Since his grand entrance in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, Tom Holland has impressed fans with the fresh and youthful spirit he brings to Peter Parker and his emotional character arc. But comparisons are inevitable, especially when you’re the actor behind a big-screen Spider-Man adaptation. For many, the first face they associate with the webslinger will always be Tobey Maguire in Sam Raimi’s epic trilogy.
So naturally, when Tom Holland went undercover to answer the internet’s burning questions about him he came across one comparing Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield's on-screen presence as Spider-Man to his. A Quora user asked why the MCU Spidey is shown to be “weaker, naive and foolish” compared to Maguire. Here’s what Holland said in response:
Because it makes me more interesting, I guess. It gives me more room to grow. If you start out a badass, there's nowhere to go. I don't know.
It's an ongoing conversation, as some fans find Tom Holland’s version to be more flawed and clueless than Maguire’s established arc. And they're not wrong. The more recent Peter Parker is certainly prone to more mistakes, often upsetting Tony Stark in his foolishness or paying for it later when he placed his blind trust in Mysterio.
Tom Holland makes a good point that the reason you may characterize his Peter Parker as “weaker, naive and foolish” allows him to be a more complex character with room to grow into the badass icon Spider-Man is known to be. So far, Holland’s on-screen Spidey has confronted plenty of obstacles and is still figuring out how to balance his life as an Avenger and “regular” teen.
It’s also more relatable to an audience to see a character fail and get back up than know exactly what he’s doing. Not to say Maguire’s hero didn’t have struggles too. Spider-Man has always been the most accessible character in the MCU to the every-man.
Perhaps Marvel Studios leaned more into Spidey’s naivety to contradict the other heroes next to him that more easily and seamlessly their position as crime fighters. Tom Holland still showed love to Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man films, saying they changed his life growing up to GQ.
It's worth noting that the Peter Parker established in Spider-Man: Homecoming becomes the superhero a couple years younger than Maguire’s. Holland’s Spidey is 15 when we meet him and he’s already been bitten by a radioactive spider and seen the loss of his beloved Uncle Ben. On the other hand, Maguire is supposed to be around 17 or 18 when his origin story plays out in 2002’s Spider-Man, not to mention the actor was in his late 20s when he portrayed the teenager (Holland was around 20).
Moving forward, it looks as though Tom Holland’s Spider-Man will move closer to Maguire’s territory in a universe without the Avengers, since Disney and Sony decided to break off their partnership on the property. Holland has shown confidence about the change, teasing a “bigger and better” return for his character.
How would you compare Tobey Maguire and Tom Holland’s Spider-Man? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!