According to the movies, the greatest triumph that Spider-Man ever achieves is finding it within himself to arachnid up every day. Has any other hero ever moped so much about being gifted with superstrength, -agility and -love interests? This from a guy who can swing on his wrists' magic ejaculate (Spider-Mans one through three), invent web-shooters using his super-brain (The Amazing Spider-Man), and design and tailor so adroitly that his sticky-finger powers somehow work through the gloves of his homemade luge suit (all Spider-Mans ever, including The Electric Co.)?
Here's how the new Spider-Man compares in whininess to his predecessor.
Whininess Level: elevated
"No matter what I do, no matter how hard I try, the ones I love will always be the ones who pay," Spider-Man moans just before spurning a proclamation of love from the woman he has pined for his entire life.
Spidey Would Prefer to Be: a professional wrestler
Worth Noting: Stan Lee and Bruce Campbell cameos would become a series hallmark, but after this, the producers forgot Macy Gray.
SPIDER-MAN 2 (2004)
Whininess Level: peak human
Inexplicably clumsy, Spider-Man loses a fight with a broom closet in the opening reel. Later, he spurns another loved one—this time, a handshake with his dead uncle in a car in heaven. Then, after not bothering to save a civilian being beaten by thugs, Peter woos the now-engaged love interest he rejected last time by announcing, "Punch me, I bleed."
Spidey Would Prefer to Be: a pizza boy
Worth Noting: Even when he deigns to be Spider-Man, his mask comes off with the frequency of Paz de la Huerta's top.
SPIDER-MAN 3 (2007)
Whininess Level: could create new, superpowered villains upon exposure
Spidey Would Prefer to Be: in Swing Kids
Worth Noting: Nothing. This film does not exist.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (2012)
Whininess Level: moderate
Other than one emo howl, the lithe new Spider-Man understands that with great power comes the chance to pull off badass skateboard tricks. At one point, he's so happy he skips.
Spidey Would Prefer to Be: Spidey! Good for him.
Worth Noting: For the first time, the construction workers in a Spider-Man movie do not appear to be borrowed from a dinner-theater musical. Also, this series might be propagandistic advocacy for a Manhattan-wide ban on experiments with human test subjects.
This essay did not appear in print.