Yes, we are a hockey website, but without hockey to write about we are branching out into other areas of entertainment. SBN has dedicated this week to all things Marvel and we’re glad to be on board! You can expect comic content, movie content a hybrid of hockey and comics together. To kick this week off we figured it would only make sense to start with Marvel’s flagship character, Spider-Man.
Spider-Man has been one of the more consistent players in the Marvel Universe when it comes to the pages of actual comic books. He’s always been that awkward boy next door who struggles with everything in his personal life because he’s portrayed as an actual kid…..minus the super powers. You all know the deal about how Spider-Man came to be, so we are going to skip the refresher. What I wanted to do is break down the actors who’ve donned the Spider-Man tights throughout the years and see who did it the best. I can guarantee that age will certainly play a part in this as depending on when you were born and what version of the character you hold close to your heart. And yes, five of the live action movies are Sony Pictures property, but he’s still a Marvel icon. Let’s get started and at the end I will give you my opinion on who I think was the best, who gets an honorable mention and who is the worst.
The Electric Company: Spidey Super Stories (1974-1977): Danny Seagren
I remember watching these as re-runs on PBS as a kid and being mesmerized because Spider-Man was on TV. The originals were clearly before my time (I was born in 1976), but these in re-run, combined with the syndicated version of the 1967 cartoon were Spider-Man heaven for kids my age. The segments were only five minutes long, he never spoke, but hot damn! A real live Spider-Man was on my television!!! He would speak through word bubbles that helped kids learn to read. All in all, solid for a little kid show version of Spider-Man.
The Amazing Spider-Man (1978-1979): Nicholas Hammond
Those of you (like myself) who are old enough to remember this show (even as a re-run or rare Sunday afternoon movie addition) remember it was being good through kid eyes. Then you look back on it an realize just how bad it was. While at the time it was a decent take on Spider-Man, despite believing that the 27 year old Hammond was a young Spider-Man. The show clearly falls into the traps of the times special effects wise, with Spider-Man crawling walls as a hologram where you could see the bricks on the building through the hologram at times. Let’s not forget the MASSIVELY thick “webs” that shot out of his web shooters like ropes and the bizarro utility belt and silver eyes. With all that said, as a kid you were STOKED that Spider-Man was on TV. Up until that point Spidey was just a comic and a cartoon, (a kick ass cartoon I might add with a killer theme song), so this was something to behold. Ultimately this show lasted only two seasons, which is too bad because it would have been cool to see him team up with CBS’s Incredible Hulk at some point.
Spider-Man, Japanese Series (1978-1979): Shinji Tōdō
I can’t even begin to describe how WEIRD this series was. It was 41 episodes long, also had a movie and other than the Spider-Man costume…..had NOTHING to do with Spider-Man as it relates to the Marvel character. Just watch the Honest Trailer take on the series and you’ll get all you need to know.
Spider-Man (2002-2007): Tobey Maguire
The Wall Crawler’s live adventures dried up as the 1980’s took over. From 1980 on it was all animated programming and it was really good. Spider-Man And His Amazing Friends was a killer Saturday morning cartoon with Spidey, Ice-Man and Firestar taking center stage and it was loaded with great villains and other heroes making appearances. Partner that with Spider-Man: The Animated Series, which told some great stories and you had some solid Web Head content, but the live action portion was missing. With comic book movies becoming successful properties, Sony launched their Spider-Man franchise with Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker/Spider-Man. Meh. I know I’m in the minority here, but these films do NOTHING for me at all. I enjoyed the first film because it was that “Wow! Spider-Man is in a movie” feelings, but the rest of the franchise leaves me wanting more. Spider-Man 2 is hailed as a classic comic book movie and I don’t see it. Spider-Man 3 was an absolute shit show of characters and it ruined Spider-Man’s best villain in Venom. Tobey Maguire was just a wet blanket as Spider-Man. He never display that fun, awkward, goofy Peter Parker. He was always moping and crying and he just flat out sucked. I also can’t forgive the special effects. There were horrid. Jurassic Park made computer generated dinosaurs look like they were alive back in 1993, yet Sony couldn’t make a swinging through the city Spider-Man look like it wasn’t from a video game. Thanks for ruining Spider-Man’s first run in the movie theaters.
The Amazing Spider-Man (2012-2014): Andrew Garfield
REBOOT! It’s time for another origin story and another Uncle Ben Death (though we’ve seen him die less than Thomas and Martha Wayne). Another time I’m in the minority: I liked Garfield a lot as Spider-Man/Peter Parker. He was way more of a believable character and he was actually thrilled to have the part. I also enjoyed the slight variation in the costume, which is difficult because outside of the black costume, Spider-Man is pretty much the same throughout his comic history. Garfield brought some freshness to the character and gave him that snarky, joke making Spider-Man that had been missing from every other live version of Spidey. He also seemed less “clunky” as the hero, looking more the part of the athletic superhero as opposed to Sad Face Magoo from the previous three films. Ultimately these films were destroyed by Sony’s ineptitude, bad plots and departures from the Spider-Man lore, which is a shame because Garfield was really solid in the role.
Spider-Man (2016-2021): Tom Holland
THANK YOU JEEBUS! We’re not going to get into the legalities of Spider-Man, but know Marvel was hemorrhaging money and sold the movie rights to Spidey to Sony. In 2014 Marvel and Sony reached into an agreement that would allow Spider-Man to appear in Marvel’s movie properties and low and behold, we finally got the best version of Spider-Man on film to date because Marvel was in charge. Tom Holland looks and sounds like he was ripped straight from the pages on the comics in all five films he has appeared. You can’t tell me you didn’t get goose bumps during Captain America: Civil War when he appeared during the airport fight. It’s just not possible. The suit, the voice, the banter, the awkward admiration was everything that Spider-Man has been lacking in every movie he has been in. Tom Holland clearly has a love for the role as he fought to get Spider-Man back with Marvel after Sony Pictures decided they could do exactly what Marvel has done with Spider-Man. Anyone who is a fan of this take on the character knows Sony gaining control again was the death of Spider-Man.
So there you have it, a look at every live action Spider-Man. I read comics as a kid, I watched the cartoons, I owned the action figures, I’ve seen the movies, I have comic tattoos (all DC though), but I won’t consider myself an “expert” in the world of comics. Do I nerd out to this stuff? You betcha, but I’m also not going act like I’m Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons. I like what I like, I know what I know and if that’s not nerdy enough, oh well.
With that out of the way here’s my honorable mention, favorite and least favorite Spider-Man:
Honorable Mention: Andrew Garfield
Favorite: Tom Holland
Least Favorite: Tobey Maguire
Who’s your favorite Spidey? Vote in our poll below!!!
by Mark Parkinson