Spidey Showdown


Photos via 7wallpapers.net, Sony Pictures Releasing, Sony/Marvel

Since the Dec. 17 release of “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” everyone is taking a stance on the best live-action Spider-Man portrayal between Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, and Tom Holland’s iconic take on Spider-Man following their joint appearances on screen. Putting aside how good each of the movies or love interests are, let’s take a closer look at the traits that these Spideys share and differ on.

Tobey Maguire:


Let’s start with the original live-action: Tobey Maguire’s “Spider-Man.” A high school geek hustles his adolescent life with the new development of his alter ego, a web-swinging hero. Out of all the Spider-Men, I believe Tobey’s Spidey is the most relatable and transparent. The chances of him becoming Spider-Man was one in a billion, emphasizing the idea that anyone could be Spider-Man. Oftentimes, he finds himself in a tight situation with difficult odds, but regardless, he pulls through. 


Maguire’s Spider-Man harbors an action-to-storyline ratio pace that shares a resemblance to the comics. We see just how much the sacrifices he makes impact the safety of New York and the influence he has on people around him, even viewers offscreen. He unfolds as a character as the story progresses and learns from the missteps he makes. He shows empathy and remorse for the antagonist, just by showing how big of a heart he has. 


I feel like Maguire’s Spider-Man had some missed opportunities for funny remarks that could have escalated his character, but either way, he does not fall short of jokes. Spider-Man grows and learns as a protagonist perfectly with a dialogue to match, so from my viewpoint, I see his Spider-Man as the most humble and flexible of the trio.


Andrew Garfield:


Garfield’s Spider-Man is relatable; noticeably though, he falls more into the emotional, dynamic side of Spider-Man. Garfield does a remarkable job conveying how heavy the weight living Spider-Man’s life becomes. The action scenes we see with Spider-Man are also beautifully choreographed and show his irregular style of combat. Garfield’s Peter Parker has more awkwardness than geekiness. I’d say that it’s a personal preference for some people whether this is a pro or con, plus, in earlier cartoons, quite a good portion of the Spider-Men had a similar trait. He wants to leave everyone satisfied with a single resolution, but realistically, this isn’t promised. 


It’s worth noticing that Spider-Man’s ability to be anyone is based on the fact that Peter’s blood was the only blood that was compatible with the spider’s venom, which sort of riffs away from the whole “anyone can be Spider-Man” theme. 


Garfield carries many conflicts at once and confronts them all. I think he shows his vulnerability and compassion well through his films. Spider-Man takes a lot of blows from many directions, and it becomes hard to pull through and at one point even continuing being Spider-Man feels impossible. Despite all this, he steers himself out of his hardships and heartaches. I find that to be really respectable with his character since he has such a heavy focus on various setbacks that are put onto him. 


I’d say out of all the Spider-Men, Garfield’s Spidey has the closest character, set jokes and reactions to the majority of cartoon and comic references — the ideal balance, if you ask me. 


Tom Holland:


With the balancing act of friendships, schoolwork, home life and being a behind-the-scenes-hero all put onto young Peter Parker, Tom Holland’s Spider-Man films capture that essence better than any of the others. 


Near the start, we see a lot of reliance on Peter’s mentor, Tony Stark. That was something I wish I saw less of, but nonetheless, he gains redemption for his reliance on Stark and shows viewers just how skillful and intelligent he is in his own Spider-Man way. I took note of how most of the slip-ups he made were based on his good and trusting nature. I find this to be an intriguing and likable take on his character. He, along with the other Spider-Men, wanted the best possible outcome for everyone.


I do sometimes wish that we got less dependency on the Avengers and other parties that aided him, but I think this was justified because it followed more of the already built-up storyline that Marvel had going on.


Holland’s Spider-Man is relatable with his adolescence and illustrates the flaws found in that, but he doesn’t give in to defeat. He messes up and he makes up. His Spider-Man may have the most mistakes against the trio, but I think this idea is a gentle reminder that Spider-Man is still just a kid, and he’s still learning. 


 I was a little let down with the lack of sarcastic comebacks that Tom Holland’s Spider-Man had, although just looking at the projected course of the story, this makes partial sense. I would love to see this kind of humor develop over the course of films to come, although there are a lot of ways that he could grow into Spider-Man’s more well-known quirks.


 Holland’s Spider-Man and Peter Parker feel more in sync with one another than the other Spider-Men, so in a sense, it seems like less of an alter ego and more of a side job — though this does make sense given the context of the films.


The Spider-Men share resembling traits of Spider-Man, but we see through each of their uniqueness and character, Spider-Man is a likable and relatable character with a good heart. He’s a great all-around role model, and I think that all the Spider-Men can improve in one way or another. The debate about who is the absolute best Spider-Man is clearly a difficult and heated discussion for a good reason, and as for me, I vouch for Andrew Garfield. He’s relatable, resilient, compassionate, and altogether I find him the best.