Every Spider-Man Movie Ranked
December 13, 2021
Spider-Man: No Way Home comes out in less than a week, and since the film is bringing together all three live-action iterations of Spider-Man, I thought it would make sense to do that as well by ranking them (as well as Spider-Verse). For the sake of making this a Spider-Man-centric list, I decided not to include the Venom movies (although they wouldn’t rank very highly if I did).
- The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)
Now, I’m certainly not the first one to say this (and I won’t be the last), but The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is not a good movie. And it’s not “so bad it’s good” it’s just bad. It is a challenge to get through this film in one sitting (it took me three), with a runtime of 2 hours and 20 minutes. The story is a mess, the dialogue is mostly uninteresting, the villain’s character designs are genuinely awful, the tone is as inconsistent as possible. I would’ve been okay with a campy film with Jamie Foxx’s Electro as the only villain, or a darker story solely focused on Green Goblin. However, in the same film where Electro plays “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” by bouncing between power generators, Gwen Stacy is murdered by Dane Dehane’s (horrible) Green Goblin. The most frustrating part about this film is that Andrew Garfield proves that he would be a great Spider-Man if he was given a half-decent script, but unfortunately, he is given nothing to work within what is easily the worst Spider-Man film to date.
- The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
The Amazing Spider-Man isn’t really a bad movie. It’s just a very boring and uninteresting one. For the first half of the film, it feels like the story is simply retreading the same story beats as Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man from 2002, but with a twist: Peter Parker’s parents are here! This is something that nobody wanted to see, and it didn’t actually impact the story in any meaningful way, so it just feels like wasted time. Also, the Lizard is not a great villain. Aside from the fact that he looks like a sleep-deprived Goomba from the 1990’s Super Mario Bros movie, his motivations make no sense and he has barely any depth or personality. However, I will give this film credit where credit’s due. The acting is quite a step up from the original trilogy, and there is a really good moment where he saves a kid from a burning car. But otherwise, this reboot doesn’t justify its existence and is an incredibly forgettable Spider-Man movie.
- Spider-Man 3 (2007)
Look, Spider-Man 3 is not a good movie. I’m not going to argue that it is. But it is incredibly entertaining. The script is a mess, Venom is poorly implemented into the story, and there’s tons of setup from the second film that was completely wasted. However, this movie takes the campy elements of the previous two films and turns them up to 11. As much as it’s made fun of, emo Peter Parker doing finger guns to women on the street and randomly dancing as the song “People Get Up and Drive Your Funky Soul” by James Brown plays is great. It makes complete sense that Peter Parker, who’s kind of just an awkward nerd, would have that side of his personality amplified by the symbiote and that he’d act this way. It’s moments like this and bits of James Franco’s incredibly strange performance that make this movie enjoyable. The problem is that this isn’t the entire movie. Most of the movie is a lot of what you’d expect from a Sam Raimi Spider-Man film, but with terrible writing. While Spider-Man 3 has some solid action, fun moments, and is ultimately entertaining the entire time, that doesn’t save it from being a bad superhero movie.
- Spider-Man (2002)
Okay, now we’re at the good ones. 2002’s Spider-Man is a fun, campy film that laid the groundwork for all superhero films that came after it. It moves at a breakneck pace, which keeps it entertaining throughout its two-hour runtime. It’s cool seeing Peter Parker become Spider-Man, and Tobey Maguire is decent enough to make it work. It does a pretty good job of developing the romance between him and Kirsten Dunst’s Mary Jane, even if it is quite generic. But the real standouts here are Willem Dafoe as the Green Goblin and J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson. Both performances are incredibly over the top and entertaining, and Simmons in particular is genuinely hilarious. I don’t often laugh out loud when watching movies, but Simmons is just really funny in the role. Willem Dafoe is so fun as the Green Goblin that it helps distract from the fact that this is mostly a generic superhero movie. Generic isn’t always a bad thing though, and in this case, it works, but it’s still not quite as good as the top 4.
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)
Spider-Man: Far From Home is a really good Spider-Man movie. The dialogue is sharp and funny, the characters are endearing, the action is great, the villain is phenomenal (yes I’m praising Jake Gyllenhaal), and it deals with the fallout of the events of Infinity War and Endgame very well. The only main complaint I have with this movie is that it feels like a generic superhero movie for the first half, but that’s kind of the point though? The whole idea of the first hour is that it’s supposed to trick the viewer into thinking Mysterio is a genuinely good guy through the script and Gyllenhaal’s performance, it’s quite believable. The problem is that comic fans (and people who’ve already seen the movie) who know Mysterio is a villain will guess this twist from the beginning, and it can make the first hour of the film kind of boring. Regardless, this is still a very good movie, which has everything you’d come to expect from a Spider-Man movie and an ending that sets up No Way Home perfectly.
- Spider-Man 2 (2004)
Hear me out here. I love this movie and I think it’s great. I know many Spider-Man fans would be outraged finding this film not in the number one or two spot on the list, but I just don’t think it’s quite as good as the top two. This is, however, an example of a perfect sequel. It retains the elements that worked in the first film: good action, a solid villain, J.K. Simmons. But it also adds more. This film actually takes some time to let a lot of the events from the first movie settle in and provide emotional moments for the main characters. It also tells a very interesting story for Peter Parker. This movie proves that Peter Parker is Spider-Man even without his powers, and it’s very powerful seeing him discover what it means to be Spider-Man. One thing that I really appreciate about this movie is that no character is wasted. Any character that’s introduced with some importance is actually used. My only real complaints are that Doc Ock starts acting a bit too evil considering his motivations and James Franco exhibits some very bad acting, which wouldn’t be a huge deal if he wasn’t featured in one of the most important scenes in the movie. And yes, the train scene in this movie is also phenomenal.
- Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
Spider-Man: Homecoming is the perfect way to fully introduce Spider-Man and justify his existence in the MCU. Many people try to criticize this movie because they claim “Spider-Man relies on Iron Man too much”, but that’s the exact opposite of what this film is about. This is a film about Spider-Man finding his footing as a hero, and proving to himself that he’s capable of being Spider-Man without anyone’s help. This is perfectly exemplified in the scene which is ripped directly from one of the earliest Spider-Man comics ever, The Amazing Spider-Man #33, where Peter Parker finally realizes that he is able to be a hero on his own, and lifts thousands of pounds of rubble off of his back. This powerful moment is what really makes the movie for me, but there’s even more in this film that I absolutely adore. Tom Holland is phenomenal as Spider-Man. He’s funny and sells the youthful innocence of the character perfectly. Michael Keaton is a great villain as the Vulture, with a great redesign from the comics. Also, the writing in this movie is phenomenal and hilarious. The idea to make this film like a John Hughes high school comedy was genius, and even though the stakes feel smaller than a lot of other superhero movies, it still feels like it has a lot of weight because of the interpersonal conflict of the protagonists. This movie is incredibly fun and has a ton of heart which makes for a great Spider-Man movie.
- Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse
What can I say about this movie that hasn’t already been said? The animation is groundbreaking and stunning, the voice actors are perfect for their roles, the self-referential humor is great, and this film has tons of heart. It is easily the best Spider-Man movie and even one of the best superhero movies of all time. The comic book animation style created for this movie fits it perfectly, and the exaggerated actions of the characters fit this aesthetic incredibly well. The pacing of this film is incredibly fast, but it still has time to develop its characters well and make them very endearing. The messaging of “anyone can wear the mask” is a great way to make the “Spiderverse” concept actually makes sense on a thematic level, and it also is a great examination of what makes Spider-Man Spider-Man. The fact that this movie didn’t perform as well as it should have at the box office still disappoints me to this day because it certainly didn’t deserve it. Hopefully, this causes people to give animation a chance and realize that animation can be just as good if not better than live-action.