Movie(s): Spider-Man/2/3; The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
Actor: Tobey Maguire; Andrew Garfield
Patriotism: Like Batman, Spidey seems tied more to New York than America as a whole; if I remember correctly from Sam Raimi’s trilogy, the government didn’t even catch wind of what Peter Parker was up to in the Big Apple.
Self-Made Man? This here is a tie, because technically Peter was bitten by a radioactive spider at Osborn Laboratories, which gives him his super-strength, clear vision, agility, and general web powers. But after that, he’s the one who crafts his identity and even sews his costume by hand; you can clearly see in the new Amazing Spider-Man trailer that Andrew Garfield is as handy with a needle and thread as Tobey Maguire was. Peter also goes to great pains to keep his identity as a Daily Bugle reporter separate from the superhero, though why no one has questioned his ability to snap such great shots of Spider-Man is beyond us.
How He Changes: Peter seems to take all of his super powers in stride, and for the first two movies he’s fairly levelheaded about the whole thing. The third one (also the worst) has him becoming conceited and power-hungry once Venom leeches onto him. It’s too bad; I still remember seeing that trailer and being so excited for evil!Spidey. I’d be willing to give the storyline another chance if Marc Webb wants to revisit it for a future movie.
Family Issues: You know, the original three movies never explained why Peter is living with his elderly aunt and uncle, but it looks as if the new movie will go into more detail about why his parents have to leave, and if they wind up dead.
Sex Appeal: Even though Peter has a constantly-fluctuating relationship with Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst in the first three movies), it’s unclear if it’s ever anything more than his big crush. In the third movie Peter does have a flirtation with Gwen Stacy, played by Bryce Dallas Howard in the Raimi movies… and she’s the girl (now Emma Stone), not Mary Jane, who plays his love interest in the new movie.
Relation to Nemesis: Peter also has a bevy of evil guys to fight, but Venom is the villain who matches him point-for-point. Consider that it’s also a young guy (Topher Grace) swallowed up by a power bigger than him; plus the fact that the strange symbiote briefly bonds with Peter, and you begin to see how it’s an inversion of Peter.