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The student news site of Moravian University

The Comenian

The student news site of Moravian University

The Comenian

In Defense of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man

Photo courtesy of Polygon.

I’ve heard too much slander about Tom Holland’s Spider-Man to stay silent. 

Holland is one of the most accurately depicted castings of Spider-Man I’ve seen so far. He was cast as a teenager, so he has the teenager charm everyone expects from Spider-Man at that age. I won’t crap on Andrew Garfield or Tobey Maguire, but Holland brings authenticity to Spider-Man’s youthful energy, struggles, and humor. His appearance and age align with Peter Parker’s high school and college years, making him relatable to younger audiences.

Holland was only 19 when Captain America: Civil War production finished, while both other Spider-Men were cast in their late twenties. Although they also had stunning performances, they did not read like high schoolers or inexperienced teenagers who are still maturing in the same way Holland does.

In addition, Holland is a fantastic actor with a rich background in aerobics and gymnastics.  This experience in dance allows him to perform many of his stunts, making the action sequences in Spider-Man films more dynamic and realistic and, therefore, more thrilling. His unique and authentic agility and athleticism add authenticity to Spider-Man’s impressive acrobatics.

Holland perfectly captures Spider-Man’s quick wit and humor, and I never felt annoyed and cringed out by Holland’s one-liners. I hate to make this comparison, but some hero’s quips seem reminiscent of … Morbius’s cringe comments … I know, I hate to go there, but I had to make this point. It’s like an alien watched four Spider-Man movies and tried to have the same charismatic charm and humor as Peter, but miserably fails. 

Stan Lee also approved of Holland’s casting, stating he was the exact height and age he had imagined Spider-Man to be. 

Outside of his astounding acting and aerobic skills, Holland is credited with maintaining Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) after the 2019 announcement that Sony Pictures Entertainment and Walt Disney Studios would no longer be collaborating on the live-action Spider-Man films. 

However, a few weeks later, the studios rekindled their relationship. In a Jimmy Kimmel interview, Walt Disney Company’s former CEO, Bob Iger, revealed that Holland substantially brought the studios back together. Holland had reached out to him and expressed how much he cared about the role, which was significant in reconnecting the companies. 

Holland captures Spider-Man’s emotional growth and marks of maturity much better than the other films. Holland vividly depicts emotions so that the viewer can sympathize with him even when he’s wholly sheathed within his suit. Seeing Holland’s Spider-Man process grief and become a better hero is one of my favorite parts of his trilogy thus far. 

The MCU’s portrayal of high school and college admissions is also one of my favorite aspects of this trilogy. I still laugh at imagining myself watching genius Peter Parker get rejected from all of his dream schools around the same time that I was receiving my rejections. Yeah, I felt that, and it was definitely reassuring. Holland’s awkward, frantic balancing act between his school work and his shifts as a vigilante is constantly engaging and entertaining, and to me, is one of the most realistic depictions compared to Garfield and Maguire. 

Holland’s version of Spider-Man is the most comically accurate, balancing a perfect combination of wit, humor, and teenage awkwardness. I’ll be honest: Garfield’s Spider-Man feels too… charismatic, too hot, too old, and not the right person to play a dorky kid from Queens. I love his acting and his performance; it’s just his…look and vibe. On the contrary, Maguire perfectly captures this awkwardness, but almost a little too far, to the point where he is so unfunny, except for the famous emo-hair dancing scene in Sam Rami’s Spider-Man 3, which I don’t think was supposed to be funny in that way. His one-liners fall short and don’t have the humor I think they’re supposed to. Garfield is too mature, while the audience gets to follow Holland’s journey from teenage foolishness to a responsible hero. 

However, I’d like to make it clear that it’s not necessarily the actors, as I felt both Garfield and Maguire excelled in their cameo in the MCU, so I do credit a lot of their faults to the writing and other poor aspects of the film. 

To finish the article, I’d like to reference a quote from Stan Lee: “It’s as if we created a living being to be Spider-Man, and it turned out to be Tom.”

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  • M

    Michael SmithOct 28, 2023 at 1:20 pm

    Here,here!! No disregard to McGuire or Garfield (Andrew, in my opinion, better than Toby) . Holland truly brought the character of Spiderman to life. His agility, quirkiness and charm can’t be matched. To me, no Ironman without Downey Jr, And no Spiderman without Holland.

    • G

      GavinOct 30, 2023 at 6:06 pm

      The fact is we have not had a BAD Spider-Man. Every live action and animated, for the most part, have been amazing and put there own spin in the role. People complained that Toby was a good Peter but not a good Spider-Man. Andrew was a good Spider-Man, but too cool for Peter Parker. Tom was a great mix of both.