Hardcore Spidey fans might be slightly disappointed that Tom Holland’s first solo run as Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Homecoming doesn’t feature one of the web-slingers signature superpowers: a precognitive “Spider Sense” that alerts Peter to incoming danger. However, that’s far from the only power missing from Spider-Man’s potential arsenal.
Homecoming director Jon Watts made a point to make his take on Spider-Man stand out, including making it fresh by taking the hero to new locales, like the suburbs or Washington D.C. Leaving out the familiar Spider Sense was another part of his plan to show bored Spidey fans something new. Watts told Collider, “The idea was … you want to make this movie be less about things you’ve already seen before, and you’ve definitely already seen a spider sense sequence done extremely well in Marc [Webb]’s and [Sam] Raimi’s movies.”
Many of Spider-Man’s skills and talents come from gadgets and parts of his costume that augment his innate abilities; most notable in Homecoming are his complex web shooters, web wings, and flying spider drone.
But there are plenty more aspects of Spider-Man’s powers that future movies can make good use of. Aside from Spider Sense, here are eight other Spider-Man powers and talents that Peter didn’t have in Homecoming:
Fans will no doubt remember that Tobey Maguire’s version of the character in Spider-Man and its two sequels boasted organic web-shooters instead of mechanical. Instead of using a fancy invention, Peter just presses down on his wrist and expels the sticky white substance propels out of natural spinnerets in his forearms. Not at all gross, right?
In the MCU, Tom Holland’s Peter develops his own mechanical shooters, just like Andrew Garfield’s Amazing version did. Most Spider-Man tales — including the original comic — involve the web-slinger developing his own formula for the webbing and coming up with various types and uses, refining the mechanical process over time.
However, he’s had organic shooters at various points in his comics history. Some storylines involve transformations that bring out his more animalistic side, and organic webbing is often a common side effect.
Four Extra Arms
In one Spider-Man storyline from the comics that made it into the animated series from the ‘90s, Peter’s attempt to remove his powers and become “normal” again results in further mutations, which totally sucks for him. One stage gives him four extra arms, bringing his limb count to a total of eight — that’s just like a real spider! In some cases, this new growth is the first stage leading to something much worse.
This would be a truly insane thing to represent in the MCU, but taking a closer look at the physiological changes that happened when Peter was bitten by that spider could be an interesting way to develop Spider-Man moving forward. The previous live-action films merely dabbled in Peter’s time with the Venom symbiote and emotional struggles that triggered impotency. The two Amazing films dealt with mutagens quite a bit when it came to the Lizard, but there are ways it could work into future MCU Spidey stories.
Having six arms was a bit awkward for Peter, but it could always be worse, right?
Transformation Into a Spider Monster
When exposed to a mutagen from the villain Plantman in Amazing Spider-Man #437, Peter transforms into a grotesque, humanoid spider hybrid with eight eyes, fangs, claws, and fur. If not for the spider fangs and eyes, he’d basically be a werewolf, and it’s typically called “Spider-Morphosis.” This plot is quickly resolved after Spider-Man turns Plantman into a tree with the same mutagen, threatening him just enough to get the cure for himself. An added bonus with Spider-Morphosis is that Peter mostly retains his humanity.
The inclusion of a Spider Monster mutation for Peter in the MCU could be an interesting cautionary tale about mutagens. Very little is known about how Peter got his powers other than the typical spider bite, but he did confirm in Homecoming that the spider is now dead.
Sure, Peter gets super ugly as the Spider Monster, but it could still always be worse, right? At least he’s not a spider monster with six arms. Oh, wait.
Full-on transformation into the Man-Spider
In some versions of the six-armed plotline — that also tend to be related to the origins of the Lizard villain — Peter continues to mutate into what’s commonly referred to as the Man-Spider, which more closely resembles a giant spider than it does a man. Unlike Spider-Morphosis, Peter typically descends into a kind of animalistic madness as the Man-Spider, growing four extra arms and growing claws, fangs, and extra eyes. His raw power also increases drastically.
Fangs & Wrist Stingers
In one storyline called The Other, Peter is stricken with a terminal illness. About to die in a fight with the villain Morlun, Peter morphs, gaining both fangs and wrist stingers that help him kill Morlun before dying himself (don’t worry, he comes back very quickly). The razor-sharp stingers located in his arms release through a spot on his wrist. In many cases, they’re coated in a polyamine venom that can paralyze his victims.
These alterations would be less drastic alternative to the other more extreme transformations. Most of these powers come from a mystical connection to spider-deity known as “The Great Weaver,” and as such, wouldn’t really make sense for the MCU unless some sort of Spider-Man and Doctor Strange crossover was in the works.
During The Other, Peter actually sheds his former skin and then enters a cocoon of webbing under the Brooklyn Bridge in which he has bizarre dreams involving the duality of his identity as a man and a spider. The man had died, but his spider side preserved his life. This cocoon allows Peter to heal and evolve into something new.
After Peter emerges from his healing cocoon in The Other storyline, one of his new powers is the ability to see in the dark.
Especially with the Stark-made Spider-Man suit, this one might be a little superfluous in the MCU.
Communication with Spiders
At various points in Spider-Man’s long comics career, he’s demonstrated the ability to communicate with spiders at times. While nowhere near as potent as what Ant-Man displays with ants, it’s a power that still allows the user to collect information … from spiders.
It’s most notably utilized by a Peter Parker clone named Kaine who took up the mantle of the Scarlet Spider at one point (all featured above).
In Spider-Man: Homecoming, Ned straight-up asks Peter, “Can you summon an army of spiders?” We can only assume that he’s familiar with Ant-Man’s powerset when he asks this question.
Other variations on the Spider power set manifest with different abilities as well. For instance, the other Spider-Man, Miles Morales, can emit bio-electric shocks and also activate a kind of spider-camouflage, but all of these previously listed abilities have been demonstrated by Peter Parker specifically.
As a bonus, here are some crazy web uses that Karen (the Spider-Man suit’s on-board A.I.) probably knows about:
Spider-Man: Homecoming is out now in theaters, and the character will appear in the upcoming Infinity War film, due out May 4, 2018.