Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse introduced some very exciting ideas into the world of Spider-Man. One of the most inspiring sentiments of the film was no matter how many Spider-People are out there, anyone can wear the mask. Of course, there are some versions of Spider-Man that more closely resemble the character most of us grew up with – namely Chris Pine’s original Spider-Man and Jake Johnston’s Peter B. Parker.
At first glance, these two versions of Spider-Man are quite similar, but the differences between the two become evident quite quickly. The ways in which these two heroes compare to each other helps to solidify the film’s themes about how anyone can be a hero. Here are the main differences between Peter B. Parker and the original Spider-Man in Into the Spider-Verse.
Spider-Man has always been a resourceful and intelligent hero. In most iterations of the character, he designed his own costume and web shooters. The original Spider-Man in this film seems extra resourceful as it’s revealed he has a super high-tech Spider-Cave.
The hideout is very impressive, with a variety of suits and state-of-the-art computer systems. Peter B says he has a similar lair of his own, but much smaller and without all of the cool Spider-gadgets. It’s clear Peter B is not as well-equipped as his counterpart. But on the upside, he has a futon.
The original Spider-Man seems to be the one most of us are most familiar with. His story, his actions and his looks seem to fit pretty closely to the classic Peter Parker/Spider-Man. However, there is one thing that is a little off the mark. This Spider-Man has blonde hair.
There have been blonde Spider-Men in the past, but the Earth-616 version of the character is brown-haired. By contrast, Peter B. does have brown hair, which might be the one thing that puts him closer to the classic Spider-Man.
Not much has been made about Spider-Man’s religion over the years. Some of the depictions of him have shown somewhat Christian beliefs, but it has never been a big part of his character. Religion does’t play a big role in Into the Spider-Verse either, but they do make a distinction between the two versions in that area.
While the original Spider-Man’s religion isn’t really hinted at, we do see Peter B breaking the glass at his wedding, which is a Jewish tradition. Again, not much is made of the matter, but it’s another nice bit of inclusion as that makes him the first Jewish Marvel hero to make it to the big screen.
Much is made about Peter B’s physical fitness in the film. While he still handles himself well in a fight, his physique is unlike the typical superhero. Audiences are used to seeing Spider-Man as muscular with six-pack abs. The original Spider-Man seems to fit that expected physique, but no so much for Peter B.
After his life fell apart in a variety of ways, Peter B seemed to give up a little and let himself go. We see him gorging on pizza and getting a little chubby. Even Aunt May can’t help but comment on the drastic difference.
One small but sweet moment in the film is how all the variations of Spider-Man come together in the one place that is common to them all – Aunt May’s home. Aunt May has always been a strong character in Spider-Man’s world, always being that sense of family to him.
Sadly, Peter B lost his Aunt May prior to the events of the film. This is the first time we see a Spider-Man without his beloved aunt. This makes for a bittersweet reunion between the two in Miles’ dimension as both these characters have lost each other already.
Into the Spider-Verse not only gives us a look at various versions of Spider-Man, but we also get to see some interesting new takes on some classic Spider-Man villains in the original Spider-Man’s dimension. We see Green Goblin as an enormous and grotesque monster. Scorpion is a tattooed mutant. And Dr. Octopus is a female scientist whose friends call her Liv.
We don’t get to see any versions of these villains in Peter B’s dimension, but it’s clear these are not the baddies he’s used to dealing with. He is confused by Scorpion’s new appearance and doesn’t even recognize Doc Ock. These are fun takes on the characters. We only wish we could have seen interpretations on other members of Spidey’s rogue’s gallery.
While the original Spider-Man and Peter B play significant roles in Into the Spider-Verse, the story is ultimately about Miles’ journey to become a hero. Lucky for Miles, soon after getting his powers, he encounters the original Spider-Man who enthusiastically volunteers to show him the ropes. Unlucky for him, the original Spider-Man dies soon after.
The mentor role is then passed on the Peter B and we immediately see that he is not quite as excited by the idea. Peter B doesn’t seem to even want to be Spider-Man himself let alone teach some kid how to do it. Though reluctant, he takes on the mentor role which ends up benefiting himself as well as Miles.
Of all Peter Parker’s romances, Mary Jane Watson has been the most iconic. Though Mary Jane is not featured much in the film, she’s certainly an important character for both the original Spider-Man and Peter B.
We see both versions of Peter Parker were lucky enough to marry their dream girl – sadly, neither has a very happy ending. We she the original Spider-Man’s Mary Jane giving a eulogy for her husband after he is killed. We also find out that Peter B divorced Mary Jane in his reality. It’s a sad way to see our hero but it’s another bold and compelling take on the character.
Out of all the superheroes, Spider-Man seems like he’s the one enjoying it the most. When the original Spider-Man is introducing himself to the audience, he confirms this fact. Despite the danger and pain that goes along with the job, he loves being Spider-Man.
It is that outlook on the superhero life that differentiates these two versions of Spider-Man the most. While Peter B is still a heroic person, his passion for the job is long gone. The sorrows of his life throw him into a depression and he can no longer push himself to be a hero. It is his relationship with Miles that helps him reconnect with that side of him and become Spider-Man again.