Every Spider-Man Movie, Ranked (Including Far From Home)
The first question most people have about Spider-Man: Far From Home is, “Is it any good?” (Yes.) The second is, “How does it compare to the others?” That answer is a little longer than most people have time for in casual conversation. But fear not! We’ve done the gruntwork for you.
To see where the newest Spidey adventure ranks in the pantheon of big-screen feature films, check out our Spider-Man movie guide below. Please note that this list does not include Avengers movies in which Spider-Man was a minor player.
8. Spider-Man 3
Even the worst Spider-Man movie isn’t all bad. Thomas Haden Church makes a fun Sandman, and the introduction of a possible love triangle with Bryce Dallas Howard’s Gwen is a good idea. But now that we have Tom Hardy showing us how symbiote possession can be truly fun, Emo Parker is even less so.
Sam Raimi tried to pretend to care about Venom and Sandman, but it’s clear he just wanted a Peter versus Harry Osborn movie. Which is why it’s a mystery that Harry’s New Goblin gear is so lame. The Christopher Reeve model continues, but Reeve’s unshaven drunk Superman was way more enjoyable than dancing Tobey Maguire. It’s probably a good thing Raimi never made it to part four, or else Maguire’s Spidey would spend the whole movie defusing nuclear bombs.
7. The Amazing Spider-Man 2
If this movie had just stuck to Spider-Man versus Electro, it could have been one of the best. Director Marc Webb and Jamie Foxx took one of the most ridiculously ’60s era characters and modernized him into a tragic uber-menace who looks like he’s in constant pain. And the fight scenes between Electro and Spider-Man are some of the best.
Unfortunately, the movie has to sandwich in the Green Goblin again, and they found a way to make it even worse than the “Power Ranger” suit Dafoe wore. In the most absurd onscreen superhero disease since Batman’s butler, Alfred, caught McGregor’s Syndrome, Chris Cooper plays Norman Osborn with some kind of genetic “goblin” skin condition. This later manifests in Harry (Dane DeHaan) as what we might call “Beavis Syndrome.”
Then it turned out that the whole point of the movie was to cynically set up future spinoffs. Fans felt the angle was forced rather than organic, and resisted, shutting down this end of the franchise for good. But not before murdering its best asset in Gwen Stacy, of course.
6. The Amazing Spider-Man
There are plenty of reasons not to like this one. Basically, it’s the same plot as the first movie all over again, but with a more dour tone. And after we waited four movies to see the Dylan Baker’s Lizard, Rhys Ifans feels like the cheap knockoff. What keeps it from being a loss is Emma Stone, whose Gwen Stacy is the best female lead in any Spider-movie. Here’s how good she is: any comics fan knows she’s being set up to die in the next movie, so naturally there was a hesitation to emotionally invest in her. Yet she wins us over anyway, and makes Andrew Garfield’s Peter better by default. Meanwhile, Denis Leary was born to play a scary girlfriend’s dad who’s also a cop.
5. Spider-Man: Far From Home
Hilariously and quickly adjusting to a new Marvel Cinematic Universe status quo post-Thanos, the new sequel wastes no time diving back into high school. And perhaps it spends too much time there at first, as it takes a while to get to any actual super-heroics on a European school trip. Then, when the story finally does, it’s a giant CG thing getting other CG things thrown at it by a smaller CG thing with Jake Gyllenhaal’s head. It’s tough to know what to root for when it isn’t clear how any of that works. Still, comics fans familiar with Mysterio will suss where things might be going, though director Jon Watts as usual manages a couple of curveballs. Meanwhile, in the tradition of second Spider-Man movies, Peter once again tries to resist the call to action so he can have a normal high-school romance.
A heavy reliance on overwhelming special effects feels way-overindulgent at times, when it’s the small moments between Tom Holland and Zendaya that play the best. But like its predecessor, this is a movie that will probably play better on repeat viewings once spoilers are no longer an issue. And the set-up for the threequel actually made me cheer out loud. Don’t blow it!
4. Spider-Man 2
Raimi’s use of the Richard Donner/Lester Superman trilogy format held up as long for him as it did for them, which is to say twice. Just like Christopher Reeve’s Clark Kent, Maguire’s Peter Parker wants to give up the burden of powers so he can have an uncomplicated love life. Alas, his timing sucks when a potentially world-destroying villain arrives on the scene, and he’s without the strength to stop it.
Otto Octavius’ plan to give his mechanical arms their own artificial intelligence that can potentially override his own is literally insane, but Raimi runs with it. In Alfred Molina’s capable hands, both flesh and metal, it’s all somehow believable. Early spotlight roles for Elizabeth Banks and Daniel Dae-Kim are retroactive highlights, and J.K. Simmons’ J. Jonah Jameson is at his manic best.
3. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Sony’s thinking on this animated extravaganza appeared to be how they could make a LEGO Spider-Man movie without actually using LEGO. (Just The LEGO Movie creators.) Like The LEGO Batman Movie, this is a Spider-flick in which every version of the character is canon, thanks to a multiverse that the Kingpin has cracked apart hoping to bring through his dead wife and kid from another dimension. That this would likely only create another very angry Kingpin to oppose him never occurs to anyone.
Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Chris Pine, Hailee Steinfeld, Nicolas Cage, Kimiko Glenn, Oscar Isaac, and John Mulaney are ALL Spider-Man…sort of. And the world looks like a comic book, complete with dot printing, occasional missed alignments, and visible sound effects.
It’s a radical take, and would probably be even higher on my list had it retained the edgier, rougher graffitti look of early test footage. I like my experimental movies just a bit less polished. Fortunately, there’s the full rough cut on the home version, which edits in both the Spider-Ham cartoon and various animatics of deleted scenes.
2. Spider-Man: Homecoming
Not everyone likes the new MCU take on Peter Parker. He’s kind of like a Tony Stark apprentice who’s overly reliant on a tech suit. That’s okay; Maguire and Garfield are still there for you if you prefer closer comics fealty. But lost in most of the conversation about rebooting the story is the fact that it’s a damned entertaining movie. From the home footage that opens Peter’s new story to the way even the other superheroes keep blowing off Peter’s concerns till he has to save the day himself, it’s full of surprising choices that work.
Flash Thompson as a modern cyber-bully and MJ as possibly neuro-atypical (a thread unfortunately not followed up on in the sequel) also made for neat modern twists. Add in the completely casual diversity and the fact that Michael Keaton’s Vulture is a thoroughly sympathetic villain who rightly calls out hero hypocrisy.
When there are so many great characters, half the work is done. Fortunately, the story, which threads high-school anxieties with super powers as awkward puberty metaphor knows what to do with them all. And Tom Holland is the absolute most awkward Peter, in the best way.
Raimi’s 2002 feature bow for the web-head isn’t perfect. Organic webshooters remain a point of contention for some. It’s just weird that Raimi cast an actor (Willem Dafoe) who actually looks like a goblin only to keep him under a green metal mask. But it’s easy to forget just how groundbreaking the movie was. Until Spider-Man, most movie superheroes couldn’t have colorful costumes. Nor could they be too funny, lest they risk becoming Batman and Robin. Raimi, who had already basically created his own superheroes in Darkman and Evil Dead‘s Ash, nailed the right balance between pulp opera and pathos.
It didn’t hurt that Raimi nailed all the casting, from Cliff Robertson and Rosemary Harris as Uncle Ben and Aunt May all the way down to Randy Savage as Bonesaw. Some fans objected to Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane. They’re wrong. Spider-Man basically set the template for the modern Marvel movie. While you may have a personal favorite in the series that isn’t the first one, I promise it all depends on this movie having existed.
We know you have questions and thoughts. What part of this list did we get most wrong, or right? Let us know in the comment section below!
Recommended Viewing: The Spider-Man Complete Five Film Collection