What’s a past Marvel superhero movie character that you wish would return? When I say “Marvel”, I’m not really talking about the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I’m referring to the past Marvel movies that were unconnected to the MCU. If it’s anything before Iron Man, it’s not the MCU. As a kid who grew up in the early 2000’s, I actually have some (mostly) fond memories of the Marvel movies that came out back then. Not all were that good, but that ultimately doesn’t matter, because if it wasn’t for those movies, the MCU probably wouldn’t exist today. Don’t be a hater. In fact, there’s nothing wrong with embracing a little nostalgia.
When I talk about nostalgia, I’m specifically referring to some early 2000 Spider-Man movies directed by Sam Raimi and starring Tobey Maguire. Gee whiz, talk about memories. Yeah, I know, Spider-Man 3 derailed the trilogy, but let’s just remember how great one and two were. This trilogy holds a place in my heart that’s very special. The first Spider-Man movie was the first superhero movie I saw that convinced me how important the origin story is. Not just that of Peter Parker’s, but every comic book character. Every hero’s journey has to begin somewhere and it’s the origins that make the hero. Where he begins and where he came from is what shapes his character. Once he takes that first step towards the hero’s journey, he deviates from where he came from, but he never forgets it.
That’s the reason why Peter Parker decided to become Spider-Man. In the case of Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man, his origins story was almost a carbon copy of the comic version. For the character’s first live-action movie appearance, it was awesome to see how faithful to the movie was to the source material. My man Tobey was my first Spider-Man and he just nailed the role. He could be the nerdy Peter Parker, the sarcastic Peter Parker, or the Peter Parker who just struggles with life. In fact, he was actually at his best when he was Peter Parker. That was the best part about Spider-Man 2. He showed us that being a superhero really wasn’t all it’s cracked up to be. When it comes to saving the day and being cool or keeping your job, things get complicated.
Peter couldn’t handle it and when he threw away his suit, he was actually beginning to enjoy the normal life. However, he couldn’t escape from who he really was and he was a hero. The city needed him, he got his powers back, and he saved the day again. That was cool, but the best parts of the movie is when he was trying to break away from Spider-Man. He struggled with being Spider-Man and Peter Parker, but he eventually learned to balance both lives out. That’s what makes him the best Peter Parker.
So why do I bring all of this up? Well, it’s because we unfortunately haven’t seen Tobey Maguire as Spider-Man since 2007. That’s sad. Like, very sad. What’s most sad about it is that his story felt incomplete and ended with a mediocre film. Don’t blame Sam Raimi. He tried very hard to get Spider-Man 4 made and do the franchise some justice, but he and Sony just couldn’t work things out. That’s when we got Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man, but if you ask me, his Spider-Man wasn’t nearly as memorable as Tobey’s. Well, that series ended after the second film, and now we once again have a new Spider-Man. Yes, Tom Holland is our current Spider-Man in the MCU.
If you’ve been keeping up with the news on the MCU, you’ll know the rumors of a supposed live-action spider-verse movie in the works. Now that Peter Parker is a fugitive in the MCU, he’s going to need some new friends. The rumors started with Jamie Foxx confirming that he’ll be coming back as Electro. This really got fans asking some questions. Is he reprising the same role as before or is he playing a brand new Electro? We’re all confused and curious, but if Jamie Foxx is coming back, we really want to know if the other Spider-Men are coming back.
For me, personally, I would like to see Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man return, but I’m absolutely itching for Tobey to come back. I won’t lie, a lot of it has to do with childhood nostalgia, but I did some thinking and realized how significant an interaction between the two Spider-Men would be. If Tom Holland’s Spider-Man met Andrew Garfield’s, what exactly would they talk about? The big difference between them is that Garfield lost a lover. There is no Gwen Stacy in the MCU (as far as we know) but Garfield’s Spider-Man learned to deal with loss. The problem is, we didn’t get to see how he moved on from it because The Amazing Spider-Man 3 never happened. What can Holland’s Spider-Man really learn from Garfield’s?
The answer is not that much. Tobey’s Spider-Man, on the other hand, has a lot to offer Holland’s fledgeling Spider-Man. Now let’s get one thing straight here, Tobey clearly cannot play the same Spider-Man he played a decade ago. Last I checked, he’s pushing fifty, not the ideal age for Spider-Man. However, if Tobey Maguire is indeed returning as Spider-Man, I say they should embrace his age. With Tony Stark gone, Holland’s Peter Parker is in need of a new mentor. I picture Garfield’s Spider-Man as the big brother-type of mentor to him, but Tobey’s Spider-Man can be much more.
The last we saw Tobey’s Spider-Man, he was reconciling with Mary-Jane. We were to assume that things would work out between them, but what if things only got worse? When I picture Tobey’s Spider-Man existing now, I don’t see him as the man he started out to be. Now that he’s older, I see him as more worn-down, disheveled, and less motivated to be Spider-Man. Basically, he would be the animated Spider-Man from the Into the Spider-Verse movie, but way less comedic. This older version of Tobey’s Spider-Man would be more serious, but burnt out and tired of being Spider-Man. After all this time, he could be divorced from Mary Jane and fired from The Daily Bugle. All of this stress, with the years of fighting crime on top of it, could bring him to absolute rock bottom.
Having the two Spider-Men meet could be beneficial for both of them, but the best lesson Tobey’s Spidey can teach Holland’s would be an indirect one. If Holland’s Peter sees Tobey’s Peter at rock bottom, that would undoubtedly change his perspective on his own future. After all, his Peter is the youngest, the least experienced, and the most naive. He was the Peter who was the most excited about being a hero and had some unrealistic ambitions. It’s understandable, given his young age, but Holland’s Peter has been learning about life the hard way. Well, if he takes a look at how being Spider-Man made Tobey’s Peter hit rock bottom, he might not want to continue being Spider-Man.
Now that he’s a fugitive, Peter may already want to abandon the Spider-Man mantle forever. Garfield’s Peter could try to inspire him to not abandon the mask, but Holland’s Peter still wants a personal life. Once Tobey’s Peter tells him how being Spider-Man destroyed his personal life, that could entice Holland’s Peter to give up on being Spider-Man forever. This could lead to both wall crawlers learning some vital lessons. Tobey’s Peter could learn how to be Spider-Man again, while Holland’s Peter could learn how to balance his personal life with his life as Spider-Man, just as Tobey’s Peter did. These Spider-Men can learn from each other and that’s where some unfinished stories can come to an end. Seriously, we need to see where Tobey’s Peter has been.
The rumors are piling up and I really hope there’s some fire to that smoke. If it is, it’ll change the face of the MCU forever. I’m all for it.