Ever since I was a kid, I loved superheroes. I would always watch the X-Men and Spider-Man cartoons from the ’90s whenever re-runs were on. Then as a teen, I read most of the critically acclaimed comics and graphic novels that Vertigo put out in the ’80s. To this day, I still make sure I’m aware of new developments from DC and Marvel by watching various YouTube channels that retell and analyze comic book stories. I live and breathe comics.
So when the most recent trailer for Spider-Man: No Way Home was released, I got excited. Not just because the new trailer means I get to see one of my favorite comic characters on the big screen again, but it also means I get to see, in my opinion, the best live-action interpretation of Spider-Man to date. Tom Holland is my Spider-Man.
This is mainly due to my love for Brian Michael Bendis’ time writing the character. Bendis’ version of Spiderman focused on the core elements of Spider-Man. Bendis’ Spiderman, and by extension Peter Parker, was a teenager who was just looking for high school to be over and had dramatic problem after dramatic problem to deal with.
While the aspect of dramatic fight scenes, colorful villains and tragic backstories have traditionally been translated to live-action, the mundane problem-ridden life hasn’t always been perfectly translated.
Toby Maguire nailed being Peter Parker. He gave life to all the emotional conflict, melodrama and self-made problems that came with the character. The issue is, he didn’t do a great job being Spider-Man. His sense of humor wasn’t quite quippy enough. And the lack of mechanical web-shooters made the young genius aspect of the character less prevalent.
Andrew Garfield, on the other hand, was a great Spider-Man instead of a great Peter Parker. He made the character feel heroic. The humor and quips landed perfectly. It was like reading pages from Spider-Man comics. The social interactions and the relationship with Gwen Stacy felt stale and more like how people think teenagers act.
Tom Holland does both aspects of the character, being Spider-Man and Peter Parker, beautifully. He genuinely comes across as a kid who makes problems for himself that could have easily been avoided. He quips and is genuinely heroic.
When Tom Holland was playing the role of Spider-Man, it felt like he had no idea that he could save the day but still did. This is the essence of Spider-Man. Spider-Man is a character who always feels powerless while having immense power and still doing his best to make things right. The tagline of “with great power comes great responsibility” is not just shown in Tom Holland’s time as the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man — it’s felt in the portrayal.