A look at Spider-Man’s live-action history onscreen
In case you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past few months and haven’t watched WandaVision or Loki, Marvel opened the Multiverse. Needless to say, this is a game-changer in terms of what we’ll see in Marvel’s future efforts. We all look forward to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness to be released on March 25, 2022 to find out what exactly the consequences of the opening of the Multiverse will be.
Before that, we have another MCU installment that will come as a shock if it doesn’t involve the multiverse: Spider-Man: No Path Home. There’s no other way to put it, following the news and rumors about Web-Slinger’s third installment in the MCU has been a wild ride. We’re all still waiting for a trailer, so until then it’s hard to confirm any details about the movie. It’s the popular opinion that the film will star Peter Parker / Spider-Man Variants.
In preparation for Spider-Man: No Path HomeComing out on December 17, 2021, I decided to do what every Spidey loving fan should do, watch every big screen portrayal of Peter Parker: Tobey Maguire’s Early 2000s Trilogy, Andrew’s Duology Garfield of the 2010s and Tom Holland’s involvement in the MCU since 2016 Captain America: Civil War. Below, I’ll outline some of my main takeaways from each series and characteristics of each Spider-Man. There is a lot to enjoy about each installment, so be prepared.
The Raimi trilogy
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The nostalgia for Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy is incredibly powerful for a lot of people. Granted, I loved Spider-Man comics as a kid, but this series didn’t grab my attention when it was first released. Watching them for the first time as an adult gave me a new appreciation for many aspects of this trilogy.
First, this trilogy is a true example of a better sequel than the original. the years 2004 Spider-man 2 followed the first Spider Man and, in my opinion, is still one of the best live action superhero movies. We see Peter de Maguire grappling with his role as Spidey, unsure whether the sacrifices that come with being a hero are worth it. In fact, he struggles so much that for a while Peter no longer plays the role of Spider-Man. This film also features Alred Molina’s Otto Octavius, giving a chilling performance. This cast should be on the list of “perfectly performed roles” until the end of time.
Spider-Maguire is sensitive and emotional much like Peter Parker. He cares deeply not only for his loved ones, but for everyone in the city he calls home. He finds strength in this deep emotion, but also weakness. Spider-Maguire is riddled with guilt and overwhelmed by his failures. This trilogy reminds audiences that Spider-Man is still Peter Parker: a poor college student who struggles to make ends meet and maintain his relationships.
My favorite aspect of the Raimi Trilogy is the hold it has on the real world. It’s not often in modern hero movies that we see villains being villains to humans; normally there is always a sup or two to save the day. We see it in scenes like the first episode where Aunt May is traumatized after an altercation with Willem Defoe’s Green Goblin. This is again demonstrated in Spider-man 2 where Otto Octavius ââwakes up with his arms controlling him, which leads him to terrorize and kill the medical team around him who would try to save his life. It really makes you think about the costs of having heroes around.
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Garfield’s duology gives us something the other Spider-Man movies haven’t given yet, time with Peter, a non-spider high school student. The Amazing Spider-Man gave audiences a real look at Peter Parker in high school before he became Spider-Man. Spider-Maguire, of course, shows audiences a very short amount of time before Peter gets bitten, but Spider-Garfield has given us more. You get to know Peter before you have to know him as Spider-Man. It somehow makes it more stressful to watch him in incredibly dangerous situations.
Spider-Garfield, in my opinion, has perfected something crucial for the character: the inability to shut up once the costume is in place. Garfield really managed to figure out the fighting jokes that so many Spider-Man fans have loved for decades. It’s wonderful to see this change between Spider-Garfield compared to his Peter Parker. Peter is awkward and has a tendency to fumble over his words while Spidey is confident and expresses himself well. This Spidey delivers joke after joke during combat and seeks to upset his enemies. Spider-Garfield is also very loud with the citizens of New York as he roams the city. Spider-Garfield truly bears the title of âFriendly Neighborhoodâ. He would never do something as cold as stealing someone’s pizza (I’m looking at you, Spider-Maguire).
Where the Spider-Maguire trilogy and Spider-Garfield duology are most similar is that the two sequels introduce a villain with a phenomenal cast. In Spider-man 2, of course I’m talking about Molina as Doc Ock. For The incredible Spider-Man 2, I’d be wrong if I didn’t talk about Dane Dehaan’s performance as Harry Osborne. There was also an immediate twist on the character. Rather than his father Norman becoming the original Green Goblin, Harry takes over the role after Norman’s death. I admit my apprehension about this at first, but it was immediately put to one side due to Dehaan’s convincing performance. Although Dehaan has stated that he would rather take on a new project rather than return, no one can be faulted for having hoped.
The Incredible Spider-Man 2 involves harsh realities that everyone must face: our actions have consequences. When superheroes and villains are involved, these consequences become a bit more intimidating. Peter Parker learns of this harsh reality more than once during The Incredible Spider-Man 2, but none of the lessons hit harder than when he made the choice to ignore the promise he made in the previous movie and continue seeing Gwen Stacey (Emma Stone). This, as we all know, doesn’t end well for Gwen. Spider-Garfield also chooses to take a break so as not to be the wall robot at this point, similar to Spider-Maguire. Her return presents a cynical take on the character, although we haven’t been able to explore that due to the lack of a third film. Perhaps Spider-Man: No Path Home will give us some closure.
The Dutch era
The world will never forget the day when Captain America: Civil War the trailer was dropped and officially confirmed that Peter Parker himself would be joining the MCU. Ever since the MCU movies took off, fans desperately wanted Spider-Man to join the MCU and fight alongside the Avengers. However, Marvel had its work cut out for it as to how they were going to choose to play the character.
The first decision was to choose an extremely talented, realistic-looking actor, whom Marvel found in then-19-year-old Tom Holland. Holland brings a sort of nostalgic familiarity to the character. Parker from Holland is still a total nerd. He’s too excited about a Lego Death Star, he attends high school specializing in science and technology, and he’s a total fanboy when he first meets one of the Avengers (even he is about to fight them). However, this Peter Parker is not a “loser” with very few friends, as he has been described in the past (cough Spider-Maguire cough).
Peter’s relationship as a whole is described in a way that is totally unique to the Raimi Trilogy and Garfield’s duology. Rather than finding a best friend in Harry Osborne, the Dutchman Parker has Ned (Jacob Batalon). Ned and Peter certainly have a better (and healthier) friendship than Harry and Peter. The duo share many interests and Ned even serves as the “man in the chair”. Importantly, Ned didn’t try to kill Peter either (and I don’t think that’s happening anytime soon). We also see a much younger May Parker (Marisa Tomei) and no Uncle Ben. In Uncle Ben’s place, audiences have an incredibly close father-son relationship with Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.).
Spider-Holland’s theme is growth, and he’s already matured considerably over his 5 years in the MCU. In Spider-Man: Homecoming we start with him as an immature teenager desperate to prove himself to Tony Stark. Spider-Holland must learn that he is more than the costume Stark designed for him, and that there is more to being a superhero than having superpowers.
After learning this lesson, he is immersed in situations that no 16-year-old should find themselves in. Peter goes to space, is sprinkled in the Blip, and then has to fight Thanos’ army alongside the Avengers in Avengers: Endgame. The following, Spider-Man: Far From Home teaches Spider-Holland that he’s not Tony Stark and never will be. He is Peter Parker, he is Spider-Man, and he doesn’t have to be someone else to make the difference he wants to make in the world.
With rumors that the Sinister Six will finally make their big screen debut in the future, it’s also likely that we’ll see Michael Keaton’s Adrian Toomes / Vulture again and, if we’re lucky and he finds a way to fake his death, Jake Gyllenhaal’s Quinten Beck / Mysterio again to really bring the team together. If Gyllenhaal’s Beck is truly gone, there has been more of a Mysterio in the comics, so the MCU might still have more Master of Illusion to explore.
There’s one thing in common with every iteration of Spider-Man: Saving one person isn’t enough. He must save them all. After all, with great power comes great responsibility.
Who has been your favorite Web-Slinger? Let us know in the comments! Continue to consult our Spider-Man: No Path Home cover here ahead of the December 17th release. Whenever Sony is kind enough to give us a trailer, this is where our recap will be!