Words by Cole Manalac
When people think of our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, most of the time, an actor specifically comes to mind. After all, every Spider-Man we’ve had has their unique flair—from emo dancing to being Tony Stark’s adopted ‘son’. It’s been a different kind of enjoyable adventure for each Spider-Man portrayal, from Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, to Tom Holland, and here we’ll talk about the nuances of each web-slinger and try figure out who really did the best depiction of our favorite teenage New Yorker.
Tobey Maguire from The Raimi Spider-Man Trilogy
The actor from the original trilogy arguably did one of the best depictions of the geekiness of Peter Parker. His emotional range is also something to notice, with one of his peak moments being the scene where Harry Osborn dies. His anger is a melancholic delight to watch, with notable scenes being his fight against Sandman in the subway, and him hunting down Uncle Ben’s killer. Another positive aspect is that his conversational skills seem to be natural while being sincere and emotional.
Tobey Maguire seemed to have natural chemistry with each actor, and it showed in how the characters interacted with each other. However, the portrayal appeared to be stinted. He was a little too awkward and rather silent under the mask. Spider-Man is supposed to be snarky and full of quips (as shown in the Spider-Man PS4 game and later movies), and we don’t see Maguire give justice to that aspect of the web-slinger. In summary, Tobey was a fantastic Peter Parker, but lacking as Spider-Man.
Andrew Garfield from The Amazing Spider-man 1 and 2
Despite the adverse reactions from Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man movies, he was a much more talkative (and arguably a better portrayal than Tobey’s) Spider-Man. His jokes were much more evident under the mask, which was very fitting of the character. However, at some points, Andrew’s portrayal was close to almost cocky and jerkish. We can see this in his ‘interrogation’ of the blond thug in The Amazing Spider-man 1. He literally bullied and humiliated the thug for the heck of it. Despite the jerk factor though, he was a decent Spider-Man. On the flip side, his Peter Parker was unfitting.
Despite Andrew having fantastic chemistry with Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy, there were numerous downsides. Apart from looking too old for the part (like Tobey), Andrew’s portrayal was too cool for Peter Parker’s adorably geeky personality. He almost seemed like a jock. In an attempt to make him nerdier, they made Garfield’s incarnation stutter, but we saw through him, and the vibe couldn’t give the part justice.
Overall, a decent Spider-Man but a horrible Peter Parker.
Tom Holland from the Avengers franchise and current Spider-Man movies
Unlike the previous two actors, Holland perfectly fits the role and physique of what Peter Parker should be. Though he isn’t as geeky as Tobey, he is geeky enough to help supplement his portrayal of Spider-Man. Despite that, it seems to support his role even more as it allows for more chemistry with all the characters, and is evident in the films. A notable scene would be the (in)famous Infinity War snap scene on Titan, where it is subjectively his best acting in all his appearances thus far.
Holland does a fantastic Spider-Man. He manages to strike the balance of being annoying enough if you’re an adversary, yet, wholly entertaining if you’re an ally. Holland is a good Spider-Man and Peter Parker.
That being said, who is the best portrayal of our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man? Well, any of them. After all, despite there being debates on who truly is the best, it always seems to be skewed or dependent on who you’re talking to. Older people might prefer Tobey as that was the Spider-Man they grew up with, maybe Tom for how great his acting and his characterization is, or perhaps even Andrew for the memes.
As for me, actor-wise I love Tom Holland, but movie-wise, Tobey Maguire still has my heart (especially since that was the first Spider-Man movie I’ve ever watched).
Who’s your favorite Spidey? Tell us in the comments below!