It's Spider-Man: No Way Home week, so we at Tom's Guide have decided to spin our webs down memory way with all of the modern Spider-Man movies. While you may be like us and feel a need to rewatch them all before No Way Home to remind yourself about the heroes and villains we met along the way, we're guessing not everyone has around 15.5 hours (926 minutes to be precise) to spare.
So, whether you've yet to watch No Way Home, or just saw it, here's our rankings of the best (and most skippable) Spider-Man movies. And that includes No Way Home, since we just saw it. We're not including the Venom movies, because those are Venom movies, even though the second one does tie in at the end.
And, yes, we're even including one of the best Spider-Man movies ever that doesn't have as strong a chance of making it to No Way Home. Because while we have no reason to think the animated Miles Morales from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is going to be in No Way Home, it's impossible to ignore its placement in the series.
7. Amazing Spider-Man 2
The Spider-Man reboot wasn’t as universally well received as the Raimi trilogy, but Amazing Spider-Man still did a lot of interesting things with the webslinger. The sequel might as well have tossed all that into the Hudson.
ASM 2 falls into the same trap as the DCEU, with Sony trying to rush out their own interconnected superhero film franchise and failing miserably. This isn’t a movie about Spider-Man; this is a spin-off machine masquerading as a Spider-Man movie. There are too many villains, and teases meant to set up villains for future movies, and in the end Sony tried to stuff so much into the film that it doesn’t manage to do anything meaningful.
At least Sony had the guts to kill off Gwen Stacey, and tie up some of the first movie’s foreshadowing. - Tom Pritchard
6. Spider-Man 3
Spider-Man 3 is an undeniably messy film. The victim of intense studio interference, director Sam Raimi closed out his Spider-Man trilogy with a critically panned third entry containing too many villains and an overstretched plot that never quite comes together.
Yet, there’s something endearing about Spider-Man 3. Like the rest of the Raimi helmed trilogy it has become a treasure-trove for internet memes. From emo Peter Parker dancing down the streets of NYC to James Franco (as Harry Osborn) giving the smuggest wink possible, Spider-Man 3 still pops up daily across social media.
It’s by no means a good movie, and Venom’s seriously mishandled inclusion still causes Spidey fans frustration more than a decade on, but Spider-Man 3 has joined the pantheon of “so bad it’s good” movies which has rightly earned it a reprieve of sorts. -- Rory Mellon
5. Amazing Spider-Man
Andrew Garfield's Peter Parker just seems way too cool for the character, he's a skateboarding goof who manages to get a date with Gwen Stacy way too early in the film, That said, Amazing Spider-Man won points on a recent rewatching for both Garfield and Stacy's chemistry (far better than Maguire and Dunst's) and its pacing. The film focuses on re-telling Spidey's origin story, changing Uncle Ben's death to give Peter even more guilt (Ben wouldn't even have been out there on the street were it not for Peter moodily running out).
And since Spider-Man's origin story is the main topic at hand, it's great to see the film not do too much with its villains. Rhys Ifans plays Dr. Connors with aplomb, and The Lizard is a perfect starter-villain for Spidey, and Garfield's scenes with Ifans hit the right notes you need with the traditional "Peter impressing his mentors" moments. That said, we're still a little shocked at how fast and loose Peter's playing with his secret identity, as both Gwen and her father learn he's Spider-Man by the end of the movie. -- Henry T. Casey
A perfectly good movie for its time, Sam Raimi's Spider-Man gets both Peter Parker and Spider-Man right in ways that helped make everyone take notice of the growing genre of comic book movies.
Unfortunately, this first foray tries to do way too much in too little time. Don't get us wrong, we'll still applaud at the stuff he gets right, with Peter facing off against Bonesaw (as played by Macho Man Randy Savage) in a pro wrestling ring, and the very cheeky stuff scene of Peter discovering his powers. But packing in the Spidey origin story and all of the Norman Osborn story beats (both becoming the Green Goblin and then dying) in the same movie? It all feels way too rushed.
Maguire played Parker well, but the big issue with this movie is the over-acting from both of the men behind the Osborn family name. Willem Dafoe's version of Osborn is delivered with a wink and two nods, practically screaming "yep, he's bad!" Meanwhile, James Franco's Harry is nearly an SNL character, including how it seems like he's constantly at risk of laughing at his own dialogue. That said, Cliff Robertson and Rosemary Harris nail the roles of Ben and May Parker, which help ground Tobey Maguire's aw-shucks take on Pete in their wholesomeness. -- Henry T. Casey
4. Spider-Man: Far from Home
The Tom Holland Spider-Man movies stand out the most from the pack when they're more tightly tied into the MCU. Such is the situation here, where we start off post-blip, with Peter struggling with his bonds with his friends and … colleagues? What would you call Nick Fury and Spider-Man's relationship, anyways?
You could argue that Spider-Man movies are better when they're stand-alone, and telling just Spider-Man stories, but the overarching continuity has helped develop Holland's Peter Parker, with the loss of Tony Stark. Not to mention how the blip made high school life even more complicated.
Either way, the bond between Peter, Ned and MJ, is the true story of this film — as the chemistry between these kids on screen is much more believable than any of the previous Peter Parkers'. Peter's struggling to tell MJ about his feelings for her, and the weight of it all is just starting to wear him down. While Maguire's Spider-Man was built around guilt, with everyone upset with him for being absent, Holland's Peter Parker builds up that nervousness internally, and it's less agonizing to watch.
Of course, we also get a true Spider-Man moral dilemma, where he (of course) makes the wrong choice. Manipulated by Quentin Beck, Peter gives up the super-smart glasses and sets up a calamitous third act. And the stakes are raised even more here, as Peter doesn't have Tony Stark's help anymore, and all the Avengers are off recovering from Endgame. A really fun road trip adventure movie, and one I have a hard time saying anything negative about. -- Henry T. Casey
3. Spider-Man: No Way Home
In short: we really liked Spider-Man: No Way Home. It's not the best Spider-Man movie ever, but ... well, to avoid spoilers, it’s hard not to be impressed by Marvel’s guts in even attempting to make a movie on the scale of Spider-Man No Way Home, let alone to have actually pulled it off in such style.
Perhaps we shouldn't be shocked. Marvel always nails its big tentpole/crossover movies and that’s certainly the case here. No Way Home isn’t just a solid conclusion to the (first?) Tom Holland trilogy, but a celebration of Spider-Man/Peter Parker as a character exploring what makes him who is and what being a friendly neighborhood hero actually means.
From the punchy comedic beats to the tear-jerking emotional moments (there are more than you might expect), No Way Home succeeds at nearly everything it attempts. Plus, the film is anchored by Holland’s best performance as Spidey yet, and the supporting cast, in particular Zendaya and Jacob Batalon, step up to the plate as well.
No Way Home’s thrilling action sequences cannot be ignored, as several rival those found in the most recent Avengers movies. They’re almost all inventive, easy to follow and just downright cool. As far as comic-book movies go, No Way Home is a complete super-powered package (and the one big Spider-Man: No Way Home Easter egg has some potential ramifications, too). - Rory Mellon
2. Spider-Man: Homecoming
The prospect of the third Spider-Man in less than a decade might have raised a few eyebrows, but Marvel Studios proved they could make it work. Not only does this give Tom Holland’s Spider-Man a time to shine on his own, it manages to do what few MCU movies have accomplished: having a great villain.
We love Tom Holland, but Michael Keaton’s Vulture is the real star of the movie. Adrian Toomes wasn’t born bad, he was just screwed by the man and had few other options. There’s plenty to relate to here, though we don’t have an army’s worth of alien tech to fund our hypothetical criminal ways.
We also get the sense that Peter is the young naive hero that still has a lot to learn, rather than the mature fully-formed superheroes of previous generations. That, combined with the much lower stakes that don’t involve some villain trying to destroy New York, mean this movie hits all the right spots. - Tom Pritchard
1. Spider-Man 2
More proof that the second chapter of a superhero movie series is often the best, Spider-Man 2 thrives because Tobey Maguire's Peter Parker is now free to explore an established world. This includes getting fired from a pizza delivery gig pretty early on, in a nice memorable scene that was indicative of director Sam Raimi's love of casting known actors in bit roles (both The Daily Show's Aasif Mandvi and Bones' Emily Deschanel make the most of their relatively few lines).
And while the drama between Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson (who's engaged to John Jameson, J. Jonah Jameson's son) and Harry Osborn (who blames Spider-Man for his father's death) always threatens to derail the film into a soap opera, Raimi always gets things back on track. Mostly that's due to the excellent work of Alfred Molina as Dr. Otto Octavius, whose mentorship of Mr. Parker is lightning in a bottle-great.
Raimi's expertise in the horror movie aesthetic shines hard in this movie, as he makes Doc Ock's tentacles truly horrifying. While it may all play a little camp through today's lens, this was the early days of comic book movies, and a major success for the genre. -- Henry T. Casey
0. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Okay, we can explain. We're ranking Spider-Verse as #0 because it's arguably the very best Spider-Man movie, but pitting Spider-Man into the Spider-Verse against its live-action counterparts is akin to comparing apples and pineapples. After all, the Oscar-winning animated feature is completely different from the Spider-Man movies that came before it, but we couldn’t pass up the chance to give the Web-Head’s best flick some love.
Unlike The Amazing Spider-Man, Spider-Man into the Spider-Verse solved the problem with retelling a superhero’s familiar origin story by introducing audiences to a whole new Spider-Man in the form of Brooklyn teen Miles Morales. This kid has a whole different set of problems to Peter Parker but is still equally as compelling.
Spider-Verse sees Miles not only discover his own inner hero but also team up with Spider-Men (and Spider-Gwen and Peni Parker) from across the multiverse. There's even the literal cartoon swine Spider-Ham. It’s an adventure that could have been annoyingly outlandish even in animated form, but the creative team pulled it off spectacularly.
Special credit must go to the film’s unique animation style, which somehow manages to capture the distinctive visual language of comics on celluloid. The first trailer for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 2 surfaced earlier this month, and we already can’t wait to return to the universe where anyone can wear the mask. -- Rory Mellon