Unraveling the Web of the Spider-Men

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Tom Holland sporting his Academic Decathlon jacket in Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017). Provided by Creative Commons.

CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME AND SPIDER-MAN MULTIVERSE!

 

On December 17th, 2021, Spider-Man: No Way Home hit theaters and has earned a whopping 1.69 billion (as of January 2022) in box office profits! This success has reignited the world’s love for Spider-Man, based on the Marvel comics by Stan Lee, and the performances given by Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, and Tom Holland. 

 

Toby Maguire first took the role of Peter Parker in the Spider-Man trilogy, lasting through 2002-2007. Peter’s love interest is Mary Jane, played by Kirsten Dunst. While battling his grief for Uncle Ben, he faced off against Green Goblin, Doc Ock, Harry Osborn, Sandman, and ultimately Venom. Harry Osborn (James Franco) was Peter Parker’s best friend turned villain after the death of his father, Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe). His final foe, alien symbiote Venom, causes Peter to don a darker personality throughout the duration of Spider-Man 3 (2002). 

Spider-Man 2 (2004) promotional poster picturing Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst. Provided by Creative Commons.

 

In 2012, the Spider-Man franchise was rebooted, this time with Andrew Garfield. The Amazing Spider-Man received two installments. His movies were not a simple remake of the past Spider-Man, rather they offered a new perspective on the life of Peter Parker, as well as a new love interest and new enemies. Emma Stone took on the role as Gwen Stacy, who served more as Peter’s counterpart rather than a damsel in distress. Peter battled the Lizard, Electro, and Green Goblin after losing Uncle Ben. Unfortunately, Peter loses Gwen in a final battle with Green Goblin, and has to reconcile his grief. 

Andrew Garfield in The Amazing Spider-Man (2012). Provided by Creative Commons.

 

Tom Holland remains the youngest actor to take on the role of Spider-Man, who first graced the screen with a cameo in Captain America: Civil War (2016). He soon got his own movie in the summer of 2017, subverting the commonly told story of Spider-Man’s origin, and weaving his story into the world of the Avengers. Tom’s portrayal of Peter Parker looked up to Iron Man as a mentor, and was accompanied by his best friend Ned, self-proclaimed FOS (friend of Spider-Man). Zendaya plays MJ, Peter’s love interest. He faced The Vulture in Spiderman: Homecoming (2017), and later faced Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal), who exposed his identity to the world. The aftermath of Peter’s battle with Mysterio leads us into the most recent installment of Spiderman: No Way Home (2021).

 

Tom Holland sporting his Academic Decathlon jacket in Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017). Provided by Creative Commons.

 

Spider-Man: No Way Home provided the time for all three of the Spider-Men to interact, crossing over universes to do so with the unwilling help of Doctor Strange. Their encounters were not only amusing but also gave guidance and atonement to each of the respective characters. Maguire and Garfield served as mentors to the young, tormented Holland. Maguire was able to stop Holland from killing Green Goblin for the death of Aunt May, since Maguire himself regrets the life he took in search of revenge for Uncle Ben. Garfield was able to save Holland’s MJ from free falling off the Statue of Liberty, redeeming himself from the devastating loss of Gwen Stacy. The combination of all three strengths allowed them to conquer their adversaries and forge a powerful new friendship.