Tom Holland Is the Best Spider-Man For One Simple Reason: What the Others Got Wrong

Several versions of Spider-Man have hit the silver screen within the last two decades; thus, MCU fans have been graced with varying character interpretations for the beloved comic book hero. From Tobey Maguire’s classic turn as the web-slinging geek in love with Mary Jane to Tom Holland’s take as the teenage protege to Tony Stark. And, let us not forget (though many often do), Andrew Garfield’s version in The Amazing Spider-Man series. 

Spider-Man | Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Sony

Fans of the character often argue that Tom Holland best embodies the character, and most accurately reflects the source material. When browsing through various online discussions, you will notice that Maguire holds a special place in everyone’s heart, Garfield is often dismissed, and Holland is deemed the “objective supreme.” But, why? 

What does Tom Holland get right as Spider-Man? What did the others miss? While many fans will direct attention to his age and spot-on casting, this facet is not Holland’s primary asset. Holland — and those behind Spidey’s characterization — bring something more important to the table. When analyzing the three different incarnations, the one integral trait that the others lack becomes quite apparent.  

Tom Holland best balances Spider-Man & Peter Parker: duality accomplished

When you think about Spider-Man, you must remember that his character is two-fold — to the greatest imaginable extent. While Captain America, Iron Man and Black Widow also possess alternate identities — Rogers, Stark, and Natasha — their duality is not as integral or intense. Tony Stark and Iron Man possess the same, consistent persona. However, the same cannot be said about Spider-Man. 

Spider-Man is a bit more quippy and playful than Peter Parker is in his day-to-day life. Peter Parker is a geeky, smart teenager who is a bit awkward in certain social interactions. On the otherhand, Spider-Man is confident in his combat ability, and often makes light of a battle sequence — cracking jokes along the way.

Tobey Maguire was an amazing Peter Parker (albeit a bit too old), but his Spider-Man counterpart fell a little flat. When Tobey Maguire suited up and became Spider-Man, he left something to be desired (especially among fans of the comics). Because his Peter Parker was so strong, and in line with the mental associations we have with the character, we still enjoyed his take. However, he never fully mastered the Spider-Man shtick.

On the other hand, Andrew Garfield was a great Spider-Man; however, he was a bit too suave, charming, and cute as Peter Parker. He was funny, sarcastic, and quick-witted when in combat. All these qualities made for an enjoyable viewership experience, especially during the action sequences. However, his Parker did not match fans’ mental association with the geeky, smart guy. His character was smart, but those behind his portrayal seemed to forget about the geeky part. 

At last, we get to Tom Holland. Holland’s Parker is awkward around the quick-thinking Michelle Jones, as we would expect him to be. However, he flies through combat with a sense of wonderment and awe — excited to be there. He is brave, but also a bit loveably foolish.

His panic-stricken mode is less dire, more amusing. And, he makes jokes while kicking butt. Not to mention, Holland’s Parker proves to be an intelligent protege to Stark, which works to accomplish the geek mission. In the end, what the other takes got wrong: one half of the equation was always missing.