Perhaps it’s time I indulge the raging debate in the last few years: which actor was the best Spider-Man? Comparison in this sense is often unjust, and as you know, here at A Place To Hang Your Cape we are all about justice. Puns aside, there are many variables that affect the perception of an actor’s role, such as story, plot, director, VFX, etc. But this is where the indulging comes into play, complete and utter disregard for those factors and nit-pick those actor’s performances.
We all remember the lovable, yet slightly old for the role, Toby Maguire in the mid-2000’s. Some of us have chosen to forget about the unfortunate Andrew Garfield in the 2010’s. And of course everyone is witnessing the adorable and lovable Tom Holland. Even though none of these actors were bad, in fact all 3 did a great job with portraying Peter Parker/Spider-Man. But there’s the good, the better, and the best.
The Good: Andrew Garfield
Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Andrew Garfield is not, by any means, a bad actor. In fact he is a magnificent actor. Proven by his roles in Hacksaw Ridge (which earned him a nomination for an Academy Award) and The Social Network for example. He has an immense talent for acting, he is in fact the best actor out of the 3. But we are looking at his role as Spider-Man in The Amazing Spider-Man duology. A bad script, and a director who was out of his depth, cursed Garfield’s performance. But Garfield was 27 years old when he first played Peter Parker, which is 10 years older than the actual age of the character. Add to that factor, the role isn’t really the right role for Garfield. Peter Parker’s character wasn’t that different from Toby Maguire’s. Which didn’t allow Garfield to put his own print on the character.
The Better: Toby Maguire
Disclaimer: the horrid dance sequence in Spider-Man 3 will be disregarded for everyone’s sake.
Toby Maguire is my childhood Spider-Man, and nostalgia is indeed a powerful emotion. But in all objectivity, Toby Maguire is probably the second best of the 3, even though his movies might be the best. Toby Maguire’s Spider-Man started the superhero genre trend, and considering the period in which they were released, they were magnificent. However, Maguire was 26 in the first installment, which made him 9 years older than Peter Parker, and he definitely looked it. Seeing 26 year old Toby Maguire in a high school was setting was not truly convincing. But Maguire as an actor is brilliant, and he could portray an awkward and geeky character.
Throughout the trilogy Peter Parker had an incredible character arc, and an actor with true range was needed to play that part. Maguire possessed the talent to play that extremely challenging role, and did it excellently.
The Best: Tom Holland
Tom Holland had the privilege of playing one of the most popular characters in comic-books in the time where comic-book movies are most popular. In Marvel’s golden age, where every Marvel movie is destined for great success. Tom Holland had a great challenge ahead of him, as fortunate as he was. With all eyes on him, and critics holding their virtual pens waiting to crucify or applaud him. But as we all have witnessed, Tom Holland rose to the occasion and gave us the best live action Spider-Man to date.
Debuting in Civil War, followed by his own solo movies, to then star in the final two Avengers movies. Tom Holland has become one of the most beloved MCU characters in a flash. Holland looked the role, his style of acting fit the sarcastically awkward and geeky character that we all adore. If you ask me today, I could not think of someone who could play Spider-Man better, and I doubt you could either.
Tom Holland was blessed with a plot that had Peter Parker learn how to be a superhero; how to be Spider-Man. This character arc fits perfectly with Holland’s approach to the character, and show his range from being a naively ambitious superhero, to one of the most powerful ones in the MCU.
Toby Maguire’s Spider-Man trilogy had brilliant villains, directing, and plots. Andrew Garfield’s The Amazing Spider-Man duology had a great cast in an unfortunate setting. And Tom Holland’s Spider-Man ongoing series of movies have a great studio behind them, good cast, and the best VFX to date. Whichever Spider-Man we may like most, we shouldn’t take any for granted. Be it nostalgia, a guilty pleasure, or living in the moment. Appreciate greatness. We had the luxury to witness plenty of great Spider-Man movies and actors who left their mark on the everlasting character; Spidey.