Comic book films have become quite the phenomenon in modern pop culture. What was once considered "nerdy" is undoubtedly loved by the masses today, as the superhero genre dominates the box office every year. The film that started it all was Sam Raimi's Spider-Man, it showed audiences the potential of what a comic book film could be.
The first Spider-Man movie is, and perhaps always will be, very special to me. It made me fall in love with the character and Spider-Man has been my absolute favourite superhero ever since.
Even though it could be considered as "campy" by today's standards, Spider-Man (2002) was unlike anything I had ever seen; Peter Parker was not this untouchable hero. He was flawed, and had to overcome adversities thrown at him not only by the Green Goblin but also from his personal life. In short, he was very relatable.
Since the release of the first film, we have seen three live action iterations of the character, helmed by Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield and Tom Holland. Even though they all played the role of the friendly neighbourhood wallcrawler, the characters were very distinct from one another.
Sony's Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse first introduced the idea of showing different versions of the character together on screen, which was in turn inspired by the video game Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was a brilliant movie in its own right, but what was already a great idea, Marvel perfected it in Spider-Man: No Way Home. Written almost like fan fiction, it was fan service done just right. Seeing all three of the Spider-Men together on screen almost brought tears to my eyes.
I am not here to tell you which version of Spider-Man was the best. To me personally, I love Andrew Garfield's version the best. I always felt Tobey Maguire's portrayal of Peter Parker was a bit too nerdy for my taste. He was also very unfunny, Spider-Man is supposed to be funny. Tom Holland on the other hand just played second fiddle to Iron Man. I was not interested in Iron Man junior, I wanted Spider-Man to be his own hero.
The three actors had amazing chemistry, and seeing them working together during the final act of No Way Home was something I didn't even know I wanted to see. But it also got me wondering which one of the wall crawlers were truly the strongest.
To solve this puzzle, I think we have to take into account three scenes from each of the franchises: Tobey Maguire stopping the train in Spider-Man 2, Andrew Garfield facing off against Electro in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and Tom Holland holding the ferry together in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
One can argue that Andrew Garfield's Spider-Man did not exhibit the upper limits of his strength in the Amazing Spider-Man films. But he, however, is possibly the weakest out of the three. His durability also comes into question when considering how easily he was wounded after being shot in the first film.
Don't get me wrong, he is strong. Andrew's Spider-Man can easily catch cars in mid-air and toss them like it is nothing, as seen in his fight with Electro. He also fought smart and held his own against the Lizard, Electro and Green Goblin. But when compared to Tobey's and Tom's versions of the character, there is just no comparison.
Tobey's Spider-Man's greatest display of strength was in Spider-Man 2, when he stopped a speeding train full of people. A NYC train weighs about 38,600 kg when empty, and moves about 89 km/h; meaning it would take a force greater than 3,435,400 newtons to stop it when it's empty. A typical train also seats about 40 people per car, and has 8 to 11 cars.
Not taking the Iron Spider suit into consideration, Tom Holland's Spider-Man had always shown more feats of strength than his peers from the very beginning. In his MCU debut, in Captain America: Civil War, he easily caught Bucky's punch while he was playing a very young and inexperienced version of the character. A punch which not even Captain America himself could resist.
But perhaps the scene that puts the entire debate of who is the strongest Spider-Man to rest is the ferry scene from Homecoming. A NYC ferry weighs about 3,000 tons (3,00,0000 kg) when empty and Tom's Spider-Man managed to hold it together all on his own when it got cut in half. The ferry, however, was full of passengers, multiple cars and cargos. It would take an unbelievable amount of strength to just that.
So even though Tom Holland's Spider-Man is not my favourite version of the character, he definitely is, without a doubt, the strongest out of the three.