As expected, the initial wave of mostly positive reviews for The Amazing Spider-Man have partially involved a form of collective amnesia. Robbie Collin of The Daily Telegraph called the film 'a superhero film for the Twilight generation' and states that Twilight was the first blockbuster to target women and The Amazing Spider-Man is the first superhero targeted at females, a theme that a number of critics have implicitly or explicitly stated in their critiques. Both of these things are false of course. Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy was primarily a romantic drama stretched over three films. The web-slinging action beats and occasional super-villain squabbles were less important than the ongoing love story between Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson. Kristen Dunst was as much of a main character as Toby Maguire, especially in the somewhat underrated Spider-Man 3, and the romantic arc was the main narrative throughout the blockbuster trilogy. And as for the second claim, it's like Titanic, Spider-Man, Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, and Avatar never happened. But in an era where no one remembers a damn thing and everyone is too damn lazy to look it up, Marc Webb is now getting the credit for basically inventing a female-skewing superhero film and Twilight is now presumed to be the only reference point for blockbusters that were popular with women.
It annoys me that Robbie Collin and a few other critics don't remember a movie that came out five years ago. But what really irritates me are all the other bloggers unthinkingly repeating the meme without bothering to point out that it's bullshit, but instead thoughtlessly quoting said line as if it's factual. We all damn-well saw Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, and Spider-Man 3. We all blabbed about that upside-down kiss in the rain, that spectacular train fight, and that goofy dance sequence. We could all recognize Danny Elfman's theme within a few notes and we all have strong opinions about the individual films and the series as a whole. So when the Amazing Spider-Man filmmakers try to sell us on the idea that their film is new because it has practical web-slinging (Spider-Man), a sympathetic father-figure villain (Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2), a female lead who is a full-blown lead character (Spider-Man, Spider-Man 3), a super villain who is somewhat beside the point (Spider-Man 2), and an emphasis on romance over action (Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, Spider-Man 3), we shouldn't just sit quietly and not ask that follow-up question. Like political journalism, the company line all too easily becomes conventional wisdom without anyone on the sidelines bothering to question it or rebut it with simple factual corrections.