The story of Spider-Man began with Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. They were the co-creators of the comics, the source material for the numerous blockbusters. The idea was just to have a normal teenager be bitten by a scientifically-altered spider and get powers that would change his life forever. But the catch is that Peter Parker isn’t prepared to be Queens’ hero; he’s just your average, awkward teenager and, later on, still an awkward adult. At the same time, though, his kindness and selflessness make him the perfect candidate to save New York.
Peter Parker becomes Spider-Man because he considers these powers a responsibility (“with great power comes great responsibility”). If he doesn’t use them, he’s unwillingly letting people die. So, he learns how to use his powers and becomes the city’s hero (in some comics, the world’s hero) — as well as several villains’ number one enemy.
Let’s get into this character’s story and rediscover Spider-Man’s many adventures across eight films by highlighting, what I consider to be, some of the most epic scenes. Safe to say there will be spoilers ahead.
1. Peter Parker Gets Bitten by the Spider (The First Time)
In “Spider-Man” (2003), Peter Parker is played by Tobey Maguire, the first actor brave enough to tackle the role. Just like in the comics, Peter Parker is on a field trip when all of a sudden, he feels a painful pinch in his hand. A spider has just bitten him. He thinks nothing of it, of course, but a few hours later that same day, he starts to feel ill and sleeps it off. In the morning, everything for him changes.
2. Gwen Stacy’s Death
One of the most shocking and unexpected moments in the comics is when one beloved character — and, at the time, the love of Peter’s life — falls to her death. Even more heartbreaking is that it’s because of Spider-Man’s web attaching to her way too quickly and breaking her neck in the process. From that moment on, Parker’s story would change forever. He will carry the guilt for the rest of his life and eventually find comfort in someone else’s arms.
In the first movies, however, Gwen isn’t exactly a main character. She appears only a little in “Spider-Man 3,” played by Bryce Dallas Howard. The second time they tried to make these movies, Andrew Garfield took over as Spider-Man. Mary Jane Watson, Peter Parker’s other main love interest, takes a backseat and Gwen Stacy has the main role alongside Garfield’s Peter Parker. This time, she is played by Emma Stone. In the sequel to “The Amazing Spider-Man” movie, writers decided to follow the comic’s path and recreated the heartbreaking, iconic scene.
Both actors do an excellent job at portraying the feelings of their characters throughout the film, but especially in this scene. Fun fact: Garfield and Stone — dating at the time — hadn’t seen each other for a few weeks prior to shooting the scene, so Garfield’s feelings were even more raw and realistic.
3. Spider-Man’s First Appearance In the MCU
After the Spider-Man film series was canceled for a second time, fans were on their way to giving up on a continuing portrayal of their friendly neighborhood hero. But then, it was finally announced that Sony had sold the rights to Marvel and they could finally bring Spidey home to the Marvel universe, where he belongs.
Marvel decided to start over, but without the story we’d now heard twice before: the spider bite, Uncle Ben’s death, an older man playing a teenager. They cast Tom Holland, 18 at the time — the youngest to ever play a superhero in the MCU — and skipped the spider bite and Parker’s beloved uncle’s death.
We meet this Spider-Man in “Captain America: Civil War,” a few months after he’s acquired these strange powers and is recruited by none other than Tony Stark. The moment the word Queens came on the screen, the whole movie theater seemed to know what it meant and fans cheered every time the hero appeared throughout the rest of the movie. It was an epic first introduction and a spectacular journey that’s still taking place.
4. Miles Morales
In 2018, “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” premiered and introduced Miles Morales, voiced by Shameik Moore, to the world. Or at least to those who didn’t know about him. If you follow the comics, you’re probably familiar and his story was no surprise. But if that’s not the case, you might have found it difficult to understand that there were two universes and each one had its own Spider-Man.
Miles and Peter share the same origin: Both are bitten and lose someone close to them, which motivates them to take on the role of Spider-Man and take care of their respective cities.
The movie is animated and introduces a whole new cast of characters that fans have completely fallen in love with. They are hoping Marvel will pick up Miles Morales’ story and bring him into the MCU along with Peter Parker. He’s already hinted at when Aaron Davis, played by the legend Donald Glover, is introduced in “Homecoming” as the character trying to buy illegal weapons. Aaron Davis is Morales’ uncle. So, who knows? The Marvel Universe is full of possibilities.
5. The Spider-Man Kiss
Of course, I couldn’t not include this classic scene. It has been recreated dozens of times throughout the decades in other shows and movies since it came out. It will never cease to perfectly capture the romance between the two characters: Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson.
And then there’s the sensual mystery MJ feels over not knowing who’s behind the mask, and the excitement of the audience for having more information than one of the main characters. The viewers know that her goofy, awkward, next-door neighbor is actually the hero that has managed to impress her like no one else and save her on more than one occasion.
This iconic scene has not yet been recreated by any of the other Spider-Men, so we’ll have to stay tuned and see if Marvel will tackle it with Holland’s version.
Spider-Man movies have now been around for almost 20 years and there are definitely more scenes that could be included here. Because of COVID-19, unfortunately, we’ll have to wait another year for a new film. It is rumored, though, that all three Spider-Men (Maguire, Garfield and Holland) will make an appearance in it. Will they recreate the famous meme? Who knows. We’ll just have to marathon the old ones until then.