How Strong Is Spider-Man?
Spider-Man can lift 40 tons over his head.
Among Marvel heroes, it’s well known that The Hulk is the strongest one there is, and Thor is another powerhouse, but where does Spider-Man rank? Peter Parker has the proportionate speed, agility, and strength of a spider, allowing him to bounce around the battlefield faster than anyone can hit him. The MCU version of Spider-Man focuses too much on his agility, and not nearly enough on how he has enough raw strength to lift four tons over his head.
Peter Parker may be a scrawny teenager, but he’s stronger than anyone in the MCU outside of Hulk and Thor, and even then, he might be able to outdo the Norse God of Thunder in quick bursts. According to his official profile on Marvel.com, Spider-Man has a strength rank of four, which translates to lifting four tons with ease, and even that doesn’t properly calculate how strong he is in the comics. But in live action, it’s much easier to highlight his greatest feats, starting with Captain America: Civil War when Parker held up a falling airport jetway.
Going by figures from ADELTE, a major manufacturer of passenger boarding bridges, each weighs up to 25 tons. In the airport skirmish, Spider-Man isn’t holding up the entire bridge, just a large section, and he’s straining under the weight. Tom Holland’s Spider-Man is significantly weaker than earlier versions and especially less powerful than the comics, making it unlikely he’d even be able to hit the four-ton baseline.
The strongest live-action Spider-Man is Toby Mcguire‘s original, as seen in Spider-Man 2 when he stops a speeding subway car using leverage, lots of webbing, and his own body. A New York subway car has a top speed of 55 mph, and after Doc Ock destroys the brakes, the train exceeds that speed by a significant margin judging by how fast the background is moving, so let’s double it to 110 mph and bust out the calculators.
From the initial web line shot to a full stop, it’s 48 seconds, meaning Spider-Man brought 436,515 lbs to a stop in under a minute, traveling at 110 mph. That requires 202,752 Newtons worth of force, which translates to 45,619 lbs of force against the front of the train to bring it to a stop in that amount of time. The web lines acted as leverage and aided him in the feat, but it’s still incredibly impressive and easily puts the original Spider-Man above the MCU version in strength.
In the comics, Spider-Man pulls off feats of strength on a semi-regular basis, but rarely displays the full extent of his power. Over the span of his 60-year career, Peter Parker has gone toe-to-toe with powerhouses, including the Juggernaught, and the Hulk, whom he hit hard enough that he ended up in low orbit. Yet it’s when he has to defend his loved ones, Parker accomplishes his greatest feats, including keeping the Daily Bugle from collapsing.
The Green Goblin tried to destroy Spider-Man’s life again but succeeded in destabilizing the Daily Bugle, threatening to bring it down full of innocent civilians. The Daily Bugle is housed in a 46-story building, which depending on building materials, could weigh anywhere from 200,000 tons to 230,000 tons, equalling a minimum of 400,000,000 lbs. As noted in the actual panel depicted above though, he’s only holding up a single support beam, and not directly lifting the entire building, so the final result is much less than 200,000 tons but still impressive.
No support beam, no assistance from webbing; for once, Spider-Man cuts loose and demonstrates just how strong he is while fighting Electro. A 40-ton New York subway car is lifted over his head in a display of raw power that terrifies the villains around him. This display puts Peter Parker in the category of heroic heavyweights, capable of going toe-to-toe with The Thing, and while he can’t outmuscle Thor, he can land some blows with enough power to cause the Asgardian to pause.
Though he usually relies on agility and intelligence to defeat his foes, when push comes to shove, the comic book version of Spider-Man can bench 40 tons over his head, making him the strongest version of the character. Oddly, he’s been weaker and weaker in subsequent adaptations; maybe the next time Tom Holland appears, he’ll perform a heroic feat of strength on par with the subway stop.