Every Spider-Man Movie Ranked from Worst to Best

Who doesn't love Spider-Man? One of Stan Lee's most enduring and beloved creations, Spider-Man is a comic book hero with a proud legacy that has inspired generations. From Peter Parker to Miles Morales and Gwen Stacy, the mantle of the beloved neighborhood hero gets passed down without losing that resilience and do-good moral imperative that makes the character so special. And boy, Spider-Man sure has a lot of movies.

In terms of numbers, your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man is catching up to Batman as one of the most prolific and influential characters in superhero cinema, and it's not hard to see why. In contrast to the Bruce Waynes and Tony Starks of the comic world, the brooding fantasy characters defined by their darkness, Spider-Man's spunky innocence and decency speaks to the spark of innate goodness and decency we hope is in all of us. Sure, there are lots of heroes who join the fray out of a sense of duty or regret, but nobody loves being a hero like Spider-Man.

With the MCU's charming post- Endgame return Spider-Man: Far from Home now in theaters, we're looking back on every Spider-Man movie to date to see how they stack up. A few housekeeping things first; we're not including movies like Captain America: Civil War or Avengers: Infinity War that feature Spider-Man as a supporting character, nor are we looking at non-theatrical animated films.

On a personal note, I'll just add that I love all Spider-Man movies, no matter how bad they are. Yes, even that one. He's my favorite hero since childhood, and anytime I see those webs slinging into action, I'm gonna have at least a little fun. On that note, there are a lot of phenomenal Spidey films and there's a good chance you're not going to agree with my rankings. That's great! Diversity of opinion is what makes these kinds of conversations so fun, let's just keep the spirit of our favorite web-crawler alive in the conversation and try to keep it positive! Now, to the main event. Here's every Spider-Man movie ranked.

8. The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Sprawling, clunky and overstuffed; The Amazing Spider-Man 2 feels like a relic from another era of superhero cinema, and it's frankly brain-breaking to realize it crash-landed into theaters less than five years ago. Marc Webb's Spider-Man sequel is a bit tough to place last because, yes, it is a mess, but ultimately it improves on a lot of the faults in The Amazing Spider-Man. Peter is less off-putting this time around and Jamie Foxx's Electro is a true-blue heartbreaking villain for about half of the movie. Unfortunately, any decent work from by the actors (and there's a lot of it -- the cast is ten times better than this movie deserved), gets cut off at the legs because TASM2 tries to be three different movies at once.

It wants to be a Spider-Man sequel, sure, and there's lots of genuinely well-staged action to hit those beats, but it also wants to set up a Sinister Six movie (hence the overabundance of villains here), and worst of all, it wants to be a melodrama trafficking in the iconic death of Gwen Stacy. Brought to life by the impossibly likable Emma Stone, Gwen is as much a part of the lifeblood of the Amazing Spider-Man films as Garfield's Peter Parker; a character and performance that proved worthy of more than faithful adherence to what was written for a near half-century ago. Her death is an especially cruel way to end a film that never decides between its pulp and straight drama instincts. TASM2 could have been an interesting superhero drama about the cost of power, or a wild and colorful villain showcase, but in trying to become both, it ended up being neither.

7. The Amazing Spider-Man

He's not a regular Spider-Man, he's a cool Spider-Man. This Peter Parker has shoulders like a man, a way with the ladies, and snark to spare. He's kind of awkward, but not really... the manifestation of the early-aughts emo pretty boy, and the kind of guy who would be wildly popular if he just wasn't so hung up on him own insecurities. That take on Peter Parker has divided fans since The Amazing Spider-Man first hit theaters and, years later, especially in the light of Tom Holland's tenure as the teenage hero, it feels a bit too close to a Justin Bieber video for comfort.

Essentially, The Amazing Spider-Man is the Young Adult romance version of the story (what if Spider-Man, but Twilight?), and even if Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone make for the most idealized teen idol versions of Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy imaginable, they're still charming to boot and their chemistry is the best part of what is otherwise a serviceable but uninspired retelling of the Spider-Man origin. In truth, it's almost a beat-for-beat copy of Raimi's original. Nobody needed to see the origin story again, and the film offers little in the way of villainy, reducing Rhys Ifans' The Lizard to a one-note dude who just really wants his arm back (an oof-level outdated trope of "disability as evil" on its own.) There's some fun to be had in the scenes where Webb glimpses the promise of Kajiu-flavored destruction, but the film never leans in and, man, the effects just aren't there. Taken as a romantic sexy Spider-Man for teens, it works pretty well, but as a Spider-Man story, it's nothing we haven't seen before. And better done, at that.

6. Spider-Man 3

Ah, Spider-Man 3, you goofy, much-derided slice of silliness. Yes, there is a lot to dunk on here. We all remember the dancing, and the hair cut, and the still inexplicable casting of Topher Grace as Venom. We all remember. Perhaps it's just the sands of time smoothing down the sharp edges (or maybe it's the contrast to The Amazing Spider-Man films), but there's still a lot of heart in Spider-Man 3 that makes the film worth watching and enjoying. In fact, with the passage of time, some of its worst qualities have become rather endearing. Look at Toby Maguire trying so hard to be emo-cool, just look at it. Now some of it still doesn't work (see: giant Sandman groaning into the wind), but there's a lot of joy buried among the silliness. Shed away the Venom and the Sandman of it all and there's a pretty touching payoff to the long journey between Peter and Harry, and some lovely themes about forgiveness woven in; from Harry's redemption to the Sandman's farewell, and of course, Peter and M.J.'s reunion. It's an overstuffed mess, but there's the shadow of the Spider-Man we love in there somewhere, buried just beneath the guyliner and hair gel.

5. Spider-Man: Far from Home

As the first MCU film after the game-changing culmination of Avengers: Endgame that also had to be a sequel to the outstanding Spidey reboot Spider-Man: Homecoming, Spider-Man: Far From Home had a lot on its plate. But Marvel, Sony, and returning director Jon Watts pulled it off with a peak summer blockbuster that manages to give a universe-building look at the after effects of Thanos’ Snap through the intimate lens of another charming coming-of-age action-comedy. Tom Holland communities to be the best Peter Parker yet, this time more withdrawn and unsure after the events of Infinity War and Endgame, especially the death of Tony Stark. Likewise, the ensemble around him shines once again, especially Zendaya as the delightfully offbeat and self-assured M.J. and Jacob Batalon as Peter’s Guy in the Chair, Ned. And then of course, there’s newcomer Jake Gyllenhaal as the charming new hero in town; a breezy and delicious performance from one of the last actor’s you’d expect to see in an MCU film.

Best of all, it’s one of the most ambitious Spider-Man films we’ve seen, far removed from the near-identical beats we saw in the first five Spider-Man films — both geographically, taking Peter and his classmates through the spectacular sights of Europe, and narratively, embracing the implications of the larger cinematic universe and friendly but familiar neighborhood stories we know so well. Far from Home doesn’t have quite the purity of Homecoming or the innovative spark of Into the Spider-Verse, but it’s still one hell of a Spider-Man spectacle; an MCU-level theatrical experience spun that taps into the nausea of grief and the butterflies of summer love.

4. Spider-Man 2

I know, I know. I can hear you screaming from here. I'll just take this as an opportunity to remind y'all that any ranking is subjective and for me, Spider-Man 2 just does not hold up as the best in the long-running franchise. That said, from here everything is pretty much a gold star. Spider-Man 2 is a spectacular comic book movie, which stands apart to this day for a story rooted in earnest faith in humanity, showcased through not only our web-slinging hero, but the faithful citizens of the city he protects. Even the villain, the iconic Spidey foil Doctor Octopus; played with exceptional integrity and charm by Alfred Molina. Doc Ock is a perfect foil for Peter at this point in his journey, another mentor-turned-monster who turns his tragedy into a source of rage, giving Peter the opportunity to showcase his true heroism by never giving up on him.

From the iconic train scene to his acceptance that hanging up the suit isn't always an option -- even for love -- Spidey has never been more purely heroic, and in the hands of Sam Raimi, his heroic feats look more spectacular than ever. It's downright incredible how good the effects look in Spider-Man 2, and Raimi's flourish for action was firing at full capacity in this one (Doc Ock's transformation scene is still terrifying, and so very Sam Raimi.) Spider-Man 2 may not be my all time favorite of the franchise, but it's still an incredible piece of superhero cinema that puts a premium on earnest goodness and the power of redemption.

3. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is truly a mind-blowing accomplishment, and I would never fault anyone for whom this animated piece of brilliance immediately shot to the top of their list. It's certainly the most Spider-Man movie there ever was, and in a franchise that has often been derided for staleness and repetition, boy does Spider-Verse swing for the fences and do something entirely new.

"This is one hardcore origin story;" a perfect introduction to Miles Morales (and Spider-Gwen, Spider-Man Noir, Peter Porker, and Peni Parker, for that matter) that boggles the mind with the sheer amount of nerdy narrative packed into one Spider-Man-loving ode. It's also a vivid, dazzling film, a remarkable work of animation artistry that genuinely feels like a comic book brought to life, including hilarious and subtle animated gags (I'm a big fan of the use of 'bagel' as a sound effect) and rich, immersive details that pull you right into this parallel universe. Best of all, Spider-Verse is about embracing the fact that Spider-Man isn't Peter Parker, Spider-Man is an idea, a mask, a mantle that can be picked up by anyone, anywhere, as long as you always get back up when you take a hit and never lose sight of what makes someone a hero.

2. Spider-Man: Homecoming

Tom Holland is the perfect Peter Parker. If Maguire was too dopey and Garfield was too smarmy, Holland is Three Little Pigs-style just right. Funny, acrobatic, and believably innocent (see also: naive), Holland's Parker makes Spider-Man: Homecoming soar, even when the story occasionally fails to do the character justice. Part of the joy of this new Spider-Man is watching him fill out his role in the MCU after Captain America: Civil War, bringing the insanity of the Avengers-led epics back to the ground, where Peter is more or less put on house arrest by Tony Stark -- he gets to keep the suit, but only for street-level crime. Of course, Peter's not gonna have that, so the moment he sets his sights on Michael Keaton's Vulture (a ruthlessly charismatic baddie and one of the best MCU villains to date), he goes all-in on trying to bring the villain down, no matter the cost.

Peter is still finding his Spidey legs in Homecoming and sometimes that makes him seem frustratingly incompetent, but if his arc seemed clunky and unfinished after Homecoming, it makes a lot more sense in the aftermath of Endgame and Far from Home. It doesn't quite give Peter a full journey, but it's a pivotal touchstone in both his and Tony's journey, and a beautiful one at that. Ultimately, there's a purity of charm and tone to Homecoming , a wholesomeness and warmth, that keeps me coming back to it again and again. At this point going toe-to-toe with the first Spider-Man as my most-watched of the whole franchise, and on that note...

1. Spider-Man

It seems this puts me on the wrong end of a rather unpopular opinion, but I'll be honest, I don't understand how this movie isn't top of every single list. Though I will admit to some strong nostalgic bias. Sam Raimi's original Spider-Man was a revelation for me when it dropped; a film I saw in theaters eight times, pasting the ticket stubs reverently on my bedroom wall under the movie poster I snagged at work. But more than 15 years later, watching the formative superhero blockbuster still has that magical effect for me.

Raimi staged his superhero opus like something from the Golden Age of Hollywood; a soft-focus melodrama that also happens to have radioactive spiders and a bad man in a robotic green suit. And man, The Green Goblin is a bad man. It's easy to forget how ruthless Willem Dafoe's baddie could be, whether turning his colleagues to ash or beating the hell out of Peter in the third act battle -- even his own demise, impaled by his own glider, is surprisingly violent for a comic book blockbuster. Toby Maguire's Peter Parker is a doofy, wide-eyed hero, but it works in the hands of Raimi, who treats his pulpy material with just the right blend of popcorn cinema beats, dramatic sequences, and a sprinkle of B-movie flourish. Stylized, funny, and surprisingly sexy at times (that iconic upside-down kiss still works, as does Willem Dafoe in a fancy suit, thank you very much,) Spider-Man is an old-fashioned origin story done to perfection.

Note: This article was previously posted and has been edited and updated for the release of Far from Home. Full confession: I also tweaked the ranking a little, with Homecoming moving ahead of Spider-Verse. What can I say? Opinions change, and while Spider-Verse is a staggering achievement and brilliance take on the Spider-Man legacy, I can't deny how often I return to Homecoming for its pure Spider-Man energy.

What say you? What is your favorite? Want to defend the ASM films? Sound off in the comments, just remember to keep it as friendly as our neighborhood hero.

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Haleigh Foutch (3308 Articles Published)

Haleigh Foutch is a writer, editor, host, actor, and cat enthusiast based in Los Angeles. She's currently Senior Editor of Content Strategy and Analytics at Collider, where she's been climbing the ranks and screaming about the unsung genius of Grosse Pointe Blank for nearly a decade. She also oversees Collider's horror content and co-created The Witching Hour podcast, previously appeared as a regular panelist on Movie Talk, and has written for Rotten Tomatoes, Complex, Birth.Movies.Death., and more. You can usually find her sharing Buffy the Vampire Slayer memes on Instagram, rehearsing the Five Movements from The OA, and asking people about their pets.

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