Evolution of the Spectacular Spider-Man

Matthew Barton | Design Editor


“Spider-Man, Spider-Man, does whatever a spider can. Spins a web, any size, catches thieves just like flies. Look Out! Here comes the Spider-Man!”

Spider-Man first made his appearance in 1962 in Amazing Fantasy #15 and since then has made countless appearances in comic books, television shows, movies, etc. His most recent appearance was in Spider-Man Far from Home which reached new heights and achievements. So, look out box office. Here comes the Spider-Man!

Spider-Man has gone through many changes in the past 17 years since he swung onto the big screen, making his huge debut in Sam Raimi’s 2002 Spider-Man. The Sam Raimi trilogy ran from 2002-2007 (but we don’t really talk about Spider-Man 3) and included many comic book characters such as Mary Jane, Norman and Harry Osborn, Green Goblin, Sandman, and Venom. The three movies in Sam Raimi’s earned a 90%, 93%, and 63% respectively on Rotten Tomatoes. Tobey Maguire’s interpretation of Peter Parker focused more heavily on the “nerdy/loser side” of the character which is much more accurate than the two movies that came next.

In 2012, Sony rebooted the Spider-Man franchise with The Amazing Spider-Man which featured an all-star cast that included Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, and Sally Field. Despite fairly positive (60% or higher) reviews from Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb, the movie is seen as a flop by most Marvel/Spider-Man fans. Andrew Garfield’s interpretation was the “hot and cool” Peter Parker that was very flirtatious and whiney, which upset a lot of fans. Just because he had glasses doesn’t make him the “nerdy type” for which Peter Parker is known. The Amazing Spider-Man led to a sequel in 2014. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has been labeled by fans as the worst Spider-Man movie. Despite the hate and the overwhelmingly negative reviews, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 did offer an in-depth look into the creation of the webs/web-shooters and even pure energy Electro (the main villain of the film). The Amazing Spider-Man 2 ended with a quick cut in the middle of a fight between Spider-Man and Rhino, hinting that there would be a third movie in the Andrew Garfield series. However, fans of Spider-Man would have to wait two more years until the ‘ol Web Head made his way back onto the big screen. But oh was it worth it.

On March 10, 2016 the second Captain America: Civil War trailer was released to the public. It included the typical epic soundtrack, narration from the characters, and brief glimpses of action scenes to keep the audience’s attention. What really caught the audience’s attention is what came after the movie title. A short, five-second clip of Spider-Man swinging from the sky, stealing Captain America’s shield, and then saying, “Hey everyone.” Needless to say, the internet went berserk. People were commenting on how bad the eyes looked and moved (even though they were comic accurate) how weird the costume looked (again, comic accurate) and how high Spider-Man’s voice was (Guess what? Accurate). After the release of CA: Civil War in theaters, it seemed that everyone loved Tom Holland as the new Spider-Man. He was young enough to seem like an actual high school student (as opposed to Tobey Maguire’s age of 27 and Andrew Garfield’s age of 29), had funny quips, and overall acted like the Peter Parker/Spider-Man we all know and love. It was as if Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s comics had come to life.

Following 2016’s Civil War, Tom Holland reprised his role in Spider-Man: Homecoming which boasts a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes. The story follows Peter Parker as he tries to balance his school and social life with being the Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man. After accidentally busting an illegal arms trade, Spider-Man gets caught in a crazy web of lies, secrets, and betrayals as he tracks down the Vulture to stop the spread of the dangerous weapons. Tony Stark commends Peter on his work and offers him a spot in the Avengers but Peter declines. He just wants to be a Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man. Unfortunately, that doesn’t last long. In Avengers: Infinity War, Peter goes into space while trying to save Tony from Thanos’ children, dons his Iron Spider suit, doesn’t feel so good, and is dusted away. After Hulk’s snap brings everyone back, Peter is faced with new responsibilities. In Spider-Man: Far from Home, he has to fight the Elementals while assisting a hidden foe.

As if that wasn’t enough, Sony released Oscar Winner Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Spider-Verse was a uniquely animated movie with a fabulous voice cast that explored the origins of Miles Morales in an earth where Peter Parker died, and the world needed a new Spider-Man.

The theater has seen lots of wall crawlers in the last two decades, but none had passed the $1 billion mark. That is, until Spider-Man: Far from Home broke that barrier in the last few days of July. (Far from Home is the third consecutive Marvel film to break $1 billion. Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame are the two prior to FFH).  Far from Home breaking the billion-dollar mark is impressive and exciting, for sure. It’s spectacular to see this milestone reached! This milestone is also good news for Marvel and fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Marvel will now be able to make a third Spider-Man movie (that takes place in the MCU) without Sony taking away their rights.

This heroic feat couldn’t have been done without the heroes who created him: Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, the creative minds at Marvel, and, of course, the hero himself. Spider-Man. An ordinary teen given extraordinary powers speaks to young people and gives hope to those who need it. Not only that, but his motto is something to live by every day: “With great power comes great responsibility.”

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