Following months of anticipation, Spider-Man: No Way Home, the web slinger’s latest adventure, was recently announced for a December 2021 release. Rumors have been circulating for ages that Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield, who both portrayed the hero in previous installments, will be donning their masks once again for the upcoming film alongside current Spider-Man Tom Holland. While these rumors are unconfirmed, there have been reports of former villains spotted on set, so it does not seem that far-fetched. Combine this with Holland’s claims that No Way Home is “the most ambitious standalone superhero movie ever made,” it seems all but inevitable that the three Spider-Men will soon be joining forces.
Over the years, the topic of who the best Spider-Man is between the three incarnations became a debate amongst fans of the wall-crawling hero. Each actor brought their own unique traits to the beloved character, but whose portrayal was the best?
The first actor to portray Peter Parker, Tobey Maguire appeared in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy as the titular character. Out of the three, Maguire is the only one that can pull off the classic nerd archetype that defines Peter Parker. He also portrays the struggle of leading a double life very well as we see him struggling to maintain his relationships with Mary Jane and Aunt May. However, Maguire fails to bring the quippy sense of humor that is part of what makes Spider-Man so entertaining. Maguire’s Spider-Man had his fair share of iconic moments from stopping a speeding train to battling Green Goblin on Queensboro Bridge. All things considered, Maguire is the most memorable Spider-Man that set the precedent for future portrayals.
Andrew Garfield is probably the best overall actor to have portrayed Spider-Man, having received acclaim for films like The Social Network and Hacksaw Ridge. Unfortunately, he was unable to save The Amazing Spider-Man and its sequel from being negatively received by critics and fans. Garfield’s Peter Parker was darker and edgier than the others, which turned some people off. He also carried himself with a certain swagger that felt uncharacteristic for Peter. However, this actually ended up benefiting him as Spider-Man since he was able to nail his classic sense of humor. Garfield’s dialogue feels like it is stripped right out of the comics as he sarcastically taunts criminals. He also boasts the best romantic chemistry alongside Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy. Despite generally being viewed as the worst incarnation, Garfield’s Spider-Man brought plenty of redeemable qualities to the table that the others could not match.
Current Spider-Man Tom Holland made his first appearance as the hero in Captain America: Civil War, fighting alongside Iron Man. The youngest of the three, Holland best exemplifies the youthful liveliness of Peter Parker. His nervous, frenetic energy makes him entertaining to watch as he balances his double life. It also gives him a certain sense of relatability that is absent in some of his fellow MCU heroes. Despite this, some fans feel that Holland’s Spider-Man is not quite as fulfilling as the others. His lack of independence has disappointed some fans that believe he has been painted as Iron Man’s sidekick rather than his own character. It certainly does not help his case that Vulture and Mysterio, the two antagonists he has faced, became villains due to Tony Stark’s actions. With Iron Man out of the picture now, perhaps those fans will find Holland’s upcoming Spider-Man film more enjoyable. Either way, it seems that Holland is most people’s choice for the best Spider-Man because he is the most well-rounded out of the three.
At the end of the day, each rendition of Spider-Man has their own set of strengths and weaknesses. Fans can only wait and hope that there will be an interaction between the three in the upcoming film.