With the recently release of Captain America: Civil War, we’ve seen our third iteration of the famous web-slinger. Starting in 2002, with Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man, we’ve watched Tobey MaGuaire, Andrew Garfield and now Tom Holland portray one of the most popular characters in comic books. Three Spider-Men, five movies, three actors, two directors, and a cameo. Spider-Man: Homecoming is slated for a 2017 release and will be a collaboration between Sony and Marvel Studios. If it maintains the tone created in Civil War it might be the best Spidey movie yet. I thought it would be a great time to go back and rank the Spider-Man films from least to most favorite.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2
While watching this movie, I didn’t hate it. It was ok. Andrew had definitely grown into his spandex as Spidey and obviously his chemistry is with co-star Emma Stone was fantastic. It was everything else surrounding the movie that sucked. Jamie Foxx, a fine entertainer, was given a terrible character that was poorly designed. We were introduced to a new Harry Osborn, who I liked, but turning him into The Green Goblin during the third act felt rushed and unearned. They also, not-so-subtly, introduced the idea of a Sinister Six, which was supposed to be explored more in another set of movies, but never came to pass. It was entertaining at the time but did nothing new with the character, his abilities or his story. Even the death of Gwen Stacy couldn’t save the movie. It literally stalled all the plans Sony had for their Spider-Man Movie Universe. It’s sad we’ll never get to see Paul Giamatti as The Rhino.
This was one of the most anticipated threequels leading up to its release. Sam Rami and co. hit two home runs and looked to end the trilogy with another grand slam. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out. I remember being very excited for this movie in 2007. The first two film were both at the top of my short list of favorite comic book films of all-time. I was ready to see Spider-Man in his infamous black suit and curious to see him fight Venom. What we got was a crowded story and a movie with no sense of tone or direction. Rewatching the Raimi movies now, you’ll see the campy, almost stage play, style of the films. He makes it work in the first two but fails in almost every way. Peter Parker dealing with a split personality, a cool new black suit, The Sandman, an engaged Mary Jane and a villainous Harry Osborn… not to mention Venom. It’s way too much happening and I feel like I’m literally watching Raimi juggle all the plot threads.
The Amazing Spider-Man
I walked out of this movie optimistic for the future of the franchise. Andrew Garfield was a new and fresh take on Spider-Man. His chemistry with co-star Emma Stone gave the films romantic segments weight and pathos. The action was solid and although The Lizard’s plot and design felt awkward, it all worked well enough. Moviegoers gave this reboot a soft pass. The biggest criticism of the film was how it retold Peter’s origin story so similar to 2002’s Spider-Man.
This is where the list gets tricky. I love the first two Spider-Man films. Tobey Maguire is a great Peter Parker. Although he is nothing like the young, immature, wise-cracking character from the comics, he brings depth to the role. In Spider-Man Peter is bitten by the radioactive spider, his Uncle Ben dies, he becomes a vigilante hero, and he stops the Green Goblin from destroying New York. It tells the classic origin story with such charm that it’ll always hold a special place in my heart. Everything from the first time Pete tries to websling across a building to his kiss with Mary Jane or the absolutely brilliant bridge sequence. This movie doesn’t hold up as well as I’d hope, but for a 2002 comic book movie its perfect. The only thing that beats it is its follow-up.
William Dafoe was the perfect actor to play Norman Osborn and Green Goblin. He brought the right amount of campy psycho behavior that made his character fit in the hyper-realized world Raimi created. For Spider-Man 2, they need a more grounded character. They nailed it with Alfred Molina as Otto Octavius. A great villain who posed a great physical and emotional threat to Peter.
The story is the continuation of the last movie. Peter is struggling with his secret identity and double life. He starts losing his powers and starts living a normal life… until things get messy. His intellectual idol becomes Doctor Octopus and Spidey is forced to confront his greatest rival at a time where he’s questioning the life he’s chosen. All of the piece assembled in the last film are perfected here. The humor, the action, the stakes. It all comes together perfectly for one of the best comic book films of all-time.
Also, J.K Simmons kills in every scene he’s in…