Depending on which Spider-Man movies you watch, you may be wondering what is the truth behind Spider-Man’s webbing. Does he shoot webs or not?

In movies such as Spider-Man (2002), Spidey can shoot his own webs; yet in The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) and Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019), he can’t. So, what is the deal?

In this post, I will explain why Spider-Man’s webbing differs in some films. I will also make it clear which films deviate from the source material when it comes to Spidey’s webs.

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Can Spider-Man produce his own webs?

Image: ©Marvel Comics

OK, so the general rule of thumb when it comes to Spider-Man is that he can’t shoot his own webs. In some stories he can (I’ll discuss this in a moment), but for the most part Spider-Man shoots artificial webs which come from mechanical devices on his wrists.

The devices that Spider-Man uses are called web-shooters. These web-shooters were created by Peter Parker, and date back to his very first appearance in comics.

In issue #15 of Amazing Fantasy (1962), Peter Parker uses his scientific knowledge to create his web-shooters, exclaiming “Now let’s see – a spider needs a web! This little device should just do the trick.” He adds: “I’ll fasten one to each arm – It’ll operate by the slightest pressure of any finger!”

In the comics Spider-Man comes to rely on his web-shooters to produce his webbing and they became an important part of his arsenal, which he still uses today.

To make the web-shooters work, Peter inserts acartridge of web fluid into each device, and when he applies pressure to a trigger mechanism, the liquid is released. Upon contact with the air, the liquid turns into webbing that can be used as a web-line, fashioned into a parachute or a net and so on.

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Why doesn’t Spider-Man use web-shooters in Sam Raimi’s films?

Image: ©Sony Pictures/Columbia Pictures/Marvel Entertainment

When Sam Raimi’s first Spider-Man movie arrived in cinemas, despite adhering quite closely to Spider-Man mythology, there was one very noticeable change – Spider-Man produced his own webbing.

In the film, when Peter Parker gets bitten by a genetically engineered spider, he quickly discovers he has a variety of abilities including a sixth sense (known as a ‘spider sense’), increased strength and agility, and the ability to stick to surfaces. He is also able to produce webs from his wrists, by applying a small amount of pressure to the base of his palms.

Because Peter can produce his own webs, he does not need to create web-shooters or artificial webbing. As such, the notion that he creates these devices is not mentioned at any point in the movie (or its sequels).

So, why the change?

When bringing Spider-Man to the big screen and looking at ways to tell his origin story, a decision was made to streamline it in places. One place to make that streamline was his webbing.

Instead of having Peter don a costume and construct mechanical web-shooters it seemed much more economical – from a story point of view – to just give him the ability to produce his own webs. After all, spiders can produce their own webs, so why can’t spider-men?

The change was made and while it contradicted the comics, it worked within the context of the movie and audiences accepted it. From here, Peter’s ability to produce webs remained in place for Spider-Man 2 (2004) and Spider-Man 3 (2007).

For a brief time, the comics also adopted this concept, but it didn’t last. In contemporary Spider-Man stories, Peter Parker uses mechanical web-shooters.

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Why does Spider-Man use web-shooters in The Amazing Spider-Man films?

Image: ©Sony Pictures/Columbia Pictures/Marvel Entertainment

Following the conclusion of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, the Spider-Man movie series was rebooted with The Amazing Spider-Man (2012). For this movie, the decision was made to return to the comic book mythology, by giving Peter his web-shooters back.

Sony Pictures wanted The Amazing Spider-Man to stand out as something different from Raimi’s Spider-Man films, so it made sense to return the web-shooters. Moving forward, the Tom Holland-era of Spider-Man movies also utilised mechanical web-shooters.

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Which films can Spider-Man produce his own webs?

Image: ©Sony Pictures/Columbia Pictures/Marvel Entertainment

The Spider-Man movies which feature organic web-shooters are:

  • Spider-Man (2002)
  • Spider-Man 2 (2004)
  • Spider-Man 3 (2007)

All of the Spider-Man movies before and after this series utilise mechanical web-shooters.

I hope this post has been useful. If you wish to know more about the Spider-Man movie series, then please take a look around this blog, or click on one of the recommended reads below.

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