The many costumes of Spider-Man

The one thing Uncle Ben failed to tell Peter about great power and responsibility is that it also brings one heck of a tailoring bill. Over the decades, Spidey fans have been treated to a bevy of costumes such as the classic red and blue, the black symbiote costume, or even something as simple as a paper bag over his head. When news broke that we were getting a reboot of the Spider-Man movie franchise, fans clamored and postured for their favorite actor to slip on the Spidey mask. But something just as important, if not more so, is how that new mask and costume will look. This past Thursday, Sony gave us our first glimpse of the new Spidey threads being sported by our new Peter Parker, Andrew Garfield. Let’s take a closer look to determine if this change should be qualified as an amazing improvement, or if it’s just a spectacular wardrobe malfunction waiting to happen.

Everybody will have their personal opinions on what works and what does not work with the new costume, as they did for the original Tobey Maguire variation, so the point of this piece is not to say what is right and what is wrong. This is just a fun side by side comparison for the more visually stimulated fans. With that, I think the first aspect to compare should be how our leading man fills out his respective costume. It seems obvious by looking at these two shots that the new Spider-Man will be a leaner version of Peter Parker. It may have been the picture I chose, but I personally can’t stop thinking that Tobey’s body in the padded costume looks too much like a Ken doll with less movement. Many have commented that the more streamlined look of Andrew’s costume is more in line with the Ultimate Spider-Man design. Supporting that is Garfield’s scrawnier frame and the lack of defined muscle tones like in the case of Tobey’s costume.

Enough about the actor though, let’s get into the nitty-gritty about the Spidey suit itself. And speaking of grit, it seems apparent that we’ll be getting a darker tone to this new flick with a battle scarred Garfield. In addition to the cuts across his face, Andrew’s Spidey suit has also been slashed and looks pretty grimy. Several have hoped that this initial design is just one variation of the costume, presumably his wrestling attire, but the tattered and torn look leads me to believe that this is probably a near final costume that gets beat up in the final boss battle. To contrast the darker background and atmosphere, the colors in the new costume are slightly brighter than the original costume worn by Maguire, which features more muted shades or red and blue.

The fabric used for the new costume looks like something that would be easier to obtain for a highschooler worried about keeping a secret identity. The texture of the costume reminds me of the full body swimsuits I would see in my days as a collegiate swimmer, or even suits worn by wrestlers or bicyclists. For anybody concerned how Peter Parker was able to create his costume, I would think it more plausible that he was able to find this material at a local sports store, compared to the one piece latex suite worn by Tobey. The beveled webbing on Tobey’s suit was a nice touch to emphasis the pattern, but much to some fans’ chagrin, they opted to put less emphasis on the webbing this time around. This change also makes it seem more likely that a highschooler was able to put it together since adding the thick webbing would seem extraneous and difficult to attach. I’m not a tailor by any means though, so what do I know.

Every good superhero should know how to accessorize, and Spider-Man is no different. He employs a mask, gloves, boots, a belt and a spider-emblem on his chest to give him his iconic look. Unfortunately in this picture we don’t get a glimpse of the mask or boots, but we can critique the rest. The new costume appears to be missing the belt, which seemed to sit too high on Tobey’s stomach to begin with. It’s possible, however, that his belt was torn off since you can see a hint of red on Andrew’s left hip. I personally hope that that is the case since it looks incomplete without the belt. The spider icon on the new costume is similar to the original costume in design and size, which is bigger than the one in the comics, although that probably depends on who is drawing Spidey at the time. Like the webbing, the new icon does not pop out of the costume making it more subtle and coming dangerously close to getting lost on his chest. The gloves could be the biggest difference between the two costumes so far. The sleeve of red which goes down Spidey’s arm and connects with his glove, is no longer present in this new picture –which is a shame. Garfield’s gloves have a new distinct look to them as well with stylized angles and diagonals cutting throughout the red. Hopefully they don’t give the boots the same look.

What is Spider-Man without his most favorite accessory though, his handcrafted web shooters? Well, for the first three movies he was just a web shooterless Spidey, relying solely on organic webbing. When the new picture came out many fans rejoiced at the glimpse of something metallic on the underside of Andrew’s wrists. Emma Stone, who is playing the doomed Gwen Stacy in the reboot, confirmed in an interview that Spider-Man will be using web shooters, so we can all expect those, and their creation, to play a big part in the new movie. It would be a nice touch if they even included his spider-tracers somehow.

Let’s hear your thoughts on the differences between the two costumes. Did I miss anything? What’s been improved upon or ruined with this new costume? No matter your opinion, I think it’s safe to say that we’re all happy the costume designer for Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark wasn’t involved in this project.


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