If you want to give credit to a series that popularized the superhero film genre, then you better give it to Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy. Superhero films were considered a niche in the industry before 2002’s Spider-Man turned everything around and made comic book films a must-see.
Raimi made many changes from the comics to accommodate the translation from source material to screen, and these have been noted by fans. However, not everything was changed, and there are several elements from the comics that remained the same for this version of Spider-Man. With that in mind, Here are 5 changes, and 5 things kept the same.
10 Changed: Organic Webbing
Those who grew up with the 2002 Spider-Man film thought organic webbing was something intrinsic to the character, but these people were wrong. The Amazing Spider-Man and Spider-Man: Homecoming got it right by having Peter manufacture his webbing rather than it being natural to him.
Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man series changed things up by making Peter something of a literal spider by having him shoot these webs out of wrists without ever exhausting their supply. Truth be told, this was an ingenious change, as it really did make Peter feel like a man who’s become a spider. It also took out the unnecessary scenes focusing on him making the webbing.
9 Same: Green Goblin As Spider-Man's Archenemy
Out of every enemy Spidey has had, it’s the Goblin who’s considered his arch-nemesis. This is due to the supervillain being responsible for several personal tragedies to Peter, and this was kept the same in Sam Raimi’s series as well. Although the Goblin died in the first film, his impact was felt in the entire story, as it was due to his death that Harry invested in Doc Ock’s failed experiments, resulting in the latter becoming the second film’s antagonist. The memory of Green Goblin would haunt Harry until Spider-Man 3, where he would then take on the role of the Goblin. Everything that happened in this series was because of the Goblin, and he is rightfully considered the main antagonist, just like in the comics.
8 Changed: Peter Parker's Personality
Peter’s personality in the comics is wildly different than the Tobey Maguire version. While the film Peter was a sweetheart who was a friend to everyone, the comics Peter was a loner by choice. The Sam Raimi Peter Parker was also an extreme doormat to whom everyone could be rude and he’d never do anything about it. Meanwhile, the comics Peter doesn’t put up with fools, as he’s never shown to be outright bullied, and, even when he did get bullied, he’d fight back and hold his own. This Peter didn’t care as much of what people thought of him, while Tobey’s Peter was someone who wanted to please everyone.
7 Same: Symbiote Taking Over Peter
Spider-Man 3 does deserve kudos for bringing us a spectacular change in Peter Parker, as he was a faithful representation of the comics Peter when under the influence of the symbiote. The story also went around the same way, with the symbiote taking over Peter, who allowed it to happen as he relished the feeling of power. The change in personality was also gradual, the way it went in the film, and Peter’s dark side presented itself when he became willing to take lives, ruthlessly, even. Although the comics didn’t have him dancing in public, the film did play it straight with the symbiote’s influence over him.
6 Changed: Gwen Stacy's Importance
Comic book fans of Spider-Man know very well how much Gwen Stacy meant to him. We covered the Green Goblin being responsible for tragedies to Peter, and Gwen’s death was the one with the most impact. She was Peter’s sole love interest before that, and he was completely in love with her.
The Sam Raimi Spider-Man series, on the other hand, had Gwen Stacy being a mere flirtation for Peter. She wasn’t even someone he saw as a love interest and only used her to make Mary Jane jealous. A lot of the fans even forget the character in Spider-Man 3 was even supposed to be Gwen Stacy, and she was never given any importance.
5 Same: Everything About Jonah Jameson
12We’ll argue that the Spider-Man film series, in fact, made Jonah even better than the one from the comics. His portrayal was amazing, and his scenes are the ones with the most replay value from the trilogy. In the comics, Jonah was exactly the same in personality, as he saw Spider-Man as a menace to the society. He was also deeply obsessed with running the Daily Bugle and considered himself doing that to be a service to the public for “exposing” Spider-Man for the criminal he thought he was. Like in the films, the comic version of Jonah was also a very funny character, and the constant times he fired Peter—only to rehire him—was a recurring event.
4 Changed: Everything About Venom
We don’t think Venom in Spider-Man 3 was that bad (or at least not as bad as the people who haven’t stopped complaining on the internet for twelve years), but he wasn’t anything like the Venom in the comics.
For one, Venom never kept revealing his face every two seconds the way Topher Grace’s character did. His identity would remain a mystery for some time, and a major part of his characterization was Eddie considering the symbiote to be part of him, with Venom referring to himself as “We”. Venom was also scarier than he was hammy, the latter of which we saw a lot in Topher’s version, and he was also a smart tactician to an extent.
3 Same: Spider-Man's Costume
The comics Spider-Man has seen a lot of versions of his suit, which we can’t even list here since there are so many, but the base level Spidey has remained the same. This was the version we saw in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man film series as well, as Peter kept the same suit in all three films.
The base level suit was simple and didn’t have any add-ons. It was purely to be used for “friendly neighborhood” purposes. This suit has kept Peter grounded in reality, and the Sam Raimi version represents the Spider-Man who still fought “real-world” kind of villains, unlike beings with magical superpowers or alien armies from space.
2 Changed: Spider-Man's Quips
Now, this is one gripe we have with the Sam Raimi trilogy. The comics Spider-Man is an endless quipping machine—seriously, you can’t get the guy to shut up. Spider-Man: The Animated Series preceded 2002’s Spider-Man film, and many had hoped Peter Parker would be like the one we saw in the former series, as that version was hilarious.
Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man is the only live-action version who’s reflected that cocky, quippy comics version, and Tobey’s Spider-Man certainly doesn’t even come slightly close. His version was mainly a nice guy behind the mask, who would look to reason with his enemies before fighting. The comics Spidey never stopped with his sardonic attitude, even when within inches of certain death.
1 Same: Radioactive Spider
The Marvel Cinematic Universe story completely cut out all of Peter’s origins, even the part where he got bit by the spider that gave him his powers. For movie fans, the 2002 Spider-Man film is the best version to watch if they want to see how Peter became the superhero in the comics.
This part of the story was played straight, as Peter was bitten by the radioactive spider by a complete accident. Seeing as this was the first true live-action adaptation of Spider-Man on the big screen, it’s appropriate we got the correct origin moment for Marvel’s most popular comic book superhero.