Bradley Farabee
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The Spider, the Myth, the Legend

The Physics of Spider-Man

Image via Study Breaks Magazine

Dating back to 1962, Spider-Man appeared in Marvel Comics in Amazing Fantasy #15. Ever since, the “Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man” has become one of the most popular characters to come out of the comics, even making appearances in movies as well as having his own show and multiple movies. Even though Peter Parker has been in intense situations over the years, how would his powers protect him against the forces of physics and physical dangers? Through multiple real-life examples and situations, Spider-Man’s powers are more than enough to keep him alive.

Spidey Sense

Starting with one of Spider-Man’s most iconic power, “Spidey Sense.” What is this ability? “Spidey Sense” has shown many strengths, but to be more specific, it is an ability that allows Spider-Man to sense impending danger coming from anywhere out of his range of vision, for example if a bullet was shot at him from behind. With this ability also comes spider-like reflexes. He can not only sense the bullet but also is able to dodge and apprehend the attacker. To prove how quick Spider-man is, there would have to be some physics involved. The average bullet travels 2,500 feet per second. The average reaction time for humans is .25, 250 milliseconds, seconds for a visual stimulus, seeing something coming at you, and .17 seconds, or 170 milliseconds, for an audio stimulus, hearing something coming at you. If Spider-Man were say 10 feet away from the attacker, he would have 4 milliseconds to sense and dodge a bullet. In Hulk vs Spider-Man, Spider-Man claims that his reaction time is as much as forty times faster than a normal person’s. If this is true, Spider-Man’s reaction time would be roughly 6.25 milliseconds; still not enough to dodge a bullet from ten feet away, but fast enough to dodge a knife attack or other physical attacks from a close range.

Superhuman Regeneration

What would happen if Spidey got hit with a bullet? His next power would cover it of course! Superhuman regeneration is a staple for any hero that works with physical harm due to their own abilities. When Wolverine, for example, releases his claws, it causes him immense pain that is recovered from his regeneration. Deadpool regenerated his entire body from a single cell in the comics. When it comes to Spider-Man, however, he cannot grow another body part, but he can heal a wound caused from a bullet at an advanced rate than any normal human. Of course, when Spidey would get shot, it would most certainly hurt; however, with no time at all, he could get the bullet out and use his webs as a bandage to help the wound close. Even if Spider-Man did get shot, he could easily continue to fight. One of his biggest enemies, Scorpion, has stabbed Spidey with his tail and injected a toxin into Spider-Man that gave hallucinations and eventually would have killed him. Without his superhuman healing, Spider-Man would not have had enough time to conjure up an antidote for the toxin. Spider-Man’s healing ability can and has kept him alive throughout the years.

Super-Strength

Last but certainly not least, web-slinging and super strength! These go hand in hand since he uses these together the most out of his other powers. Whether Spidey’s swinging from skyscraper to skyscraper in the bustling cities in New York or webbing enemies up and keeping them under control, Spider-Man uses his strength and self-built web-slingers to handle most of his problems. How much strength would it take for Spidey to swing around town? Peter Parker, Spider-Man, weighs 167 pounds, or about 17 kg. An average skyscraper height is about 80 meters, and in a normal scenario, Spider-Man would fall from that height and then deploy his web, so he swings at around 10 meters above the ground. This gives Parker 70 meters of free fall. Peter would be falling for about 3.78 seconds and hit a total velocity of 37 meters per second or 83 miles per hour. Then deploying his web, he would be jerked around with 11662 joules on either one or two arms. That’s five times more energy than a standard 7.62 rifle bullet leaving the muzzle when shot, and Spider-Man handles this with no problem and can even keep doing it for a while without tiring or getting injured.

In conclusion, can Spider-Man’s physical body keep up with his superhuman powers? Of course, it can! Peter Parker’s body can withstand more than what anyone has currently done in the comics. Spider-Man’s powers make him a force to be reckoned with and not even physics or any other natural law can put enough strain on him to snap.


P.S. This was only a topic I thought would be fun to write about. If there are any discrepancies or incorrect facts, let me know!  We're all here to learn.

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