Every Generation Gets The Spider-Man It Deserves


August 1st is Spider-Man Day.  Despite this being the day that observes Spider-Man’s first appearance in the 15th issue of Marvel’s Amazing Fantasy, the trash is still being collected and the mail is still being delivered.  Spider-Man Day is a holiday when no one gets any time off.  I’m sure that the web slinger himself would appreciate the irony.

The appeal of Spider-Man has always been that he’s the hero who never feels that he’s done enough.  He’s also the hero who is almost always unappreciated by the rest of the world.  He’s the hero who often resents having to do his job but who still feels a responsibility to try to make the world a better place.  Spider-Man is the superhero that almost everyone can relate to.

As far as television and movies go, every generation has gotten the Spider-Man that they deserved.

The boomers got Nicholas Hammond’s Spider-Man.  Hammond played Spider-Man for two seasons in the 70s.  He was a little boring but, from what I’ve seen, his show has a reputation for being worse than it was.  Like the best of the boomers, Hammond’s Spider-Man could be stuffy but he got the job done.

Generation X got Tobey Maguire, who played Spider-Man in three films that Sam Raimi directed in the aughts.  Like Generation X, Maguire’s Spider-Man was quiet but clever.  Despite his quick wit, he was frequently neurotic and more than a little introverted but he always came through in the end.

Then, Andrew Garfield played the millennial version of Spider-Man.  Angsty and awkward, Garfield’s Spider-Man was aware that society would never fully accept him, both as Peter and as Spider-Man.  At times, it seemed like his every attempt at making things better somehow only made them worse.

And finally, the Zoomers have got Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, an earnest idealist who struggles with the fact that the world is more complicated than it seems.  You can criticize him for being naïve but never doubt the sincerity of his beliefs.

All of the actors who played Spider-Man have done a good job and they all deserve praise.  My favorite is Tobey Maguire but that’s largely because, having been born in ’82, I’m on the dividing line between Generation X and Millennial and I’ve always leaned more towards the Generation X side of things.  Plus, I can relate to this:

Maguire, Garfield, and Holland all came together to appear in the previous Spider-Man film, which I thought was a nice touch.  I just wish Nicholas Hammond had been invited to join them.

Nicholas Hammond, as Peter Parker

Nicholas Hammond, Today

Having an older, perhaps retired Spider-Man joining forces with the Maguire, Garfield, and Holland versions of the character would have provided an extra-dimension to the movie, much as used to happen on Doctor Who whenever any of the previous incarnations of the Time Lord would meet the newest version.

Regardless of who plays him or whether he’s Peter Parker or Miles Morales, Spider-Man remains the hero to whom we can all relate.  Spider-Man is all of us.

Happy Spider-Man Day to all!

One response to “Every Generation Gets The Spider-Man It Deserves

  1. Pingback: Lisa Marie’s Week In Review: 8/1/22 — 8/7/22 | Through the Shattered Lens

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