So in both first part movie of the Spider-Man series (includes 2002 Sam Raimi series and 2012 Marc Webb series) there always exists a moment when Peter Parker unintentionally tries his strength over other publicly.

Peter's second public show-off (first was in the metro rail - the unintentional one) in 2012 series

Peter's first encounter after mutation in 2002 series (my favorite one)

So since every time he used to be a central character in this kind of "show-off" fights (and thus popular also). All this seems to be very awkward and surprising to public since he is the weak Peter Parker who is beating a hunk like Flash Thompson. Peter jumps, dodge, punch, kicks, observes a strange string coming out of his hands (in 2002 series - after moving out from lunch canteen) and even sticks to the ceiling (in 2012 series - in a fight inside the metro). And suddenly after few days/weeks there suddenly arrives a superhero with same abilities that the public witnessed. Ahh!

Well kicking and jumping could, however, seem to be satisfactory to fellow students but throwing web! and sticking to the ceiling is far away from the human behaviour. Isn't it?

It's just a simple deduction. I mean anyone who witnessed that fight could guess that it's the Peter Parker who flung around in the city inside that full-sized mask. So why they are really not understanding that?

  • Ok, then let me try again: I think your question makes more sense if you focus on the things that are not typical teen-movie tropes. The weak nerdy guy suddenly getting all ninja over the bully -- dodging, punching, kicking, etc. -- are at best flukes that most people would write off. It's the other things -- sticking to walls, throwing web, etc -- that need more in the way of explanation. I'd recommend you edit your question to focus on those aspects, or you'll probably get a lot of not-very-helpful answers. – KutuluMike Mar 13 '15 at 17:52
  • I'm pretty sure hunk and jock aren't synonymous. – user16696 Mar 13 '15 at 17:58
  • Also, you overestimate the general publics observation and association skill. – user16696 Mar 13 '15 at 18:01
  • Finally, the metro fight happened to a bunch of random people who have only seen parker once for ten minutes like a month prior to news about spiderman becoming common. – user16696 Mar 13 '15 at 18:03
up vote 5 down vote accepted

I haven't seen any of the Amazing Spider-Man movie series, so I can't comment on that.

That said, as someone who was bullied in school, and based on the movies and comics, I feel that I can answer your question.

Someone who is routinely targetted for bullying becomes just that: a target. People begin to disregard them. People who have seen Flash shove Parker into a locker hundreds of times aren't going to notice when something goes a little differently. At most, they'll think Flash screwed up. Yes, what Parker did was amazing. Yes, it was out of character and unusual. That said, it goes against everything they know about Parker. When he then returns to acting like normal, they forget about what happened, for the most part.

Most people don't stop to re-evaluate their mental models of others until those models are proven inaccurate. A single outlier in the data, one instance where Parker backflipped over Flash, is discounted in favor of the hundreds of times when Flash resoundingly won.

In Ultimate Comics, Kong (a fellow student in Parker's class, and Flash's friend) puts it together. He tries very hard to convince other students of this, but he ultimately fails. Parker has gone back to acting normal, getting shoved into lockers, getting kicked, etc and taking it (instead of dodging or blocking). Everyone else in the school discounts the one time Parker did something cool (in that case, caught Flash's fist after dodging him).

  • 1
    Well, I am not really satisfied with complete answer but here is a +1 for your last paragraph. I think there is something interesting creeping right there since I never heard about that fellow student 'Kong'. You have any reference or source to support that point? – Saharsh Mar 13 '15 at 17:55
  • Same thing happens in a few spidey cartoons – user16696 Mar 13 '15 at 17:59
  • There's any number of YouTube videos that feature bullied kids going Super-Saiyan and cleaning the bully's clock. So it's not astoundingly uncommon. – VBartilucci Jun 13 at 14:05

It's a common trope in superhero stories. Superheroes almost always keep their true identity a secret from the public at large, and people - even the ones closest to them - often overlook rather obvious clues that would reveal that identity. As far as I know, the first superhero movie to realistically address this is Man of Steel (2013), in which both Pete Ross and Lois Lane are able to deduce Superman's real identity based on such an event from his past.

That said, the two Peter Parker fights you mention could be explained away as a one-off event. It's not uncommon for kids - especially those in junior high & high school - to suddenly grow tired of a bully's behavior and go ballistic on him/her and show an unexpected fury or ability to fight.

Obviously, the webbing incident in Spider-Man (2002) would be harder to explain, but there's no evidence that anyone got a close look at what was happening. If anything, the other kids would assume it was some kind of prank played on Peter by other kids. After all, they only looked at Peter once his tray clanged to the floor, then saw him run out with the tray stuck to him by some kind of glue-like substance. Most probably thought it was hilarious.

  • Prank played "on Peter" or "played unintentionally by Peter (on Flash)"? – Saharsh Mar 13 '15 at 18:04
  • @Alpha well the webbing incident was essentially Peter's tray stuck to him by some sort of glue-like stringy substance, and most kids in the cafeteria only payed attention after his tray clanged to the floor behind him. Most who saw him running out of the cafeteria with a tray stuck to him would assume someone had played a prank ON Peter by causing that. Updated answer to clarify. – Omegacron Mar 13 '15 at 18:06
  • Well regarding the other's view, I should admit you're right. +1 – Saharsh Mar 13 '15 at 18:12
  • I think this is superior to the accepted answer. – Daft Apr 15 '15 at 10:55

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