Why the ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ Suit Is Cooler Than the Iron Spider

James M. Farner
Movies Marvel
Movies Marvel Spider-Man MCU

Between reboots, multiple plot lines, and some good, old-fashioned tinkering with Peter Parker’s character, we’ve seen a lot of Spider-Man suits on the big screen. Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, and now the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Tom Holland have all worn different suits to bring Spider-Man to life. But the question remains: Which suit is the coolest?

Your first instinct might be to cast your vote for the Iron Spider Armor seen in Avengers: Infinity War. After all, it’s the newest, shiniest entry in the franchise. However, if you think about it, you’ll come to realize it falls short to another famous suit — the Spider-Man: Homecoming tech suit. Here’s why the Homecoming suit is the definitive Spider-Man suit.

Karen

Spider-Man talks to Karen
Spider-Man can talk with Karen when he is otherwise just hanging out.

Like J.A.R.V.I.S. or F.R.I.D.A.Y. of the Iron Man suits, Peter’s suit comes with a natural-language user interface that he names Karen. After disabling the Training Wheels Protocol, Karen was unlocked and ready to assist. But while she’s undoubtedly helpful to Peter, she’s an even greater help to audiences.

Giving Peter a voice assistant allows him to narrate his actions and quip with a partner like the comic book Spider-Man, and his character blooms as a result. We get to see his quick wit and great personality at work as he bounces thoughts and ideas off Karen. Even when Peter is alone, such as when he’s stuck in the Damage Control Deep Storage Vault, his dialogue with Karen keeps things interesting. Unfortunately, we lose this dynamic in Infinity War, where Peter often speaks to nobody in particular, which is a shame. The unique insights into Peter’s thoughts that Karen’s presence facilitated is sorely missed in Infinity War.

High-Tech Surprises

High tech Spider-Man suit
The possibilities are endless.

The Homecoming suit comes tricked out with high-tech answers to any problem or situation. It has hundreds of web-shooters as well as gliding capabilities and a spider drone, all great tools for Spider-Man to have in his arsenal. They also make for more entertaining movies, as fight sequences in Homecoming are fresher than any other movie in the franchise. Just look at how many pre-Homecoming fights ended up having Spider-Man do little more than swing around his enemies, slowly circling in until he takes them down.

In Homecoming, we see Spider-Man think on his feet as he comes up with different ways to use or combine various abilities — like when he uses web-shooters and his enhanced speed to stabilize the sinking ferry. Sure, the Iron Spider comes with tricks of its own (spider legs, anyone?), but it doesn’t deliver nearly as many interesting or surprising new capabilities — despite being more technologically advanced. It’s not as much fun to watch a suit act more like an independent machine than a tool or partner that evolves Spider-Man’s abilities through his own ingenuity.

Classic Design

The 'Spider-Man: Homecoming' Spider-Man suit
The 'Spider-Man: Homecoming' suit looks like it was ripped from the comics.

The Spider-Man: Homecoming suit harkens back to the classic suits in the best possible way. The design is sleek, sophisticated, and, most importantly, it looks like it was ripped straight from the comics. Staying true to the original design, its classic color scheme is fun, not distracting like the Iron Spider.  It looks great on the screen, with the bright blues and reds that pop in a way that honors the spirit of the comics.

The Iron Spider, of course, has its own comic book inspiration, but it doesn’t scream Spider-Man the way the Homecoming suit does. It looks too much like armor, losing the bright colors to its subdued color palette, to be considered a classic Spider-Man look. It’s also more sci-fi than street, which takes away from the down-to-earth aesthetic of Spidey.

The Emoting Eyes

Spider-Man's eyes narrowed
What's happening off in the distance, Peter?

The eyes are the window to the soul — unless you hide them with a mask, as Spider-Man often does. Luckily for us, the Homecoming suit remedied this problem. The robotic nature of the suit allows Spider-Man’s eyes to contract or dilate in tandem with his mood or thoughts. Whether widening in surprise or narrowing in thought, the eyes bring an energy to the suit unlike any other and make it easier to empathize with Peter.

Think of how bland the interrogation scene with Aaron Davis (played by Donald Glover) would’ve been without this feature. We’d lose the way his eyes narrow as he tries to intimidate Davis, or how they widen when he’s knocked off balance or surprised. Worst of all, we’d lose the moment when they display Peter’s sad desperation after interrogation mode is switched off. In Homecoming, Spider-Man’s eyes are just as expressive as they are in the comics. Not to mention, they give Peter a tactical advantage in the field: the lenses act like camera shutters, giving Peter a greater depth of field and limited X-Ray vision.

The Iron Spider tries to keep this element, but it’s less evident, largely because the Iron Spider’s mask switches on and off easily using nanotechnology. This lets the audience see Tom Holland’s face more often, but it takes away from the magical, life-like look of these lenses.

It’s Not Just Another Iron Man Suit

Iron Man and Spider-Man
Iron Man and Spider-Man's suits look eerily similar.

The Iron Spider Armor debuts alongside the Mark L Iron Man suit in Infinity War, and it’s hard not to notice the similarities. The shiny, red suits both use nanotechnology to assemble and allow our heroes to travels in space. Seeing these suits side by side, you might forget that one of them houses Spider-Man. As Peter says, it’s hard to be the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man if there isn’t a neighborhood. Well, in the Iron Spider Armor, he stops feeling like Spider-Man at all.

Peter’s fun, caring, and enthusiastic personality comes through in the Homecoming suit. In Infinity War, the Iron Spider makes him a more somber, reserved character. In fact, he’s Iron Man-lite, barely more than the Iron Man drones in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Being in the MCU lets Spider-Man and Iron Man interact in ways that constantly delight audiences. However, the two heroes still need to remain distinct. The line seemingly keeps getting blurrier, and we just hope that Spider-Man doesn’t lose what makes him unique.

James M. Farner is a writer/editor who enjoys working on fiction and culture—including popular culture—pieces. His minimal free time goes to keeping up with the best TV series and listening to podcasts in the tech-adjacent geek-sphere.
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