day counterpart will hopefully do the same for July’s Amazing adventure.

The biggest difference upon watching both back to back is how differently Peter Parker is handled. Toby Maguire is an affable goofball who is gaining a sense of purpose by way of his powers. Oozing likability, Raimi gives him the trappings of a nerd (glasses, ill-fitting clothing, square hair cut) but aside from an awkward pass at Kirsten Dunst’s Mary Jane Watson, we don’t see much of that evidenced in his character.

Even the Parker narration over the first minute of the trailer has a “Holy Moly, you wouldn’t believe what’s happened over the last few weeks” tone.

Compare that to Andrew Garfield’s far more brooding, introspective Parker. We skip the “spider bite shot” and get right into web swinging action. 20 seconds into the trailer, Parker is inventing his web shooters. A few seconds after that he’s defending Spider-Man in a heated conversation.

If there were a character narration over this trailer, one might assume it would sound much more like a Captain’s Log. He knows he’s smart and draws strength from that when dealing with others. His weakness comes for abandonment issues which makes him quiet, but not necessarily unsure of himself.

In a word, the difference is confidence. The Maguire’s Parker never truly understood his powers and was constantly struggling to make sense of them. Garfield’s version appears to look at them more like an experiment. He’s not afraid to push them past their limits and doesn’t view them as a reflection on himself.

Our new Peter Parker seems determined to make his mark on the word through science. His new abilities just give him another tool to do it.

2 Responses to “Peter Parker Has Balls: Comparing Trailers Reveals Spider-Man’s New Backbone”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Looks like they’re taking a page out of the Spectacular Spiderman cartoon, story wise anyways. 

  2. mxyzptlk Says:

    Garfield has some real dramatic chops. I’d recommend the British made-for-tv miniseries Red Riding to anyone. It’s a series of three films; the first stars Andrew Garfield (who sets some sort of chain-smoking land speed record), the last stars Mark Addy (aka Robert Baratheon of the Iron Throne), and all feature Boromir/Ned Stark/Sean Bean.

    The series is supposed to be a fictional/fictionalized occult history of 1970’s Northern England, based on the novels by David Peace, and everything stems from what Garfield’s character sets up in the first film. He plays a reporter, and sets up a fine balance of aggression, introspection, insecurity, and internal uncertainty. Bean and Addy are great, but Garfield’s performance is the hook that lands the rest of the narrative.