In honor of Spider-Man: Homecoming’s release, the 6NerdyChicks have compiled a list of our favorite Spider-Man adaptations. Read on to see if your favorite made the cut!
Now, let me preface this by saying that I’ve never been a HUGE Spider-Man fan. I like the guy and all but it’s not one of those franchises that grabbed my attention the way other (many, many other) franchises have. That being said, I’ve only ever seen the Tobey Maguire live action (and the little bit of Tom Holland, but it’s too early to judge) movies, and they were just kind of…meh…to me. Tobey wasn’t exactly what I think of when I think “superhero” (which might actually be the point), but something about that kid just didn’t inspire full fledged fangirling in me. Let’s not even get started on Spider-Man 3.
Anyway, my pick for best Spider-Man is Spider-Man: The Animated Series. This adaptation of our friendly neighborhood superhero was one I actually watched a lot as a kid. Spider-Man, to me, really does work best in animated form. Maybe it’s because CGI never looks as real as I want it to, or maybe it’s because (as I get older) I actually get dizzy watching “real life” Spider-Man swing around from building to building. Getting old sucks, kids; everything makes me dizzy these days. The series was cool, funny, and action packed while keeping quality storylines coming. There were cameos by the X-Men, and Venom was the sh*t! The 90’s really were a great time for animated Marvel TV shows, amirite? This animated series is the Spider-Man I remember most fondly. I know other animated versions have been more critically acclaimed but this one came on just in time to earn a special place in 7 year-old James’ heart. The show went of for 5 seasons and was only cancelled because of “conflicts behind-the-scenes,” which is a bummer, but goes to show how well the show did in ratings as well as quality. Plus, that intro, tho.
I feel I’m about to lose a lot of credibility here, but one of my favorite adaptations of Spider-Man is Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man starring Andrew Garfield. The fact that this reboot came just 5 years after Sam Raimi’s trilogy ended definitely hurt the movie seeing how many fans automatically associated Peter Parker with Tobey Maguire, making them unwilling to give Andrew Garfield a chance. But can I tell you a secret? ….I was not a fan of Raimi’s Spider-Man series.
Hold on, let me explain.
Yes, I understand its significance in as being one of the franchises that ushered in this cinematic age of nerd-dominance. And the movie probably single-handedly began my brief obsession with James Franco (you know, that obsession we all had when he was getting multiple graduate degrees and being nominated for Oscars – right before he starred in Spring Breakers?). But the movie always felt too Pleasantville to me. I like my superhero movies to have a bit of bite; where was all the witty humor? They tried to bring in some grit with Spider-Man 3, and as fast as you can say “dancing sequence,” I was out.
The Amazing Spider-Man brought a lot of what I felt the Spider-Man trilogy lacked. I loved the wisecracking banter and thought Garfield’s charisma brought the character to life. The movie was a ton of fun, excluded overly cringey scenes (*cough*Spider-Man 3 cooking scene*cough*), and managed to be action-packed while not sacrificing its humor or heart. The movie obviously still has problems – I did not buy the almost-30 Garfield as a high school student for a second – but it still ranks high on my list of superhero movies, and is my pick for favorite Spider-Man adaptation.
I’m gonna call it: Tom Holland is my favorite Spider-Man. As of the writing of this article, I haven’t seen the Spider-Man: Homecoming, but I’ve seen the trailer and his cameo in Civil War. Most importantly, I’ve seen Tom Holland perform Rihanna’s “Umbrella” on Lip Sync Battle, and that alone wins him the title, for me, of best Spider-Man.
My beef with the other Spider-Men – Tobey, Andrew, and 90’s cartoon included – is they were not young enough. Peter Parker is legitimately supposed to be a high school student. That’s the origin story, and that’s also the appeal of the character. Tobey Macguire was 27 when Spider-Man released in 2002. Andrew Garfield was 29 when The Amazing Spider-Man came out in 2012. And that 90’s cartoon guy was a little too studly to be a young awkward high school nerd. Look at this chiseled face:
Tom Holland is 21 years old, which means he was probably around 19-20 years old during the filming of Homecoming. That’s the closest we’ve gotten so far to a properly young Peter Parker. And if you watched the “Umbrella” video above (which you should. It is legitimately amazing), you can see that Tom Holland’s got that youthful vigor. DAT DEATH DROP THO.
In Sam Raimi’s final installment of Spider-Man, there’s a lot going on… multiple villains, awkward love triangles, James Franco, etc. But one of the most notable moments people remember from this franchise is the when Peter Parker is infected by the alien symbiote, and it takes over his personality. This is the gift we receive, a super dork reflective of all of us in how we just want to be some struttin’ cool guy with sweet dance moves.
Tobey Maguire played my Spider-Man in three films. He gave us this geeky kid trying to come into his own with powers given to him by a radioactive spider. He’s not some cool guy. He’s a dweeb! Even though the second movie focused on his confidence gain, he’s still this second-guessing nerd that lacks the self-confidence to just be himself. So, when an alien symbiote takes over, Peter Parker doesn’t become Mr. Cool Guy… He becomes Mr. Tries-Too-Hard, because that’s who Peter is (it’s who we all are, really). And really, in 2007, boys with emo hair were my jam.
Plus, this made for a weirdly fun moment in our superhero movie. It would be another few years before we escaped from gritty reboots to silly dancing again! (I’m looking at you, Guardians!)
I could have written this about Tobey’s overall portrayal, but I needed an excuse to include this gif. So, you’re welcome!
So, I thought for a long time on this and have decided to go with Spider-Boy as my pick because -first of all- thanks, Obama! But also mainly because of how adorable this photo is! If you don’t know the history behind this photo, it’s pretty simple. Back in 2012, this 3-year-old kid, Nicholas Tamarin, was doing some early trick or treating around the White House with his father, one of the White House aides.
Now, some of you may be thinking that I’m not taking this seriously enough (because nerding out is serious business!) but what can be more nerdy than a kid who loves Spider-Man so much that he decided to dress up as Spider-Man for Halloween, and what’s more awesome than the President himself going along with this kid? Nothing! C’mon, regardless of your feelings about Obama whether positive or negative, you’ve got to admit that any person, president or no, would be pretty awesome for going along with this kid.
But really, one of the other reasons I picked Spider-Boy is because Spider-Man is just not really one of those things that has resonated with me, so I’ve never particularly had any strong feelings for it. I thought Sam Raimi’s trilogy was pretty good, and I’ve never watched any of The Amazing Spider-Man movies either. Though I do remember watching the 1994 animated series, I’m pretty sure it’s just because it came on right before or right after the 90s’ X-men animated series. So I’m going to stick with my choice of Spider-Boy as my favorite version of Spider-Man.
“Spider-Pig! Spider-Pig! Does whatever a Spider-Pig does!”
Okay, so I have a confession to make: I think I may have seen all of two Spider-Man movies. This would have been the first and third movies in the Sam Raimi Spider-Man series. I really do not remember seeing the middle of the three, but my memory is poor. I would like to defend myself by saying I have nothing against Spider-Man; I just never connected to him and his story. I hate spiders and a radioactive spider bite sounds horrifying. Something I do not hate: pigs! In the Simpsons Movie, Homer and Bart discover the adorable pig they first see in a Krusty Burger commercial. The pig is set to die, but Homer decided to keep him because animals who dress in people clothes should not be put to death (#truth). Spider-Pig is a very short part of the Simpsons Movie, but I have that song stuck in my head so often that he has to be my favorite Spider-Man adaptation. I love watching Homer have Spider-Pig walk across the ceiling singing that song. It is a joy to watch. This pig’s name is actually Plopper, and for a short time Homer brings in another nerd genre renaming him Harry Plopper, adding the lighting bolt and glasses, making the whole thing better. On a side note, I am actually excited about Spider-Man: Homecoming after watching the trailers and the Civil War action. Perhaps next year my mind will have changed, and I will have a favorite actual Spider-Man, but Spider-Pig would be pretty hard to beat.