Who doesn't love Spider-Man? He's one of the most iconic superheroes of all time, and for good reason. He revolutionized the way we view comic book heroes; no longer were they just gods for us to worship, but instead became incredibly relatable characters with struggles that we could all understand and sympathize with. Naturally, a character this popular was going to end up on the big screen eventually.
Ever since 2002, we've gotten 6 Spidey flicks. With the success of Spider-Man: Homecoming, I thought it would be fun to compare the 6 films against each other to determine a proper ranking.
Keep in mind that this is only my opinion. I will not be including any sort of animated Spider-Man film, nor Captain America: Civil War, as the web slinger only makes an appearance; it's not an actual Spider-Man movie. With all that said, let's kick this list of with my least favorite Spidey movie.
#6 The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)
I don't think this choice will shock many people. If you can enjoy this film, good on you, I'm happy for you. But for me and many others, this film is a terrible way to spend your precious time. This film has so many fundamental issues in almost every aspect that it just becomes a train wreck. Let's start with just the marketing for the film. See the Rhino standing there? Yeah, he's in the movie maybe 5 minutes. I feel so bad for fans of The Rhino as Sony marketed this film as if he had some big role in the movie, but all he does is make an appearance at the beginning (not even as The Rhino) and then once at the very end (finally in that ridiculous robot suit).
Marketing and disappointing Rhino aside, the two main villains are extremely poorly written. Jamie Fox is a good actor, but his character here is laughably bad. Same with can be said about Dane DeHaan, talented actor that was given simply nothing to work with. The only decent performances and sometimes interesting dialogue is with Peter (Andrew Garfield) and Gwen (Emma Stone), but even they can't save this movie.
The biggest problem with this movie is the completely uninspired and nonsensical plot. The whole thing is extremely formulaic, you can see everything coming from a mile away. Not to mention that the film is ugly to look at too. Everything about this film is so fundamentally wrong that it's really hard to pick it apart in just a few paragraphs. Only super fans of the comics (or people who just think Andrew Garfield is hot) can find any sort of enjoyment out of this disaster. It's not funny, the action is average, the dialogue is poorly written, the acting is very shaky, and the entire thing just feels like a product that Sony shoved in the faces of film and Spidey lovers to make a quick buck.
Final Score: 3/10
#5 The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
Okay, I can understand if you would want to switch spots between The Amazing Spider-Man and the next film in the ranking, but for me, both Amazing Spider-Man films are the web-slingers worst outings. Don't get me wrong, this film is definitely better than it's awful sequel. The scenes between Emma Stone's Gwen Stacy and Andrew Garfield's Peter Parker are genuinely interesting to watch thanks to the actors' great chemistry.
Unfortunately, even though this film is better than it's sequel, it's still a very weak film. Not down right bad, but you can tell that little effort went into making this movie. The plot is about as generic as it comes. Dr. Connors becomes The Lizard, goes insane, and then…wants to make every person in New York a…a lizard person….what? You may think I'm leaving out some important plot or character details about Connors, but I assure you I'm not.
We also get Peter's origin story yet again. The problem is that this part of the story is pretty much handled the exact same way as the original Spider-Man movie except significantly worse. You have very similar scenes, such as Peter humiliating Flash Thompson and Uncle Ben giving his speech before his inevitable death. But anyone who's seen this movie can tell you that these moments are handled very poorly. Hell, in this movie, instead of Peter defending himself against Flash, he just decides to purposely humiliate him on the basketball court in front of everybody.
And that brings me to my biggest complaint: I HATE Andrew Garfield's Peter Parker. His Spider-Man is…okay; acceptable at the most. But Marc Webb completely ruined Peter Parker's character. Don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those types of people where the movies need to be like the comic books, but Peter Parker is relatable and sympathetic because he's a good hearted, shy, awkward nerd. Here, he's more of a hipster douche type who claims to have depression on Tumblr.
In the end, I don't enjoy this movie. It's not bad, but you can tell that very little effort or care went into this project. Sony almost killed the Spider with these films. Thank God that the MCU picked him up, or we might have been getting more of these awful films.
Final Score: 5/10
#4 Spider-Man 3 (2007)
If I'm being honest here, I don't think Spider-Man 3 is that bad of a movie. Is it as good as the previous two films in Sam Raimi's iconic trilogy? Not even close. But this film has a lot more good than some people think. For example, the action in this film is some of the very best in the original trilogy. The fight between Peter (Toby Maguire) and Harry Osborne (James Franco) at the beginning is still a joy to watch, as well as the fight between Sandman (Thomas Haden Church) and the new black-suited Spider-Man, which is so comic-book brutal that it's a joy to watch every time.
All of the returning characters, Peter Parker, Harry Osborne, and Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) are all very solid here. Dunst gives whats probably her best performance in the trilogy here as she becomes the more sympathetic character here instead of Peter. Having NYC change from hating Spidey to loving him makes Peter more confident, but also cocky and self-centered. It's very interesting to see how all of this changes the once shy, uncomfortable nerd that Peter was (and still is deep inside). Thomas Haden Church is also the perfect Sandman, although I wish he was given more screen time.
This is also the best looking Spider-Man movie of the original trilogy. Everything here looks and sounds beautiful. While it doesn't come close to Danny Elfman's soundtracks for the previous two movies, there are some standout tracks here from Christopher Young, such as the music during the reveal of black-suit Spider-man or the scene where Church rises out from the sand to become the Sandman (my favorite scene in the entire film).
But I cannot defend this film's major problems. Simply put, Spider-Man 3's plot is messy. I wouldn't call it a complete mess, but there is simply too much here. The film is bloated with 3 villains: Harry Osborne (as the New Goblin), Sandman, and at the very end there's Venom. The plot "conveniently" has things happen to these villains during certain points in time so that someone else can have the spotlight. For example, Harry gets amnesia towards the beginning of the film so that Peter can focus on tracking Sandman. Then, Peter thinks he killed Sandman, only for Harry to overcome his amnesia and return as a villain. This is very lazy writing and makes the audience roll their eyes
But let's get to what I'm sure you all are waiting for: the handling of Venom and emo Peter Parker. Venom, as a villain, is handled very poorly. Eric Forman, I mean Topher Grace, is a bad villain. His motivation is way too weak here. Not to mention that he gets the symbiote during the third act of the film, making his appearance very limited. But to be honest…..I didn't mind emo Peter Parker. I thought his dancing scenes were hilarious. Come on guys, you know you weren't meant to be taking that stuff seriously. Stop worrying about things being like the comic and just have fun!
Overall, I don't think Spider-Man 3 is a bad movie. Great? Nowhere close. It's a bit of a mess, but it has a lot more good in it than people would have you believe. I would say give this movie a shot if you love the first two Sam Raimi films. It definitely has a satisfying conclusion to the series that no fan should miss.
Final Score: 6/10
#3 Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
Now we've come to the most recent film starring the wall-crawler: Spider-Man: Homecoming. To be fair, it's not like Homecoming had much stiff competition. All it had to do was be more inspired than The Amazing Spider-Man series and be less messy than Spider-Man 3, two things that it does indeed succeed in. I would classify this film as more of a comedy than a "serious comic book movie". If you go in with those expectations, I think you'll have a great time with Homecoming.
Tom Holland is a great Peter Parker. Tobey Maguire will always be my favorite (combination of both his excellent performances, nostalgia, and that I met the guy), but I can't deny that Tom Holland makes an excellent Peter Parker and Spider-Man. Having him be a kind of dumb-ass kid makes sense here: he makes some dumb mistakes, he's not sure how to properly use his abilities yet, and all he really wants is to be a part of the Avengers. All of this is coupled with the fact that Peter still goes through common high-schooler problems, such as getting a date to the dance. All in all, Tom Holland did a good job bringing a well written character to life.
Michael Keaton also does pretty good as The Vulture. I'm personally not the biggest fan of his more "realistic" visual design, but it gets the job done. I only wish the film had more of him. We also get another great performance from Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark…in a Spider-Man movie…wait what? Oh yeah, that's right, this is the first Spidey film in the MCU. So, if you're a fan of the MCU, that should excite you I guess.
Okay enough beating around the bush: I'm not a fan of the MCU. Personally, I find that it turns most of their movies into commercials for other films coming down the line. And maybe I wouldn't have brought this up if the MCU stuff wasn't as prominent in Homecoming as much as it is. Tony Stark appears at least 5-6 times throughout the film, Captain America videos play in class at least twice, and everything just feels so forced with that stuff. We get it Marvel, everything is interconnected. Can we please just focus on Spider-Man?
When the film does find it's focus, it's enjoyable. I wouldn't say theres much depth to any particular characters besides Peter and a great twist that makes the Vulture more in depth, but other than that no one really stands out. Some of the acting from Peter's fellow teens aren't that great (although the porn joke from Ned was absolutely hilarious and perfectly acted).
There are some other things that I could nitpick about, such as how much I hate Spidey's high tech suit with an Iron Man assistant built in and everything (please get rid of that), but all in all this movie is enjoyable. I don't think it'll become as iconic as the next two films on this list, but it's an enjoyable popcorn flick that you can enjoy if you love Spider-Man and/or the MCU stuff.
Final Score: 7/10
#2 Spider-Man (2002)
You can't really get more iconic than this. Sam Raimi's original Spider-Man movie is one of the most iconic and important films ever made. It alone set new box office records for the time, as well as singlehandedly create the superhero mania that we now have in film today. So okay okay, this film did extremely well, but is it actually good? Simply put: yes. You'll be hard pressed to find a superhero movie that's anything like Spider-Man nowadays. So many comic book movies try to be dark and bruiting, or at least very serious to an extent. Sam Raimi knew what made a hero like Spider-Man shine on the big screen: having fun.
Fun is the perfect one word description of this film. It has some problems (namely some shaky acting here and there, the occasional awkward line), but it's strengths far outweigh its problems. Remember when origin stories were good? Yeah, this film started that. Seeing Peter become Spider-Man is so satisfying to watch, and it's all thanks to a brilliant performance by Tobey Maguire. He perfectly portrays an awkward nerdy kid in high-school, despite looking like a grown man.
Willem Dafoe as Green Goblin is so ridiculous that its amazing. He's borderline Joker like in his performance. Despite the Power Rangers-esque suit he wears, he is definitely an imposing and entertaining villain. Everyone else is casted very well. Kiersten Dunst makes a great Mary Jane Watson, same to James Franco as Harry Osborne. Even the smaller roles, such as Rosemary Harris as Aunt May and the now iconic J.K. Simons as J. Jonah Jameson make this movie feel like you're experiencing a Spider-Man comic brought to life.
Now the film has not aged the best in terms of its special effects, but for the time these were incredible. Seeing Spider-Man swing around NYC for the first time was jaw dropping, and actually looks pretty good now as well. The scene where Peter climbs the wall for the first time will forever be one of the scenes that inspired my love of filmmaking, it just looks so god damn good. Not to mention the film sounds amazing too. I will never forget hearing the now iconic Danny Elfman theme to this series. Simply outstanding.
As origins stories go, this film is right up there with Batman Begins (2005) in terms of it's excellence. It's not perfect, but it will go down in history as one of the most important movies to ever be made for the film industry. I highly recommend giving this film a watch, not only if you're a Spider-Man fan, but also if you just love film history and want to see the film that was a big turning point for superhero movies.
Final Score: 8.5/10
#1 Spider-Man 2 (2004)
I'm sure everybody knew this was coming, but what can I say? Spider-Man 2 isn't just the best Spidey movie, it's one of the best superhero movies of all time. I would rank it right beside films like The Dark Knight (2008) and Logan (2017). But why, you may ask? What makes Spider-Man 2 so great? There's so much it'll be hard to contain myself. Let's start off with the overall plot: it's fantastic. Sam Raimi was ahead of the game here by recognizing that the superhero themselves aren't interesting, but rather the person behind the mask.
Peter Parker is in a living hell in this film. Everything that can go wrong for him goes wrong here, and it's all because of his double life as Spider-Man. Having this tremendous power and responsibility makes Peter miserable in his personal life. He can't be with the girl of his dreams, he's failing his classes, his best friend hates him for not telling him who Spider-Man is, and so much more. Spider-Man 2 explores the idea that is found in the fantastic Spider-Man comic Spider-Man No More! which is: what if the hero decides to give it all up? That is, at it's core, what this film is about and it is presented brilliantly.
All of this goes on as Doctor Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina) begins to terrorize the city. Molina gives an excellent portrayal as Doc Oc, even surpassing the already great performance by Willem Dafoe in the previous film. All of the regulars are fantastic here as well, each written extremely well. This is without a doubt the best written Spider-Man movie to date.
This is all coupled with fantastic action scenes, including the best sequence in the entire trilogy: the train fight. For those who have seen it, you know why it is so f***ing good. The perfect mixture of real stunts and CGI make every fight believable and intense to watch from start to finish. But again I must stress here that the reason this movie is so good isn't because of Spider-Man fighting Doc Oc, its how well written and engaging every character is.
If you're looking for the perfect Spider-Man movie, Spider-Man 2 is about as good as it could get. This is one of Sam Raimi' masterworks, and will go down in history as one of the best superhero movies ever made, as well as one of my personal favorite movies of all time.
Final Score: 9.2/10
That concludes our rankings of the Spider-Man movies. How would you rank these films? Put your own personal list down below and let's talk about it!
Oh, and here's me meeting Spider-Man himself, Tobey Maguire several years ago!