Top 10 Biggest Differences Between Spider-Man Comics And Movies
VOICE OVER: Dan Paradis
Written by Christopher Lozano
With great power comes the responsibility of appeasing comic book fans. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we'll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Biggest Differences Between Spider-Man Comics and Movies.
For this list, we'll be looking at all the small, drastic, and downright strange changes producers made when adapting our favorite web-slinger to the big screen.
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With great power comes the responsibility of appeasing comic book fans. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Biggest Differences Between Spider-Man Comics and Movies.
For this list, we’ll be looking at all the small, drastic, and downright strange changes producers made when adapting our favorite web-slinger to the big screen.
#10: The Symbiote
Like most things in comics, the Symbiotes have an intricate and complex backstory. Originally from the Andromeda Galaxy, these amorphous alien creatures call themselves The Klyntar. The most famous of the bunch is of course Venom. Banished by its kind to Battleworld, the Venom Symbiote eventually encounters Peter Parker during 1984’s Secret Wars crossover and bonds with him, creating the coolest Spider-Man suit ever. In the Sam Raimi film “Spider-Man 3”, the Symbiote crash lands on Earth a few yards from Peter without the cool backstory or much explanation at all. Raimi decided to steer clear of the comic book origins, and went with something closer to the Spider-Man: The Animated Series symbiote origin story.
#9: Aunt May’s Age
First appearing in 1962, May Parker is the aunt and surrogate mother of Peter and one of his sources of encouragement, comfort, and strength. In the comics, she is depicted as an elderly grandmother type with grey hair. She was portrayed by Rosemary Harris, in the Sam Raimi films and then by Sally Fields in “The Amazing Spider-Man.” Marisa Tomei portrays a significantly younger Aunt May in “Captain America: Civil War.” Not that we’re complaining, as the chemistry between Aunt May and Tony Stark would read a lot differently if they had gone with an older actress, not to mention Downey Jr. and Tomei’s previous work together, which adds to the dynamic.
#8: Captain Stacy
The comic book version of Captain Stacey is a big defender of Spider-Man from the start, providing Peter with a much-needed ally in his fight for justice. However, in “The Amazing Spider-Man” movie, he is hell-bent on catching the wall crawler, who he views as an amateur vigilante. It’s not until the end of the movie that he realizes that Spider-Man is the good guy. On top of that, comic book Captain Stacy, with his dying breath, tells Spider-Man to take good care of Gwen, revealing that he’s known about Peter’s secret identity this whole time. Movie Captain Stacey, on the other hand, made Peter promise to stay away from Gwen. Not that Peter listened.
#7: The Spider
Gotta be careful around radioactivity. It can make you green, mutate your genetic material or, if you’re really lucky, turn you into a spider-like super hero. The spider that bit Peter Parker in 1962’s Amazing Fantasy #15 was described as radioactive, a reoccurring theme in both Marvel comics and the culture at large in the early 60s. However, in the movie adaptations, the spider is genetically modified. It’s a subtle difference, speaks directly to the cultural differences between when Spidey first came to be and the 21st century. While the results, namely superhuman spider-abilities and 20/20 vision, remained the same, the difference is a reminder that Spider-Man will always adapt to the culture around him.
#6: The Iron Spider Armor
In “Captain America: Civil War” we’re introduced to Spider-Man wearing a makeshift costume that looks like it consists of a hoodie and a pair of sweatpants. Luckily for Peter, Iron Man himself decides to deck him out with some new gear, which turns out to look a lot more like what we’re used to. A similar thing happens in the Civil War comic, but the suit Spider-Man gets is way more high-tech. Known as the Iron Spider armor, Parker’s new suit comes with things like extra arms, enhanced lenses, air filtration, and a gliding device. By accepting the suit, Spider-Man was siding with Team Iron Man, though his allegiances would eventually sway.
#5: Peter’s First Girlfriend
Teenage romance can be a complicated affair, especially if you’re dealing with radioactive powers, multiple dimensions, and comic-to-screen adaptations. In the original comics, Gwen Stacy was Spider-Man’s girlfriend before Mary Jane. Unfortunately for her, she was thrown off the Brooklyn Bridge by the Green Goblin. After her death, Peter started dating Mary Jane. In Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man” it’s Mary Jane who is Parker’s first girlfriend. However, “The Amazing Spider-Man” switches it up again by making Gwen his first love, and actually cutting out Mary Jane from “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.”
Nothing is as contentious for fans as costume design changes. Many comic book movies take liberties with the outfit choices while others can be more true to the source material. Spider-Man’s costume has been one of the more accurate costume adaptations in spirit, but there are still several noticeable changes. The basics have stayed the same. Large white eyes, blue and red color scheme, and a web pattern design. In some movies, Spider-Man’s suit looks more home-made while in others it looks more high-tech. Overall, they’ve been pretty solid designs even if not 100% accurate.
Perhaps one the most interesting and cool-looking villains in the Marvel universe, Venom is an iconic bad guy from the Spider-Man comics. In a lot of ways, he is Peter’s foil. He is large and ripped, has a really bad temper, and he also has an extremely violent streak. His infamous suit was even worn by Spider-Man himself. Unfortunately, the big-screen adaptation left a lot to be desired. In “Spider-Man 3” he’s is portrayed as small and kind of goofy. Even when he’s Venom, he lacks any of the physical size that made the character so menacing.
Perhaps one of the most contentious, if not baffling, changes made in the Sam Raimi movies was how Spidey’s webshooters work. In the comics, Peter Parker uses his big brain to create a device that shoots webs made from a home-brewed chemical concoction. In the 2002 movie, Peter’s webbing is changed to being a part of his mutation after being bitten by the spider. In the comics, the iconic hand gesture is functional, as it represents Spidey pressing the button on the shoots. In the movies, it was just… how they came out? It seems like a small thing, but it was big deal to longtime fans. In subsequent movies it was changed back, no doubt because of the criticisms directed at the original trilogy for leaving them out.
#1: Role in Civil War
In one of the most divisive storylines in Marvel comics history, Civil War finds super heroes waging all out war against each other, divided by the Superhuman Registration Act in the comics and The Sokovia Accords in the film. In “Captain America: Civil War” Spider-Man sides with Iron Man and lends him a helping hand during the airport battle. In the comics, however, Spidey starts off on Iron Man’s side, reveals his secret identity to the world in a show of support of the Registration Act, and eventually switches sides to fight along side Captain America. It may have been in a reduced role story-wise, but Tom Holland’s introduction as Spider-Man was memorable nevertheless.
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