If the rumours are true, all Spider-Man movies become one later this week. That’s when Spider-Man: No Way Home hits theatres and it might see not one, not two, but three Spider-Men sharing the screen. And even if it doesn’t, we know it will feature villains who have fought three different Spider-Men. Since this week is a culmination of 20 years of Spider-Man movies, we decided to put them toe to toe. What modern Spider-Man film is the best? What’s the worst? Where do the sequels rank? Find out below. (And check back soon when we update this list adding in the brand-new movie!)
8. Spider-Man 3 (2007)
Unless you were there, it’s hard to explain how difficult it was watching Spider-Man 3 when it was released. After two incredible Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies, fans were so amped to see not just Sandman, but Venom finally brought to the life for the first time, along with an updated Green Goblin. This was the big one! Then, it came out. And while the effects were certainly top notch, the rest was… awkward, disjointed, and lacking any of the wonder of the first two movies. It’s just so so bad.
7. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)
When you clicked on this list you probably assumed this film would be bringing up the rear. And while that was a solid assumption (and a discussion was had), ultimately it creeps up the list a bit because of Andrew Garfield. Garfield is in his Peter Parker prime here. Plus, narratively, this movie is so hugely ambitious. There are multiple villains, big teases at a larger universe, main characters die. It misses the mark in many of those regards but at least it swings for the fences with gusto.
6. The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
Andrew Garfield’s first foray as Spider-Man works better than the sequel because while it might not be as ambitious, it’s much more direct. There’s just the one major villain told against the traditional Spider-Man origin story and the chemistry between Garfield and Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy is excellent. It’s an OK Spider-Man movie! However, it came just 10 years after (basically) the exact same story had already been told, making it feel more than a tad redundant.
5. Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)
In our mind, there’s a big jump in quality from the last spot on the list to this one. Far From Home is awesome. It’s a great Spider-Man story: Mysterio as the villain is someone fans had been waiting for, he’s given a nice modern twist, and the story blends that together nicely with Peter’s social life. But, unfortunately, there have been a fair amount of great Spider-Man movies so this slots here.
4. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
Tom Holland’s Spider-Man always has an older male role model in these movies: Mysterio in Far From Home, Dr. Strange in the upcoming No Way Home, but none of them touch Tony Stark here in Homecoming. His relationship with Peter feels like the purest of the bunch and the relationship between the Vulture villain (played by freaking Batman himself, Michael Keaton) and both the MCU at large, as well as Peter’s personal life, is a stroke of genius. Homecoming proved that you could reboot Spider-Man and not give us the same old origin story.
3. Spider-Man (2002)
The original. The classic. The film that fans had literally been waiting for their whole lives, told by a director (Raimi) at the top of his game, with just the right balance of reverence, humour, action, and drama, plus perfect casting up and down the board. The only problem with one of the best superhero movies of all time is that Peter Parker isn’t really, the full fledged Spider-Man until the end of the movie. Which brings us to….
2. Spider-Man 2 (2004)
Vindicated! Spider-Man 2 is the perfect Spider-Man movie. It’s everything that makes the character great put together in just the right way. He’s a kid struggling to get by. He’s got a crush on the girl next door. He has to balance all these different spinning plates. And he’s got a great rogue’s gallery, led here by Alfred Molina’s Doc Ock. We wrote a ton more about that here but Spider-Man 2 is, we think, almost undisputably, the best live-action Spider-Man movie. Yes, we said “live-action.”
1. Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
The beauty of Spider-Man is that he’s a hugely dynamic and malleable character. Over the years he’s faced so many different challenges, and actually been so many different iterations, only through animation could a movie show just how multifaceted he is. Into the Spider-Verse not only gets at the heart of why Spider-Man is so powerful, popular, and important, it does it with a filmmaking flair that will resonate throughout history. It’s not just the best Spider-Man movie, it may be the best superhero movie, period.
Honorable Venomation: The Venoms
I know. We said just movies that are about Spider-Man. But Venom, in his own way, is an evolution of Spider-Man. More so in the comics than in the Tom Hardy movies, but the idea of a human given a power and trying to balance it with his normal life is a very recognisable throughline. And, of course, Tom Holland’s Spider-Man appeared at the end of Venom: Let There Be Carnage, tying the whole thing together.