Organic webbing is an integral part of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, but Tom Holland’s tech is more comics-accurate and a better fit for the MCU.
Marvel chooses to equip Tom Holland’s Spider-Man with mechanical web-shooters for the MCU, a departure from the organic webbing featured in Sam Raimi’s movies. Filmmakers are always seeking a fresh perspective on established characters, but this change is more than just an arbitrary tweak to distance the superhero from past adaptations. The mechanical web-shooters are actually more accurate with Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s original comics, and they fit better with the MCU’s version of Peter Parker, who is poised to become the next Tony Stark.
Spider-Man is the alias of orphaned teenager Peter Parker, a fictional character from the minds of comic legends Stan Lee and Steve Ditko who first appeared in the anthology comic book Amazing Fantasy #15 in 1962. A bite from a radioactive spider gives Parker spider-like powers such as clinging to surfaces, superhuman strength and agility, and a precognitive sixth sense aptly coined “Spidey-sense.” The superhero quickly rose to Marvel fame, but it wasn’t until 2002 when Toby Maguire suited up as the web-slinger for Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy that the character received its first live-action film adaptation. Raimi’s version had all the elements fans had come to know and love, with one notable addition — organic webbing that could be shot out of glands in the wrist. Although popping up sporadically in the comics, organic webbing wasn’t established as a core element to Spidey’s powers until Raimi’s movies brought the concept into the mainstream.
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Marvel took over production of Spider-Man films and incorporated the character into the MCU with Tom Holland’s starring role in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Following in the footsteps of The Amazing Spider-Man reboot in 2012, Marvel abandoned organic webbing, but the studio took it a step further. Marvel used the mechanical web-shooters as an opportunity to highlight Parker’s genius intellect. This paved the way for Tony Stark’s entrance into Parker’s story in what would become a core element of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man. Recognizing the potential of Parker’s unique superhuman powers and intellectual genius, which led to the creation of a synthetic web fluid and subsequent web-shooters, Stark takes the youngster under his wings through the guise of a Stark Industries internship. The collaboration proves bountiful for Parker, who receives a new suit complete with Iron-Man tech and an A.I. companion.
The decision to have Tom Holland’s Spider-Man build his own mechanical web-shooters is a return to Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s original comics and a better fit for the MCU. In his comic-book origins, Peter Parker synthesizes a unique adhesive web fluid then builds a pair of wrist-mounted web-shooters that allow him to shoot and form the fluid into an array of shapes. Stan Lee later said, “The one thing I liked about Peter’s web-shooters was the fact that they made him more vulnerable.” The web-shooters provide the possibility for heightened tension because at any moment, Spider-Man could run out of fluid. This became a recurring gimmick during crucial scenes in the comic series and has already been utilized with Tom Holland in Spider-Man: Far From Home. The sequel also sees Parker gain access to what appears to be the entire arsenal of Stark Industries following the death of Tony Stark in Avengers: Endgame, rendering the motive for a tech-based suit and web-shooter even clearer. Parker is now poised to replace his mentor’s role as the inventive genius, and transitioning away from a character whose powers lie within to one who relies heavily on technology better aligns with this trajectory.
Since his creation by comic legends Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, Spider-Man has gone through various changes both on the page and on the screen. Though organic webbing produced inside the body has made its appearance from time to time, the latest rendition from Marvel Studios sees Tom Holland’s Spider-Man return to the original comics with synthesized web fluid and wrist-mounted web-shooters. With Parker’s ascension into the genius inventor role vacated by Tony Stark, his relationship with technology is becoming even stronger. Exciting possibilities await Peter Parker and his high-tech suit in future Marvel productions.
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