It’s been 15 years since Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 hit theaters and wowed critics and moviegoers. Even after all these years – with 23 installments in the MCU, seven installments in the DCEU, and an Oscar-nominated Wolverine movie – Spider-Man 2 is still considered by many fans to be not just the best Spider-Man movie, but also the greatest superhero movie ever made.
However, this year’s Spider-Man: Far From Home, starring Tom Holland as your friendly neighborhood webslinger, was pretty great, too. So, here are 5 Reasons Why Spider-Man 2 Is Still Webhead’s Best Movie Outing (And 5 Why It’s Far From Home).
10 Spider-Man 2: It was drawn from the best era of Spider-Man comics
A lot of elements of Spider-Man: Far From Home are drawn from the comics – particularly the Elementals, who were inspired by a handful of C-list Spidey villains – but these were more like homages than straight adaptations. The plot of Spider-Man 2, on the other hand, was heavily influenced by the best era of Spider-Man comics (and partly by Superman II). The main inspiration came from The Amazing Spider-Man No. 50, “Spider-Man No More!,” whose cover art by the great John Romita, Sr. was directly translated to the shot of Peter Parker leaving his Spider-Man costume in a trash can after losing his powers.
9 Far From Home: Tom Holland is the greatest on-screen Peter Parker
Spider-Man fans are pretty much unanimous in the opinion that Tom Holland is the best on-screen incarnation of Peter Parker so far. Tobey Maguire was a great Peter Parker, but not a great Spider-Man. Andrew Garfield was a great Spider-Man, but not a great Peter Parker. Tom Holland is the first to play both sides of the character brilliantly. Spider-Man: Far From Home was Holland’s fifth time playing Webhead on the big screen. He’s played the role for as many movies as Maguire and Garfield combined, so at this point, he’s fully settled into his definitive take on the character. He’s more comfortable than ever playing Peter, and it shows.
8 Spider-Man 2: Spidey’s character arc is perfect
Spider-Man’s character arc in Sam Raimi’s 2004 sequel is perfect for the character. He has to decide what his priorities are, and figure out if he can ever give up being Spidey. His powers start to slip away, which he uses as an excuse to retire from superheroism. This gives him the free time to strengthen his relationships with his loved ones and catch up on his classes, but ultimately, he can’t ignore people’s cries for help.
When he sees a guy getting mugged in an alley, it’s tough to just turn a blind eye and get on with his day. In Spider-Man 2, Peter Parker learns that no matter how hard it is sometimes, he’ll always be Spider-Man.
7 Far From Home: The romantic subplot is really compelling
The romantic subplots are usually the most boring part of a Spider-Man movie. Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy was delightful, but The Amazing Spider-Man movies’ scripts really underserved her. Kirsten Dunst did a terrific job of playing Mary Jane, but she was given the same tired damsel-in-distress situations and “nagging girlfriend” dialogue in all of Sam Raimi’s movies. Tom Holland and Zendaya share fantastic chemistry – so fantastic, in fact, that some fans are convinced they’re dating in real life – so Peter‘s attempts to woo M.J. in Far From Home are actually interesting. The film’s love story is funny, sweet, and endearingly awkward.
6 Spider-Man 2: The character is truly Spider-Man
Tom Holland’s Spider-Man is definitely Spider-Man in spirit, but due to his necessity to fit into a wider universe, some changes have been made to the character. Namely, he’s Tony Stark’s ward, and as a result, he has billion-dollar tech in his suit and he’s financially set for life. Spider-Man is really Spider-Man when he struggles to scrape a living and balance his minimum-wage jobs with his education and his personal life, and still goes out in his Spider-Man costume to stop criminals. In Spider-Man 2, Peter is delivering pizzas, he’s behind on the rent in his dreadful studio apartment, he’s missing classes at college – he really feels like Spider-Man, embodying the idea that it could be any of us regular people under that mask.
5 Far From Home: Peter’s spider-sense (or “Peter tingle”) is a major plot point
In the comics, Peter Parker’s spider-sense is as important a superpower as his web-slinging or his wall-crawling, but since it’s not very aesthetic, it’s often sidelined when it comes to the movie adaptations. It’s the same reason why Batman’s detective skills are rarely shown on the big screen. The Marc Webb films ignored Peter’s spider-sense entirely, and while Sam Raimi did depict it, he used it more as an excuse for slow-motion spectacle than a character trait. Raimi did a great job of showing Peter using his spider-sense, like sensing a taxi flying up behind him, but Far From Home showed Peter learning how to control his spider-sense.
4 Spider-Man 2: Alfred Molina’s Doc Oct is the quintessential comic book movie villain
When it comes to a discussion of the greatest comic book movie villains, The Dark Knight’s Joker and Black Panther’s Killmonger are likely to come up. But Spider-Man 2’s Doctor Octopus should be included in that list, too. Dr. Otto Octavius’ ego becomes his downfall, and his mechanical tentacles turn him into a sort of Mr. Hyde figure. Alfred Molina brought a real humanity to Octavius, but he also had a lot of fun with it, playing Doc Ock as a snarling, mustache-twirling villain. He has a personal connection to Peter, too, as his mentor and the dark inversion of his genius.
3 Far From Home: Peter is effectively responsible for creating the villain
The MCU is often criticized for having a “villain problem,” but its Spider-Man movies have, thus far, been exempt from this. Homecoming’s Adrian Toomes acted like a dark mirror version of Peter’s other mentor, Tony Stark. He shared Peter’s economic disadvantages and Tony’s material greed, but he was essentially evil, which made him a terrific villain.
Far From Home’s Quentin Beck manipulates Peter into seeing him as a mentor figure. In fact, the whole time, he’s just deceptively winning Peter’s trust so he’ll give him the E.D.I.T.H. technology. Effectively, Peter created the villain – he willingly gave the villain his powers. He made his bed, and then, he had to lie in it.
2 Spider-Man 2: The train scene
The train scene in Spider-Man 2 captures Spidey’s essence as a character. He just wants to help people. When Doc Ock knocks out the driver and the train flies out of control, heading at full speed toward the unfinished part of the tracks, Spidey climbs out in front of the train and shoots webs at the passing buildings, hoping to slow down the train. The strain almost kills him, and he passes out without his mask on. As he’s carried through the train and laid down on the floor, the passengers are shocked to see that he’s just a kid.
1 Far From Home: It’s more teen comedy than superhero movie
One of the best things about Spider-Man stories is that Peter Parker doesn’t jet off into space to fight alien armies or dive down into the ocean to wage war against Atlantis. He’s an average workaday superhero. He handles street-level crimes and looks out for the little guy. Despite arriving on the heels of Spidey’s involvement in Avengers: Endgame, in which the universe was at stake, Spider-Man: Far From Home nailed its depiction of Peter as the ground-level everyday teenager. The movie plays more like a teen comedy – and a surprisingly good one at that – than a high-stakes superhero epic.