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Photo: Spider-Man Evolution
This year of 2022 brings us a lot of hope and optimistic opportunities for our futures; and despite everything that feels uncertain, we can still cling to the things we know and love to comfort us. One of these things for many people tend to be fictional characters, and it is with this said that there is also something incredible about this year that ties in with that familiarity to fictional characters: The twentieth anniversary of the first live-action ‘Spider-Man’.
Yes, it may feel insanely wild that it’s already been twenty years since we’ve gotten the superb Tobey Maguire grace theatrical screens as our first Spider-Man. He’s come so far as both an actor, along with who he is as a whole after being our initial Spider-Man; and, overall, it feels fair to say that it’s thanks to Tobey Maguire that audiences were given such an incredible first impression of what live-action Spider-Man would be like. It’s from this first impression that a devoted and fantastic fandom for Spider-Man (and the ‘Spider-Man’ movies) has developed and ultimately grown into what we see it to be now; and that now we have magnificent live-action Spider-Man actors like Andrew Garfield and Tom Holland, on top of a different variation of Peter Parker with the animated film ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ with Miles Morales (voiced by Shameik Moore).
The First To Swing Into The Suit
Before the first film, there weren’t any live-action Spider-Man films; the wondrous Peter Parker being confined only within comic books and animation. But, thanks to the vision and love of Sam Raimi, we were given the gift of ‘Spider-Man’ in 2002. This then progressed to two more movies being produced with Tobey Maguire remaining as the titular character, each premiering within less than three years of each other. From 2002 to 2007, Tobey Maguire seemed to win audiences’ hearts and blow Marvel fans’ minds, thus cementing that magical first impression and just what live-action Spider-Man could be. There are a few examples where initial live-action superhero characters looked rather campy, such as the Adam West 1966 ‘Batman’ film, and then they soon improve later on as they get past their initial cinematic adaptation. However, it’s visually clear that ‘Spider-Man’ was an exception, and hit the nail on the head in the first go.
Conclusively, there were so many adventures and experiences we went through with Tobey Maguire in ‘Spider-Man’ 1-3, and his portrayal of Spider-Man is something to be admired; and something that the future Spider-Man actors would likely base their performances on. It would be hard to think of anyone else being the initial foundation of a truthful real-life adaptation of Peter Parker, along with being near impossible for anyone to replicate that amazing dance scene from ‘Spider-Man 3’.
Spider-man Evolution – The Amazing One To Swing Next
A few years later, following the cancellation of Tobey Maguire starring in ‘Spider-Man 4’, Sony had announced to the fans that the Spider-Man franchise would be rebooted with a new director and a new actor playing the titular character (along with a new cast as well). It seemed from this that some fans may have been hesitant, yet also excited as they anticipated to see who would come next in portraying Spider-Man. Soon, the new director was revealed to be Marc Webb and the brand-new Peter Parker being the, now truly beloved, Andrew Garfield. The films would follow Peter Parker in a brand new type of adventure, and this time having Gwen Stacy by his side instead of the classic MJ from the first film series. On top of this, rather than simply going by ‘Spider-Man’, Andrew Garfield’s film series would go by ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’.
From a visual standpoint, these films look similar yet also look more cinematic than the previous ‘Spider-Man’ films. Garfield’s performance is also something to be admired, giving a rather amazing portrayal of Peter Parker. And, while both performances feel true to the whole Peter Parker character, Garfield hits it out of the ballpark by getting a new generation and crowd of Spider-Man fans to join the previous fandom. Sadly, Andrew Garfield didn’t get to maintain his role as much as Tobey Maguire would with ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ series concluding with its second film. Due to its performance at the box office, it did not receive enough demand for a third release; but ever since the premiere of ‘No Way Home’, fans have been going on social media to persuade Sony to make a third Spider-Man film to star Andrew Garfield.
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Best Of Both Worlds
Finally, now we’re at a newly cherished version of Peter Parker with Tom Holland’s younger portrayal at playing Spider-Man. This present story of Spider-Man that we currently have in Cinema comes a year after ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ in 2015 when Sony was looking to possibly implement a younger version of Spider-Man into the MCU. In 2016, it was officially announced that Tom Holland would be playing the teenage Peter Parker; along with being set up to have two stand-alone films and three with the Avengers. So far, this has stayed true with Tom Holland’s Peter Parker starring in ‘Captain America: Civil War’ followed with ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’, ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’, and more recently ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ (all three being directed by Jon Watts).
Tom Holland’s films are certainly different from the previous two series, and the future of him as Spider-Man is quite promising. The more younger-take brings forth more audience members to experience the films at a similar age that previous generations experienced the first two series at. It is also worth mentioning that Tom Holland seems to only slightly base his performance based on the previous Peter Parkers, and truly gives it all his personal touch to make the modern MCU version of Spider-Man unique. Coupled with this, it was a brilliant idea to bring all the Peter Parkers from different universes into one big film to solve a crisis that threatens a town they all know and love; and gathering all the generations from different Spider-Man eras all together into one big blockbuster.
The Brilliant and Developed Spidey Universe
Altogether, everything I’ve discussed in this article is just a general overview of the brilliance that the multiple Spider-Man universes bring to the table. It’s cinematically incredible how far Peter Parker has come in the realm of live-action films, and it’s so exciting to see all that it’s become and what it will be in the near future. Personally seeing all these films as they came out over the years, and growing up along with them, has fully formed all the love that I have for Spider-Man as a whole. There are so many opportunities and routes that the various directors have taken with Spider-Man, and it’s beautiful to see how they’ve given all of these films true love.
In the end, it is only right to say that no matter who stars or directs future Spider-Man films, we’ll always know how these films will be cinematic masterpieces in their own way.
By Leah Donato
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