Spider-Man is a very polarizing character with countless interpretations across multiple forms of media. So, as the release of Spider-Man: No Way Home grows closer, fans have started to become more vocal regarding multiple aspects of this film. With the rumors of the upcoming sequel potentially bringing in the previous iterations of the character, fans have started to point out the differences between the three live-action versions. The debate has begun on how one counterpart is better than the other. What stands out is that the harshest of criticisms definitely focusing in on the MCU’s interpretation of Spider-Man. Many believe that Tom Holland’s version of the character lacks many qualities about what would normally characterize the web-slinging hero. All of these critiques however can be neatly wrapped up into one singular question: Who is Spider-Man in the MCU really?
For the MCU Version of Spider-Man, you could argue that he is often opaqued by his connection to Tony Stark. In a way, making his character an extension of the MCU founder. The reasoning behind this train of thought is because when compared to the rest of the characters in the MCU, whose history always was part of an extended universe, Spider-Man had no connection. He was the only one to protect NYC in his past films. In most forms of media, he’s been perceived as this individual that understands what it’s like to be someone on opposite sides of the spectrum.
An individual who knows what it’s like to be powerless to do anything and someone who has superhuman powers, but also understands the responsibilities that must come along with them. In a way, it’s what makes Spider-Man relatable and appealing to many audiences. When it comes to the MCU version of the character, some vocal Spider-Man fans have argued that this iteration of Peter Parker has a sense of dependence and reliance on others, rather than assuming responsibility wholeheartedly.
Ironically enough, in a film that is rumored to be so jampacked and filled with characters, references, and nostalgia, Spider-Man: No Way Home may very well be the perfect film to make up for that past perception. Given what we already know about the film, Peter Parker’s secret identity has been ousted to the world. As he stands trial for Mysterio’s murder, he’ll have to step up and defend himself. That is a lot of responsibility to carry for a kid of his age.
And with the worst kept secret being that Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield are set to reprise their respective roles in this film, then we are putting the MCU Peter Parker where he’ll learn what it means to hold that mantle from his true counterparts, or at least a Variant of himself. He’ll have the opportunity to learn what exactly inspired or motivated each Peter Parker to gain that sense of responsibility. It would give him the chance to re-evaluate his own perception of the responsibility he mentioned in Captain America: Civil War. As his character moves forward, we might get a clearer picture of what makes Tom Holland’s Spider-Man truly Spider-Man.