When a new Spider-Man was cast for the MCU just two years after Andrew Garfield’s second film in the role – and just four years after Garfield took the role from Tobey Maguire five years after his last movie as Spidey – there was a fear that the moviegoing public would get Spider-Man fatigue. Did we really need another Spider-Man?
But Tom Holland’s portrayal of Spidey in the MCU has proven those critics wrong in two ways. The first is that he plays the character perfectly, faithful to the comics with his own personal spin. The second is that his Spider-Man continues to do things on-screen that no other Spidey has done before. In anticipation of the multiverse-spanning Spider-Man: Far From Home, here are 10 Times Tom Holland’s Spider-Man Did Something No Previous Movie Spidey Has Done.
Right off the bat, one thing that no previous big-screen Spider-Man has done that Tom Holland’s version of the character has done in the MCU is go to outer space. He flew up out of Earth’s atmosphere on Ebony Maw’s Q-Ship with Iron Man and Doctor Strange, despite the former’s insistence that he go back home and let the adults handle Thanos.
Before he passed out in the deep, dark realm of space, Iron Man deployed the Iron Spider suit from Avengers HQ to fly up and attach itself to Peter’s body to give him an oxygen supply in space.
Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man was best friends with a villain’s son (Harry Osborn, the son of Norman Osborn, a.k.a. the Green Goblin), while Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man dated the police captain’s daughter (Gwen Stacy, daughter of NYPD Captain George Stacy), but neither of them ever dated a villain’s daughter.
In Spider-Man: Homecoming, Tom Holland’s Peter Parker doesn’t realize that his love interest is his airborne foe’s daughter until he goes to pick her up for the homecoming dance and his airborne foe opens the door. It was a shocking and thrilling plot twist, and there is reportedly a similar scene in Far From Home.
The Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield versions of Spider-Man always worked alone, but Tom Holland’s version has a mentor who has doubled as a father figure in the form of Tony Stark. The relationship that they developed over the last couple of movies has led to some moments that were heartwarming, like the recap of events he giddily gave Iron Man in the final battle of Endgame, and other moments that were heartbreaking, like when he rushed to a dying Tony’s side.
Director Jon Watts originally wanted Nick Fury to fill the mentor role, while the studio considered Bruce Banner, but it’s pretty obvious from the father-son relationship the characters developed that Tony was the right choice.
The previous two big-screen Spider-Mans only ever wore their classic red-and-blue nylon suits (and Tobey Maguire also had a black symbiote suit, but we’ll ignore that). But Tom Holland has had a bunch of different suits, courtesy of Stark Industries. His favorite new suit has to be the Iron Spider armor, which is made of the same nanotechnology as the Iron Man suits and is kitted with the same number of hidden gadgets.
Things got a little controversial when he activated the “Instant Kill Mode” in Endgame and started decimating legions of Thanos’ soldiers. Maybe Spidey’s policy is that he just doesn’t kill humans and he has no issue with killing aliens.
The films of the MCU have been criticized for following the same rigid formula, especially in their final acts. There’s usually a big battle sequence – some bigger than others – where the villain is brought to their knees by the hero while the supporting characters hold off the supporting villains. There’s also a ton of spectacular destruction.
Spider-Man: Homecoming followed this formula, but it did it in an interesting way. The Vulture hijacked a self-piloted Stark Industries cargo plane and Spidey went after him. He managed to stop the Vulture, but he crashed the plane on the beach in the process.
In the old comics, Spider-Man didn’t have magical web-slinging powers. He had to make his own web fluid and pour it into little devices that he’d built and attached to his wrists. The Tobey Maguire version of Spidey did have webs that magically shot out of his wrists, and when he couldn’t shoot webs anymore, it was a sign that he’d lost his powers.
The Andrew Garfield version played around a little bit with the idea of self-made web fluid and web-shooting wrist devices. But Tom Holland’s Spidey has gone all in with this concept, experimenting with new formulas for the web fluid in his science class.
Tom Holland’s Spidey wasn’t fully fleshed-out until he got his own solo movie in 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming, but his MCU debut came about halfway through 2016’s Captain America: Civil War. Frankly, that’s another thing that no other movie version of Spidey has done. They all started off their silver-screen tenure with their own movies, but Holland had to earn that.
One does not simply get a solo movie in the MCU. So, he’s the first screen Spider-Man to get his introduction in someone else’s movie. He’s also the first movie Spidey – and one of the only characters in the Marvel universe, period – to steal Captain America’s shield.
As hard as it is to believe, no previous movie Spidey has ever taken his fight against crime outside New York. There’s a reason he calls himself “your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man,” as well as a reason why Nick Fury rejects this nickname when Holland’s Spidey brings it up.
In Spider-Man: Homecoming, as Peter heads up to D.C. on a school trip, we see him battle foes in Maryland and Washington. Then, in Infinity War, there was the small matter that he went across the cosmos to the ruins of Titan. In Far From Home, we’ll see him traveling around Europe. He’s the first one to actually leave New York in one of these movies.
One of the things about the Peter Parker character that the Tom Holland movies nail is just how hectic his double life can be. Everyone knows who most of the other heroes are, so when they need to jump into action, they can just excuse themselves and jet off. But Peter is always trying to be in two places at once.
In Homecoming, it landed him in detention, watching a PSA starring Captain America. Tobey Maguire’s movies got Peter’s hectic schedule right, too, but his version of Peter was much older. He had two jobs and he was in college, so he had different problems.
At the end of Avengers: Infinity War, a lot of MCU characters became the first screen versions of themselves to turn to dust. But it was Spider-Man’s “dusting” that captured audiences across the world as he didn’t feel so good and collapsed in Tony Stark’s arms.
There’s even a fan theory that his Spidey-sense gave him an early warning of his tragic fate, and that’s why it was so gut-wrenchingly drawn out. Everyone else just got a quippy one-liner, but when Spidey turned to dust, we just saw a teenage kid who was scared. It was heartbreaking.