Opinion: Who Plays the Best Peter Parker/Spider-Man?

Libby Maier, Critic

Over the course of two decades, three men have donned the red and blue suit of the iconic superhero Spider-Man.  Starting out as the first live-action Peter Parker/Spider-Man was Tobey Maguire. Maguire was Spider-Man for three films lasting five years before the role was taken over by Andrew Garfield. Garfield’s run as Spider-Man lasted for only two films ending with “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” after the third movie in the trilogy was not picked up by Sony. After a deal between Sony and Marvel two years after the release of “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” Spider-Man was introduced to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and played by Tom Holland.

With the release of “No Way Home” bringing hope of seeing all three Spider-Men on the screen together, debates have started on who gave the best portrayal of Peter Parker/Spider-Man; Maquire, Garfield, or Holland. 

While there has been a lot of criticism surrounding his movies, Holland is arguably the best Peter Parker/Spider-Man. Throughout his films we watch as Peter turns into the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man we know and love— all while keeping the nerdy charm that Peter Parker is known for. Holland’s version of Peter Parker is also the only believable teenager partially because of the fact that he was a teenager when he started playing Spider-Man at the age of 19. There is a sense of youth he brings to the character that Garfield and Maguire lacked in their movies. Spider-Man at his heart is Peter Parker, this normal kid from Queens who was suddenly given superpowers.

What really sets Holland’s Spider-Man apart from the rest is the difference in his origin story. Throughout three movies, Peter is seen to grow into Spider-man. These three films became his origin story rather than a 15-minute sequence in the first film. The film spends time showing the consequences of Peter’s actions, as well as taking the time to build meaningful relationships between Peter and the other characters. This helps so that when a tragedy strikes, like it, so often does in the life of Peter Parker, that loss hurts. The audience has a deeper connection to the character than they would someone who has about five minutes of screen time before they die.