Spider-Man: Far From Home finally hit theaters this past week. What better time to reflect back on all the web head’s stand-alone films up to this point? While we’re at it let’s give them all a definite ranking for the rest of the world to go by. Sounds good and official, doesn’t it? For the purposes of this list, we’re only talking about theatrically released films that star Spider-Man in his own adventures, not flicks where Spidey simply makes an appearance like Captain America Civil War or an Avengers: Endgame. Neither are we including spin-offs centered around side characters of the so-called “Spider-Verse.” That means no Venom (however, if you’d like, you can totally check out my thoughts on the Tom Hardy anti-hero outing). Alright, without further ado, here is my ranking of all eight Spider-Man movies!
8.) Spider-Man 3 (2007)
Probably not a big shocker to most. Spider-Man 3 is widely considered the worst of the wall crawler’s films. You won’t see me argue the other way. At times it’s so awful that you can’t help but wonder if Sam Raimi really had it out for the studio. It’s a bleak thought, but it almost seems intentional. That’s why I prefer to think back on what this film got right. There are a handful of inspired moments where the genius of Sam Raimi’s previous two Spider-Man efforts shine through. Unfortunately, those moments are caught up in a mess of exhausting subplots and disingenuous characterizations.
7.) The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
I’m willing to bet that this one through some of you for a loop. You were expecting The Amazing Spider-Man 2, weren’t you? Be honest. Well here’s a hot take for you: I find the first Amazing Spider-Man rather bland. It superficially retreads a lot of the same plot points as 2002’s Spider-Man and with far less compelling characters. That said, Andrew Garfield was my favorite Spider-Man up to that point and his chemistry with Emma Stone is off the charts. Their relationship is the single best thing about the Amazing Spider-Man era.
6.) The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)
You knew it couldn’t be far. Outside of Sam Raimi’s third film, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 gets the most raspberries from Spidey fans. Oddly enough, many of the reasons it gets so much hate– its cartoonish portrayals of beloved Spider-Man rogues and an overstuffed narrative– are things I genuinely enjoy about this film. And unlike the first film, TASM2 fails on its own terms by attempting things never before seen in a Spider-Man movie. Hans Zimmer’s thunderous score is definitely working overtime to compensate for all the feelings so many moviegoers missed out on; and yet, I still find myself pulling it up on my playlist when I need a little extra juice in my day. Above all though is that darned infectious romance between Peter and Gwen. (Honestly, I’d have preferred a film just about those two hanging out.) They’re so good on screen together that I still can’t make it through that ending without needing to reach over for a couple of tissues.
5.) Spider-Man (2002)
Here we are. The OG. The original arachnid. Not only did Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man start this all off, but it helped usher in the current golden age of comic book movies. A lot of that is thanks to the sincerity Raimi shows his characters. Though the world around them is at times too overblown, the emotions surrounding Peter and Aunt May and Mary Jane are real and relatable. Plus Sam Raimi’s action sequences are uniquely kinetic. The biggest strike against this film from me is how flamboyant Willem Dafoe is as Green Goblin. It seems at odds with the more grounded sincerity of the other characters.
4.) Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)
Spider-Man: Far From Home is a thoroughly entertaining film, which is why it sits where it does on my list. That said, you need to fully optimize your suspension of disbelief in order to forgive an excessive number of oversights, even for a comic book movie. Then there’s the villain. Don’t misunderstand me: Jake Gyllenhaal is more than we deserve as Mysterio; however, as the villain he shares a number of eyebrow-raising similarities with Vulture from Spider-Man: Homecoming and the film overall still sticks a little too closely to the legacy of Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark. Hopefully the next Tom Holland-led entry, Peter Parker can step out more on his own.
Click here to read more in depth about what I thought about Spider-Man: Far From Home.
3.) Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
Captain America: Civil War enthusiastically set the stage for Tom Holland as our next big screen Spidey (to this day, it’s still my favorite depiction of the web head on screen). Spider-Man: Homecoming delivered on that enthusiasm with a wildly new take on the character. Tom Holland characteristically embodies the spirit of the friendly neighborhood hero and in doing so became many a moviegoer’s favorite iteration so far (including mine). Then the filmmakers did something that I would like to see continue with these Spider-Man movies: they sought out an A-Lister to play the villain. Michael Keaton is deliciously devious as Vulture and I hope to see him make a return in a future installment.
2.) Spider-Man 2 (2004)
For a long time, Spider-Man 2 wasn’t just the best Spider-Man movie, it was the best comic book movie ever made. For me, it still ranks among the best of the best. Sam Raimi compellingly sets up Alfred Molina’s Dr. Otto Octavius as a reluctant antagonist for Spider-Man while introducing new personal dilemmas for Peter Parker. It’s a larger-scale sequel that manages to maintain the intimacy and excitement of the first film. Spider-Man 2 is the complete package. It’s so good in fact that Spider-Man 3 is made all the more disappointing (and confounding) by comparison.
1.) Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
Some fans refuse to include Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Man because it’s of a different medium. To me that’s a silly distinction to make. It was theatrically released just like all the other films on this list. More than that, though, it’s better than all the other films on this list. First and foremost, it’s the prettiest film of the bunch to look at and the easiest to admire from a sheer craftsmanship perspective. Its groundbreaking composition of various animation styles is something wholly unique that keeps Spider-Verse rooted in its source material while maintaining its own identity. It’s also a lot of fun. Its charming sense of humor and action come together for an experience that’s unbridled with joy. What’s more is that it never looses sight of its themes or its character development despite the wacky amount of comic book goofiness going on at any given moment. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is everything a fan of the comics could ever want in a film adaptation and overall just a damn good time.
That’s my ranking of every theatrically release Spider-Man movie so far! What do you make of it? Do you agree with my order? Do you disagree? Swing on down to the comments section below and let me know what you’re thinking here!