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Time to Answer the Big Question: Who’s the Best Spider-Man?

Spider-Man

Okay, we’ve avoided this subject long enough, but we can’t beat around the bush any longer: who is the best Spider-Man? Could it be Tobey Maguire, the classic Spider-Man? Maybe Andrew Garfield, the short-lived Spider-Man with the great hair? Or is it Tom Holland, the upstart who managed to weasel his way into the Avengers?

I can already tell this is going to be a fun debate. Go wild in the comments, guys!

Tobey Maguire: Pros

It’s been so long since I actually watched Sam Raimi’s original Spider-Man films that I feel like they’re only a distant dream, but I promise I remember the highlights. As a start to the Spider-Man universe, it wasn’t bad. Tobey Maguire is actually surprisingly believable as a superhero (though I prefer him in almost any other role). He has the agility and charisma to attract audiences. Not to mention he was quite a heartthrob at the time.

Overall, Tobey Maguire was the best of both worlds when it came to our beloved spidey friend. He was a relatably awkward teenager but a talented web-slinger. He lacked the self-confidence he needed to truly blast off but he was strong enough to save New York City more than a few times. More than anything, he had the pure heart needed to portray to audiences what a superhero was.

Best Spider-Man

Image via The Hollywood Reporter

For starting off the Spider-Man franchise, it was a solid performance.

Tobey Maguire: Cons

Tobey Maguire is a great actor, but he would have never made it in silent movies. Why? Because he makes this face.

Best Spider-Man

Image via Pinterest

Imagine you couldn’t hear a thing that was going on and you just see that face. What do you think is going on? Is he constipated? Did he smell something rancid? Is he trying to smile in a wind tunnel? Your guess is as good as mine.

Then there’s the fact that the early Spider-Man movies were just so…campy. The CGI was just a tad too outrageous to be believable. So, even if Tobey Maguire gave a fantastic, Oscar-winning performance, the CGI just ruined everything. His performance was just a little too much and tips the scales toward ridiculous more often than not.

Andrew Garfield: Pros

Andrew Garfield played the best Spider-Man, meaning he played the best actual superhero, not the best Peter Parker. He had the agility and the looks to fit right in with a hunky line-up of superheroes. He was just nerdy enough to play off the lovable geek but hot enough to win a bombshell like Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). While it makes the power couple easy on the eyes, it also makes it slightly less relatable.

Garfield also had a certain boyish humor about him. His awkwardness wasn’t painful to watch like it was with Tobey Maguire. Rather, it was cute and rather endearing to watch him struggle with his new powers and fight off the bad guys with trademark Spider-Man wit while also courting Gwen Stacy.

Best Spider-Man

Image via Den of Geek

Garfield also had the greatest onscreen chemistry with his love interest. Offscreen, Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield get along swimmingly and it’s easily noticeable onscreen. Their characters’ dialogue melds perfectly together and their more romantic moments never seem forced. From the moment they meet, sparks fly between them and one can easily see that Spider-Man will get the girl.

Andrew Garfield: Cons

Andrew Garfield was so forgettable. Can you seriously tell me you remember any specific aspect of his performance? He melted a little too into the role. Actors actually do have a hard job in this aspect — if they melt into the role just enough, we get both their personality and the character’s personality and they win Oscars. If they melt too much into the role, everyone forgets their name because they aren’t watching an actor, they’re watching a character.

Best Spider-Man

Image via BBC America

And that was Garfield’s problem. Despite starring opposite Emma Stone — who is, by all means, the next Katharine Hepburn in my eyes — he just couldn’t stand out and became just another Hollywood wallflower. In fact, I don’t think he really hit his stride until Hacksaw Ridge (2016). He could have been a stunt double the whole movie and it would have had the same impact.

And that’s about all I can say about him, because I truly don’t remember that much about his performance.

Tom Holland: Pros

Oh my heavens he is so attractive and adorable.

But that is slightly beside the point.

Overall, Tom Holland’s Spider-Man was the perfect mix of athleticism and awkwardness, if that’s possible. We got all the geeky adorableness that we love from Peter Parker and all the coolness of a webslinging prodigy. Not to mention the humor significantly improved now that Marvel has control of the Spider-Man franchise. Tom Holland’s natural comedic timing and nonchalant attitude really brings the character to life. He also had superb onscreen chemistry with his costar Jacob Batalon with whom he builds a strong rapport that audiences loved.

I’d also like to note that this is the first movie where I actually felt true emotion from Spider-Man. It wasn’t canned like with Garfield and Maguire — this Spider-Man was real. When Holland lets the tears flow, the whole audience cries with him, which is an amazing feat for an actor his age.

Best Spider-Man

Image via SlashFilm

Tom Holland: Cons

Tom Holland looks like a baby. As cute as he is, that’s just the problem — he’s just slightly too young. Of course, I know he’s supposed to be in high school and he is actually 20-something in real life, but he just sounds like a whiny twelve-year-old during most of his screen time. I mean, the constant references to pop culture and the cheesy one-liners are funny for a while, but there are times when you wonder just how necessary they are. We get it, Marvel. Peter is an innocent, funny kid and we should all love him.

Best Spider-Man

Image via Digital Spy

In Infinity War (2018), he considerably matures from his more carefree persona in Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), but he still has that annoying little kid vibe. Peter Parker isn’t supposed to be entirely helpless, but that’s exactly how Holland chooses to portray his character. As endearing as it is, it’s time for Peter to grow up and realize he’s a superhero now, not just a nerd building Death Star replicas in his basement.

And the Winner is…

Tom Holland!

Best Spider-Man

Image via ScreenGeek

With Tom Holland, you get the best of both worlds. We get an adorably awkward teenage (who actually looks like a teenager) Peter Parker and an incredibly athletic, talented Spider-Man. Marvel lays it on a little thick trying to get us to realize how young and clueless Peter is, but it really only adds a likable dimension to the character that Andrew Garfield or Tobey Maguire just couldn’t seem to muster.

If we’re going to be honest, Marvel deserves much of the credit for this choice. With over twenty superhero films under their belt, the studio is a master of the genre and knows exactly what the audience wants. In choosing a young, attractive face in Tom Holland, who also has the desirable characteristics of our favorite arachnid hero, Marvel has created the greatest Spider-Man representation for a generation to come.


Thank you for reading! Who do you think is the best Spider-Man? Comment down below!

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24 Responses

  1. My teenage-crush on Andrew Garfield says you’re wrong :-p

  2. Kali Tuttle says:

    Uh no never why would you think that?? hahaha…haha..ha

  3. I feel like the perfect Peter Parker/Spider-Man is a combination of all 3 actors.

  4. Sam Simon says:

    Interesting post, but I have to say that I prefer Tobey Maguire among all!

  5. Spider-Man is my all time favourite superhero! I loved what all three of the actors have done. They all look cool in the suit, they’ve all portrayed the character differently, but if I had to pick one, it would be Tobey Maguire! Like many, he’s the Spider-Man I grew up with. He was amazing in the trilogy and he made me a bigger fan of Spidey with his films! My favourite film is Spider-Man 2 – the storyline was brilliant alongside the inclusion of Doc Ock as the main villain! Though I enjoyed watching Andrew Garfield and enjoying Tom Holland’s performance, Tobey Maguire will always be the true Spider-Man in my eyes!

    • Kali Tuttle says:

      I agree all three actors have all added their own little spin on the character! Tobey Maguire seems to be a classic among our readers though 🙂

  6. Writergurlny says:

    I have to admit that I would say Tobey Maguire, but only because that was the last time I saw a stand alone Spiderman movie. But, Tom Holland is still pretty good when looped in with the rest of the Avengers.

    • Kali Tuttle says:

      That’s a valid point: Tom Holland has always had at least one other Avenger to prop him up. Wonder how he would do in a completely standalone film?

  7. Tom Holland crush, much?

    For me, it’ll always be Tobey Maguire!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Tobey is the best! Obviously the cgi doesnt hold up but i still think his mobies had the best action scenes with great acting in between

  9. pajamapopcorn says:

    I agree with the comment about 2002-2006 Spidey. When I saw it in high school (yes, I grew up on Tobey as Peter Parker), I was dazzled by it. This was the movie that made me fall in love with Spider-Man. I’ll agree it probably is more campy nowadays though (especially 3). Let’s not even talk about 3. Tobey deserved a better sendoff. Point is, in 20 years, the special effects of all movies from our current time will be, well, not-so-special effects. I remember when they added realistic looking hair to the monsters in Monsters, Inc., and everyone was impressed. We’ve come a long way, even since then.

    For all my love of Tobey though, I do have to say Tom is probably the best Spidey overall. He’s both dorky and adorable and he can do all of the signature Spider-Man tricks. I was unsure of him at first because I didn’t think we needed to beat a dead horse with so many films of this hero already, but he surprised me. I was glad I let him into my heart. Also, I think my heart can hold multiple Spideys, much like the Spider-Verse. 😉

    P.S. Miles Morales and Ghost Spider are pretty awesome as well.

  10. Olaf Lesniak says:

    If you think the CGI in OG Spidey aged poorly wait until you watch Holland’s in a few years.His suit already looks bothersome in many of the shots in Homecoming. And that’s his suit! A suit which you’re supposed to look at all the dang time. Tom’s stories also lack the classic Spider-Man feel, and come off too much as a Spider-Man toy than a Spider-Man narrative about responsibility, friends, family, and powers.

    • Kali Tuttle says:

      True, but he’ll be the one I identify with most, so I like him. Who’s your favorite Spider-Man, Olaf?

  11. Nick Kush says:

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