ByMark Anthony Wade Lynch, writer at Creators.co
Trying to become Earth's Mightiest writer or at least one that people look for.
Mark Anthony Wade Lynch

Few superhero movies have been as influential on the modern state of summer blockbusters as Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy. Of course, the star of the films — Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker — has had an impressive career both before and after his stint as the web-slinger. In honor of his 41st birthday, we thought it'd be fun to take a look at some of his best — and surprising — work since he left the role behind.

Brothers

Tobey Maguire's first movie after Spider-Man 3 was Brothers, where he co-starred alongside Jake Gyllenhaal and Natalie Portman. Maguire goes from punching bag Peter Parker to Captain Sam Cahill, a soldier who comes home from war after being presumed dead.

During this time missing in action, Cahill and a private named Joe Willis (Patrick Flueger) are tortured by terrorists in an attempt to make them dismiss their country and military. When Cahill breaks, the enemy forces him to beat Willis to death. If that wasn’t bad enough, once Cahill is rescued and returns home — with severe PTSD — he learns that his brother and wife have started a relationship in his absence.

It was a very smart move for Maguire to immediately take a role that people wouldn't expect him to play. Brothers was a complete 180-degree turn from playing a lager-than-life superhero for half a decade. While he may have been a great Peter Parker and will always be known as the original, the last thing that any actor wants is to be typecast.

Tropic Thunder Cameo

If you've never seen Tropic Thunder from the beginning, you may have missed Tobey Maguire and Robert Downey Jr. doing their best impersonation of Brokeback Mountain. RDJ and Maguire did a trailer for a fake movie-within-the-movie called Satan's Alley where the two played pious men whose love could never be... or could it?

Not only was this completely unexpected, it was great that Tobey Maguire was okay with playing such a small role and actually make fun of himself in the process when his only accolade was "MTV Movie Award Winner for Best Kiss." While this may have been a minor appearance, it was absolutely hilarious and memorable.

The Great Gatsby

Tobey Maguire later played Nick Carraway from the adaptation of the classic F. Scott Fitzgerald novel The Great Gatsby. This was a bold move on Maguire's part. It's one thing to play Spider-Man, but it's something else entirely to play a character in book revered to be one of the greatest works of American literature.

Maguire may not have stolen the show, but that's an admittedly difficult task in a Baz Luhrmann flick where the visuals are so stunning. All the lights, colors, sets, and the scenery was gorgeous. It also doesn't help when the guy next to you is Leonardo DiCaprio. Regardless, Tobey Maguire did an amazing job in a role where the odds were already stacked up against him.

Happy Birthday, Tobey Maguire

Tobey Maguire doesn't have the filmography of a Brad Pitt or George Clooney, but he has continued to get steady work after his stint as Peter Parker in the Spider-Man trilogy.

As the years have gone on, it's clear how influential the success of the Sam raimi/Tobey Maguire Spider-Man films have been to the modern era of superhero movies. For that, I say thank you, Mr. Maguire, and happy birthday.