Eric’s controversial Spider-man movie rankings


A few of the Spider-men in action. Media by William Kraft

Eric Rangel, Staff Reporter

New York’s web-slinging hero is no stranger to the silver screen across the 21st century. From the horror director Sam Raimi’s unique takes on the character in the 2000’s, Marc Webb’s continuation in a duology of films in the early 2010s, Jon Watt’s newest trilogy in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), along with many sideshows and a couple of films featuring Spider-man. While it could easily be argued that every movie is still enjoyable, not all Spideys are born equal. Going across all of the nine movies released in theaters, some are a cut above the others. Here’s my ranking on all the movies from worst to best.

Last and unfortunately least is 2014’s The Amazing Spider-man 2. It still has very nice elements in isolation like Peter and Gwen’s relationship, the CGI, web-swinging scenes, and ending. It was a movie that had a ton of potential but once it comes together as one movie, it starts to fall flat in a lot of areas. It has to explore a lot of different plots and side-plots, and it fails to reach a satisfactory conclusion to all of them. Garfield’s performance is still great, but the bad writing doesn’t work well for him at all. The villains are lackluster and have either no motives, poor build-up, or plot holes. There are great parts, but the whole movie falls flat.

2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man was a refreshingly new take on Peter Parker’s character. Following a much more traditionally “cool” Peter that has to take more time to come to his true, crime-stopping, and life-saving nature. Garfield’s take on Spider-man is full of vitality and edginess with some much appreciated fast quips and one-liners during intense fights. While the writing is stronger than its sequel, it still isn’t as good as it could be. The struggle that Peter faces when becoming Spider-man and finding out what he has to do is vastly different than the Raimi movies take on Peter and makes the high points of the movie that much higher.

2019’s Spider-man: Far From Home is a movie that I thought was a very good MCU movie but I didn’t really care for it as a Spider-man movie. Jake Gyllenhaal’s performance as Mysterio is a very fascinating version of a classic villain that really gets into Peter’s head, but I don’t really care as much for the whole trip around Europe. It’s extremely fascinating seeing Peter at a massive low point in his life and coping with Tony Stark’s death, something Mysterio isn’t afraid to take advantage of. Not to mention the crazy illusions and special effects are pretty fascinating. Overall, It’s a fair movie but it misses a lot of smaller details on what makes Spider-man Spider-man.

However, 2017’s Spider-man: Homecoming does have a lot of that “friendly neighborhood Spider-man” feel. The first full movie introduction of Tom Holland’s Peter Parker (Not counting Captain America Civil War) plays it safe and simple while Peter faces the normal expectations and problems that most iterations of the characters face, but also with his relation to Stark and his tech. The movie has this kind of fun mood but can turn serious when the time calls for it. I’m also a sucker for the original Stark Suit that premieres in this movie alongside the inclusion of the Vulture. While not anything super special, it is for sure a fun watch.

Few movies can quite reach the confusing high of 2007’s Spider-man 3. It certainly isn’t the greatest Spidey movie, or honestly not that great of a movie, but it is one of the most fun movies I’ve ever seen. It has just the right amount of camp and cheesiness that makes it so loveable. Due to huge arguments about the movie’s direction and villains, with executives wanting Venom to be featured in the movie for marketing purposes, the movie ended up a confusing mess with a multitude of undercooked villains. Even in spite of that, the movie is still hilarious in a campy way. Stuff like the one-liners and especially the angsty king, Bully Maguire, and his montage set to James Brown’s “People Get Up and Drive Your Funky Soul”, can only make you fall in love with the silliness of the movie.  

The last in the MCU trilogy, 2021’s Spider-man: No Way Home, was one of the most anticipated movies of the year. The journey that Holland’s Spider-Man goes through in this film is phenomenal and emotional at times. Beginning with his lowest at the end of Far From Home to his desperation and hesitance in making the whole world forget about his identity via a spell from Dr. Strange, to his responsibility to save the various villains from previous movies throughout the multiverse. By far the biggest addition was the return of Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield as their respective versions of the web-slinger, With the latter having an amazing (haha), show-stealing, performance. Among the villains, Wilem Dafoe’s return as the Norman Osborne/ Green Goblin is just as ingenious as it was in the 2002 movie. While It is an amazing movie for the die-hard Spidey fans, I think the impact is severely blessed if you aren’t a fan, or at least familiar with the past movie material.

The next choices, especially the next two, are extremely neck to neck and honestly can change as time passes and my opinions change but for now, 2004’s Spider-man 2 is the third best Spider-man movie. It’s a masterfully crafted sequel to an amazing film that goes more into depth about the lower points in Peter’s life with his waning powers and relationships. Doc Ock’s role, played by Alfred Molina, as the big bad in this movie, shines brightly among many of the other villains to hit the silver screen. Aunt May, MJ, and Harry all have great stories that extend off the original film and expand upon it. It is an outstanding movie filled with memorable scenes like the train fight and hilarious quotes that will be sure to stick with you for a long time.

Second place goes to the one that started it all, 2002’s Spider-Man, but it was still extremely close between it and Spider-Man 2. The start of the Raimi trilogy is a near-perfect reboot of the character. The nerdy Peter Parker coming to terms with his power and how he has to use it for good after a surprisingly sad reprisal of Uncle Ben’s death alongside his life’s normal problems of trying to get with MJ and balance his life as Peter and Spider-man. Everything about this movie feels lovely and like home. Aunt May and Uncle Ben exclude a warm atmosphere as they support Peter throughout the movie. New York is given so much character throughout the movie that it begins to feel like a character itself alongside the many citizens that are willing to help Spider-man. J.K. Simmons plays a perfect recreation of J. Jonah Jameson that is just as charismatic as his comic book counterpart while Wilem Dafoe’s casting of Norman Osborne is perfect and captures a masterfully woven dichotomy of Norman and the Green Goblin.  It serves as a classic is not just the Marvel catalog, but to film-making in general and is a fantastic starting point for new fans looking to know what makes Spider-man so special.

For number one, very few animated movies, or even just movies in general, can reach the momentous heights that 2018’s Spider-man: Into the Spiderverse can reach. It’s a labor of love not just for Peter Parker, but for the multitude of spin-off comic universes that the original comic runs. From the reinvention of Miles Morales’ character, the beautiful recreation of the comic book art style in CGI, the whole cast of heroes and villains alongside the wealth of references, and the sincere and empowering messages and themes, it’s the gift that keeps on giving. Scenes like Mile’s leap of faith and the exciting climax are prime examples of the captivating charm that Into the Spiderverse exudes. I encourage anyone who hasn’t watched the movie or turned it away due to it being animated to give it a chance and you’ll see the movie for the masterpiece it truly is. 

For nearly 20 years, Spider-man has been a staple in the film industry and the overall entertainment industry far before that and yet few series can compete with the legacy and pedigree that the series has maintained. Through thick and thin, low and high, Spider-man remains a hallmark for the superhero genre. No matter what form of media he goes to next, from movies to shows, to video games (honorable mention to 2018’s Marvel’s Spider-Man by Insomniac for Playstation 4 and 5. It’s a fantastic, slightly older, version of Spider-man. Check it out if you can!) The future of Spider-man looks brighter than ever.