(Photo by ©Columbia Pictures)
Film buffs — and particularly superhero movie fans — have long been aware of the complicated relationship between Marvel and Sony Pictures/Columbia Pictures over the rights to one of the comic book company’s flagship heroes, Spider-Man. The latter has held the film rights to the character since 1999 and shepherded three different franchises (four, if you count the animated Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse) featuring Spidey to the big screen. All of them have been successes, both critically and commercially… with one exception.
After Sam Raimi’s inaugural Spider-Man franchise fizzled out sometime around 2010, Sony’s second go-round with Peter Parker began in 2012 with The Amazing Spider-Man, which rebooted the character’s story with Andrew Garfield in the role and Emma Stone as love interest Gwen Stacy. Because the film earned a respectable 72% on the Tomatometer (against a 77% Audience Score) and made over $750 million globally, a sequel was as inevitable as Uncle Ben’s death. And so it came to be.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is the only Rotten Spider-Man movie ever made.
Maybe that shouldn’t have been such a surprise. Andrew Garfield is a phenomenal actor, but he was a 30-year-old playing a high school senior, and the facade cracked just a bit at times. Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx raised expectations for the film as its primary villain, Electro, but the character was so mishandled that when Spider-Man: No Way Home brought him back, he was given a complete makeover. And we won’t even get into that Rhino business.
But — and be warned: major spoilers for Spider-Man: No Way Home follow here — there has been something of a reassessment of TASM2 in the wake of No Way Home, not only because of Foxx’s revamped Electro, but also because of Garfield’s scene-stealing, heartbreaking performance as an alternate-universe Peter Parker. And, as our guest this week would argue, that’s because the heart of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 lies in the romance between Peter and Gwen. This is what sets the film apart from the others, and this is the reason why Garfield’s presence in No Way Home helped elevate the film even further beyond its myriad other pleasures.
Joining regular co-hosts Mark Ellis and Jacqueline Coley this week is a guest who has been our go-to for Spider-Man-related episodes, the actress, podcast host, and pop culture commentator Roxy Striar, who also joined our discussions on Spider-Man 3 and Venom. Roxy is, unsurprisingly, a huge fan of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and points to the passionate chemistry between Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone as one of the main reasons the film deserves a Tomatometer score much, much higher than its current 52%. Jacqueline, on the other hand, thinks “this movie is trash” — yikes — and Mark is stuck playing referee somewhere in the middle. Good luck, Mark!
Check in every Thursday for a new episode of Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong (A Podcast From Rotten Tomatoes). Each week, hosts Jacqueline and Mark and guests go deep and settle the score on some of the most beloved – and despised – movies and TV shows ever made, directly taking on the statement we hear from so many fans: “Rotten Tomatoes is wrong.”
Check out some more episodes of Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong:
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Meet the hosts
Jacqueline Coley is an editor at Rotten Tomatoes, with a focus on awards and indie coverage but with a passion for everything, from the MCU to musicals and period pieces. Coley is a regular moderator at conventions and other events, can be seen on Access Hollywood and other shows, and will not stand Constantine slander of any kind. Follow Jacqueline on Twitter: @THATjacqueline.
Mark Ellis is a comedian and contributing editor for Rotten Tomatoes. He currently hosts the Rotten Tomatoes series Versus, among others, and can be seen co-hosting the sports entertainment phenomenon Movie Trivia Schmoedown. His favorite Star Wars movie is Jedi (guess which one!), his favorite person is actually a dog (his beloved stepdaughter Mollie), and – thanks to this podcast – he’s about to watch Burlesque for the first time in his life. Follow Mark on Twitter: @markellislive.