A new Spider-Man movie is on the scene, which makes it a natural time to think about the old ones. Personally, Andrew Garfield embodied much of what I like about the character, and the direction at least allowed him to display more of Spidey's trademark humour in combat than I saw in the Raimi films. He's the Quippy Thwipster! You can't have one without the other! You need both, guys! You need both.
I don't have a huge issue with Tobey, but he is on the dour side, and while his voice work in films like "Cats and Dogs" and "Boss Baby" ably demonstrates that he can be quite expressive vocally, I find that his face just isn't naturally emotive. And for a superhero, he doesn't actually spend enough time in a mask for that to be unnoticeable.
I'm sure that depressive Spidey is the iconic version to many, as brooding Batman is to hordes of people who've grown up since the 70s. I won't deny that there is a sadness at the core of Peter Parker, but I've preferred its more neurotic interpretations. The Spider-Man who related to me was closer to a bratty Woody Allen than he was to Willy Loman.
Speaking of Batman, I relished Harry Osborn's development over the Raimi trilogy. By the end, he seemed from his perspective like a hero in the Bruce Wayne tradition. He thinks that Spider-Man's the monster who took his father's life, and he takes up a mask and gadgets to get his vengeance. He even had the patiently affectionate old butler! Harry just happened to be wrong.
Honestly, I cherished the cast of those movies. If you switched in Garfield for Maguire, it's basically perfect. And that has to be at least a part of the reason for my inability to find significant fault with the movies Garfield starred in. You gave me the Spider-Man I recognised. You gave me the most important part. But honestly, much of the rest of those seemed enjoyable to me too. Emma Stone? For instance? As Kirsten Dunst did before her, she played an unconventional but interesting version of a classic Spidey girl.
And then there's Jamie Foxx's Electro, who's clearly been taking classes at the Notice Me, Senpai School of Villainy, a venerable institution that includes among its alumni the Jim Carrey Riddler and the Guy Pearce Mandarin. The Topher Grace Venom applied, but he was denied for excessive cologne use. It's a bit of a shame. He would have been at the top of his class in Imitating the Envied Hero 101.
And Paul Giamatti? Mwah! As the Rhino? Double mwah!
And I just realised that it follows in the tradition of ending a set of Spider-Man movies by giving a bad guy role to a lead from "Sideways".
Brattiest Woody Allen?