Spider-Man: Which Live-Action Adaptation is the Best?

which spiderman is best

Spider-Man has been one of Marvel’s longest-running comics and has always been a fan-favourite superhero in the geek community. It’s safe to say that the web-slinger is every bit as popular as the likes of Hulk, Captain America, Fantastic Four and other top superheroes in the Marvel Universe.

Thanks to Sam Raimi, we got to see our friendly-neighbourhood Spider-Man on the big screen for the first time. A successful journey that gave us a stellar trilogy and has since birthed three different iterations of the character with Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield given to us by Sony Entertainment, and the current live-action version by Marvel Studios/Disney which sees Tom Holland play the titular role.

The iterations have long since sparked many debates about “which Spider-Man is the best” on almost every medium available, and I’m here to weigh in my own thoughts on it. (Hey! it’s better late than never, no?)

To help understand my point of view better, I will be breaking down each iteration of Spider-Man and telling you what I love and hate about them.

<<See Also – Spider-Man: The Evolution Of Your Friendly Neighbourhood Wall-Crawler in Live-Action Movies>>

TOBEY MAGUIRE

There is no doubt that Spider-Man 2 changed the game and became the benchmark of how superhero movies should be created (when not counting Wesley Snipes’ Blade Trilogy). It deserves every praise it gets, yes, but is Tobey Maguire’s version the best iteration of the character?

Sam Raimi’s famous trilogy was more about what the movie offered as a whole and the story/character development of all the cast members as opposed to Tobey’s Spider-Man being as close to the comic book version as possible.

His webs were organic as opposed to the web-shooters in the comics and cartoons, his character was so intertwined with Mary Jane, that they didn’t show so much of his genius-level intellect except in Spider-Man 2, and instead dwelled heavily on his on and off love with MJ and MJ’s career or lack of it.  Almost every time he wasn’t in costume, it was either about Mary Jane or an impending disaster which would see him wear his costume. Peter Parker didn’t have a story, Spidey did.

Honestly, the nostalgia of being the first makes people automatically call his name when asked the question, but while his run (and acting) as the wall-crawler was great, you don’t see a live-action adaptation of the comic book in Tobey’s version. You see a totally different Spider-Man created for the film’s run.

ANDREW GARFIELD

Sony’s second iteration of the character has been met with nothing but heavy criticism and this comes as a serious shock to me because Andrew’s version is the closest to being Spider-Man from the comics we have gotten onscreen.

When you flip through the pages of a Spider-Man comic, you see lots of quipping, wins, losses, and everyday things in the life of both Peter Parker and Spider-Man that you as a reader can relate to, the same things Andrew Garfield bring out.

<<READ – MCU Recap: The Complete MCU Timeline Rundown Before Avengers: Endgame >>

His genius-level intellect was shown numerous times in just two movies, he lost at the end of every movie, and his growth/character development was near-perfect if we are being serious. A Spider-Man comic reader can attest to the fact that he almost always loses something at the end of every arc (from Uncle Ben, his relationships, company, friendships, to even his life,) and the loss of Uncle Ben, Gwen Stacy and her father, and Harry Osborne in The Amazing Spider-Man movies portrays this beautifully. He created his own webbing, had amazing chemistry with Gwen, and save for the final fight with the Green Goblin, he always quipped when fighting and made jokes that are reminiscent of what you see in the comics.

TOM HOLLAND

spider-man far from home
Spider-Man/Marvel Studios

Tom Holland being part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe should put him miles ahead of the competition, but sadly, it only shoots him terribly in the foot because his identity is lost in the bigger universe.

All his villains have so far been people Tony Stark pissed off (and didn’t even know he pissed off, nor did he care to, well, care,) while he was alive in the MCU, and making Spider-Man do nothing else but make amends for Tony’s errors show that Tom Holland’s Spider-Man doesn’t really have anything to offer.

<<READ MORE: Sony Confirms Spider-Man Will Join Venom’s Universe >>

In the comics, Spider-Man is his own man/boy. Every superhero team wants him to be a part of theirs and they will jump at any chance to work with him. His villains are all unique in their own way, but in the live-action version of Disney’s run, his villains don’t have any substance at all because if Tony wasn’t a douchebag, he wouldn’t have made more people like The Mandarin from Iron Man 3.

You can make the case of Tony Stark being his mentor, but that makes it worse because a mentor is meant to guide you on your own journey, not indirectly force you to live his.

I will admit that Tom Holland is a great Peter Parker. We get to follow Peter as a teenager on his journey and that is something I really appreciate, something we don’t see much of in comic book movie adaptations. Seeing the superheroes in their normal, regular life, and struggling outside the suit like we regular humans do is awesome, but as for Tom being the best Spider-Man, that cannot be further from the truth.

To be honest, Andrew Garfield’s live-action adaptation is still the best so far and the others don’t come close. Tobey Maguire might have the best Spider-Man movie, Tom Holland might be the best Peter Parker, but the best Spider-Man is Andrew Garfield.

What do you think about my analysis? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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