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story.lead_photo.caption For our critic’s money, Andrew Garfield (seen here in 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man) remains the best webslinger, if not the best Peter Parker.

We live in a world of reboots and remakes today. This year alone we've seen reboots of Child's Play, Halloween, Pet Semetary, Hellboy, Shaft and more. And we're only half way through the year. This week, we get a new Spider-Man movie, and this will mark the second film in the third reboot of the series (I know, stay with me).

Sony/Columbia has had the rights to make Spider-Man movies for a while now. Back before Marvel Studios existed, the comic book company just licensed out the rights to its characters for movies. Fox got X-Men and Fantastic Four. Sony got Ghost Rider and Spider-Man. Two of those franchises turned out good movies. And two didn't. I'll let you figure out which I mean (hint: not Nicolas Cage).

Since Sam Raimi's Spider-Man in 2002, we've had three different live action Peter Parkers take the big screen. Three different Spidermen in the span of 15 years. I suppose it's not that crazy given we had three different Batmen between 1989 and 1997, but it's still not a common thing to have so many actors play a role in such a small amount of time.

And they're each very different. Each actor brings a different interpretation to the character. Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, and Tom Holland are all very different Peter Parkers. They each do at least one thing better than each other if that makes any sense.

I have to credit Maguire with helping to get superhero movies going at the pace they are today. Real credit goes to the 2000 film X-Men being such a big hit, but Spider-Man is early enough that it gets some credit too. I can remember being amazed at watching him swing between buildings and leaping down to fight the Green Goblin.

Maguire's real strength was playing Peter Parker. For those of you that don't read the comics, Peter can be an awkward dork sometimes, and Maguire really shined here. The hopeless geek photographer who was madly in love with his neighbor Mary Jane. He was OK in the suit, but it was as the nerdy hero from Queens that I really came to like in his character. And sure, he gave us some cheesy moments like dancing in Spider-Man 3 or... pretty much anything else in Spider-Man 3, but Spider-Man 2 remains one of the best comic book movies of all time. And if you ask fans which Spider-Man movie they love most, a lot of them will name that one.

Maguire's Spider-Man never really sold the superhero for me. He had some cool moments like stopping the subway or backflipping away from the Green Goblin's flying board. But I never really felt that true hero inspiration from him. His other problem was Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane, his supposed love interest. Peter Parker and Mary Jane are supposed to be one of the greatest comic book couples of all time, but for three movies it just looked to me like they whined at each other. Thanks to Dunst, I still hate the character of Mary Jane to this day (which is a shame, because I adored Dunst in Kiki's Delivery Service).

I will go ahead and confess that Andrew Garfield played my favorite Spider-Man. I know that's an unpopular opinion because people typically regard The Amazing Spider-Man and its sequel as "just OK." But here's the deal. Garfield is the best person when the mask is on. He inspires me and makes me excited as a hero trying to find his way. Maybe he's not the best portrayal of Peter Parker because he played more of the class rebel skater kid (who was 29 when his movie came out). And maybe his villains are all a little bland, sure.

But his coupling with Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy is perfection. I loved these two together. They were everything in two movies that Maguire and Dunst weren't in three movies. And Stacy's death scene hit me like a sack of bricks. Even if the rest of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is average at best, that last 20 minutes where Stacy dies, and Spider-Man quits because of it? Phenomenal.

I know some people hate the ending where the little boy in the Spider-Man costume takes on the Rhino, and then the real Spider-Man shows up to save him. But that scene gives me goosebumps every time. I still pull it up on YouTube to watch it to this day. Garfield is the best superhero. He nails the superhero's cockiness, his snark, and his ability to inspire as the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.

Now here we are with Tom Holland's second movie having just dropped, and I have to ask, what is it with Brits taking over American roles? They took Superman (an American icon), and now they've got Spider-Man. You don't see Americans trying to reboot Harry Potter or 007. I'd say stay in your lane, Brits, but you drive in the wrong one of those, too. (I jest. Cavill and Holland are great actors who have done terrific work with their characters.)

Where Holland shines (aside from his ability to give away Marvel movie secrets) is that he's the best blend of Peter Parker and Spider-Man. I feel Maguire nailed the role of Parker, and Garfield nailed the role of Spider-Man. But Holland does a great job at putting them together into one character. And that's his real strength. He's the best at being a well-rounded Peter Parker and Spider-Man.

They've changed Spider-Man up a bit giving him Tony Stark as a mentor and not beating the dead horse of Uncle Ben (thankfully). That's all refreshing. He doesn't have a Gwen Stacy or MJ (yet), but he does have Ned. I love Jacob Batalon in these movies. His character makes me die laughing, and he provides the support of a best bud, something Garfield and Maguire lacked. I never believed Maguire was friends with James Franco, and they never tried to give Garfield any friends. So for Parker to have Ned backing him up and being the best bud everyone needs to survive high school? It's fantastic.

I know it's a bit of a cop-out to say all three actors have different strengths and weaknesses, but I do still stand by Garfield as my personal favorite Spider-Man, even if his movies aren't my favorite. He and Emma Stone melt my heart. If you want to let me know who your favorite Spider-Man was, feel free to drop me a line at clanning@arkansasonline.com. And if you want to see the weirdest take on Spider-Man, get on YouTube and look for the Honest Trailer of Supaidaman (Japanese 1970s Spider-Man television series).

MovieStyle on 07/05/2019

Print Headline: May the best Spiderman win

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