Tom Holland struggles without being Spider-Man

Like his MCU predecessors, Tom Holland struggled to take off the Spider-Man “shirt”. Despite constantly experimenting with new roles, the actor has not been able to convince the audience.

Tom Holland joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe at the age of 19. Before that, the actor had not had many achievements in his acting career. However, it was his incredible compatibility with the character of Spider-Man that helped him win over the audience.

Tom Holland made his MCU debut in Captain America: Civil War (2016). With his natural sense of humor, the British actor immediately created a big splash in the media. Stan Lee, the creator of Spider-Man, once said that Tom Holland was born to be Spider-Man.

To date, Tom Holland has participated in 6 Marvel projects, including his own trilogy. In particular, the movie Spider-Man: No Way Home earned up to 1.9 billion USD .

Clearly, the actor has had a glorious career at Marvel and will be attached to the role of Spider-Man for a long time. However, like his seniors like RDJ or Chris Evans, Tom Holland is struggling with his career outside the MCU.

Take off the Spider-Man “shirt”

In addition to playing Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Tom Holland has also appeared in many other projects. Recently, there were Uncharted ( 2022), Chaos Walking (2021), Cherry (2020) and the Apple TV+ series The Crowded Room (2023).

The common point is that the above works all received negative reviews from critics. The Crowded Room was even heavily criticized for its boring plot (receiving only 33% on Rotten Tomatoes), and the actor’s career outside of Marvel has since been questioned.

In the Apple TV+ project, Tom Holland plays Danny Sullivan, a rape suspect with signs of mental illness. In the first half of the series, this character does not appear too much, somewhat vague. Towards the end, when Danny Sullivan’s true nature is revealed, Tom Holland has the space to show his talent.

The character Danny Sullivan can be considered a bold step for Tom Holland personally, when he tries to shake off his usual youthful, humorous image to take on a different, more complex role. However, his transformation has not been able to convince the majority of the audience. Many experts say that Tom Holland in The Crowded Room is more like a “charismatic kid” than a mentally ill character with signs of anti-social behavior.

Tom Holland’s portrayal of a psychopath in The Crowded Room was criticized by the audience.

Tom Holland’s portrayal of a psychopath in The Crowded Room was criticized by the audience.

On the other hand, this project also had a significant impact on Tom Holland’s mental health. Sharing with The Hollywood Reporter , the actor emphasized that Danny Sullivan is an extremely heavy role, far from what he experienced in the MCU. The pressure on set and having to try to live in the character’s complex emotions made the actor lose balance. After the project, Tom Holland decided to take a year off to completely get out of the role.

After a break, Tom Holland recently decided to return to the West End stage, as a way to find acting inspiration. In the classic Romeo and Juliet , the 28-year-old actor plays the male lead.

However, his return to the West End has been underwhelming. The Daily Express described Tom Holland’s Romeo as an uninspiring foil to Amewudah-Rivers’ Juliet. The Independent ’s Tim Bano called Holland “a sad man in a white suit” and said “his acting skills are at their best when he’s not speaking.” Variety also noted that Holland was trying to express emotion rather than evoke it.

The actor’s return to the West End stage did not leave much of an impression.

The actor’s return to the West End stage did not leave much of an impression.

Overall, Tom Holland is struggling with his career outside of the MCU. Although the actor has tried hard to break out and constantly challenge himself with more roles, his performance has not been enough to convince audiences and Hollywood experts.

Marvel “kills” movie stars?

Before Tom Holland, many other names also struggled to take off the superhero “shirt”, most notably Iron Man RDJ. After The Pick-up Artist (1987) and Less than Zero (1987), the actor was considered one of the greatest talents of his generation. Although he had to leave acting in the 90s due to addiction, at the age of 38, RDJ made a strong comeback with Good Night and Good Luck (2005), A Scanner Darkly (2006) and Zodiac (2007).

However, since joining the MCU, RDJ has not had any impressive roles other than Iron Man. People only remember the 59-year-old actor as Iron Man instead of one of the Oscar-level actors like before. It was not until the story of the billionaire superhero ended that RDJ could touch the golden statue, with the character of physicist Lewis Strauss in Oppenheimer (2023).

RDJ is a highly regarded actor, but only won the golden statue after leaving Marvel.

RDJ is a highly regarded actor, but only won the golden statue after leaving Marvel.

Another name that has struggled is Chris Evans. After parting with the shield associated with Captain America, he has not had a role that is convincing enough for critics and audiences.

From the animated film Lightyear , which was criticized for its gay kiss, to The Grey Man , an action horror film on Netflix, which was criticized for its borrowed script. Another work, Ghosted, was criticized by The Guardian for its “simple content but messy handling”, making viewers uncomfortable.

The fact that many of his works have been panned is a warning bell about Evans’ declining career.

In 2021, Leonardo DiCaprio advised Timothée Chalamet to stay away from superhero roles if he wants to have a more successful career. Sharing the same opinion, talented director Quentin Tarantino commented that superhero movies are “killing” movie stars. He believes that in these types of roles, the character overshadows the actor. “Captain America is the star, or Thor is the star… it is the characters in these series that become the stars,” the director added.

Leonardo DiCaprio and Quentin Tarantino believe that in superhero roles, actors are forced to conform to pre-existing expectations of the character. They are therefore unable to develop their own roles, come up with their own interpretations, or conform to the audience’s understanding of the superhero. This stunts their acting abilities and ties their careers to the superhero “mantle” they wear.

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