The third cinematic version of Spider-Man finally appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) after Marvel and Sony managed to reach an agreement. After a surprise appearance in Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man got his stand-alone series within the MCU, where he is played by Tom Holland. But, just how powerful is Tom Holland’s Spider-Man? He was a force to be reckoned with in the movies, but where does he stand in comparison to other characters? Keep reading to find out!
Spider-Man is definitely a superhero to follow within the MCU, despite his age and his inexperience. He is certainly not the weakest among them and has proven to be capable of amazing feats both when working with the Avengers and when doing his own, solo movies.
Marvel Comics is a comic book publishing company founded in 1939 under the name Timely Comics. Timely Comics changed its name to Marvel Comics in 1961. Along with its chief rival, DC Comics, Marvel Comics is the biggest and most important mainstream comic book publisher in the United States.
Marvel has, along with DC Comics, contributed to the development of American comics, specializing in the superhero genre. Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, and Jack Kirby are just some of the pivotal writers who’ve helped shape the style and universes of Marvel Comics. Throughout the years, Marvel has created several pivotal superhero characters and has launched successful franchises such as the Avengers, X-Men, and Guardians of the Galaxy, all of which have been adapted into movies, TV shows, and video games. Some of the most famous Marvel Comics heroes are Spider-Man, Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Black Widow, Wolverine, Professor X, Storm, Cyclops, Jean Grey; but, the franchise also includes famous supervillains such as Thanos, Apocalypse, Galactus, Loki, Magneto, the Mandarin, Doctor Octopus, the Green Goblin, Venom, and others.
Now that we’ve given you a short introduction, let us discuss the topic of this article in more detail.
Who is Spider-Man?
Spider-Man is the superhero alter-ego of Peter Parker, a character appearing in comic books published by Marvel Comics. He is a superhero from New York City and one of the most popular comic book characters in history. He was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, making his debut in Amazing Fantasy #15 (1962). Since then, Spider-Man has appeared in numerous solo volumes, but also as part of other series and teams, most notably the Avengers.
Although not the only one to don the costume of Spider-Man – the most notable successors being Miles Morales and Doctor Octopus himself – Peter Parker is definitely the most famous Spider-Man, which is why we are going to talk about him in this article.
Peter Parker was born in New York to Richard and Mary Parker, but was raised by his uncle Ben and aunt May Parker, due to his parents dying in a plane crash. The comic books dealt a lot with the issues of adolescence, growing up and Peter’s constant financial struggles. The life of an average teenager changed when he was accidentally bit by a radioactive spider, which gave him superhuman abilities, including, but not limited to shooting web from his body or climbing walls. Realising that he has become a superhero of sorts, Peter Parker designed a suit for himself and became Spider-Man, your friendly neighbourhood superhero.
Spider-Man mostly operates out of Queens and, along with fighting regular criminals, he battles against a gallery of famous rogues including Vulture, Scorpion, Rhino, Lizard, Mr. Negative, Venom, Green Goblin and his nemesis, Doctor Octopus. Spider-Man also has to battle against the negative propaganda advocated publicly by J. Johan Jameson, the publisher of the Daily Bugle, who leads an active smear campaign against Spider-Man, despite all the good he does for the city.
Ironically, it is J. Jonah Jameson who employs Peter Parker, not knowing his superhero identity, as a photojournalist for the Bugle; Parker made a career by constantly bringing in great photographs of Spider-Man. Peter Parker’s private life is also examined in the comics, especially the impact of Uncle Ben’s death and his love relationships with Mary Jane Watson and Gwen Stacy.
Usually a standalone hero, Spider-Man has been a member of the Avengers since the 2010s. Spider-Man’s membership (or rather his failed attempts to join the group before the 2010s) in the team was a running gag in the comics, as well as his relationship and friendship with Deadpool.
Due to his popularity, Spider-Man was featured in practically all of the derivative materials. He has had several animated shows, three movie series (portrayed by Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield and Tom Holland respectively), animated movies and video games for several consoles.
Spider-Man’s power and abilities within the MCU
Before we actually compare Spider-Man to other MCU heroes, we have to see what powers and ability he possesses within that fictional universe. Despite all of his feats, Spider-Man is unusually often perceived as a very weak superhero; still, in the comics, Nick Fury classifies him as a level 8 superhero, along with the likes of Captain Marvel and Captain America.
His most pronounced human abilities are his exceptional intelligence as well as his vast engineering and science skills, but this is all augmented by his superhuman abilities gained from being bitten by a radioactive spider. Thus, Peter Parker gained a lot of spider-like abilities, such as wall crawling, the ability to shoot webs from his body, an enhanced immune system and his famous Spider-Sense (the famous “Peter Tingle”), used to detect approaching danger. But, along with that, he has gained superhuman strength, speed, stamina, agility and durability, along with a very specific healing factor that is always helpful in his fight against crime.
As for his actual strength, the MCU has not been as specific as the comic. He has superhuman traits, but how strong is he actually? He was able to fight against the other Avengers in Civil War as well as against Thanos and his army in the last two Avengers movies, so he certainly is quite strong. In his solo movies, he has done several very interesting things that prove that his strength is on a very high level, especially in combination with this spider-like traits. We are going to compare those powers to other heroes’ powers in the paragraphs that follow.
Although we’re talking about the MCU, it is not a complete miss if we consult the official stats for Spider-Man in the comics, as presented in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z (2010):
|Score for Spider-Man|
As for his weaknesses, his most pronounced ones are the disruption of his Spider-Sense, which can happen by any means, and the chemical ethyl chloride, currently known as chloroethane (CH3CH2Cl), which is a possible side-effect of gaining superpowers.
Spider-Man might be younger than the other Avengers and one of the most underrated MCU superheroes, but the human arachnid has constantly proven to be not only great at his job, but also exceptionally strong. We shall now compare him to some other MCU heroes, mostly members of the Avengers.
Comparing Spider-Man to other MCU superheroes
In this section, we are going to compare Spider-Man’s powers with the other major MCU superheroes, focusing mainly on members of the Avengers, as Spider-Man has collaborated with them the most.
Captain America is the superhero identity of one Steven Rogers, one of the best-known superheroes in the history of comics. Steven Rogers was a frail, young soldier who was given the Super Soldier Serum, thus becoming a near perfect soldier, as part of an American plan to win in World War II. Rogers then became Captain America, the “First Avenger”. He is the leader of the Avengers and its most famous member, who opposed the “legalisation” of superheroes after the Sokovia incident. Captain America first met Spider-Man during a battle against Iron Man’s team in Captain America: Civil War.
Outcome: Draw (the two of them are quite similar; they both have superhuman strength and other traits and they both enhance their natural abilities with weapons and other accessories. When they actually fought, neither was able to come out on top as the clear winner.)
Anthony “Tony” Stark, better known as Iron Man, is one of Marvel’s most famous characters. The billionaire genius who used his resources to create an armoured suit to fight crime, both terrestrial and cosmic, has become one of the best-known comic book characters. He is likewise an important member of the Avengers and their leader, alongside Captain America. He opposed his friend over the “legalisation” of superheroes in Civil War, which led to a conflict between two factions of the Avengers. He is the one who “discovered” Spider-Man and was responsible for his superheroic upbringing.
Outcome: Iron Man (Tony Stark is infinitely more intelligent and skilled than Spider-Man, but without his suit, he would not stand a chance, which is why we consider this to be a “match” between a suited Iron Man and Spider-Man, where the former wins due to having more gadgets and experience than Spider-Man)
When physicist Bruce Banner was exposed to gamma radiation, the green-skinned monster Hulk was created. The Hulk became a part of dr. Banner, a literal alter ego and a second personality, embodying the destructive side of the usually reserved Bruce Banner. The MCU version of the Hulk has gone through a lot of changes and it doesn’t really resemble the original comic book version, so this was never the full-powered Hulk we are used to.
Outcome: Hulk (despite all of the Hulk’s shortcomings in the MCU, he is still powerful enough and invulnerable enough to defeat Spide-Man easily; he beat the living soul out of Loki and Thor, so Spider-Man wouldn’t really be an issue)
The Asgardian Thor is one of the most powerful Avengers in the whole Marvel universe. As the son of Odin, he inherited a lot of ancient Asgardian powers, which augment his regular divine powers. With the help of his hammer, Mjolnir, Thor can be a respectable foe for anyone, which is why it’s good that he’s there to protect the universe from evil. In the MCU, Thor has mostly been connected with different cosmic threats and has only come down to Earth when necessary.
Outcome: Thor (this one isn’t really a fair match-up, as Thor, as a god, is far more powerful than Spider-Man could ever be; even without using his full powers, Thor could easily defeat Spider-Man in a fight)
Clint Barton, a.k.a. Hawkeye, is a member of the Avengers and is known as being the best marksman in the world. He has no inherent superpowers, but has enhanced abilities and formerly worked as a spy together with Black Widow. He is one of a small number of Avengers who leads a quite family life in the background; after Thanos’ snap, he became Ronin.
Outcome: Spider-Man (despite Hawkeye’s skills with the bow and arrow, he would have a very difficult time surprising Spider-Man’s Spider Sense, which is why we think that the latter would come out as the winner of this fight.)
Scott Lang is your regular thief with no superpowers, who accidentally steals a high-tech suit that turns him into the superhero Ant-Man. He is able to shrink to atom-size levels, as well as enlarge himself to the size of a building. Ant-Man fully depends on his suit as far as his powers are concerned and was an important link in the fight against Thanos.
Outcome: Draw (both of these bug-themed superheroes have their specific powers, but when it comes down to a comparison, we can’t really call whose powers would prove to be more useful, which is why we think that the fight would end in a draw.)
Carol Danvers was a regular US Air Force power until she got cosmic powers after a horrible accident. She then patrolled space as a member of Yon-Rogg’s team, not remembering her origins. She would later remember everything and become the cosmic superhero Captain Marvel. Although away from Earth, she was called by Nick Fury as a last resort in the fight against Thanos, where her powers proved to be extremely useful.
Outcome: Captain Marvel (seeing how much power Captain Marvel had, along with the fact that the MCU version is somewhat more powerful than the comic book version, we just don’t see Spider-Man winning this one, no matter how you twist and turn it.)
Natalia Romanova, alias Black Widow, was initially a Russian spy and an antagonist of Iron Man, before she became a superhero and a member of the Avengers. She has no inherent superpowers, but has been trained to perfection and has enhanced human abilities. She was one of the most important members of the Avengers and her sacrifice in Endgame was crucial to the Avengers defeating Thanos.
Outcome: Spider-Man (Black Widow is a better fighter and a more experienced superhero than Spider-Man, but with Spider-Man having likewise enhanced abilities and some additional powers, we do think he would be able to defeat her in a fight.)
Black Panther is the traditional protector of the Kingdom of Wakanda, a superhero name currently held by Wakanda’s ruler T’Challa. As a member of the Avengers, Black Panther is known for his enhanced abilities (gained through traditional Wakandan rituals), as well as his reliance on science. His leadership of Wakanda, as well as his army, proved to be pivotal in defeating Thanos in Endgame.
Outcome: Spider-Man (these two are quite similar and it was a tough call, especially with Black Panther’s experience, but we still think that Spider-Man would be able to defeat T’Challa in direct combat due to a wider skillset)
Doctor Stephen Strange is the most famous wizard from the Marvel universe. After losing his surgical abilities in a car crash, doctor Strange travelled the world and met the Ancient One, who taught him magic and whom he succeeded as the Sorcerer Supreme, the primary protector of Earth against magical threats. Doctor Strange was a key member of the Avengers in their fight against Thanos and he proved to be a mastermind behind the whole plan as it manifested in Endgame.
Outcome: Doctor Strange (despite Spider-Man’s skills and tech, he couldn’t really put up a fight against the Sorcerer Supreme, whose magical skills would be more than enough to defeat Spider-Man)
Wanda Maximoff, also known as Scarlet Witch, is actually a mutant, an X-Man, who – from being a supervillain – later became a super hero and fought alongside Professor X’s team and the Avengers. Like Doctor strange, her main power is manipulation of magic. The MCU version of the character is portrayed as being somewhat stronger and more in control of her powers than the original, comic book version, which is why she was able to put up a good fight against Thanos.
Outcome: Scarlet Witch (although a fight between the comic book versions of the characters would be a tough call, the MCU version of Scarlet Witch is just enough stronger to be able to defeat Spider-Man in this hypothetic clash.)
And this is it, actually. We could’ve added more names to the list, but we think you get the picture. Spider-Man is certainly not the weakest member of MCU’s superheroic cast and is a hero to be reckoned with. Even these brief comparisons show that he only loses to those with superhuman or supernatural abilities, while he is either on par or better than regular humans with enhanced abilities. The point? Never underestimate your friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man!
And that’s it for today. We hope you had fun reading this and that we helped solve this dilemma for you. See you next time and don’t forget to follow us!