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Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

OPINION: Who is the most amazing Spider-Man?

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Savanna Nichols
(Illustration)

Originally from Marvel Comics, Spider-Man is a popular superhero who has been portrayed on the big screen by three different actors. Having a couple of different Peter Parkers has caused many people to argue over which one is the “best” version of him, creating a lot of in-fighting in the Marvel fanbase; however, in the most underwhelming answer ever, I say they are all great Peter Parkers — but in different ways. 

Tobey Maguire was the first Spider-Man introduced to the live-action scene in 2002’s “Spider-Man,” and his story progressed through a total of three movies. Maguire’s take on Parker is definitely the most calm of the three, being quite a bit more stoic throughout his movies. This Parker also leans more into the “nerdy” attribute of the character. His intelligence is noticed by other characters, and he is given multiple opportunities to work in labs throughout the trilogy. 

Maguire’s take on Spider-Man is less playful than the other three, coming off as the most adult, and his movies progress to show more of his adult life than anything else. The relationship between him and Harry Osborn is strained throughout all three movies. It can be really hard to picture them as close, despite the fact they are supposedly best friends. 

At the end of it all, Maguire’s Spider-Man is definitely the least like Peter Parker, but the nostalgia of the movies and integration of so many comic-related details makes this version a favorite for many. I think that with him being the first Spider-Man, he sets the stage for the next two in a great way, as well as adapting the comic into a real life world.

Andrew Garfield is the next Spider-Man, with his first movie being 2012’s “The Amazing Spider-Man.” He also received another movie, but not a third, unlike his predecessor.

Garfield portrays the Spider-Man persona the best out of these three movies, coming off as witty and funny while also being quick and dangerous. 

In these movies, there is more emphasis on his parents, and less on Harry and his father Norman Osborn, with Harry not even being introduced until the second movie; however, their relationship feels more organic. 

Garfield’s Parker is also much goofier when playing Spider-Man, often messing with his opponents and hurling witty insults, which feels a bit more like the character’s original depiction in the comics. Nevertheless, I feel we do miss out on the nerdier side of Parker in these movies. He is still incredibly smart, but we do not see as much of this, and due to his slight personality switch, coming off a bit edgier, he does not really fit the bill in that sense. 

Garfield is also more of a heartthrob, again pushing away from the more typical view of Peter Parker, but you could argue this change has caused more fans to see him as the best version, and I can totally see why. He takes Maguire’s version of him, and in my opinion, makes him feel more like a cocky 17-year-old kid. 

Our next Spider-Man is where the argument gets a bit tricky. While Maguire and Garfield’s portrayals stuck to the same origin story for Spider-Man, Tom Holland’s Spider-Man is set in a completely different universe to fit into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Parker receives his powers much younger, being only 14 instead of 17. We also have yet to see his origin story, with a final movie awaiting production. We are not actually sure at this point how his story even concludes. 

Holland’s Parker is first introduced in “Captain America: Civil War” in 2016 after being brought in by Tony Stark, or Iron Man. Holland has three of his own movies so far, as well as a couple more appearances in Avengers movies. 

Holland’s Peter is much geekier than Garfield’s but still holds the playfulness his predecessor did but at a lower level. His version acts the most like a teenager, to put it simply. He’s more naive and awestruck by the world around him but holds the sincerity that the past two Spider-Men also hold. 

There is no Harry Osbourn, or even Oscorp, in his version. Harry is perfectly replaced by Ned Leeds (Jacob Batalon), and the two have undeniable chemistry as friends. To be fair, though, Ned never tries to kill him in these movies, so it’s an obvious difference.

This Spider-Man story focuses less on the traditional comic Spider-Man adventures and more on his relationship to the Avengers and his fight to not be considered a kid anymore. I find Holland’s Spider-Man to be the most realistic and life-like Peter Parker and definitely the most enduring version of him. Despite this, Garfield still beats him out with a more accurate Spider-Man persona. 

Holland’s loveable personality and closeness to Tony Stark have caused many people to favor Tom Holland’s version. While he is not an accurate depiction of the comic Spider-Man story, I think it’s a fun play, and it’s interesting to see his relationship with the other Avengers. 

Worlds collided in “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” with all three aforementioned Spider-Men meeting. This movie is a beautiful conclusion to the other two versions of Spider-Man and a great solution to the best Peter Parker debate. The chemistry of all three Parkers was so fun to see in action. 

While all being Peter Parker, they are all different in their own way, especially when side by side. Many fans have pointed out that you can see this in the smallest of ways, from the way they swing and land to their body language. Throughout it all, I can not help but appreciate all of them for their respective movies. 

However you see the movies, and whoever you see as your favorite, you’re definitely right. All three versions gave us a different side of Peter Parker, and I cannot wait to see what is done with his story in the future, not only with the Parkers but also with up-and-comer Miles Morales. 

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About the Contributor
Makenzie Miller, Illustrator/Designer
Makenzie Miller is an animation major and a first-year illustrator on The Sunflower. She is from Eureka, Kansas, and enjoys not only art but also cartoons, video games, softball, and literally any type of animal. She hopes to one day be a storyboarder/concept artist for an animation company.

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