By Ryan Amante and Linda Cheung
The debate over the best portrayal of Peter Parker/Spider-Man has been a heated discussion among Marvel fans, especially given the recent release of "Spider-Man: No Way Home." All three of these actors, Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield and Tom Holland, have brought their own unique portrayal of Spider-Man and Peter Parker. However, there is a lot of discussion over who created the most compelling character. Please note: This article will contain spoilers for "Spider-Man: No Way Home."
One of the most essential elements of any Spider-Man movie is how Peter Parker balances the weight of being Spider-Man with the weight of being a normal kid from the city. Parker must navigate through complicated relationships in his social, love and family lives, and all three portrayals encounter various obstacles in their journeys. Additionally, each actor adds their own unique take on Parker’s personality, while adhering to the essential elements of the character. For example, many fans feel that Garfield added a more humorous take on Parker, while others feel that Holland better portrays a younger and more school-aged version of Parker.
“I personally loved Andrew’s performance, he was amazing in "NWH." I think he is a phenomenal (and the best) Spider-Man, and I was truly shocked to see him show up in this movie. My favorite scene in the whole entire movie was when he saved MJ from falling. It was an amazing parallel to his original movie when he wasn’t able to catch Gwen from falling, and it made me so emotional. I was genuinely crying for most of the movie, especially when he was having that special, little moment with MJ after he saved her. It was very evident that a weight was lifted from his shoulders and some of the guilt that was burdening his life was no longer there. I think Andrew’s acting in this was truly some of the best I’ve ever seen,” sophomore Gigi Giannatsis said.
One of the pillars of Parker’s character is his humble origins. This humility further adds to his character, since it gives people an icon to look up to. He cannot afford to purchase expensive and complex suits to fight in and better represents the average person.
“Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker is the most entertaining because he’s poor. I think a big flaw in Hollywood nowadays is that even when a character is described as poor or not financially stable, the issues that come with being poor aren’t usually faced. Maguire’s Peter has to deal with issues that many of us face. Even if none of us have to deal with paying rent, teens have dealt with the stress of trying to make money, especially from low wage jobs when it’s the only thing we can do. It’s a little sad, but it’s relatable and makes him feel way more grounded,” senior Daniella Canning said.
“I think Andrew Garfield is the best Spider-Man and Peter Parker because I grew up reading the Spider-Man comics, and the Spider-Man/Peter Parker that I know is somebody who is meant to be someone who really enjoys being Spider-Man, someone who seems like an average person and anyone could be under the mask. I feel like Andrew Garfield was the only one who encapsulated that because Tobey Maguire was more nerdy, and I feel like Tom Holland comes off as too much of a kid. He’s more reactionary,” English teacher Mr. Ryan said.
Source by Hannah Kim
Fans of all ages debate on who they think is the best Spider-Man.
Many fans take entertainment into consideration when determining their top pick. As most feel Tom Holland had the most relatable portrayal of Peter Parker, many high schoolers gravitate towards his performance in the film.
“Despite all the rave about Andrew, I still think Tom plays the best Spider-Man. He portrays how difficult it is to balance being Peter Parker and Spider-Man at the same time really well,” freshman Arianna Chu said.
“I think the most compelling Spider-Man is Tom Holland purely while in the suit. He cracked jokes in classic Spider-Man fashion, and his style of fighting and logic while in the suit is the most Spider-Man-like of the three, and he demonstrated his bravery numerous times throughout the MCU films risking his life on many occasions,” sophomore Ethan Mehta said.
“I think from an entertainment value and relatability, then Tom Holland did the best job because he seems like an awkward relatable high school kid.” sophomore Julia Tews said.
One of the most defining aspects of any portrayal of Peter Parker is his chemistry with his friends and family. These relationships often add to the stakes of the conflict and are vital to the movies, since it is what gives him the motivation to continue and the wisdom to conquer his problems.
“Tom Holland's Peter Parker and his aunt May were the best. For a while, I was upset with the MCU and how they sort of ignored May in previous movies, especially since she is pivotal to Peter's moral and character developments. Acting as a mother figure for him, seeing her with Peter in "NWH" felt like a good fix. I was really sad by what happened in "NWH" but by having her say one of the most important phrases in the Spider-Man meta it cements her as the backbone for a lot of Peter's motivations in future endeavors,” Canning said.
Peter Parker’s relationship with side characters also cements a depth to the plot because it makes Peter’s character more meaningful. It reminds the viewers that he is just a high schooler, and his actions affect others, just like anyone else. It allows viewers to be more emotionally connected to the character.
“I was alone in senior year of high school. I went alone in the middle of the day to see "The Amazing Spider-Man 2," and I cried because I didn’t remember that Gwen died. I didn’t remember that that happened in the comics, so I was glad that Andrew got redemption and was able to save MJ. To me, that was the saddest part of the movie. I don’t think they intended for it to be sad, just kind of letting him forgive himself and cry at the reality that he can save people instead of just hurting them,” Mr. Ryan said.
Without Tony Stark’s technology, Peter is forced to adapt to his new life with no connections and no resources, eventually getting his own apartment and studying for the GED. His friends, Ned Leeds and MJ Watson have no recollection of Peter, so at the conclusion of the movie, Peter starts a new chapter of his life with a clean slate. Many fans felt disappointed in Marvel’s portrayal of Spider-Man because he was reliant on Stark Technologies to fight enemies, however, this reset provides Peter with a clean slate for a Spider-Man that is more representative of his comic book counterpart.
“I think Tom Holland is the most compelling Spider-Man because I’m so interested to see where Marvel goes from here. With the position he’s now in, he’s starting basically over; he has no friends and no Stark Tech… I trust Marvel, at this point they’ve earned that because of the fact that they haven’t missed once in this whole MCU, but I’m very intrigued to see what direction they’re going in, because I do love the way they introduced Tom Holland’s Peter Parker, I think that was the appropriate way to bring him into this universe,” math teacher Mr. Brusca stated.