Our top choices for the new Web Crawler!
Recently, it seems that Marvel has been holding some top secret auditions for the role of Peter Parker held within an actual house instead of a studio lot or office. One of the names to surface is Mateus Ward, the sixteen-year-old TV actor known for Weeds and Murder in the First. While I'm not a big TV watcher, and also have no idea who Mateus Ward is, this has piqued my interest in a big way. Why? It's because like all Marvel films since Iron Man, they're continuing to take their characters very seriously. Unlike Sony's attempt to turn Spider-man into the next Twilight—while I enjoyed the Amazing series, believe it or not—Marvel appears to want a Spider-man that is reflective of his very young age in the books.
Why is his age so darned important, though? The most poignant factor in Peter Parker's struggles is the fact that before he even knows what a vagina looks like he has to deal with immense loss, immense responsibility, and immense anguish without the maturity or experience necessary to properly deal with any of it. This is why Spider-man is my favorite Marvel hero. His childhood is torn from him in the worst ways and it eats at him. Reading Peter Parker's stories truly moved me and I think it's an important story to get right especially to inspire the huge population of children who look up to these characters. The following list, while containing a couple of actors older than I'd prefer for the role, they have a look and versatility that could bring Peter Parker back to his little tike with a big mouth roots. While I don't doubt Mateus is a spectacular choice, I'm going to start with the 23 year old geezers first just because I like these guys.
5. Dylan O'Brien
|"Uh, excuse me. You wanna um.. nevermind."|
O'Brien is on his way to the A-list already with The Maze Runner, a delightful surprise that I certainly was expecting little from. Despite his 23 years potentially working against him, he plays the young adult courageously taking on things much bigger than him rather well. I found him to adeptly carry the dystopian epic with a solid heroic performance in The Maze Runner and I have no doubt that he could fill Peter Parker's shoes. Having been rumored prior, this choice doesn't surprise me. If they do choose to go with an older actor like O'Brien, they could do significantly worse. Unfortunately, juggling one epic series with another might prove rather difficult to manage. Quite frankly, I'm happy seeing him stick to the Maze Runner series for a while anyway.
4. Logan Lerman
|"Hey, girl. Wanna see my web shooters?"|
Getting his big blockbuster role as the star in the Percy Jackson series, and recently holding his own with the massive ensemble talent in Fury, Logan is a terrific fit. Like O'Brien, Lerman is another 23 year old that could pull off an older teen due to his baby-faced look. In Fury, he proved to be a brave and capable dramatic actor, and while the Percy Jackson series aren't the greatest young adult films, he has equally proven he can lead a blockbuster. However, his Percy Jackson series remains up in the air and he may or may not end up doing more of those... kinda alright movies. Again, like O'Brien, Lerman has been rumored as well for the role, but seeing this promising change with the Mateus Ward audition, we most likely won't see Lerman in spandex, ladies, but I wouldn't mind it myself.
3. Kodi Smit-McPhee
|"Hey, girl. Wanna see my science books?"|
Now, here is where it starts to get really interesting. McPhee isn't all that well known, typically starring in less-than-blockbuster films such as the puppy love horror remake, Let Me In, the strange indie film, Young Ones, and the intensely bleak The Road. At a mere 18 years old, and with the friendly neighborhood look, Kodi's roles have always been of a sad, confused, child in a situation much bigger and much stranger than any boy of his age should ever face. While he's been pegged in that hole, he demonstrates no lack of versatility or incredible strength as a young actor. Needless to say, he's not the pretty boy like O'Brien or Lerman, but that's precisely what Peter Parker isn't. He looks like the awkward kid who was picked on and bullied in high school and no one had any idea what he was really capable of. No offense, though, Kodi, cuz you're a boss.
2. David Mazouz
|"Yo, baby. Wanna see my batarangs?"|
This little dude, being a measly 14 years young, plays the miniature Bruce Wayne on the surprisingly not bad, Gotham. While Kodi has almost everything going for him, Mazouz, has all of that and more. While I'd jump for joy if Smit-McPhee was cast, as unlikely as that is, Mazouz has it all. He's the youngest of all my choices, yet his performance of young Bruce Wayne displays an engaging hint of darkness and a confidence bigger than he is. He's been shown performing combat training with his famous butler, Alfred, wrestling both physically and romantically with little Catwoman, struggling with the loss of his parents, and trying to uproot a corporate conspiracy potentially related to their murders. He's almost Peter Parker already! There is zero doubt in my mind that he could physically take on the role of Spider-man, but equally and poignantly bring Peter Parker's heart wrenching story to life.
1. Asa Butterfield
|"Bitch, Does it look like I asked you a question?"|
While yes, I believe David Mazouz might technically be the best choice for Peter Parker, because of his contract with Gotham, I doubt the likelihood of him being able to realistically fill the demands of Marvel's plans for Spider-man in the future.
So, let's get back to Mr. Butterfield. Most recently, his biggest role was the eerily gifted Ender Wiggin in Ender's Game. The role called for, you guessed it, a boy torn away from his childhood and forced into a terrifyingly epic situation. Asa's performance as Wiggin displayed both fragility and forthrightness that evolved into something of an almost scary coolness. He's 17, still looks like he's 12, and his role as Ender Wiggin made me believe he could kick my ass just by staring through my soul with his cold, starship destroying eyes. But he's so cuddly, though. Look at him! Or don't. I don't blame you if you prefer keeping your pee not in your pants.
Sure, Mazouz already has the Peter Parker role pretty much down with his performance as Bruce Wayne, Asa could bring something much more dynamic, invigorating, and surprising to Spider-man. The kid looks so darned innocent until you piss him off and, welp, there goes your entire planet. That kind of massive flexibility is what I believe would bring the live action Peter Parker something we've never seen or expected, but also what precisely the character has always deserved.
- J.G. Barnes