Holland’s Spider-Man is technologically advanced, with a high-tech suit designed by Tony Stark, setting him apart from previous versions.
Holland’s Spider-Man experiences growth and independence, stepping out of Iron Man’s shadow and making choices unique to his character.
Tom Holland’s Spider-Man is the third cinematic iteration of the web-slinger, with several notable scenes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that would not have been possible for his two predecessors. Following several live-action TV versions of Spider-Man, such as the Nicholas Hammond iteration from the late 1970s, Tobey Maguire became the first actor to play Peter Parker in a proper cinematic adaptation, with 2002’s Spider-Man becoming a beloved and highly influential film that helped establish the modern superhero movie genre. Maguire’s successor, Andrew Garfield, played a new iteration of Spider-Man in Marc Webb’s two Amazing Spider-Man movies before Marvel’s flagship character finally entered the MCU, played by Tom Holland.
Whereas the Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield Spider-Man iterations were highly accurate to the comics, Tom Holland had to differentiate himself from the two. While all three versions of Spider-Man were not the only Marvel heroes in their respective universes, Holland’s was the only one who could interact with the likes of Iron Man or Captain America. This, combined with the aforementioned need to distinguish Holland’s Spider-Man from Maguire and Garfield, resulted in a Spider-Man who, while likable and fully realized, is more of an original take on the character than a comic-accurate one. With this, came 10 scenes that could not have happened in the previous two Spider-Man franchises.
10 Spider-Man’s Recruitment By Tony Stark
Tom Holland’s Spider-Man debuted in Captain America: Civil War, immediately distinguishing him from Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield by having him appear in another Marvel hero’s movie. With Sony owning the film rights to Spider-Man, previous movies could not include other Marvel heroes, nor could the MCU include Spider-Man for a time. Sony and Marvel Studios had reached an agreement by the time Civil War began production, however, allowing a new version of Spider-man to be introduced. Peter Parker’s recruitment by Tony Stark also set the stage for his mentorship and friendship with Tony Stark.
9 Spider-Man’s Civil War Airport Fight
The Maguire and Garfield Spider-Man universes both canonically include other Marvel superheroes, though they are usually only referenced in the films and their respective spinoff material (such as their Spider-Man novelizations and video games). In his debut, Tom Holland’s Spider-Man is not only recruited by Iron Man but also battles alongside him against Captain America’s contingent of former Avengers. The MCU’s Spider-Man is first shown in a trailer for Civil War, leaping into view after briefly stealing Captain America’s shield, showcasing that this new Spider-Man would be defined by his placement in the MCU.
8 Spider-Man Unlocks His High-Tech Suit
For most of his history in the comics and the first two cinematic incarnations, Spider-Man has been a relatively low-tech hero. Spider-Man’s most famous gadgets are his web-shooters (which the Maguire films eschewed), but he only started to become a tech-heavy hero in the early 2010s. Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, by unlocking the full potential of his costume (which was designed and created by Tony Stark), accessed a plethora of web-shooter firing modes, drones, an advanced AI companion, and so much more (including an “instant kill” mode). The previous Spider-Man variants were based on older eras of the comics and lacked the budget and resources to arm themselves with such technology.
7 Spider-Man Chooses To Stay Street-Level
As one of the most relatable superheroes of all time, Spider-Man is, unsurprisingly, defined by stories with smaller and more personal stakes than world-ending threats and multiversal escapades. This was the case for Maguire and Garfield, but with Tom Holland’s Spider-Man becoming an ally of Iron Man less than a year into his superhero career, he wished to tackle bigger threats than bike thieves. By the end of Spider-Man: Homecoming, however, Peter Parker declines Tony Stark’s offer to become a full-fledged Avenger, resolving to remain a “Friendly Neighborhood” Spider-Man instead, an arc that would not need to happen in the comics or previous film iterations.
6 Spider-Man Becomes Iron Spider
One iconic element of the Civil War comic that was absent from the film adaptation was Spider-Man’s Iron Spider suit. While Spider-Man’s Stark-designed, gadget-laden, red and blue suit in Civil War functioned similarly to the famous metal suit, the proper Iron Spider armor finally appeared at the end of Homecoming and was finally donned by Spider-Man in Avengers: Infinity War. Only an iteration of Spider-Man who is closely tied to the larger Marvel universe – specifically Iron Man – could use the Iron Spider suit, making the suit impossible to appear in either previous Spider-Man film franchise.
5 Spider-Man’s Thanos Fight & Death
Due to his MCU connections and subsequent larger-scale stories, Tom Holland’s Spider-Man fought the Black Order and Thanos himself in Infinity War. Holland’s version of Spider-Man even mentioned that he has fought aliens both on Earth and in space in Spider-Man: No Way Home, impressing the other two Spider-Man variants. Unfortunately, Tom Holland’s Spider-Man is also the only iteration to die, as he perishes along with half of the universe’s population when Thanos’ plot succeeds.
4 Spider-Man Joins The Avengers
Not only is Tom Holland’s Spider-Man the only version who has died, but he is also the only one who has been resurrected, having been brought back to life by The Hulk, who used the Infinity Stones to reverse Thanos’s mass murder. In both Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, Holland’s Spider-Man becomes an official Avenger and fights Thanos’s forces alongside them. Although Maguire and Garfield’s Spider-Man variants have other Marvel heroes in their universes, they apparently have not formed The Avengers yet (or simply use a different team name), leading to a particularly humorous misunderstanding about the group in No Way Home.
3 Spider-Man Grows Out Of Iron Man’s Shadow
Another key element of both the Spider-Man of the comics and the previous film franchises is his independence. Having lost his father figure as a teenager and needing to enter the workforce early to help his mother figure make ends meet, Peter Parker was forced to grow up much faster than he was ready for. Peter is also a loner as Spider-Man, even with his many allies. The older films understood this element of Spider-Man’s character, but the MCU made him Iron Man’s protege instead of his colleague. Spider-Man’s character arc in Spider-Man: Far From Home has him learn to no longer be defined by his relation to Iron Man.
2 Spider-Man Chooses To Cure His Enemies
While all versions of Spider-Man refrain from killing their enemies, it is rare for them to truly redeem them instead of simply defeating them. Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man and the comic incarnation of the web-slinger regularly defeat The Lizard by turning him back into Doctor Curt Connors, repeated instances of “curing” their villains are few and far between. When facing the villains of the previous two Spider-Man franchises, however, Tom Holland’s Spider-Man opts to remove their powers from the get-go, seeing an opportunity to save their lives.
1 Spider-Man Fights Alongside His Two Predecessors
Joining Tom Holland’s Spider-Man in this mission to cure the five supervillains are none other than Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man variants. It is thanks to the MCU’s use of the multiverse as a plot device that allows Holland’s Spider-Man to interact with the other two Spider-Men and their respective villains. Maguire and Garfield’s Spider-Man iterations also gain the opportunity to spare their enemies by “curing” them. The larger scale of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and its multiversal premise allow all three versions of Spider-Man to team up in the finale of No Way Home.
Key Release Dates
Captain America: Brave New World
Marvel’s Fantastic Four
Avengers: The Kang Dynasty
Avengers: Secret Wars
What sets Holland’s Spider-Man apart? Read More