At the time of writing there have been seven live-action Spider-Man movies and one cartoon entry in the form of 2018’s rather special Into The Spider-Verse. Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield and Tom Holland have all brought different things to the role and all three have succeeded in turning the webslinger into one of the most-popular superheroes out there right now.
We now take a look back through the eight movies that have been released in theatres and pick the best thing from every one. Starting with the blockbuster that started it all, 2002’s appropriately -named Spider-Man.
8 Spider-Man: Willem Dafoe As The Green Goblin
Everybody was excited when the first Spider-Man movie released back in 2002 with the star-studded cast of Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst an Willem Dafoe. Yet while the movie divided opinion with its decision to give the Green Goblin a shiny, metallic makeover, there’s no denying that Dafoe’s performance as Norman Osborn was absolutely spectacular.
He perfectly portrayed a character slowly losing his sanity with everything, from his line delivery to his creepy facial expressions, making it a performance to remember. He’s also brilliant at being a horrible father to Harry Osborn and, by the time he dies via his own glider at the end, audiences can’t help but feel the world would be better off without somebody so villainous and menacing.
7 Spider-Man 2: The Train Fight Scene
Even in this day and age, where superhero movies are releasing with more frequency than ever before, Spider-Man 2 still stands among the best of them. It’s a brilliant movie, with Alfred Molina shining as Doctor Octopus and James Franco nailing the role of a frustrated, vengeful Harry Osborn. But Tobey Maguire, as Peter Parker, produces his standout performance.
And the train fight scene - oh you know the one - is Maguire at his best. It’s comic book movies at their best full stop with the battle adrenaline-fuelled and leaving you pining for more. Even all these years on that fight scene is viewed as one of the best in the business.
6 Spider-Man 3: The Action Scenes
While the first two Spider-Man movies were near-flawless, the third isn’t. Sam Raimi chose to up the stakes for the third, and ultimately final, part of his trilogy. But that decision backfires with the blockbuster coming across as a huge, giant mess.
Yet despite that, the action scenes within stand out. They’re quicker, slicker and more entertaining than anything we’d seen previously with Raimi able to ramp up the emotional elements as well. Peter’s showdown with Harry is sublime and the duo’s final showdown with Venom and Sandman is thrilling stuff to watch. It’s just a shame, however, that Raimi was never given a chance to make amends for what was ultimately an underwhelming final instalment.
5 The Amazing Spider-Man: Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone
One of the biggest complaints of the Sam Raimi trilogy was that Peter Parker and Mary Jane didn’t seem believable as a couple. Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst were both accused of being wooden and, when you see the performance given by Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone in 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man, it’s hard to disagree.
The duo bounce off each other and, in a movie where Kurt Connors trying to turn New York into a base for lizards is the main plot point, it’s easily the best element of an otherwise forgettable outing for the webslinger. The sequel fared little better, too, but had one standout moment in particular...
4 The Amazing Spider-Man 2: The Death Of Gwen Stacy
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 fared little better than its predecessor, with many condemning the decision to have three villains go up against Peter Parker in the forms of the Green Goblin, Electro and Rhino. Once again its a movie that depends on the chemistry of Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone a lot more than it should.
But there’s one saving grace - the death scene. It’s emotionally haunting to watch Gwen fall to her death while Peter tries to save her, even firing a web that takes the form of a hand trying to reach out. To this day, it’s still one of the most upsetting scenes in a comic book movie. Cudos to director Marc Webb for putting together something so beautiful in a blockbuster that’s otherwise forgettable.
3 Spider-Man: Homecoming: Tom Holland
Spider-Man: Homecoming brought us another Peter Parker in the form of Tom Holland. And it turns out that Holland’s youthful enthusiasm makes him the perfect webslinger with his first solo movie being a huge box office hit despite it being the third Spider-Man reboot in less than 15 years.
The 23-year-old is the best thing about the blockbuster, stealing the spotlight in every scene he’s in. He’s wonderful with other characters, too: interactions with Ned are funny, interactions with love interest Liz a complete disaster for the character and his battle to stay anonymous genuinely great to see. Holland just edges out Michael Keaton, who’s marvellous as The Vulture.
2 Spider-Man: Far From Home: Mysterio
While Holland stole the screen as Peter Parker during Homecoming, it’s Jake Gyllenhall who achieves that during the sequel, Spider-Man: Far From Home. Seeing an actor of his ilk and calibre in a comic book movie was always going to be interesting. And, thankfully, he didn’t disappoint.
Whether it’s his manipulation of Peter Parker, his awesome array of gadgets or his vengeful attitude towards Tony Stark, Mysterio ranks as potentially the best villain we’ve seen in a Spider-Man movie. And that makes his death at the end of the movie that bit more saddening. We want more!
1 Into The Spider-Verse: The Many Spiderpeople
When it was announced that Sony would be releasing Into The Spider-Verse, not everybody was sold on the idea. There were concerns that having multiple versions of the character would confuse viewers and mean they wouldn’t have a chance to shine individually. But, when the movie released, those same critics were forced to eat their words.
It’s a huge achievement to release a movie with different versions of Spider-Man but Sony absolutely smashed it. Whether it be Noir Spidey, Gwen Spidey, Anime Spidey or even pig Spidey (also called Peter Porker) everybody gets the right amount of screen time needed to establish themselves as wonderful characters. And we’re buzzing to see what Sony do for the sequel...