God, that Captain America: Civil War trailer was a beautiful thing, wasn’t it? Not only did it really bring the action and give Marvel fans everywhere a reason cheer (and War Machine fans everywhere shed a tear), the newest trailer also brought out Cap 3‘s secret weapon: Spider-Man. After years of wishing on stars and throwing pennies in wells, Spider-Man fans are finally getting their wish: Marvel Studios is finally bringing Spider-Man, a MARVEL Spider-Man, to the big screen and, oh, man, can’t you just taste the excitement in the air? Once of the coolest things about seeing Spidey in the Civil War trailer was getting a glimpse of the newest take on that iconic suit! Of course, Marvel Universe newcomer Tom Holland isn’t the first to don the suit and throughout the years, the webslinger has had his fair share of fashion hits and misses. We decided to take a look back, and a bit forward, to compare these suits and, man, how Spidey has changed.
The Amazing Spider-Man
The Amazing Spider-Man really gets a bit of a bad rap. Sure, the CGI got a bit out of control but, really, Andrew Garfield was perfection as Peter Parker and ditto for Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacey. While director Marc Webb gave audiences yet another origin story, the fact is that it was pretty great to see Spider-Man back on the right track after the disastrous Spider-Man 3 and The Lizard was pretty damn fun. That being said, when it comes to the suit in the film, audiences really had no idea what to think. Yes, it was a “cooler” costume for a much cooler Spider-Man. Yes, those web-slingers were pretty magnificent. Still, something about the way the spider symbol almost bleeds its way down the torso, and something about the almost polyester/vinyl look of the costume just doesn’t sit well. Sure, it worked well within the film and it was definitely much less offensive than, say, Batman’s notorious costume in Batman & Robin, but still, something about it…Could it be that the traditionally raised webbing seemed as if it was made from plastic? Could it be that the suit very noticeably changed textures as the scenes transitioned from CGI to reality? Who knows, but whatever it is, it just wasn’t quite as “amazing” as advertised.
The Amazing Spider-Man 1978
Back in the fabulous funky 70’s, Superheros were quite prevalent on Television in way of series and TV movies. There was The Incredible Hulk, Wonder Woman, Isis, Electra Women and Dyna Girl, Doctor Strange, Captain America, and others. In the mix was CBS’ The Amazing Spider-Man series, which ran for 2 seasons from 1978-1979 and starred Nicholas Hammond as the show’s titular here. The show has pretty much become a forgotten relic, given its age, and the fact that it departed from the comic-like story lines and the glaring omission of any recognizable supervillains from The Spider-Man comics, or any other characters for that matter (No Mary Jane, Flash Thompson or even Aunt May). The effects were also bad, even for the 70’s, with Spider-Man shooting what would look that white rope you see in the shower in every hotel bathroom (and for larger webbing, white sheets!) from his web shooters. Even Spider-Man’s display of powers were kind of lame – there was one episode where you used his Spider grip to keep an elevator door from closing (how dramatic). Despite the shows rather dull narrative, it did have a few things working for it: This series always had great death-defying stunts, and it was the first and only (so far) live-action depictions of Peter Parker’s “spider-tracer” tracking/homing devices.
Then, of course, was the costume. Sure, looking back on it now, it looks like a poor mans cosplay; something you might pull at discount Halloween store. Despite the oversized exterior web-slingers and web cartridges on the belt, it closest resembles the original style as designed by Spider-Man’s co-creator Steve Ditko. There’s is just something about that classic look.
Supaidāman (aka The Japanese Spider-Man)
While 1970’s Spider-Man didn’t have a very successful run in the States (lasting only 14 episodes), the character did do slightly better overseas, in the wacky Japanese version of Spider-Man titled Supaidāman. While this version of the character wore the same costume as his Marvel counterpart, the show’s storyline and the origin of the character’s powers deviated completely from the source material. In addition to fighting by himself, this incarnation of Spider-Man also piloted a giant robot known as Leopardon, which he would summon to thwart off enlarged versions of the show’s monster of the week.
Don’t even get us started on how weird this show is, or have us try to explain its story. Just think aliens, monsters, robots, spaceships, and obligatory awkward opening theme (“Yeah, yeah, yeah, WOW!”). Like we said, weird.
Although the show’s story has been criticized for bearing almost no resemblance to the Marvel version, the staff at Marvel Comics, including Spider-Man’s co-creator Stan Lee, praised the show for its special effects and stunt work, especially the spider-like movement of the character himself.
As far as the suit, it was very similar the American 1978 live-action show. Exception being, the eyes. Fairly sure the actor wore white nylon stockings under the mask, and the black surrounding eyelits being smaller than the American version and never managed to stay even (saying slanted would be inappropriate). This suit ranks a nudge above the America version, because it featured one thing the American one didn’t – a bracelet that could summon a spaceship that can transform into a freakin’ robot!
2002 Spider-Man accentuated the webbing pattern and the logo on the front by raising them up from the fabric and making them reflective. The red-and-blue fabric itself was printed with a faint hexagonal pattern and detailed to define the muscle suit below it. The costume really encouraged the audiences to suspend their disbelief when it came to the sewing skills owned by Peter Parker but, hey, it was Spider-Man’s first big screen appearance and no one really cared about suspending their disbelief. When it came to Spider-Man 2, the filmmakers pretty much kept things going with a “if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it” mentality and made only a few small changes in the costume’s appearance, mostly by bringing the darkness of the blues down a bit, to give audiences a more true-to-comic royal blue color for Spidey’s bottom half, while brightening the reds of the suit to contrast and to suit Raimi’s directing. That being said, there was a bit broken with the costume that could have been improved for the second outing. The suit appeared stiff and a bit rigid in scenes throughout both movies, appearing almost as if it would be super itchy if one were to actually wear the costume. Of course, Spider-Man 2 is easily one of the best superhero movies of all time, so it does get a pass. But barely.
Do you remember the first time you heard that Venom would be appearing in Spider-Man 3 and, because director Sam Raimi had just provided audiences with the absolutely wonderful Spider-Man 2, you almost screamed like a teenage girl at a Beatles concert? Then, after you saw what they did to Venom, how you cried like a teenage boy that was just kicked in the nuts? Yes, you definitely want to keep putting up that emotional shield that will prevent you from bringing it ALL back but one of the only things that this one got right, if not the ONLY thing, was that absolutely beautiful black suit. The costume designers for the film could have simply recreated the suit worn in SM 1&2 but, instead, they decided to go a different route. Stretching the eyes a bit and giving them a bit of a sharper look definitely lends to an alien quality, which is no doubt what the designers were going for. The webbing this time out is much more raised, more like an interpretation of what a stranger may come up with, had that stranger seen the actual suit through foggy, dirty glass, then decided to recreate it. Yeah, that one is worth remembering. While nothing makes up for emo-Parker dancing down the street, at least the black suit was cool. Remember kids, everything’s better in black.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a hard movie to like. It was a highly uneven sort of mess, an incoherent hodgepodge of a story/ideas and villains without a semblance of motive or substance. The film did, however, have some good qualities. It looked pretty (effects and action sequences were a true splendor). Andrew Garfield makes for a great Spidey (perfect balance of cocky and snarky). The relationship between Parker/Gwen was played out well (genuine and infectious chemistry). Above all else, this is probably the best Spider-man has ever looked on-screen.
The suit design this time around is without question the closest comic-to-screen realization. When some fans grumbled that 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man‘s suit strayed too far from the source material, taking extreme design choices,, the filmmakers hear their lamentations and totally redeemed themselves. They got it spot on with the big eyes, belt, logo, and colors – looking like it was directly inspired from the pages of the 2002 Ultimate Spider-Man comic.
Captain America: Civil War
We finally got a look at the newest iteration of Spider-Man, the one who will launch a solo Spider-Man film with Marvel.
The eyes, small logo, non raised webbing the entire head and mid-section of this suit is about as Silver Age as one can get. And, really, isn’t that the way it should be? Now that Marvel and Sony have managed to form a truce of sorts, and Sony had the intelligence to let the the house behind everyone’s favorite webslinger actually have their way with him, there is no doubt that the costume will just get better and better with each outing.
The closer the look, the better the costume appears and when it comes to Marvel Studios, there is no doubt they paid attention to every last detail. One last great thing about this one is that is bears more than a passing resemblance to costumer sported by Spidey back in the early 80’s animated series, Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, which, of course, may have been one of the greatest terrible cartoons of all time and was the first introduction to the character for millions of children everywhere. So, yeah, good job on that, Marvel.
Really, when you get down to it, in whatever form, from whatever country, just seeing Spider-Man in action always brings back those feelings you had as a child, playing in the backyard while you pretended to be superhero and take down the bad guys. The best thing yet? There is plenty more to come.
Which is your favorite suit? Is there a certain suit you would love see lifted from page to screen?