As those who have portrayed Peter Parker well know, with great power comes great responsibility.
The question of which actor has most successfully shouldered that responsibility is highly contentious among Marvel fans. Now, ahead of Friday’s U.S. release of the latest installment of the “Spider-Man” film franchise, new Morning Consult data suggests that the first act has proven hard to follow.
What the numbers say
- The villains in Maguire’s films are also among the most popular. While 38 percent of Americans said they have no opinion on the matter, roughly 1 in 3 (32 percent) said Green Goblin, who made his comic-book debut in “The Amazing Spider-Man #14” in 1964 and was portrayed by Willem Dafoe in Maguire’s Spider-Man universe, is their favorite foe.
- Venom, Doc Ock and Sandman were the next most popular Spider-Man villains, and all came from the Maguire-led movies.
- Trailers confirm that Green Goblin, Doc Ock and Sandman will each make appearances in Holland’s “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” which opens in U.S. theaters on Friday.
- There’s also speculation that Venom could grace the screen again, since the post-credits scene of October’s “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” pulled the symbiote into the MCU through the last-minute appearance of Holland’s Parker.
- Rhys Ifans’ Lizard and Jamie Foxx’s Electro have also appeared in trailers for “No Way Home,” after first battling Garfield’s Spider-Man in 2012 and 2014, respectively — although they’re less popular than most of Spider-Man’s other adversaries.
- Maguire and Garfield have been heavily rumored to appear in “No Way Home” as well, although Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures haven’t confirmed anything surrounding the previous Parkers, while the actors have played coy on the matter when asked.
Holland might not be the universal favorite Spider-Man actor, but his films have performed well in the context of the MCU: “Spider-Man: Homecoming” and “Spider-Man: Far From Home” are both among the top 10 highest-grossing movies in the franchise, and “No Way Home” has shattered presale records. When tickets first went on sale, the demand was so strong that websites including Fandango, AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. and Regal Cinemas crashed. When sites were back up and running, first-day presales for “No Way Home” were reportedly higher than pre-pandemic hits including “Avengers: Infinity War” and several “Star Wars” films.
The new film’s emphasis on the multiverse — a group of different universes that appear to cross over in “No Way Home,” allowing for the introduction of heroes and villains that haven’t previously existed in the MCU — is also undoubtedly driving box-office hype, as nostalgia for the earlier Spider-Man movies draws the attention of a wider range of fans.
Regardless of who’s the public’s favorite Spider-Man, the character itself — Marvel’s most profitable — holds significant sway over consumers. As the Marvel franchise works to sell the world on its newest lineup of heroes and get Gen Z on board with its fandom, fan favorites like Spider-Man will help lead the way in Marvel’s next phase.
The survey was conducted Nov. 19-22 among 2,201 U.S. adults, with a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.