Sam Raimi’s Spiderman movies were more in tune with the Cinematic Universe of Marvel than Jon Watts’ Spiderman movies. Here’s why:
- Casting. Aunt May as portrayed by Rosemary Harris was not only visually more like the comic books, but her acting is the high bar, the standard for everyone, who might ever play the character, to try to reach. Her acting is superior. J. Jonah Jameson will forever be etched in my mind by the performance of J. K. Simmons. His acting was masterful. His character was as lovable as he was tyrranical. Green Goblin likewise will never be anyone else but Willem Dafoe. His acting was that amazing. As far as villains go, Thomas Haden Church (Sandman) and Alfred Molina (Doctor Octopus) are both captivating in their roles. They were cast perfectly. Maybe you could trade Tom Holland and Tobey Maguire in any of the films, they both did equally well with the role of Peter Parker, but there are others whose performances could not be substituted. Bonesaw for instance, could not be played by anyone but Randy Savage. Sadly, he will not reprise the role anytime soon, since he passed away in 2011. It was also fun to see Bruce Campbell in a variety of parts.
- Camera-work. Sam Raimi employs a snap-to technic mastered by few. This is only one reason his movies are so entertaining. He also does well with camera angles, close-ups, zoom technics, and more, to get the story told with cinematic proficiency and artistic integrity.
- Stan Lee cameos. Though there will be many Marvel movies now without Stan Lee cameos, it can be argued that the Sam Raimi Spiderman films started the tradition.
- Tension-relieving humor. I’m not even saying Jon Watts did a terrible job on the newer films. He just didn’t reach the level of Sam Raimi. The area of humor is one in which the difference is in-your-face obvious. Sam Raimi is able to produce the correct timing for jokes made during tense moments. Also, the appropriate levels of humor are sprinkled throughout Raimi’s films. Some of the humor in Jon Watts’ films was trite and predictable, though this may be attributable to the writers more than the director.
- Venom made Peter Parker dance. In another “non-MCU” movie called Spiderman: Into The Spiderverse they poke fun at this moment in the Sam Raimi Spiderman movie, yet there are just as strange scenes in the Jon Watts-directed films which can’t be blamed on an alien life form. Take the scene where Tom Holland as Spiderman is slowly changing in an alley. Awkward!
All of these points are made even more concrete by the fact that in No Way Home, many of the superior actors mentioned were employed to raise the artistic level of the movie.