Yes, No, Maybe So: Who is the best live-action Spider-Man? 


At Opinion, we celebrate the wealth of viewpoints that makes this section what it is. Some concepts, however, are too big to do justice with just one voice. In this segment, we want to make space for the Yeses, the Nos and the Maybe Sos of the most important dialogues of our time. 

This week, three writers take on: Who is the best live-action Spider-Man/Peter Parker? 

Athena Brown, contributor: 

Tom Holland’s portrayal of Peter Parker is hands down the best because of the complexity brought to the role. His mix of levity and seriousness makes the character interesting and the movies compelling. The movies’ integration into the MCU puts Spidey on the map, letting him swing with the Avengers. The trilogy’s supporting cast also plays a big role in the quality of the movies; the diversity and talent the team brings is truly showcased. It also lets him show the wide range of Spider-man’s abilities, from his intellect and homemade gadgets to his death-defying acrobatics, stunts which Holland preforms almost enterily himself! His characterization strikes a balance between the everyday struggles of Peter Parker as a regular awkward teenager and the responsibilities of a budding superhero. Furthermore, over the course of his appearances in the MCU, Holland’s Spider-Man has shown significant character development and growth, which resonates with viewers. The realness Holland brings to the role makes his Peter relatable, likeable and gives him that all around Spidey-ness. He is also a verified cinnamon roll.  

Nell Srinath, Opinion Editor: 

Of all the opinions I’ve brought to The Daily Campus, this may be my most contentious: Tobey Maguire is the best live-action Spider-Man and Peter Parker. What I like so much about Maguire’s portrayal of Spider-Man in the original trilogy is the doggedness with which a totally awkward, unassuming actor dons the mantle of a character known for being witty and charming. Everything from Maguire’s one-liners to his forcefully-deepend “hero voice” read like a teenager trying to find assurance and comfort in a position of immense responsibility — and it’s incredibly funny to watch, too. Being that his Spidey-successors have a natural boyish playfulness to them, I think Maguire’s over-dramatic yet clumsy delivery sets him apart. He can authentically embody the foot-in-mouth demeanor of most high schoolers while also demonstrating that superheroes, in real life, aren’t going to be as effortlessly clever and witty as they are in comic books. Even though Maguire was over a decade older than your average high schooler, being 27 at the time of filming Spider-Man 1, his performance voices the awkwardness of young people far better than those who came after him. Also, four words: Peter Parker’s evil dance. 

Isaac Grad, contributor: 

Andrew Garfield is not only the best live action Spider-Man, but controversially, the best live action Peter Parker as well. As many comic fans know, different comic book runs mean different takes on characters. Peter Parker is by no means a stagnant character with set-in-stone traits. However, his most popular and influential runs are most aligned with Garfield’s portrayal. While Peter Parker in “The Amazing Spider-Man” is meant to be a highschool student, he is better as an older Peter, as we saw him shine in “No Way Home.” Garfield’s interpretation opens the character up for some of the more classic comic crossovers – thinking of the Spidey-Pool runs, a star-studded crossover between Deadpool and Spider-Man. In the comics, this makes for a hilarious and incredibly sarcastic duo due to Wade and Peter’s polar opposite approaches to heroism. One can only imagine how that would play out on the big screen with Garfield’s sarcasm and quick wit mixed with that of Ryan Reynolds. Naturally, this on-screen duo would unfortunately be impossible with  Holland, who plays a younger and more naive Spidey, or Maguire, who plays an older and less comedic Spidey. Garfield naturally encompasses the sarcastic and quick-witted Spider-Man that fans know and appreciate. Peter Parker is, of course, intended to be a principally relatable guy with normal problems that you or I could have. Holland’s portrayal of Peter is maybe more likable, but not relatable. His films don’t tend to focus on his more average problems, and when they do, they are overshadowed by his life as Spidey. They also elected to not show many of the important canon events (watch Across the Spider Verse) Peter Parker experiences in order to be Spider-Man. While they are referenced off-screen, we don’t actually see a lot of these crucial events that shape Peter Parker, nor do we see many of his typical traits. Holland’s funnier portrayal is a more naive approach over the classic witty approach in the comics. While Holland is charming and a great actor who portrays a fun and lovable version of Spider-Man and Peter Parker, he isn’t as comic accurate as Garfield and doesn’t allow for many of the best crossovers. Maguire is the original but didn’t have the comedic element that is so crucial to the character, nor did he have the realistic nerdy and awkward elements that make him relatable but funny. 

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