Spider-Man, Spider-Man, does whatever a spider can, or so the song goes. That bite from the radioactive spider imbued Peter Power with amazing spider-like abilities. However, he can also do a few things a spider can’t. While sticking to walls and spinning webs are common traits in spiders, a precognitive danger sense isn’t. Yes, Peter’s Spider-Sense is an ability created exclusively for the hero.
Up to now, Spider-Man has appeared in nine feature films and a number of animated series. Each incarnation has shown Peter’s Spider-Sense in a unique way. So, let’s take a look at the different ways Spider-Man’s Spider-Sense has been shown on screen.
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7 Spider-Man (1967)
The original Spider-Man cartoon series from the 1960s introduced us to that wonderful theme tune. In terms of showcasing the Spider-Sense, there wasn’t really anything too dramatic. Unlike the comics, where Peter would have lines emanating from his head, this version of the character simply announced that his Spider-Sense was tingling. There isn’t even a sound effect signaling the sense.
Obviously, budget constraints may be a factor in this. This can be seen from the fact that Spider-Man doesn’t have webs all over his costume. However, future adaptations of the character would fix this.
6 Spider-Man: The Animated Series (1994)
Spider-Man: The Animated Series is, for many fans, the perfect version of the wall-crawler. The storytelling and characterization were fantastic and the series introduced a generation to the hero. It also featured perhaps the most unique interpretation of the Spider-Sense we’ve ever seen. First, the camera would close in on Spidey’s head, then the screen would flash in a variety of colours. All of this would be accompanied by a strange sound effect.
It was almost a whipping sound with a high-pitched whine that sounded otherworldly. There was definitely a unique aspect to the power because of the way it was portrayed. Certainly, the ability hasn’t been portrayed like this since the series finished.
5 Spider-Man (2002)
Shortly after Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker is bitten by the spider, he ends up in a fight with Flash Thompson. The young hero’s abilities are starting to manifest and, in truth, he’s not quite sure just what’s going on. So, after accidentally covering Flash with another student’s lunch, Peter tries to flee the scene.
Unfortunately for him, the whole cafeteria witnesses him walking away with the tray stuck to a web line behind him. Thinking he’s got away with it, Peter goes about his day and opens his locker. Then, suddenly, he feels something. As he becomes aware of everything happening in the hallway, the camera zooms around showing the viewers every potential danger. A fly’s wings buzzing, a spitball being shot by another student and then, a fist behind his head. Peter realizes the danger and ducks out of the way before proceeding to beat up the bully using his spider-agility and reflexes.
4 Spectacular Spider-Man (2008)
Spectacular Spider-Man was another highly-popular cartoon series that was canceled prematurely. Fans loved this interpretation of the hero but Marvel had their own ideas for his animated future. In terms of demonstrating the Spider-Sense, Spectacular Spider-Man took a fairly basic approach inspired by the comics.
If Spidey was in danger, we’d see a close up of his head with jagged lines circling it. There’d also be a ringing sound signifying that the sense was active. This can be seen in the clip above when the wall-crawler realizes he needs to trust his Spider-Sense in order to defeat Mysterio.
3 The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)
While there was another example that was very similar to the Sam Raimi film’s interpretation of the Spider-Sense, it was this particular scene in Amazing Spider-Man 2 that was the most creative way we’ve seen on the big screen yet. There’s no flashy effects or slow-motion, as this simply features Peter Parker crossing the road.
That might sound relatively simple and unexciting, but it actually does show us Peter’s Spider-Sense in action. As he crosses the road, Peter never takes his eyes off Gwen but still manages to avoid all of the cars. Aside from a minor incident with a wing mirror, he remains completely unscathed. While crossing, Peter changes his pace and steps out of the way to avoid a cyclist. So, Marc Webb is able to show the Spider-Sense in action in a subtle way.
2 Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Next, we move onto the MCU’s interpretation of the power. Many fans were disappointed that there wasn’t an obvious example of the Spider-Sense during Spider-Man: Homecoming, but Avengers: Infinity War soon put that right. Peter Parker is on a school bus with his classmates just as Thanos’s ship arrives in New York. Facing completely the opposite direction, he’s oblivious to the spaceship behind him.
That is until the hairs on his arms stand up. Immediately, Peter knows something is amiss and turns around to see the giant spaceship behind him. He then quickly springs into action and asks his friend Ned to cause a distraction so that he can slip away. Peter then quickly climbs out of the window, puts his mask on and then swings off to join the Avengers battling the Black Order.
1 Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
Sony’s latest animated hit continues to enthrall audiences across the world. Many argue that this is the best Spider-Man film to date as it truly demonstrates what it means to be Spider-Man. With a number of different Spider-Men and -Women to contend with, the film takes a slightly different approach to the Spider-Sense.
Rather than simply being a sixth sense that warns the heroes of danger, Into the Spider-Verse also expands on this. It can also be used to identify other spider-powered individuals. This is how Chris Pine’s Spider-Man is able to identify that Miles is no ordinary kid and encourage him to help defeat the Kingpin. True to the film’s comic-book aesthetic, Into the Spider-Verse shows the sense with the classic wavy lines coming out of the various character’s heads. It’s simple but effective and totally fits with the tone of the film.
There have been many different versions of Spider-Man gracing our screens over the years and each one has shown his various abilities in different ways. What was your favorite realization of the Spider-Sense? Let us know in the comments.