What a time to be alive if you are a fan of all things comic books, or in this case, all things Spider-Man. Finally, our favorite superhero is back where he belongs, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and both critics and fans are absolutely loving his first solo MCU film, Spider-Man: Homecoming. The casting of Tom Holland as Spider-Man is the best thing that’s happened after Robert Downey Jr. was cast as Iron Man in 2008 and with Homecoming receiving such fantastic reviews, it can only get better once we enter into Avengers: Infinity War. Though Tom Holland is causing mass excitement for what’s to come in the future of the MCU, let’s not forget that before Holland entered the picture, a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man played by Tobey Maguire marveled our screens over a decade ago.
Maguire’s Spider-Man was the golden ticket that catapulted the character to cinematic greatness in a time when superhero movies were frowned upon. Though the character was not 100 percent identical to the comics, Maguire’s version was loved by everyone. Spider-Man 2 is even considered to be one of the greatest comic book movies of all time, with much praise given to Maguire’s fabulous performance as Peter Parker/Spider-Man. Tom Holland is a great Spider-Man, but so was Tobey Maguire. The question now is, which one is the better one?
Without further ado, here are 8 Reasons Tobey Maguire Is Better Than Tom Holland (And 7 Reasons He's Worse).
15 Tobey Maguire - Made Spider-Man Famous Cinematically
Though many people came to know of Spider-Man while reading comic books, the young generation of the 2000s first fell in love with the webhead when he soared into theaters in 2002. Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man not only became a worldwide box office hit for the folks at Sony Pictures, but it made Spider-Man even more famous than his comic book counterpart. Kids were now celebrating their birthdays with Spider-Man costumes and Spider-Man cakes, making the cinematic version of the Marvel character a symbol of youth.
Spider-Man even broke records at the time of its release in 2002, becoming the first movie in cinematic history to earn over $100 million at the box office in its first weekend. Indeed, Spider-Man was more famous than ever, and Tobey Maguire was the one who did that.
Maguire’s portrayal of Spider-Man made the character a cinematic phenomenon and helped pave the way for the subsequent performances of Andrew Garfield and Tom Holland as the wall-crawler.
14 Holland - Spider-Man Is In The MCU
Tobey Maguire as Spider-Man made the character a blockbuster name, but with the emergence of Marvel Studios in 2008, a new multi-billion behemoth was about to rise. Nine years and 15 films later, Marvel Studios’ MCU has become cinema’s most financially successful franchise. What makes the MCU so great is that everything is connected, allowing Marvel’s most beloved characters to interact with each other.
When Marvel Studios finally got Spider-Man in the MCU, the franchise got 1000 times better. As cool and exciting as it was seeing Maguire’s Spider-Man battle it out with the Green Goblin and Doctor Octopus, now we get to see Spider-Man kick it with Black Widow, Iron Man, and Captain America.
During Maguire’s run as the character, this would’ve never happened, making Holland’s version much more interesting. We still get to see Spidey fight his iconic villains like the Vulture and Shocker, but now he is not alone—he’s got a whole crew of Avengers!
13 Maguire - Has An Iconic Soundtrack
While Holland’s iteration of Spider-Man gets to chill with the Avengers in the MCU, it’s almost impossible he’ll have a score and a soundtrack as iconic and memorable as Maguire’s. Composed by the legendary Danny Elfman, the main theme of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man is utterly fantastic. For the many fans who grew up watching the Raimi Spider-Man films, this theme song is replete with nostalgia. That’s why the song is right up there with the Star Wars and Superman themes.
Not only is the theme song a beautifully-crafted masterpiece, the Spider-Man soundtrack also included many songs that today have become classics among the Rock genre. One such song is “Hero” by Chad Kroeger from Nickelback, which was nominated for Best Song Written For A Motion Picture and Best Rock Song at the 45th Grammys. Andthere's Aerosmith’s cover of the original Spider-Man TV show theme, which is pure awesomeness. Raimi’s trilogy may not have ended on the right foot, but it sure had a killer soundtrack.
12 Holland - No Emo Dancing
The Tobey Maguire Spider-Man had a pretty sweet soundtrack in his movie, but while the music was great, his dancing was not. The emo dance scene in Spider-Man 3 is considered by fans and critics to be among the worst scenes in comic book movie history, despite being amazingly choreographed.
For a movie with a lot of problems, many thought that the dance scene was completely unnecessary and had no relevance to the character of Peter Parker. Luckily for us, there was no such scene in the Andrew Garfield Spider-Man movies years ago, but there’s also none in Tom Holland’s set of Spidey films.
There’s not an emo dance scene in Spider-Man: Homecoming and we are pretty much certain Sony and Marvel won’t include one in the sequel. If such a thing happens, it’s likely fans would be outraged, but one thing to consider is that Holland himself is an amazing dancer. Or have you not seeing his Lip Sync Battle performance?
11 Maguire - Spider-Man Was More Experienced
It’s hard to forgive that emo dance scene from Spider-Man 3, but that’s perhaps the only bad thing about Maguire’s Spider-Man. And one thing that makes him better than Holland’s Spidey is that Maguire’s Spider-Man was more experienced. Maguire’s version was older and more mature. With and older mentality and coming straight out of college, Maguire’s Spider-Man already experienced what Holland’s Spider-Man is starting to experience now.
There’s no doubt that an older, more experienced Spider-Man is able to do the job better. Especially since Maguire’s Spider-Man has faced more villains than Holland’s. Maguire went up against the Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, another Green Goblin, Sandman, and Venom.
So far, Holland’s Spider-Man has only gone up against half of the Avengers, who didn’t even want to actually hurt him. He may be facing the Vulture and Shocker once Homecoming comes around, but those two are nothing compared to villains Maguire’s Spider-Man faced.
10 Holland - Spider-Man Is In His Sophomore Year
Maguire’s Spider-Man may have the upper hand in matter of experience, but many fans would rather see Spider-Man as inexperienced as possible in the movies. That’s exactly what we are getting with Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, who’s only in his sophomore year of high school. This allows us to understand Peter at a much deeper and personal level than ever before, because frankly, this has never been done before.
With the planned trilogy of Holland Spider-Man films, we are getting the comic book superhero version of the Harry Potter storyline. Just like we saw Daniel Radcliffe’s Harry Potter go from being a little kid to an adult with his own children, we are about to get the same treatment with Holland’s Spider-Man.
Peter Parker’s character development will be a delight to see on-screen, especially since Tom Holland is the one giving us the amazing performance. In a way, we are also seeing the acting development of Holland, just like we saw Radcliffe’s acting skills improve after each Harry Potter film.
9 Maguire - Organic Webbing
As much as we love it when we see comic book panels and stories come to life on the big screen, it’s always great when a director decides to add something original to the movie. And that’s what Sam Raimi did when he gave Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man organic webbing instead of web cartridges.
Though there’s been alternate versions of Spider-Man in the comics that have organic webbing, it was after Raimi’s Spider-Man that the idea became prominent in comic books. The organic webbing made Maguire’s Spider-Man more connected to the bug that gave him his powers, and if it wasn’t for his organic webbing, than Spider-Man 2 would’ve been a very different movie.
Later in the Andrew Garfield and Tom Holland movies, the organic webbing was switched to artificial webbing as it is in the comics. Though it was cool to see how Peter was able to create the webbing in the other movies, the organic webbing of Maguire’s films definitely made Spider-Man a more badass superhero.
8 Holland - Spider-Man Isn't Limited To New York City
New York City, mainly Queens, is Spider-Man’s home turf and we got to see plenty of the setting in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy. While Tom Holland’s Spider-Man is still keeping to his comic book roots, Captain America: Civil War was the first time that any cinematic version of Spider-Man left New York. In Civil War, Spider-Man goes to Germany to fight alongside Team Iron Man. Then, in Homecoming, Spider-Man and his classmates go to Washington D.C.
Spider-Man in New York is always awesome, but it’s great that we are finally seeing him explore other settings. Holland’s Spider-Man may even go to outer space when Avengers: Infinity War comes around in 2018! With so many great settings in the MCU, it may be only a matter of time before we see Spider-Man in Asgard drinking fine Asgardian beer with mighty Thor (once Spidey is 21, of course).
7 Maguire - Has J.K. Simmons As J. Jonah Jameson
There are actors that are born to play a specific character, and after some time, the actor and character become one and the same. This is what happened with Robert Downey Jr. and Iron Man, Chris Evans and Captain America, Hugh Jackman and Wolverine, and of course, J.K. Simmons and J. Jonah Jameson.
Tobey Maguire as Spider-Man is memorable, yes, but the most memorable thing from the entire Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy is J.K. Simmons’s performance as J. Jonah Jameson. It’s impossible to envision anyone else playing the role and it’s for that exact reason that Marvel Studios will have a hard time in finding the right MCU actor to play the character.
Most fans wanted Simmons to return for Homecoming, making parallels to how Judi Dench played M in both the Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig James Bond films. Unfortunately for fans, J.K. Simmons will be appearing in the DCEU as Commissioner Gordon, which makes it unlikely for Simmons to appear in an MCU movie anytime soon.
6 Holland - Looks And Feels Like Comic Book Spider-Man
When Marvel Studios cast Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man they hit the jackpot. Not only does Holland portray the character to the detail; he actually looks like Peter Parker from the comics. That was one of the complaints fans had when both Maguire and Andrew Garfield were cast in their own movies; they looked too old for the part.
Holland nails the Peter Parker persona perfectly. He is young and quirky like the Spider-Man from the comics, and as previously mentioned, Holland looks like a carbon-copy of comic book Parker. It won’t be long until Holland and the character of Peter Parker/Spider-Man become one and the same, like Robert Downey Jr. and Iron Man - which is a good thing of course.
Holland loves the character and will continue to give us tremendous performances every time he puts on the suit. The added benefit that Holland looks just like our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man from the comics just makes everything else a lot more exciting.
5 Maguire - Made His Own Suit, He’s Independent
One of the most interesting aspects from Tom Holland’s Spider-Man is his suit, which was made by Tony Stark. Nevertheless, despite being a fantastic tech suit, the fact that Spider-Man didn’t make it takes a little bit away from his character. This is where things are different with Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man. Unlike Tom Holland’s version, Maguire’s Spider-Man designed and made his own superhero costume. This not only presented Peter Parker as the genius that he is in the comics, but it also established him as a talented artist.
Maguire’s Spider-Man is a man of many talents. Whereas some audience members would’ve connected with Peter Parker through his science-y intelligence, others with more artistic talents also had something to connect to. This Peter was independent and had a little bit of everything, which made him the perfect cinematic comic book superhero. Because anyone, no matter their differences, could see themselves in the shoes of Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man.
4 Holland - Love Interest Won’t Be Mary Jane (Or Gwen Stacy)
For three movies we saw Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man endure an endless struggle deciding between what’s best for the city of New York and Mary Jane. When one was safe, the other was in trouble, and when they both stood in the face of death, it somehow made Spider-Man a better hero. But that didn’t cure the fans' complaints that all three movies revolved around Spider-Man’s feelings for Mary Jane. And in a way, the same transpired with Gwen Stacy in the Andrew Garfield movies. This won’t be happening in the Tom Holland Spider-Man movies.
For the first time in a long time Spider-Man’s love interest won’t be Mary Jane or Gwen Stacy. In fact, while Liz Allen will become the new love interest for Holland’s Spider-Man, their romantic relationship won’t be the center of conflict like in the Tobey Maguire movies. This allows us to see Spider-Man in a whole different light, and this mostly works because of Holland’s Spider-Man’s young age.
3 Maguire - Had Real, Adult Responsibilities
Though we are in for some great character development with a young Spider-Man in Tom Holland, the older, more experienced Maguire Spider-Man gave us a view into the everyday life of a real adult. Maguire’s Spider-Man lived in an old New York City apartment room and had to pay rent and share a bathroom. In Spider-Man 2 we even saw Peter struggling to make money, putting him two months past rent.
Maguire’s Spider-Man also had to balance relationships, which is an aspect of our lives that is sometimes very hard to do. His dealings as Spider-Man many times hindered Peter attending one of Mary Jane’s plays. And when duty called again at his real job, the Daily Bugle, Peter was sometimes late for his college courses, which ultimately affected his grades.
With a job, school, and superheroics, Maguire’s Spider-Man had real responsibilities that a young Spider-Man like Holland’s won't have for a long time. (Enjoy your childhood, Spidey.)
2 Tom Holland - Does His Own Stunts
Tom Holland is looking to become the best cinematic version of Spider-Man, and in addition to his great acting and his incredible resemblance to the source material, Holland actually does many of his own stunts. Holland won’t be putting his dancing and acrobatic skills to the test in an emo dance scene like Tobey Maguire, but we are thankful that he is putting them to good use in the MCU.
It's not every actor that does their own stunts like Keanu Reeves and Tom Cruise do. This is mostly because of the risks the actors take in getting an injury on set. In the MCU there aren't many actors who do their own stunts as well, but Holland is an exception.
In fact, when Tom Holland auditioned for the role of Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War, he performed various acrobatic feats in front of directors Joe and Anthony Russo. Who would’ve thought that knowing a little gymnastics could get you the acting gig of a lifetime?
1 Maguire - Spider-Man Defined A Generation
The late 1990s and early 2000s saw the release of various comic book movies, but none was as successful and influential as Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man. As previously mentioned above, with the fame of Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man came Spidey-themed birthday parties of many young kids. Video games, books, and countless toys soon followed, and all of a sudden even your annoying nine-year-old neighbor was a Spider-Man fan. Halloween became infested with Spider-Man clones as if the Spider-Verse storyline from the comics was coming to fruition.
Spider-Man became a worldwide phenomenon and everyone loved it. That’s why today’s adults, who were kids when they first saw Spider-Man in 2002, see Tobey Maguire as the definitive best version of Spider-Man. You can’t beat them in an argument because nostalgia always wins. And you can’t blame them. Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man defined a generation, but we have no doubt that Tom Holland will do the same.
Who is your favorite Spider-Man? Let us know in the comments.