Tom Holland is my favorite live-action Spider-Man, and I’d argue that he’s the best to date. This can be a controversial statement in some circles (even though I’m right). To further prove my point, we now turn to his audition tape from Captain America: Civil War. The tape shows us that Holland really nailed it from the start.
An old video of Holland’s audition from the bonus features of Spider-Man: Homecoming is making the rounds again, and as you watch, you can see why Holland was picked for the role, and why he shines as Peter Parker. He mastered both aspects of the character while bringing his own gymnastic training, and it makes for a fully-formed character in a way that we’ve never really quite seen in live-action form before. Other superhero actors are hugely skilled and often work for months on physical conditioning and fight scenes, but did they come in like this?
The video, where Holland literally flips into test scenes, is intercut with commentary from creatives and other castmembers. It does a great job of showing some of the reasons why I love Tom Holland as the character. And yes, flipping into his audition is a check in the pro column for me.
Here’s the thing: Tom Holland is great as Peter and he’s great as Spider-Man, and that’s something we never had before. Everyone goes back and forth on Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield, but I’d argue that neither of them has the complete character package the way Holland embodies it.
Spidey has two distinct modes: Peter the relatable kid from Queens, and Spider-Man the superhero who saves the day. It’s manageable in the comics and in the animated world, but it was incredibly difficult to capture the right way on screen before Tom Holland came around with his energy and enthusiasm. That’s why I love him as the character. For the first time, I feel like I’m seeing the Spidey I know and love and without all the issues I had with both Maguire and Garfield’s performances.
All this being said, I love the character in any incarnation. I don’t care really what happens going forward because I love him unconditionally, and I’ll watch the bad with the good. (Yes, I recently did rewatch Spider-Man 3, thank you very much.) My main point is that I think Holland is the current pinnacle of Peter Parkers, but that’s also just my opinion, and I do understand that others may disagree. I think a lot of the discourse over Spider-Man comes from everyone loving this character so much that they are willing to fight over him.
But one thing about Holland’s audition is crystal clear: He was cast for a reason. That reason? He understands Peter and what makes him tick. He nailed the tone as given in the pages he had to prep, and made the physicality look breezy and effortless. It also probably helped that he literally flipped into his audition with Chris Evans and could hold his own against Robert Downey Jr., but let’s focus on the first point: he understands the character.
It’s a thrill when the person playing a character you like seems to really care about doing them justice. From early days, Holland has understood what makes Peter the lovable yet fallibly human young hero who has meant so much to many of us for decades. And that’s why Tom Holland is my favorite live-action Spider-Man.
(via ComicBook.com, image: Marvel Entertainment)
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