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Classically, Peter Parker designed his webbing so that it would dissolve after an hour or so, but before then would be stronger than steel. This was done so that cops arriving on the scene could arrest the evil-doer and put them away. It additionally made it impossible for someone to collect a sample and analyze it in a lab unless they were really quick.

Raimi’s Spider-Man, however, naturally produces his own webbing. I am not a biologist or a zoologist, only a humble chemist, but I’m pretty certain that spider webs in nature do not naturally dissolve away within a day or more. Given that, I would think that this might cause difficulty in arrests. Did his webs dissolve in the trilogy, or are there pieces of webbing hanging in the wind attached to buildings all over Manhattan?

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    Nice question though asked before apparently, the linked dupe is asking about the organic webs. The answers aren't exactly great for the films though and go off on a tangent with the comics as a source material. This seems like the case for a bounty. – TheLethalCarrot Oct 2 '18 at 9:10
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    “I am not a biologist or a zoologist, only a humble chemist” — Well there’s your problem, clearly not enough research effort. You want to ask questions on Scifi.SE? Then you come correct! Go get those two extra degrees, then we can talk. – Paul D. Waite Oct 2 '18 at 9:20
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    Yeah I’m not seeing an answer to this question on the “How much web can Spider-Man produce?” question. – Paul D. Waite Oct 2 '18 at 9:22
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    @PaulD.Waite but but but I already have a bachelors, masters, and a PhD! – Broklynite Oct 2 '18 at 9:53
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    This is science fiction, check your science at the door. – Jack B Nimble Oct 2 '18 at 13:50
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I've had a look around for an answer specific to Raimi's trilogy for a while and can't find anything. However, to coincide with Raimi's trilogy and the change to have Peter have organic webs and not web shooters the comics also made that same change. To cut a long story short Peter is turned into a spider by Queen, births from the spider and ever since then his abilities were "replaced" and he uses organic webbing. He is once again back to web shooters since the "One More Day" arc though.

However, during his time with organic webs in the comics Marvel released Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Spider-Man: Back in Black which had details of his new abilities. In the Spider-Man Update section and the abilities/accessories panel is the following quote which states his organic webs last for a week before decomposing.

Since the Queen's transformation, Parker can produce silk from glands within his forearms, limited by his body's health and nutrition. These organic webs have many similar properties to the artificial webbing though they require a week to decay rather than decomposing within two hours.

Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Spider-Man: Back in Black page with updates on his abilities
Click image to enlarge.

Considering we don't see lots of webbing hanging around in Raimi's trilogy and it is never mentioned as a plot point I'd imagine that the organic webbing either follows the normal 1-2 hours of the shooters or the updated week we see in the comics.


Of interest to note is that originally the Raimi trilogy was going to use web shooters and the prototypes were even displayed at E3. As this was the case it could be that they were going for the normal 1-2 hours and never changed it when they changed to organic webbing.

Prototype web shooter for the Raimi trilogy

  • There are over 100 different versions of Spiderman across movies and comics. I don't see how comparing one comic version with the one movie version on the basis that, out of the 100+ versions, they both have organic web shooters, means that what happens in one universe applies to the other. – Astralbee Aug 29 at 14:16
  • @Astralbee This was main comic continuity to the main movie universe at the time and the move to organic was because of the movies. Of course it doesn't have to relate and I say as such in my answer. However, as they are the only two universes with organic webs it makes sense there would be some relation. – TheLethalCarrot Aug 29 at 14:24
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I'll start this with pointing out a difference between the semantics of "web" and "cobweb". The difference implies that a "web" is maintained, and a "cobweb" is abandoned. Comparing the two, you can notice a difference in both strength and stickiness. I personally have experienced webs that were surprisingly resilient to being broken - similar to plucking a leaf from a tree almost. Whereas entire cobwebs can be brushed away by hand. Additionally, while a cobweb might "stick" to you when you walk through one, you can simply brush it off, whereas with a web, you do need to actually pull it off. The adhesiveness is caused by fluid coating the web in places, which would "dry up" over time and lose its adhesiveness.

Now, in the comic series, Spider-Man is mostly known for his mechanical web shooter, and his special formula for its rapid disintegration. However, after constantly having to deal with running out of ammo, Peter does actually develop organic shooters. Since this was actually developed after the initial creation of the mechanical web shooters, it likely follows a similar design, i.e. the quick disintegration style.

However, in the movies, Peter starts with this power. There is very little talk about this, other than the constant debate about whether or not it was a good idea, so there is little else other than assumption that can be mode here. However, it can be explained with several assumptions:

  1. It acts exactly the same way as normal spider webs. After a time, it simply disintegrates on its own. Out in the streets of New York, the wind, rain, and general weather would likely take its toll on the web. And since peter is not overly involved in creating large webs on a regular occurrence, a few strands of web he uses to swing around on are likely to get blown away and eventually degrade over time anyway.

  2. It acts the same way as the manufactured web works. Since it's stated that Peter got all of his abilities from the Spider that bit him - his physique, his enhanced reflexes, his fixed eyesight, and web, it could be implied that the web does not work the same way that manufactured web works - disintegrating quickly over the space of a couple of hours.

The Sam Raimi series does have a few inconsistencies from the original ideal of what Spider-Man's abilities are, as well as how his enemies work as well. E.g., Doc Oc, for example doesn't quite work the way he does in the movies. Otto Octavius is obsessed with proving himself superior to Spider-Man, not affected by a Rogue AI in his nervous system whispering to him like the devil on his shoulder.

So it can be sorted of "hand-waved" that the web works in such a way that it is not a menace to the city's Janitorial agency.

-1

I'm sure you know this much - that Stan Lee (and whoever else was involved, but let's not get into that) made the decision to give him web-shooters rather than inherit the web-spinning powers of an actual spider because it would have been "disgusting" to have him produce webbing from glands on his abdomen. A good choice.

Raimi made the reverse decision, apparently citing the improbability that a teenager, no matter how smart, would have the knowledge and means to create such a gadget (of course, the reboot with Andrew Garfield got around this problem by having him steal the tech from Oscorp). The webs (thankfully) still came out of his wrists though.

So, my answer is that, as Raimi's Spider-Man gained the power of web-shooting from the spider, along with his other spider-like attributes, we have to assume it would behave like a spider's web would. According to the National Wildlife Federation:

Real spiders produce several types of webs—some that are not sticky but serve as a superstructure for webs, some that are sticky and capture prey, some used for wrapping up prey in neat little packages... Some smaller spiders producer gossamer web, used as a sort of sail that catches the wind and can carry a spider far and wide, which probably explains in part why spiders are found almost everywhere in the world.

So real spiders can create different types of webbing, some of which is stronger than others. It actually makes more sense that an organic web-shooting ability would allow for this, meaning Raimi's Spidey could spin webbing that would deliberately weaken and deteriorate naturally over time, unless of course the "genetically modified super-spider" (Raimi also realised that in this day and age we all know radioactivity doesn't grant things superpowers) was deliberately engineered to be different to a normal spider in this way.

  • "we have to assume it would behave like a spider's web" - Why would we assume that when many of his other powers bear only the vaguest resemblance to an actual spider's abilities? – Valorum Aug 29 at 13:05
  • @Valorum He inherited "spider-like" abilities, right? Spiders climb walls, spin webs, have a "spider sense" (the hairs that detect low-level vibrations) and have a strength disproportionate to their size. Spidey's powers may differ slightly but he didn't inherit anything that wasn't from a spider. – Astralbee Aug 29 at 13:29
  • Sure, but spiders don't have these actual senses and abilities. They can't use magic static to cling to walls and can't sense the future, for example – Valorum Aug 29 at 14:53
  • @Valorum I don't think spiderman uses "magic static" to cling to walls - if he has in any iteration of the character then that is bad writing. I'm sure that Raimi's Spiderman has hairs, or barbs that come out of his fingers. As for sensing the future - no, the "sense" that spiders have is just the ability to pick up vibrations. But just as you hear a car horn and that tells you a car is coming before you've seen it, the glimpses of the future that some iterations of Spiderman "see" are just a visualisation of his acute senses. – Astralbee Sep 3 at 9:17

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