“Spider-Man”: Who Did it Best?

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Sofia Felan

The three renditions of the comic book character bring to life the two-sided Peter Parker we know and love.

Ava Cosgrove, Staff Writer

Since his comic book debut back in 1962, Spider-man — also known as Peter Parker — is a fan-favorite superhero with countless different adaptations. In recent times, the three Spider-Men that kickstarted the film franchise are Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, and Tom Holland.


3. Tom Holland
The most recent Spider-man adaptation is Tom Holland’s in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This version of Spider-man first appeared in “Avengers: Civil War” after being recruited by Tony Stark (Iron Man) to fight alongside and against the Avengers. Shortly after, Holland got his own movie in “Spider-man: Homecoming” that focused on Spider-man himself despite occasional appearances from his mentor Tony Stark. This adaptation completely differs from the past two, as there is no classic incident where Peter is bitten by a radioactive spider while working at Oscorp. Parker’s backstory is never really revealed but there is no classic Mary Jane, Gwen Stacy or Harry Osborne; however, this version contains friends Ned and Michelle Jones, unfamiliar to the comics. The one thing this Spider-man has in common with the rest is mother-figure Aunt May, but otherwise they’re almost totally different stories.

Although Holland’s Spider-man is inconsistent with what we’ve seen in past Spider-man movies, his rendition of Peter Parker is by far the most realistic, with and without the suit. One thing that neither Garfield or Maguire succeeded at, though, was making it seem like Parker was a teenager in high school, which Holland hit the nail right on the head for. Despite his excellent portrayal of a high school student becoming a superhero, he lacks many of Spider-man’s traditional qualities such as his sense of humor and responsibility.

“I think the worst Spider-Man might have to be Tom only because I feel like he is at an advantage with his suits that Tony has built him and he didn’t have to work as hard as Tobey’s or Andrew’s,” junior Genesis Mercado said.

I would love to see Andrew Garfield earn a final movie to complete his trilogy,”

— junior Marcela Rondon

2. Tobey Maguire
In 2002, the first big “Spider-man” movie came out with Tobey Maguire in the lead role as Peter Parker. With big names involved such as Willem Dafoe, James Franco and Kirsten Dunst, “Spider-Man”’s premiere in theaters was an immediate hit, grossing over 400 million dollars in the box office. It’s success carried on to its two sequels, “Spider-Man 2” and “Spider-Man 3”. Maguire successfully delivered Parker’s awkward, nerd-like demeanor, but he lacked the trademark friendly neighborhood Spider-man charisma in his portrayal of the actual hero.

This adaptation of “Spider-man” stayed the most true to the basic storyline and comics, featuring classic characters such as Mary Jane Watson, Harry Osborn, the Green Goblin, and in later films Dr. Otto Octavius and Gwen Stacy. While Maguire’s was the original and the blueprint, it did have a classic hero movie style, with recurring scenes of damsels in distress and Spider-man reigning victorious over his enemies. Another downside to Maguire’s Spider-man was that being 27 years old, he failed to represent a high school student well.

1. Andrew Garfield
The next to play Spider-Man was Andrew Garfield in “The Amazing Spider-man” 10 years after Maguire’s in 2012. In this version, Peter Parker’s origin story was better explained and more time was dedicated to it. Unlike Maguire’s, this Spider-man doesn’t feature Mary Jane, but instead focuses more on Parker’s relationship with Gwen Stacy. Villains such as Lizard and Electro were incorporated into these movies despite not making an appearance in Maguire’s, providing more coverage of the comics not seen before.

Though this movie was successful in recreating the Spider-man charm, Garfield’s Peter Parker lacked the awkwardness Maguire brought to the table in his movies. “The Amazing Spider-man” shows Spiderman’s lighthearted and playful side while also showing his losses and problems he faces. The movie was successful enough to produce a sequel, but unfortunately chances of a third movie seem slim to none.


Maguire, Garfield, and Holland all did amazing jobs at playing their roles as the iconic “Spider-man,” but the one who did it best would have to be Andrew Garfield. Garfield ultimately emulated all the needed qualities with a perfect balance of Peter Parker and his Spider-man alter-ego, while staying true to the Spider-man story.