If You’re Nothing Without the Suit, Should You Really Have It?

An analysis of the three Spiderman films from the 21st century


“With great power comes great responsibility.” is arguably the most famous quote in all superhero comic book history, known by all as uncle Ben’s famous last words in the Spiderman franchise. While the classic Spiderman comics have stood the test of time, being consistently popular over the past seven decades, the three movie franchises of the twenty-first century have become somewhat controversial in the teenage world.

Starting in the early 2000s, Tobey Maguire starred in “Spiderman 1, 2, and 3” with co-stars Kirsten Dundst (MJ), Willem Dafoe (The Green Goblin), and James Franco (Harry Osborn). The movie was very 2000s and, in some aspects, could be considered a bit outdated. Still, it continues to be a classic in many households. 

In 2012, Andrew Garfield took over for Tobey, replacing him as Spiderman in the renamed “The Amazing Spiderman” 1 and 2, a relatively short-lived franchise. It only lasted two movies after the 3rd was canceled because of a controversy between Andrew Garfield and Sony, where he failed to show up to an important press meeting. Negative criticism of the second movie and its failure to meet expectations at the international box office played the greatest role in its cancellation. Emma Stone took over for Kirsten Dunst, playing Peter Parker’s love interest, newly named Gwen instead of MJ. In the last movie, Dane Dehaan replaced James Franco with Peter Parker’s supposed best friend, Harry Osborn. Many view this as a filler franchise. Not the worst, but certainly not the best, and finish the franchise feeling a tad unsatisfied.

Just three years later, Tom Holland took over for his predecessor, starring in what many call the “Home” series. He played Peter Parker/Spiderman in Spiderman “Homecoming,” “Far From Home,” and “No Way Home,” respectively. The updated MJ was played by Zendaya Coleman, and Peter’s best friend Harry was renamed Ned and played by Jacob Batalon. This storyline was totally different from the other two franchises, skipping over Peter Parker’s transition into Spiderman and launching the audience straight into an action-packed storyline. Each movie series caters to its own audience, with different Spidermans strengths and weaknesses overpowering others, so which Spiderman is truly the best?

During Tobey’s first movie Spiderman, a few things were noticed. The first thing that was seen was that Tobey didn’t have good facial expressions, which was distracting during the movie. The one good thing about his emotions was that during the emotional parts, he was able to show emotion during the crying scenes. The chemistry with MJ was not there, a huge factor in the movie’s overall quality. In the second movie, Spider-Man 2,  his emotions did start to get to where they needed to be. However, he still had terrible facial expressions, leading the viewers away from the movie’s plot. They were very distracting. He had a better script which did affect some things. His relationship with MJ looked very forced, which shows why there was no chemistry. The good thing about him in this movie was that he tried to look like Spiderman.

In Andrew’s first movie, he did his best with the script, but the screenwriters did not truly capture the character Peter Parker. In this movie, his relationship with Gwen had little chemistry, making it awkward. Andrew didn’t play Peter Parker well but was a good spiderman. He played more of a superhero that he created and an actual friendly neighborhood spiderman. Andrew’s second movie could have had a better script, making it easier to stay focused on his movie. In Andrew’s second movie, The Amazing Spiderman 2, his emotions were good, especially with Gwen, and the chemistry was there. Andrew played Spiderman the best, and he didn’t fit Peter Parker’s role. 

       `Tom was a perfect fit for his role. In his first movie, Homecoming,  he played Peter Parker very well and played the friendly neighborhood spiderman. His acting was off the charts, and he had terrific chemistry with MJ because they were dating outside the movie. His emotions were displayed very well in his first movie. Tom looked at his role mainly because he was a teenager during the making. The best thing about Andrew when he acted was how he was the same person. He didn’t change how he acted as Spiderman and Peter Parker. His relationships with Aunt May and MJ were good, so it wasn’t awkward. In Tom’s second movie, Far From Home, his emotions were off the charts, and he had a great connection with MJ. We noticed how the movie dragged on, and he lost the connection with his hometown and the friendly neighborhood spiderman. He fit the role of Peter Parker best.

In the three franchises, Peter Parker and Spiderman are the same person but have to keep it a secret from their peers. Although they are the same person, they behave somewhat differently. According to the comic books, Peter Parker is smart but a little awkward when interacting with others, and Spiderman is a fearless, brave superhero whose goal is to stop crime by being as sneaky and sly as possible. For Tobey Maguire’s take on Peter Parker, it was obvious that he was older than sixteen which is the age Peter Parker is supposed to be. At that time, Tobey Maguire was twenty-seven, so it makes sense that he didn’t really look the part. He maintained the quirky, shy personality that Peter Parker was supposed to have.

Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker, seemed to have changed the script a little bit because his Peter Parker wasn’t as quirky as the other ones were. He rode a skateboard at the beginning of the movie and came off as kind of tough and had a different reputation at school. He looked a little older than the role he was supposed to play. Again, his character was supposed to be sixteen, and Andrew Garfield was also twenty-seven, but it was somewhat believable that he could be a teenager.

Tom Holland’s Peter Parker, i  almost exactly the same as he was in the comic books. His character appeared a little more extroverted and charismatic than Tobey Maguire’s. Definitely, it didn’t have the same darker persona as Andrew Garfield’s, but unlike both of those actors, he looked almost exactly sixteen or like a high school kid. Tom Holland was nineteen during the making of the first Spiderman. His character demonstrates how a normal high schooler would act in the 21st century. Watching the other Spiderman movies, specifically Tobey Maguire’s, it is obviously dated, and the characteristics of his character aren’t very relatable.

Tobey Maguire’s Spiderman was arguably the best only because he was the first Spiderman. He set an example for the future actors who had to replace him but didn’t show the conflict between Spiderman and Peter Parker as well as the others did. One notable thing is that Tobey Maguire fits the Spiderman physique, although his emotions aren’t relaying. 

Andrew Garfield’s Spiderman was very mature and connected to his audience. Unlike Tobey Maguire, he communicated his emotions to the audience. Although he fixed some errors that Tobey Maguire had made, his character wasn’t perceived as a naive, new-to-the-job, sixteen-year-old Spiderman, but instead was too brave and acted like he knew what he was doing. That could be partly the script’s fault because he had different screenwriters.

Tom Holland’s Spiderman was more appealing to the younger audience and almost showed the similarities between Spiderman and Peter Parker too well. His ability to combine the two personalities was remarkable, and we all thought he embodied Spiderman as an actor. Throughout his movies, the character development was blatantly shown and understood by the audience, but if there was any flaw that we could depict from his movies, you had to be caught up on other Marvel movies to understand the plot changes between the first and second movies.

To conclude the Spiderman debate, Tom Holland was the most well-rounded of the three Spidermen. From our further outside research, many agree that Andrew Garfield was a better Spiderman. He was the friendly neighborhood Spiderman, even if he was a little too sure of himself sometimes. Tobey Maguire was no one’s favorite, but he was a great base for the other franchises, laying the groundwork that perfected the movie spiderman. No, Spiderman was perfect in every way but each movie was one step closer.