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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Review: Peter Parker, the hero with many faces


Tom Holland as Spider-Man in Spider-Man: Homecoming. This movie is the second rebooted version of the original Marvel comic series.

The Marvel universe is full of superheroes of vastly different origins, with some characters even having origin stories that change over time or across mediums. Spider-Man is one such character. Writers of the Spider-Man comic books, the TV shows, and the movies have all given their own twists to the story of just how Peter Parker, the face behind Spider-Man’s mask, became a superhero.

The Spider-Man story began with Marvel Comics’ “Amazing Fantasy” series, which featured Peter Parker as a brilliant high school student on his way to a full-ride college scholarship. However, during a field trip to a science lab, he is bitten by a radioactive spider and begins to feel “different.” Parker soon discovers that he’s gained some strange abilities, including unusual speed and strength.

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Shortly after discovering his new powers, Parker is overcome by grief when his uncle Ben is shot and killed by a thief he saw earlier that night but didn’t apprehend. Distraught and angry, Parker vows to kill the thief but doesn’t follow through, realizing that his uncle would not have wanted him to commit murder. Instead, Parker turns the criminal over to the police after capturing him, and Spider-Man is born.

Three cartoons that accurately portrayed the original version of the superhero’s beginnings and were instrumental in forming his early image were “Spider-Man: The Animated Series,” “Spectacular Spider-Man,” and “Ultimate Spider-Man.”

In the movies that followed the cartoons, there are variations in the portrayals of Parker and his alter-ego among the different sets of films and the different actors cast. To date, Spider-Man has been played by three different actors in three different film series.

In the original film trilogy by Sam Raimi, Tobey Maguire plays the Peter Parker that fans grew up watching in the cartoons. The movie faithfully rendered events from the comic, following Parker as he tries to fit in at school, impress Mary Jane Watson, and protect the ones he loves — all while battling the Green Goblin, Sandman, Venom and Doctor Octopus. The trilogy was a good start for Spider-Man on the big screen as it reflected the origin story of the early animated versions.

In 2012, Marvel writers decided to reboot Spider-Man with a brand new approach to his story and character. “The Amazing Spider-Man 1” and “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” featured a new Peter Parker played by Andrew Garfield, who brought a new personality to the beloved superhero. Instead of the quiet, science nerd from the previous films, Parker is a clever, mischievous cool kid in high school with a defiant attitude toward authority.

This new version focuses more on Parker’s parents, especially the relationship between him and his dad, Richard Parker. Spider-Man shows his rebellious, confident side and features lots of smack talk toward his opponents, mirroring the personality seen in the “Spider-Man the Spectacular” animated series. It also characterizes Parker’s first girlfriend Gwen Stacy, played by Emma Stone, in line with previous animated portrayals.

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The newest portrayal of Spider-Man is the most altered out of all the film versions. This Peter Parker made his cinematic debut in another Marvel movie, “Captain America: Civil War.” Played by Tom Holland, the new Parker is actually an adversary of the Avengers. He has an epic battle with the Falcon, Captain America and the Winter Soldier. This version of Parker is in his early high school days, naive and and perhaps too eager to be part of the battle between the Avengers. In this film, Spider-Man is mentored by Tony Stark, and his fighting style is different, with his his smack talk being even more comedic than in Garfield’s iterations.

After the sneak peak in “Captain America: Civil War,” Holland plays Parker in his own movie: “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” This latest film hits theaters today, July 7. Watch it and decide for yourself just who the best Spider-Man is.

Follow Mike Gonzalez on Twitter.

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