Skip to content

Why Captain America: Civil War so needed Spider-Man

Bless his geeky soul, but Peter Parker speaks to the nerd in all of us
Since bursting onto the scene in 1962, Spider-Man has consistently been one of the most popular heroes ever to grace the pages of comic books. Marvel Comics

Spider-Man has been a continuous presence in comic books, movies, TV shows, video games and even music, to an extent, since his debut in August 1962. 

He stormed onto the pages of Marvel Comics as The Amazing Spider-Man: a hero clad in red and blue who could stick to walls, shoot webs from his wrists and wield incredible strength. The character itself was an instant hit. 

The costume was cool, his powers were unique and gave way to plenty of situations that other heroes would never find themselves in — and his wit and charm made the entire comic a joy to read. 

But the defining part of Spider-Man wasn’t the suit, or the powers, or even the writing; it was Peter Parker.

Beneath Spider-Man’s spandex and muscles lies a teenage boy who is struggling to find his way in the world. His family struggles financially, and he’s ridiculed and called a nerd at school. 

Then, on top of all this, he gets powers and has to balance saving the world on top of homework, work, and his withering social life. He wasn’t just a superhero; he’s a normal guy trying to figure out what it means to be a hero. 

Spider-Man has always been incredibly important in the Marvel Universe. While the majority of the other heroes are rich beyond belief, he has to struggle with problems that we all deal with every day. 

Yes, he may be a genius, but that works to offset his strength. He doesn’t always need to rely on brute strength because he can think his way out of a battle. This has made him a hit with audiences over the years. His comic books still fly off the shelves and any mention of a new Spider-Man movie sends throngs of fans to the theater. 

This is exactly what happened with Captain America: Civil War. Marvel and Sony – the latter of who owned the rights to the Spider-Man character in film – finally set aside their differences and returned control of the character to Marvel. This meant that he could finally interact with other characters from the universe, further fleshing out his character. 

And that is exactly what the latest Captain America movie did. Spider-Man (played by Tom Holland) was recruited by Iron Man to aid him in his fighter against Captain America and the other avengers that still want to operate freely. 

He is shown to be inexperienced, fascinated both by the world around him and the powers on display. In many ways, he is a vehicle for the audience. He was thrust into this conflict without warning and, in reality, has no dog in this fight. He’s just there because Tony Stark showed up at his house and gave him a fancy new suit. 

As soon as he shows up, he immediately starts running his mouth, commenting on everything in front of him and everything that is going on. It’s mesmerizing to watch him flip and swings through the scenes, cracking jokes and talking to his fellow heroes. He just feels less serious than the other characters that appear on screen, which makes him much more likable and approachable. 

Now that Spider-Man is finally being represented on the silver screen in a way that he deserves, we can hopefully get stories that explore the depth of the character. He isn’t perfect by any metric, and a lot of the most famous stories in the comics explore these flaws, exploiting them to accentuate the human aspects of the heroic figure.  

His stories in the comics are also continuing to grow Peter Parker in new ways that change how we view superheroes. Marvel has always excelled at making their heroes seem human, but Peter Parker has always been an everyman, which is why he is, and will continue to be, an integral part of the Marvel Universe. He is a fantastic entry point for new readers or viewers, especially given how iconic the blue and red webbed suit has become. 

Not many people can relate to the piles of money and technology of Tony Stark, or the secret agent past of Hawkeye. But plenty of people can identify with being bullied, ignored by the popular kids and struggling with financial issues. 

These characteristics, coupled with his unique and imaginative powers are what make Spider-Man such an important character. He isn’t going away anytime soon. He can only grow from here, both on the big screen and on the pages of the comics. 

He remains one of the most important heroes in Marvel’s portfolio, and while he has had his ups and downs, he’s never failed to impress and excite. 

And with a new Spider-Man movie coming in 2017, we can only wait and see how the character grows as his new on-screen portrayal is refined. 

Matthew Herst is a Carleton University communications student, video game journalist and’s resident geek writer. Yeah, this guy love’s video games. Besides, you can also find his work on Follow him on Twitter @supergurst.


Verified reader

If you would like to apply to become a verified commenter, please fill out this form.