Spider-Man is extremely physically strong, yet the wall-crawler’s movies have never shown how powerful he really is for a variety of reasons.
Spider-Man’s superpowers make him extremely physically strong, but why have the films about Spider-Man never shown how strong he really is? After being bitten by a radioactive spider (or genetically altered, depending on the continuity of the film), Peter Parker accidentally acquires the incredible superpowers he uses as an amateur superhero. Among these powers there is the commensurate strength of a spider. Spider-Man comics say that he can lift about 10 tons, making him dangerously powerful, but he never kills or seriously injures the criminals he fights. Movies often shy away from showing the full potential power of Spider-Man.
In the rather recent Superior Spiderman Rug story in the comics, Dr. Octopus swaps bodies with Peter Parker, locking him in a dying form while living with Peter’s superpowers. During the fight with the Scorpion, Otto, not realizing how powerful Peter was, punched the super criminal’s jaw, disfiguring and almost killing him. Otto realizes in this moment that his old enemy must constantly restrain his power to avoid killing his enemies.
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In films, various iterations of Spider-Man fight ordinary criminals and superpowered villains, punches and kicks that often stun or knock them down in a short time. This is shown especially often in Sam Raimi’s trilogy, where montages show the friendly neighbor fighting criminals and dealing with iconic enemies such as Doctor Octopus – who, despite having monstrous tentacles and genius intellect, He’s still a normal human being. Spider-Man never kills his enemies, other than to burn the Venom symbol with one of the New Goblin’s pumpkin bombs, so the films follow comic books and rarely show the full power of the character, avoiding many possible deaths.
Spider-Man can fight criminals, but he’s not a brute. Peter Parker refrains from hitting enemies, often using his network (organic or otherwise) to subdue criminals rather than potentially injuring them. Andrew Garfield’s repetition of Peter avoided using his full powers even when battling The Lizard, who was endurance enough to take a punch from Spider-Man. A notable exception was the Green Goblin in 2002’s Spider-Man, whom Peter was angry with unleashed a series of punches. Norman only survived thanks to improved durability and armored clothing.
When not fighting criminals, Spider-Man’s true power is often hinted at and only occasionally shown. In 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man, Peter accidentally destroys his bathroom sink and alarm clock while getting used to his new powers. Tom Holland’s MCU Spider-Man famously lifted the debris of a collapsed building off of himself in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Perhaps the greatest showcase of Spider-Man’s power, however, was in Sam Raimi’s heavily praised sequel Spider-Man 2. When stopping a runaway train, the wall-crawler used his full strength and numerous webs to gradually bring it grinding to a halt. This famous scene shows that when not holding back, Spider-Man is extremely physically strong, and he’d only use this level of strength when necessary. Against criminals and supervillains who could easily die from one punch, the Spider-Man movies made the right decision by not showing how powerful he really is.
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