Marvel’s flagship hero Spider-Man is finally joining the Avengers on the big screen, and hopefully, the character will make a grand re-entrance after a couple disappointing entries starring Andrew Garfield. Played by Tom Holland in the upcoming Captain America: Civil War, Peter Parker is easily one of the most recognizable comic heroes of all time, a layered and complex character with a rich history, not all of which is well known to general audiences.
We all know his origin (after all, it's been told on film... twice), but there is so much more to Spider-Man than just Uncle Ben dying and Peter getting bit by a spider. In anticipation of Tom Holland’s first appearance as the web-slinger in Captain America: Civil War, let’s take a closer look at Marvel’s golden goose.
Here are Screen Rant’s 12 Things You Need To Know About Spider-Man!
One of Spider-Man’s greatest powers is his amplified strength. When he was bitten by the radioactive spider, Peter was given the ability to multiply his strength tenfold, just like a spider. It’s said that Peter can easily lift 10 tons, but he has been shown to lift even more than that. Peter has been shown to lift buildings, and he’s even had suits that enhance his strength beyond that.
Spider-Man is so strong that he sometimes seems like Marvel’s version of Superman. Often, when he fights regular criminals, he has to pull his punches and kicks for fear of easily killing non-superhumas. However, he also faces many villains who have increased strength and can take the super-strong punches that he doles out. In fact, Spider-Man’s strength is so great that he has even gone up against the Hulk.
While there are many other Marvel characters who are stronger than Spider-Man, many forget just how strong this lean, mean, spidey machine really is.
Another ability developed by Peter (thanks to that pesky radioactive spider) is Spider-Man’s most useful tool: spider-sense. Giving him an upper hand in almost any battle, Spider-Man is able to use this extra sense to dodge incoming attacks with extreme agility. His spidey-sense is so keen that Spider-Man can fight with his eyes closed or even in pitch black. It also helps enhance the limited martial arts abilities he has by giving him the sense of what his enemy will do in battle before they even do it.
But Peter’s spider-sense isn’t just limited to battle. Spider-Man is able to use his spider-sense whenever someone poses a threat to him. This can help Peter discern a villain’s identities if he simply walks by them on the street. The oddest warning Peter can receive from this extra sense is that his secret identity may possibly be exposed. Unfortunately, his spider-sense can become ineffective if Peter’s concentration or reflexes are compromised.
One of Marvel’s greatest rogues' galleries belongs to Spider-Man. It includes Vulture, Carnage, Hobgoblin, Electro, Lizard, Mysterio, Kraven the Hunter, Rhino, Scorpion, Sandman, and many more. In Spider-Man’s expansive history, there are great stories involving all of these villains, and some of his enemies have become as well-known as the web-slinger himself.
While most heroes only have one arch-nemesis, Spider-Man has three: Doctor Octopus, a.k.a. Otto Octavius; Norman Osborn, a.k.a. Green Goblin; and Venom, a.k.a. Eddie Brock. All three pose massively different threats to Spider-Man, but each of them are woven into Peter’s history. For instance, Doc Ock is not just a scientific genius, but a brilliant tactician. His brain alone is a giant threat to Peter’s own intellect, and his nearly indestructible metal arms give him a huge hand up in battle. Venom, while not always horribly villainous, has given Peter a mountain of trouble throughout the comics. With Eddie Brock’s intense hatred of Peter, and the Venom symbiote’s knowledge of Spider-Man’s abilities, they can match almost anything Spider-Man throws at them. While Green Goblin has hit Peter on every front, he took it to a whole other level when he killed Gwen Stacy in one of the most famous comics of all time.
Like all of the most popular comic characters, Spider-Man has had dozens of suits. One of Spider-Man’s most recognizable suits is the first costume from the 1960s, created by the legendary Steve Ditko. Obviously a huge influence for the new Captain America: Civil War Spider-Man suit, Ditko’s suit set a tone for all of the suits to come.
A fan-favorite, the Venom symbiote’s black and white suit took the classic bright colored Spider-Man and changed it drastically. Used to complement the darker emotions the symbiote was making Peter feel, the black and white suit has come back into play several times in the comics.
Another iconic suit, the Iron Spider appeared in the comic version of Civil War. Designed and given to Spider-Man by Iron Man, the Iron Spider suit was red and gold with mechanized arms attached to the back. There are many more, but these are the most famous.
We all know Peter Parker, and he is without a doubt the definitive Spider-Man, but there are many other people who have become their own version of the Web Slinger. For instance, one of Peter’s clones, Ben Reilly, became Spider-Man for a time. In another storyline, Doc Ock seized control of Peter's body and began to act as Spider-Man. He actually did the mantle some justice by acting heroically during his time under the mask.
The most popular alternate Spider-Man, however, is most certainly Miles Morales. A fan favorite, Miles is the Spider-Man from the Ultimate Universe, an alternate universe where Peter Parker is dead. A black and Latino version of the character, Morales fit in perfectly with the more diverse Ultimate universe. Many were even hoping that Miles Morales would be the Spider-Man in the MCU, but perhaps one day we’ll see him alongside the Avengers.
Given how well-known Spider-Man is, it’s no wonder that he’s had several major love interests over the years. Obviously, the one woman he was always destined to be with is Mary Jane Watson. They have been through some tough times together, but no matter what, they always end up back together.
While MJ may be Peter’s one true love, there have been several other women who have left a huge impression on the young hero. One woman who came to a tragic ending during her relationship with Peter was NYPD Captain Jean DeWolff. Jean was murdered by Sin-Eater, her lover, but she was truly in love with Spider-Man.
The second most famous Spider-Man love interest is Gwen Stacy. Many of us remember her from either The Amazing Spider-Man 2 or the famous storyline The Night Gwen Stacy Died. She was dropped off the George Washington Bridge by Green Goblin, and Spider-Man wasn’t able to save her. The devastation he felt from her death shaped Peter from that moment on.
Almost everyone knows about Spider-Man’s tragic origin, but fewer know about the process Peter went through to become Spider-Man, including his immense grief he felt after the death of Uncle Ben. It was through this grief, along with the fortuitous bite from the radioactive spider, that helped push Peter to become a superhero.
Before Uncle Ben’s death, Peter had been honing his new skills as a wrestler. One day, he saw a man rob the arena, but did nothing to stop him. It was right after this that Uncle Ben was shot and killed by a burglar. When the NYPD told Peter they had tracked down the killer, he dressed up and cornered the man, only to realize it was the same thief he let run away from the wrestling arena. Letting him live and turning him over, this is when Peter truly understood Uncle Ben’s famous words, “With great power comes great responsibility.”
Being Marvel’s flagship character, Spider-Man has met just about every major and minor hero in the Marvel Universe. With his friendly attitude and amazing abilities, he has formed many heroic friendships with those who fight for justice. During his long career, Spider-Man has teamed up with some amazing characters who seem like they’d get along with him, and others who seem like the polar opposite of him.
In Civil War alone, Spider-Man teams up with both Captain America and Iron Man. Spider-Man also has a tedious relationship with the widely popular Deadpool. Despite Deadpool’s obsession with Spider-Man and Peter’s indignation with Deadpool, the two have made quite a team in the past. He also has a great relationship with the Fantastic Four’s Human Torch, Johnny Storm, with whom he has been on many adventures. It is even said that Johnny Storm and Peter are best friends.
Given Marvel’s success with Daredevil on Netflix, it’s exciting to think that maybe Spider-Man could even team up with The Man With No Fear and even The Punisher on screen, much like the times he's stood by both characters in the comics.
For all of the amazing powers that Spider-Man has, and all of the incredible teams he’s been a part of, the best trait Peter Parker has is his indomitable will. No matter what trouble or anguish Peter faces in any of his adventures, he keeps going without any hesitation. There are many great heroes in the Marvel pantheon, but none has a will as strong as Spider-Man.
Peter has been broken, beaten, and humiliated, but he never let's that stand in his way of his doing the right thing. He remains a fan favorite because his will is something that inspires all of us. He has shown time and time again that no matter what, we can all go against the odds. For decades, Spider-Man has stood as a beacon of hope for many of us, and he continues to do so until this day.
Led by the charismatic, cigar smoking Editor-In-Chief J. Jonah Jameson, the Daily Bugle has been a staple in Spider-Man comics for decades, although it's recognizability is largely owed to J.K. Simmon’s incredible performance as J. Jonah Jameson in Sam Raimi’s original Spider-Man trilogy.
Even before those movies and that performance, however, the Daily Bugle was a large presence in Spider-Man comics. As a freelance photographer, one of Peter’s many jobs, the Daily Bugle provided a unique opportunity. Peter could sell pictures of himself as Spider-Man to the obsessive J. Jonah Jameson, who was convinced that Spider-Man was a menace. This allowed Peter to pay the bills for himself and his Aunt May, as well as to get publicity as Spider-Man.
Every major hero has at least one thing that everyone loves about them. For Batman, it’s his dark, brooding demeanor, Captain America has his unwavering honor, Deadpool has a potty-mouth. While many love Spider-Man for his funny quips, the best thing about Spider-Man is his relatability. Spider-Man is an everyman, and despite his powers, he remains grounded in a reality we can all relate to.
For instance, Peter Parker often struggles with finances, school work, and relationships, things we’ve all had trouble with in our lives. This aspect was shown perfectly in the Sam Raimi Spiderman films with Peter struggling with his pizza delivery job and dealing with J. Jonah Jameson at the Bugle. On top of that, he is late to class all the time and struggles to find time to do his homework. While we may not be able to climb up walls, lift cars over our heads, or swing from building to building, Spider-Man has always felt like one of us: a regular person.
In the early 1970s, comics were be reevaluated for their use of violence, drugs, and adult material. A group called the Comic Authority Code had strict guidelines for depicting these kinds things in comics, deeming them inappropriate for children to read. The Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 1 #96 was the first major comic published without clearance from the CCA. Even though it depicted the use of drugs in a negative light, the CCA was determined to shoot the story down.
Stan Lee had faith in the story, which showed how drug addiction could ruin lives. He believed it to be a story with a strong moral theme, so he published the comic anyway, to great praise from readers and fans. As a result, the CCA eventually relaxed its standards, which eventually allowed for comics to expand to an older audience.
There you have it folks! Hopefully you know a bit more about your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man and all the things that make him the comic icon we all know and love. With his first MCU appearance right around the corner in the highly anticipated Captain America: Civil War, you’ll be going into the film with a better understanding of the web slinger!
Captain America: Civil War will release on May 6, 2016, followed by Doctor Strange– November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man – July 28, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018;The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel – March 8, 2019; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – May 3, 2019; Inhumans – July 12, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on May 1, July 10 and November 6, 2020.