Worst Spider-Man Movie Ruined Peter Parker’s Character

By Michileen Martin | Published

spider-man 3

I don’t usually need to work hard to find someone who agrees with my opinion that 2007’s Spider-Man 3–the final entry in the Tobey Maguire-led trilogy–remains the weakest live-action Spidey adaptation to date. But what makes it the least of them all isn’t how the Eddie Brock Venom is shoehorned it at the last minute, or even the now infamous Evil Peter montage, complete with the cringy dance and Maguire’s My Chemical Spider-Man haircut. No, the worst thing about Raimi’s third Spidey flick is that it took away Peter’s responsibility regarding the death of his uncle.

Peter Parker Isn’t Bruce Wayne


Spider-Man 3‘s protagonist is hardly the only superhero to have the death of a parent or parent figure tied up in his origin story. Batman, Superman, Black Panther, Iron Fist, Storm, Wolverine, the Flash, Nightwing, and the Hulk are just a few of comicdom’s protagonists whose parents’ deaths are integral in their journey from child to hero.

But there is something darkly different when it comes to the death of Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben.

Many of those heroes–consciously or otherwise–blame themselves for the deaths of their parents even though in most cases there was nothing they could have done to stop it.

But a big part of what makes Peter Parker unique is that–unlike the young Kal-el, the young Bruce Wayne, the young Bruce Banner, etc.–Peter Parker is in part responsible for the death of Uncle Ben. Spider-Man 3 changes that.

Spider-Man 3 Changes Ben’s Killer

In 2002’s Spider-Man, just like in the source material, it’s a thief who Peter Parker lets escape that seemingly kills Uncle Ben. But in Spider-Man 3 we learn that the man we thought killed Peter’s uncle had a partner–Thomas Haden Church’s Flint Marko, aka Sandman. It was Marko who killed Ben Parker.

More than that, at the end of Spider-Man 3 we learn Ben’s death wasn’t intentional. We thought Marko’s partner had murdered Ben for his car, but Ben had already left the car and Marko’s gun went off on accident.

Spider-Man 3 Takes Away Peter’s Responsibility In Ben’s Death

With Flint Marko as the shooter as revealed in Spider-Man 3, Peter has no more direct responsibility in Uncle Ben’s demise. Sure you could say, “well, if he hadn’t been there to pick up Peter, he never would’ve been carjacked in the first place,” but it isn’t irresponsible for a teenage boy to ask his uncle for a ride. It is irresponsible for a guy with enough strength to punch through solid walls to let an armed robber waltz by without even trying to trip the jerk.

Peter’s Responsibility In Ben’s Death Is No Small Thing

tobey maguire spider-man 3

The fact that Peter Parker is partly responsible for Ben’s death is at the heart of the phrase, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Spider-Man 3 takes that away from the hero and makes him just another dude in tights.

You Can Change The Details, But Don’t Change The Spirit

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To be clear, this argument has nothing to do with the narrow-minded notion that something that changes from source material to adaptation is automatically bad. I don’t care that Venom’s origin is different in Spider-Man 3 than it is in the comics, and never cared that Maguire’s Spidey had organic webshooters.

But to change something so integral to the core of the character is another thing entirely. A bleeding, broken-boned Spider-Man who hasn’t slept in days will still throw himself into the action even when he feels like he can’t so much as take another step.

That’s because of the lesson he learned after Uncle Ben’s death–he has the power, so he is responsible.

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