In Captain America: Civil War, there was a scene where an ant-sized Ant-Man was on Captain America's shield while it is held by Spider-Man. Ant-Man then grew larger, sucker punched Spider-Man and took Cap's shield. What's weird to me is that Ant-Man was able to sucker punch Spider-Man despite Spider-Man's spider-sense ability.

In a later scene, Spider-Man spider-sensed the object thrown to him by Bucky and was able to evade it and even throw it back, despite being distracted by pursuing and fighting Falcon at that moment. Why did Spider-Man's spider-sense not detect Ant-Man's attack? Does it have something to do with Ant-Man's ability?

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    Spider-Man's spider-sense isn't the same as omniscience. He misses stuff, especially when distracted.
    – Valorum
    Commented May 18, 2016 at 18:08
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    He had just recently received his powers so he may not be fully aware of his spider sense
    – Recycle
    Commented May 19, 2016 at 15:08
  • @Richard Spider-Man didn't seem to be distracted before Ant-Man's attack. But if he is, he should even be more distracted when he was able to spider-sense Bucky's attack later, as he was pursuing and fighting Falcon at that moment. Commented May 19, 2016 at 17:44
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    I would think that a spider would be more aware of ants, considering ants are food. Guess not.
    – Ellesedil
    Commented May 19, 2016 at 19:39
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    @Ellesedil The same thought crossed my mind. Spiders should be extra aware of ants. =) Commented May 20, 2016 at 5:00

2 Answers 2


When Spidey has the shield, he does notice Ant-Man there, but only at the last second, right before he took it from him.

Hey, guys. Something...

  • So it's supposedly a reaction time issue. Interesting...
    – user71772
    Commented Nov 6, 2016 at 21:36
  • @DestinyDarren Well, he hasn't been Spider-Man for very long, he might not know about the spider-sense yet. Commented Nov 15, 2016 at 22:54
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    Another option would be that his senses are actually overwhelming him, and he can't differentiate between threats easily. Peter DID mention to Stark that his powers were causing him pain, and that he had to intentionally limit himself.
    – user71772
    Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 15:55
  • Ahh, yes, but he was wearing the mask during that scene, so might've been able to sense Ant-Man there. Commented Nov 24, 2016 at 21:19
  • True that. In the end, it just boils down to inexperience lol
    – user71772
    Commented Dec 2, 2016 at 1:14

In the comics, his spider sense tends to not help as much when he's surrounded by danger or if he's lost in thought. The airport battle is an example of him being surrounded by danger, and he can only focus on one "danger" at a time. So yes, ironically he can get distracted by his spider sense going crazy with "alerts".

IIRC, Ant Man also surprised the heck out of everyone with his attack. So he managed to catch Spidey off guard. In role playing games this is called winning the initiative or a "presence attack" in super hero games.

So Ant Man's attack was so impressive that Spidey was momentarily awestruck and couldn't escape in time. It's not enough to have spider sense; he has to react to it in time.

From the movie, Peter did mention to Stark that he needs the goggles on his old costume to avoid sensory overload from his powers.

UPDATE: I would also like to add one or two points: Spidey's agility is great but he's not "un-hittable" (i.e. Falcon finally managed to land a hit) and the way to deal with high agility types like Spidey is to throw "area attacks" at them; which is precisely what Ant Man did at the airport.


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