MCU Spider-Man: The 3 Peter Parkers’ Powers & Personalities
Marvel’s Spider-Man: No Way Home finally brings together all three Spideys! The latest MCU movie uses its universe’s newest forays into the Multiverse to allow three generations of Spider-Man to meet in canon. First, we have the current Spider-Man played by Tom Holland. Then there’s Andrew Garfield’s Amazing Spider-Man. Finally, there’s Tobey Maguire to strengthen the already unbreakable threads — or webs — of nostalgia weaving their way into the fabric of this film.
Of course, while all these men are Peter Parker, three different iterations of Spider-Man have plenty of differences. Their depictions have changed over the years based on their actors, directors, writers, and time periods. So below, we’re comparing and contrasting the powers and personalities of all three versions of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Spider-Man!
Tobey Maguire Spider-Man
One of the first and most beloved on-screen Spider-Man characters, Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man is born in the ’80s and lives in Queens, New York. He’s in love with his next door neighbor Mary Jane Watson. His best friend is Harry Osborn, son of Oscorp founder Norman Osborn (Green Goblin). All of these teens attend a New York City high school where the skinny, geeky Peter Parker is bullied mercilessly.
Eventually Peter is bitten by a radioactive spider during a school field trip to Columbia University. He endures an evening of intense pain and fever, awakening the next morning completely transformed. His DNA bonds with spider DNA, enhancing his musculature and precognition — AKA “spider sense.” This Peter Peter is super strong and agile. He can also shoot webs from his own wrists and wall crawl with his bare hands. After his Uncle Ben’s death, Peter lives a double life as both a Daily Bugle photographer and the super hero Spider-Man.
Tobey’s Peter is pretty grounded and peaceful. He’s young, but often seems emotionally mature for his age and takes his responsibility as a hero very seriously. When he’s bonded with the Venom symbiote, he’s brash and toxic, and that drastic change shows just how good Peter Parker is at his actual core.
Andrew Garfield Spider-Man
Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker is a ’90s kid. This Peter is a little more suave, and while unpopular in school, seems pretty confident even before his spider bite. He’s intelligent and he’s very aware of that. Skilled in the sciences, he attends a high school field trip to a laboratory where he’s bitten by a radioactive spider. Afterwards, his strength, speed, durability — and ego — are all boosted.
The main difference with this Spider-Man is how he creates webs. While Andrew’s Spider-Man can crawl on walls and use his spider sense, he can’t make webs inside his body. Instead, he manufacturers his own web shooters, which he wears on his wrists. These webs are strong enough to stick to buildings and to hold Spider-Man as he swings around the city.
Like Tobey before him, Andrew Garfield Spidey works at the Daily Bugle. But this high school senior’s main love interest is Gwen Stacy, a woman who only briefly appears in the previous Spider-Man trilogy. Gwen has an instrumental role in the Amazing Spider-Man’s life. Her death is similarly impactful. For a Spider-Man who seems to carry grief on him like a backpack, Peter’s inability to save Gwen’s life instills within him an even deeper sadness that Andrew Garfield takes to heart in his portrayal.
Tom Holland Spider-Man
In current MCU canon, Peter Parker is an NYC high school student who lives with his Aunt May. Peter is a bit of an outcast, though with the modern 21st-century setting there isn’t as much of an ’80s trope-filled bullying aspect. Instead, we see more of Peter’s social anxiety and awkwardness. Even after Peter is bitten by a radioactive spider — refreshingly this isn’t shown onscreen, but is established as existing fact — he keeps his head down and fights petty crime. You know, as a youthful, plucky, charming amateur who makes his own web fluid and pajama-like costume.
Unlike the first two rather adult-appearing Spideys, Tom actually looks and acts like a high school student. It helps that Tom Holland is the youngest actor yet to portray Spider-Man. Peter and his BFF Ned Leeds even play with LEGO sets after school. Peter has adorable crushes on Liz Toomes and Michelle “MJ” Jones. Finally, Peter worries about his hero work interfering with his homework, something that an older super hero like Iron Man can’t even comprehend.
And speaking of Iron Man, Tom Holland’s Spider-Man is the first live-action Spider-Man to work with the Avengers. There’s even a fun scene in Spider-Man: No Way Home when the other Peters question what the Avengers are. It just goes to show how the character’s popularity only continues to increase. Spider-Man is an essential part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and we’re excited to see more of him as Phase Four continues.
Who is your favorite MCU Spider-Man? Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to Let Your Geek Sideshow!