The Goddamn Spiders
Amazing Spider-Man: Kept under lock and key. Engineered for a purpose. Provoked into biting. Parker had it coming
Regular Spider-Man: Bred for no apparent reason, poorly-supervised, turned loose in areas easily accessed by high-school nerds on a tour. Pure chance that two indifferent security guards didn’t return from their lunch break to find the entire honors program of K420 seizing and foaming and covered in mutant spider-bites. Spider has unhealthy obsession with Parker from the get-go.
Advantage: Regular Spider-Man. We like our super-science ridiculous and irresponsible.
Amazing Spider-Man: Curt Connors is a posh scientist with some questionable principles and a giant lab-coat-wearing anger-iguana. Additional random powers include being loved by all lizards, everywhere, who just want him to be their king. May have been involved in Parker’s parents abandoning him and then dying, but doesn’t feel the need to go beyond normal villain-taunts after turning evil and trying to death-hug it out.
Regular Spider-Man: Norman Osborn is angry at the board for ousting him, and turning into Willem Dafoe and killing them all seems to be a reasonable response. Additional random powers include questionable transport decisions, an unhealthy interest in Parker’s personal life, and being able to find an age-appropriate actor with a close enough resemblance to credibly play his son and successor in the sequels.
Advantage: Amazing Spider-Man. Green Goblin’s a super-douche, yes, but his plans never move much past the personal. Curt Connors keeps his eye on the prize and decides to bring the gift of mutant reptilian super-rage to the entire city, demonstrating a superior grasp of supervillainy in all its misguided glory.
Amazing Spider-Man: Peter Parker is kind of a dork and kind of a douche. Things don’t generally work out super-great for him, because he has shitty luck and the instincts of a teenage boy. He’s got a huge chip on his shoulder because his parents abaaaaaaaaaaandoned him. His heart’s in the right place, but, you know, teenage boy.
Regular Spider-Man: Peter Parker is a neeeeeeeeeeeeerd. With a lot of free-floating guilt. And a lot more attached guilt. And everyone he ever loves wants to murder him, which makes me think the problem is him. I mean, okay, one person you love wants to murder you? Sure. It happens. Everyone you ever get close to? Common denominator, blah blah blah. We’re not even sure the spider who gives him his powers wasn’t trying to kill him. And we usually just don’t really care when he’s not being Spider-Man?
Advantage: Amazing Spider-Man. Dopey self-sacrifice doesn’t really stack up that well against completely wrecking your high school when it comes to being a teenager.
The Well-Meaning but Misguided Authorities
Amazing Spider-Man: Angry at and suspicious of Spider-Man for fairly plausible reasons. Super-powered serial-stalkers aren’t really that great for the economy, and their testimony is not admissible in court. Somehow decide that apprehending a marginally-helpful A&B artist who can climb walls just because he’s got an active warrant is a priority during a legit supervillain crisis.
Regular Spider-Man: Not applicable. You wanna fight the flying mass murderer with the theme grenades, they are not interested in stopping you.
Advantage: Regular Spider-Man. We like our cops with a healthy respect for OT not being in the department’s budget.
The Teenage Romance
Amazing Spider-Man: Gwen Stacy is not only down with Peter Parker’s incredibly awkward bullshit, she brings some of her own. Her terrifying father helps save the day, and then makes him promise to stay the fuck away from her. Believes Mary Jane to be a skank who doesn’t love him like she does.
Regular Spider-Man: Mary Jane Watson brings the drama by having a shitty family life, dating Parker’s best friend, and generally not being able to figure out that Parker is Spider-Man. To be fair, though, Regular Spider-Man is not in the habit of bringing his cellphone to super-fights, so she can’t just be suspicious, dial him up, and then call him out because his ass is suddenly playing same stupid ringtone for her number that Parker has.
Advantage: Amazing Spider-Man. Gwen is into him from the beginning, and her personal baggage wants to put him in spider-jail, not blow him up and set fire to his spider-corpse. Also, she is into science!, not making him watch plays, so there’s always the possibility of her turning usefully evil if they let her live. The worst Mary Jane can bring to the table is shouting “Fire!” during a performance and periodically not loving him anymore.
The People Who Know His Secret Identity
Amazing Spider-Man: He tells Gwen Stacy. Captain Stacy, Bigshot Policeman, finds out. Curt Connors figures it out. Small children get to carry his mask around.
Regular Spider-Man: Willem Dafoe and James Franco are not complete fools. Parker apparently made his mask out of cotton candy. Shoots webbing all over the school.
Advantage: None. It’s not even a draw. Nobody’s a winner here. You’d have to be literally brain-dead to know Parker and not realize that he’s Spider-Man within a week in both films.