Why Tom Holland’s Spider-Man Is Different Than All the Others

The concept of creating a teen edition of an iconic superhero might have made some fans think Marvel was simply doing an easy sellout to Millennials. We’ve certainly seen our share of such things in the past, even if a few worked reasonably well. Examples include Teen Wolf as just one, though never occurring with a big-screen superhero.

For years, Spider-Man/Peter Parker was always considered to be a late 20s/early 30s guy who was already a career professional. While he had his share of personal problems, you can basically compound them by ten when you lower his age by a decade.

Tom Holland has created a unique teen take on Spider-Man that may set some new precedents.

Holland somehow predicted he’d play Spider-Man, not necessarily as a teen

Tom Holland
Tom Holland | Rebeca Figueiredo Amorim/Getty Images for Sony

Go back in time to 2013 when Holland attend an awards show in Britain and you’ll find him on the red carpet being interviewed about his wish to play Spider-Man. He’d had the role in mind for years, even back as a young kid wearing Spider-Man Underoos his mother gave him. Holland eventually posted a pic showing those pajamas when he first landed the role of Spider-Man in 2015.

We look at that video today and wonder if he had some kind of premonition he’d play one of the most coveted superhero roles in the world. Back then, though, most of the public would have scoffed at the idea of Spider-Man becoming a teen. Far too many jokes were made later about future movies turning into Spider-Fetus.

All concerns were quashed once Tom Holland made his debut, first in Captain America: Civil War, then in Spider-Man: Homecoming a year later. During his prior 2013 interview, Holland didn’t think he’d be hired so fast in the role, saying he wouldn’t expect to play the role for another decade.

Adding the struggles of being a teen to the weight of being a superhero

Some of our immediate thoughts in 2015 thought having Spider-Man being a teen meant putting up with annoying Millennial angst or sticking in Millennial tropes just to appease the demographic.

It turns out Marvel didn’t do this much at all and brought a supreme complexity to Peter Parker.

The change also allowed Marvel to have Spider-Man do things an adult Spider-Man never had done. As Screen Rant recently showed us, some of this involved going to space and dating one of the villain’s daughters.

You can also say being a teen allowed the MCU to explore Parker’s juggling problem of growing up and trying to attend high school. Doing all this while attempting to become Spider-Man ended up being a compelling exploration of what it’s like to be a teenager, more so than even normal teen movies.

Those of you who’ve seen Holland in all the Spider-Man movies so far know his acting range has been tremendous in displaying numerous complex emotions.

Showcasing the benefits of mentoring

One of the true highlights of Holland as Spider-Man has also been his friendship and mentoring from Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.). Their repartee was truly entertaining and displayed what mentors are really like. While we haven’t seen any superhero mentoring yet in the real world, similar dialogue is usually not out of the ordinary in real career situations.

What made this relationship more compelling is having Tony Stark dying in Endgame (seemingly anyway), creating a crushing blow for Parker. Latter dealing with the aftermath of this and trying to find someone to take his place makes this version of Spider-Man like no other we’ve seen.

Another thing to note is that despite being a teen, Parker is still “Spider-Man.” Above all, we’re seeing the first superhero movie showing us what it’s like turning into a young adult with more responsibilities than you can emotionally handle.