How Did Peter Parker Get His Powers? (Movies vs. Comics)

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Peter Parker is one of the most interesting and beloved superheroes out there. Of course, he is famously known as Spider-Man, and his name has everything to do with how he got his superhero abilities. So, how did Peter Parker get his powers, and how it differs in the movies compared to the comics?

Peter was a high-school student who was fascinated with anything science related. Even though some details differ in the comics and the movies, he got his powers when he was bitten by a radioactive (comics) and genetically modified (movies) spider in both versions.

There are many similarities between the comics and movies regarding Spider-Man’s origin story, and if you’d like to know more about it, keep reading because everything you need to know is summarized in the next few paragraphs!

Spider-Man movies provide (almost) a well-explained origin story of this popular web-slinger

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In the original Spider-Man trilogy starring Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker, the story of how the famous web-slinger was born is well explained. Peter was a high school student who wasn’t very popular back then. He was geeky-looking, other kids made fun of him, and it seemed he couldn’t catch a break.

One day, he and his classmates were guests of Columbia University’s Science Department, and there it all happened. Harry Osborn was the only real friend Peter had in life, and the two of them entered the tour around the university’s Science Department together. They learned some impressive facts there, including that 32 000 spider species are known worldwide.

Peter was a science wiz, unlike Harry, and all of it seemed far more impressive to him. He was excited to see the most advanced electron microscope on the Eastern Seabord and thought it was unreal. In the meantime, the lecture about spiders continued.

It was mentioned how spiders are in the order Araneae, divided into three suborders. Arachnid spiders also possess varying strengths that help them search for food.


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During the tour, the class was introduced to three kinds of spiders: the Delena spider from the family Sparrasidae, which can jump and catch prey. Then, the net web spider from the family Filistatidae.

That spider spins a funnel-shaped web whose strands are estimated to have a tensile strength equal to high-tension wires used in bridges. The third kind of spider that was introduced had the ability of precognition, a.k.a. spider-sense.

Now, the scientist could transfer RNA between various spider species to encode an entirely new genome combining the genes from all three above-mentioned spiders. They created 15 super-spiders that way.

However, one of those spiders escaped from the terrarium. The lecturer did not seem upset, as she considered that the other scientist was probably examining the spider at that moment.

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But that was not the case, and as Peter was about to take a photo of MJ for the school newspapers, the modified spider landed on his hand and bit him. The bite left a mark on Peter’s hand, and soon after, he experienced fewer and a large swelling on his hand. Parker eventually collapsed on his bedroom floor.

When he came to his sense, he noticed some changes in his body. Peter’s eyesight improved, and he no longer needed glasses, became more muscular, could run faster, and had his reflexes heightened. There were other new abilities this high-school student now possessed, but more about that later.

In ‘The Amazing Spider-Man,’ Peter is portrayed by Andrew Garfield, and he got his powers when he snuck into the facilities of Oscorp and ended up in a room filled with genetically modified spiders. One of the spiders remained on his jacket and bit him afterward on the back side of the neck.

Tom Holland’s version of Spider-Man does not reveal how Peter got his powers, but Peter himself mentions to his best friend, Ned, that he got them by being bitten by a spider.

In the comics, Peter Parker attended an exhibit in the science hall, and the spider interfered

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Peter Parker got his powers in the comics in a similar way. In the Amazing Fantasy #15 issue, the story begins like in the movies. A high school student is often considered a bookworm and a wallflower with little to no respect from others. However, it wasn’t all that bad. Peter had an uncle and aunt who loved him, and there was a great future, a scientist ahead of him.

One night, there was an exhibit in the science hall, and Peter asked kids from schools if any of them wanted to go. They laughed him off, so he decided to go by himself. There were experiments in radioactivity going on, and the demonstration was open to the public.

As the scientist was about to turn on the machine producing radioactive rays, a spider descended from the ceiling and absorbed huge amounts of radioactivity.


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The spider was in shock, and moments before his death, he bit the nearest living thing – Peter Parker. The boy immediately realized that the spider had bitten him but could not understand why his hand was burning and glowing. Moments later, Peter stormed out of the exhibit because he needed some air and discovered his new abilities immediately.

Does Spider-Man have powers without his suits?

Even though some superheroes are out there whose powers primarily come from their suits, that is not the case with Spider-Man. When a radioactive spider bit Peter Parker, he gained impressive abilities regardless of suit, and his powers and abilities are similar to those of a spider.

For example, in the movie ‘Spider-Man,’ Peter first realizes that his eyesight has improved and he is stronger and more alert. His reflexes and agility are on a superhuman level, and he could also run really fast, fast enough to catch a moving bus. In the comics, Peter’s first discovery is that he has wall-crawling abilities

spider man wall crawling

In the movie, we can view this in even more detail, and we see that the skin on Peter’s body became more sharp and filled with scopulae hair, enabling him to easily stick to the walls and wall-crawl. Besides that, Spider-Man possesses spider-sense, which enables him to sense any kind of upcoming danger moments before it happens, and he can dodge attacks and be one step ahead of his enemies because of that.

Unlike any other spider, Spider-Man also can shoot webs from his wrists. However, in some iterations, he uses a special mechanism that grants him to shoot webs, and they are artificially made, while in the ‘Spider-Man’ movie, his body produces the spider strands naturally inside his body.


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All in all, Spider-Man is a remarkable superhero, and the abilities mentioned above prove that he doesn’t need a costume to be the hero is, and the main purpose of the suit is to conceal his identity. In that way, he protects himself and the people close to him.

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