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SYFY WIRE Features

8 times Peter Parker made us sigh and say 'oh, you poor sweet summer child'

By Caitlin Busch
Spider-Man original

Chances are if you love superheroes, you love Spider-Man. There's something inherently universal about the character. Peter Parker is a bit of an outsider, a huge nerd, an awkward person just trying to do his best and failing a majority of the time. In other words, he's relatable.

With Spider-Man: Far From Home — the character's seventh live-action standalone film and his second in the Marvel Cinematic Universe — premiering on July 2, it just feels right to celebrate what we love about Peter Parker. And I don't know about y'all, but what I love most about Peter Parker is that he is a massive screw-up.

No matter what iteration of the character we're talking about, whether Peter is played by Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, or Tom Holland, one thing is always consistent: he is a glorious, sweet summer child with no idea how to live life. And that is why we love him.

But don't just take my word for it. Peruse the list below and let us know in the comments what your favorite Peter Parker screw-ups are.

Peter chases a bus, Spider-Man (2002)

Of course, the first time we ever saw Peter Parker onscreen as a live-action character had to be the perfect Peter Parker moment. In 2002's Spider-Man, we see a pre-Spidey Peter mourning his lack of a relationship with Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst) and chasing after a bus like the pathetic, lovable dork he is.

The thing is, even if Peter had been Spider-Man at this point, there's a very good chance he still would have missed the bus and been forced to chase it down, only to be tripped by Flash Thompson once he actually makes it onboard. Even when Peter is Spider-Man, he's still Peter Parker. And that's why we love him.

Oh, you poor sweet summer child.

Peter discovers his powers, Spider-Man (2002) and The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

A hallmark of Spider-Man stories is the look of horror on Peter Parker's face when he realizes he can...stick to things. The usually accident-fraught montages in both Spidey films and comics in which Peter causes destruction and confusion are priceless. I could watch this sweet, dumb child accidentally break faucets and drag lunch trays behind him all day.

Oh, you poor sweet summer child.

Side note: Miles Morales does a similar thing in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and his comparisons to Peter's backstory in the in-world comic book is *chefs kiss* perfect.

Peter vs. broom closet, Spider-Man 2 (2004)

Really, this is Peter vs. life. That is, after all, what Spider-Man 2 is all about; the responsibility of being a full-time student, a full-time friend, a full-time employee, and a full-time hero become too much for our poor dude. He can't take it any more.

I know a lot of crappy stuff happens to Peter in Spider-Man 2, but, honestly, the breaking point? When an absurd number of brooms and mops attack Peter for a solid 17 seconds. It's just an extended enough struggle that it's equal parts funny and discouraging.

Oh, you poor sweet summer child.

Peter vs. girls, Every Spider-Man movie, but especially The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

It is a truth universally acknowledged that any time Peter Parker tries to talk to a girl, he will make a fool of himself. Now, that doesn’t mean he's never charming — but he's certainly never killing it with the ladies.

Despite every live-action iteration of Peter Parker being a sweet dork who can't talk to girls, the character's ultimate sweet summer child moment comes in The Amazing Spider-Man. After using and abusing his newfound powers, Peter runs into Gwen in the hallway and proceeds to ask her out without actually asking her out; he can't even finish a sentence in her presence. Thankfully, Gwen already really likes him.

Oh, you poor sweet summer child.

Peter kills some flowers, The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

When Gwen Stacy invites Peter over for dinner with her family to eat branzino, he climbs in through her window like a totally normal person and pulls a bouquet of flowers out of his backpack. He brought them for Gwen's mom. It's a sweet gesture.

Except flowers don't go in backpacks, Peter. Flowers are very delicate and, as you're swinging through the streets and climbing up buildings, there's like a 98 percent chance the flowers will be crushed. Just like in this instance. Shoulda made them into a flower crown instead.

Oh, you poor sweet summer child.

Peter vs. Tony Stark logic, Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

The MCU's Peter Parker is probably the most realistically dumb, sweetest of summer children out of all the live action Peter Parkers due to how realistically young he is. At 15 years old, MCU Peter messes up a lot. Like, a lot a lot. It's incredible.

Spider-Man: Homecoming is filled with potential sweet summer child moment contenders, so I'm doing a lot of narrowing down here. But the moment that inspired a million memes deserves some special love.

When Tony Stark and Happy Hogan are dropping Peter back off at home after kicking Team Cap butt in Germany, Tony gives Peter his new suit and tells him: "Just don't do anything I would do. And definitely don't do anything I wouldn’t do. There's a little gray area in there, and that's where you operate."

The look on Peter's face — blank confusion and maybe a little horror — is priceless.

Oh, you poor sweet summer child.

Peter vs. the suburbs, Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

When Peter ditches Ned at Liz Allen's party in the 'burbs to go investigate a mysterious explosion, he has to contend with a very different environment than he's used to. While this Spidey hasn't yet made the trek into Manhattan, Queens at least has taller buildings than the suburbs. There's also fewer golf courses, pools, and dogs begging to play fetch.

Oh, you poor sweet summer child.

Avengers Endgame women

Peter meets the women of the MCU, Avengers: Endgame (2019)

When Peter Parker is brought back to life in Avengers: Endgame with the other previously-disappeared characters, he's immediately thrown into a universe-altering battle that would end in both great victory and unimaginable loss. Along the way, though, he plays a game of hot potato with the Infinity Gauntlet and meets the badass ladies of the MCU.

As Peter flies through the air and ducks just out of reach of Thanos' goons, he's passed from one woman to another, including Pepper Potts, Valkyrie, and, most significantly for our purposes, Captain Marvel. At the end of his run, Peter lies on the ground, breathless and curled around the Gauntlet.

"Hi," he barely manages to get out as Carol Danvers stands over him, amused. "I'm… I'm Peter Parker."

Yes, darlin'. We know.

Oh, you poor sweet summer child.