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Spider-Man is one of the most popular and well-known superheroes in the world and he’s certainly had a major presence on the big screen, with six live-action movies in less than two decades. The latest reboot, Spider-Man: Homecoming is swinging into theaters right now – how does it compare to his previous outings? This is all six Spider-Man movies, ranked from worst to best.
6. The Amazing Spider-Man 2
There is a lot to like about The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone still have amazing chemistry, which serves as the movie’s living, beating heart; the franchise’s second attempt at a Spider-Man costume nails the superhero’s beloved classic look and all of the web-slinging scenes are second-to-none when it comes to the special effects. Despite that, it’s impossible to ignore that the movie is a huge mess of underdeveloped subplots and lame villains competing for your attention. It was trying to be a backdoor pilot for a Spider-Man cinematic universe, spending so much time on setting up future sequels and spin-offs that it basically forgot to tell a satisfying, cohesive story.
5. Spider-Man 3
Even people that like Spider-Man 3, either sincerely or ironically, tend to agree that it’s the weakest of the Sam Raimi trilogy. Both the dreadful miscasting of Topher Grace as Eddie Brock/Venom and the inexplicable creative decision to have black-suit Peter Parker be an emo douchebag are enough to drag it down, but even beyond that, the movie just has way too much going on. Like TASM 2, it’s full of multiple villains and subplots, as well as minor characters that go nowhere (why was Gwen Stacy even in this). Kirsten Dunst’s Mary Jane gets the shaft when it comes to character development and is relegated to being the helpless damsel in distress for the climax yet again, some of the special effects have aged so badly that they somehow look worse than the first Raimi Spider-Man – it’s a mess. Still, one upside is that it definitely has lots of cheesy entertainment value.
4. The Amazing Spider-Man
As the sum of its parts, Sony’s first attempt at rebooting the Spider-Man franchise doesn’t really come together. It offers a less interesting and less polished retelling of Spider-Man’s well-known origin story – some changes are for the better, others aren’t. However, the strength of many of its individual assets is enough to make it a worthwhile Spider-Man movie. Garfield and Stone are undoubtedly the movie’s saving grace and there a handful of scenes that stand out, like generic jock bully Flash reaching out to Peter after the death of his uncle or the scene of Spider-Man trying to reassure a kid trapped in a falling car. Marc Webb’s confident, assured direction makes the most out of this confused creative mishap. It’s not a good movie, but it has enough good in it.
From here on out this list is no longer about trying to find redeeming qualities. Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man is a great superhero movie that’s up there with some of the best of its kind, which is saying something considering how much the quality of superhero movies has risen in the last decade. A straightforward origin story, Raimi’s Spider-Man didn’t have to worry about franchise fatigue or cinematic universes or anything like that. The only thing it was trying to be was a great Spider-Man movie and it succeeds with flying colors. Sure, it’s cheesy, the Green Goblin costume is shit and the special effects are rubbery and fake at times, but everything else about it is so good that it doesn’t matter. Willem Dafoe as the Green Goblin! J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson – a casting so perfect that both Spider-Man reboots just decided there wasn’t even a point in trying to recast or reimagine the character. Spider-Man in a cage match with Randy Savage! Bruce Campbell! The upside-down kiss between Spidey and MJ in the rain! “Are you in or are you out?” It’s an absolute classic.
2. Spider-Man: Homecoming
Spider-Man: Homecoming is by far the funniest Spider-Man movie of them all and the only one that really nails the character in a high-school setting. It’s great to see one of Marvel’s flagship characters finally be a part of their cinematic universe and seeing the young, inexperienced Peter trying to find his place in that world is great. Tom Holland proved he was up to the challenges of the role when he appeared in Captain America: Civil War and he excels in Homecoming. Throw in Michael Keaton’s stellar turn as the villainous Vulture and you’ve got yourself a great movie. Homecoming also makes ample use of a ton of cool gadgets for Spider-Man to play with, all straight from the comics. It’s the perfect example of a different way to tackle the iconic character while undoubtedly remaining true to what makes him great in the first place.
1. Spider-Man 2
Honestly, Spider-Man 2 could be considered the best Spider-Man movie simply because of the train fight between Spidey and Doctor Octopus, which is still one of the absolute best action sequences in any superhero movie ever – it’s that good. On top of that, Spider-Man 2 also takes everything that made the first movie great and improves on it. Peter Parker’s secret identity crisis puts the character’s mantra of “with great power comes great responsibility” to the test. It’s the core conflict of the character – putting his personal happiness and fulfillment against his responsibility as a superhero. Alfred Molina is phenomenal as Doctor Octopus, the special effects hold up a hell of a lot better than any of the other Raimi films and still look great today – it’s just all around fantastic. Not to mention it does things a lot of modern superhero movies, especially Marvel ones, wouldn’t really go for. The hospital sequence is basically straight out of an Evil Dead movie – you definitely won’t see anything that deliciously nightmare-inducing in kid-friendly fare like Homecoming. It’s often regarded as one of the best superhero movies ever made and with very good reason – and it’s still the best Spider-Man movie out there.