Spider-Man 2 is my favorite superhero film of all time. Anyone who’s been within earshot of me during any conversation about cinema in general should know this. I say it loud and unapologetically.
And it’s not only because Tobey Maguire will always be my default live-action version of Spider-Man (though that’s true too). It’s also because of Sam Raimi, and his distinct vision for Peter Parker.
I hated the first Amazing Spider-Man, and I only barely liked The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Again, this actually has little to do with who was wearing the mask (most people agree that Andrew Garfield was at least fine, if not great in the role).
These movies just lacked the same depth and quality that we got with the first two Spider-Man movies in 2002 and 2004. And with Tobey Maguire getting on in years, it seemed like a great idea to just reboot the whole thing just five years after the disastrous Spider-Man 3.
And now we have a new Spider-Man reboot on the horizon. Marvel and Sony have officially struck a deal to share the same version of this character within both Marvel and Sony’s cinematic universes.
It’s exciting news, but it also means Andrew Garfield is almost certainly done with the role, and we have to start all over again. Again.
I would have liked to keep Andrew Garfield in the mix, and there’s still a slim chance he might. But I would much rather we come back to Tobey Maguire, and here’s why.
1. It would be more faithful to “Civil War.”
For what Marvel wants to use Spider-Man for, bringing Tobey Maguire back is actually perfect. Amidst reports that Marvel and Sony want to keep Spider-Man in high school, fans who actually read comics are getting frustrated.
We’ve experienced high school Peter twice now (seriously, I can’t handle Uncle Ben dying again), and Marvel is planning to debut the character in Captain America: Civil War.
One of the biggest reasons Marvel is bothering to make this deal (which they’re reportedly getting little financial value from) has to do with the fact that “Civil War” makes little sense without Peter Parker and Spider-Man.
Spider-Man’s role in “Civil War” is key because he’s the relatable center of conflict stuck between two people he respects. Its through Peter that we’re able to feel the real struggle between Captain America and Iron Man during their spat over privacy, a theme Marvel has been carefully building up with Phase II of the MCU.
And in “Civil War” (the comics version), Peter Parker isn’t in high school. He’s not even in college. He’s a high school science teacher years after first becoming the webhead.
That may seem like a little detail Marvel can just ignore, but it robs the story of a lot of the impact gained from when Spider-Man famously unmasked himself in public in order to support the Superhero Registration Act (and Tony Stark). But we’ll get to that later.
2. We haven’t finished Sam Raimi’s story.
Spider-Man 3 ended with the death of Harry Osborne, but we have no idea what truly became of Peter. He might have married Mary Jane, and the death of his friend could have prompted him to hang up his mask for a while.
This would explain his absence during the Battle of New York in The Avengers, which could then explain why he’d consider becoming Spider-Man again.
It could be during this time that he gains the attention of the Avengers during the prelude to Civil War, eventually leading to his famous unmasking to a public that’s known him as Spider-Man for years.
If they reboot the franchise again, then this moment won’t be nearly as powerful. Any new Spider-Man they throw in there will just be yet another actor we’re not used to.
How are we supposed to believe that the public cares about this Spider-Man if he hasn’t really been around much? Marvel could make it work because they’re Marvel, but it would be a missed opportunity.
3. The unmasking would be way more epic.
Can you imagine if the guy taking off his mask was Tobey Maguire, the guy who’s been Spider-Man in most of our heads for the last 13 years? And think about the impact of having JK Simmons reprise his role as J. Jonah Jameson and witnessing this from his office at the Daily Bugle. It’s just perfect.
And it even works within the Sam Raimi timeline because Maguire could easily be a science teacher by now. Unlike a new Spider-Man or bringing in Garfield, it actually fits.
Of course, this would sort of work for Garfield, too, but it still doesn’t fit quite as well. Unlike Garfield, Tobey’s Spider-Man is the Sam Raimi version. He’s the guy we’ve actually seen a consistent, compelling story arc with.
4. Tobey Maguire is a better Peter Parker than Andrew Garfield.
Garfield did a great job, and he brought a faithful take to the character that Tobey could learn from. But Garfield was better at being Spider-Man than than being Peter Parker.
In contrast, Tobey Maguire nailed the character of Peter Parker. He was a lovable weirdo who never seemed comfortable in his own skin, unless he had the mask on. Garfield, by comparison, was never a believable outcast.
He spent most of his time charming Gwen Stacey and investigating something about his parents, or something. With Garfield, I just didn’t connect with him as Peter in the way I did with Maguire, which is a shame because, again, I had a great time watching him as Spider-Man.
5. Sony could still keep Garfield.
Rumor has it Sony still wants to do Sinister Six and Venom. So my conspiracy theory of the week is that we could also see The Amazing Spider-Man 3 with Andrew Garfield still doing his thing, while Tobey returns to the fold with Marvel. Everyone wins, pretty much.
But this is less likely to happen if Sony invests in yet another reboot. While many fans probably won’t like this idea, I think it would be great fodder for the “multiverse” dimensions and realities we’ve been waiting for Marvel, Sony, and Fox to dole out with their scattered characters.
Before I go, I do want to point out that yes, I think it would be interesting to bring on Miles Morales, the half black, half latino version of Spider-Man from the Ultimate storyline.
He’s a great character and would work great in his own movie, but I don’t think this is the right time and place for his story. If anything, it would make more sense to introduce him into the world already established by Marc Webb and Avi Arad.
Also, as big a fan as I am of Donald Glover, he’s just way too old at this point to be Miles Morales. Maybe in a different timeline, that’s not the case.
What do YOU think? Should Tobey stay or should he go?