8. The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Starting off with, we have the one Spider-Man film that most people universally agree is the worst, or at the very least, up there with the worst. While most blockbuster films usually have some input from execs, usually they can keep it well hidden in the final product. This is the not the case with this film. This film has Sony’s name written all over the place, with so much stuff crammed into this film that was clearly supposed to be set-up for future Spider-Man films (which will never materialize), that it’s just quite frankly exhausting. Individual elements work, like Jamie Foxx as Electro, and Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone still have good chemistry, but the film’s script is a disaster, and there was simply no saving this film.
7. The Amazing Spider-Man
There are flashes of a good movie in here, like they do make some solid changes to the origin story, Andrew Garfield is a great Spider-Man (although a less than stellar Peter Parker) and Emma Stone is great as Gwen Stacy. The main issue is largely the script, which for the most part feels as if it’s going through the motions. There’s not really a whole lot that’s inspired here. It’s almost like the filmmakers didn’t really want to do another Spider-Man origin story, but felt obligated to do so. While it’s technically better constructed and has less flaws than a film like say Spider-Man 3, I remember a lot more of the imagery and plot elements from that film, than almost anything in this film (barring one of Stan Lee’s most hilarious cameos ever). While I liked it a lot when I first saw it, the more time I’ve had to ruminate on it, plus the fact that I’ve never once felt compelled to revisit it, I think it’s safe to say that I can consider this a perfectly solid, if rather forgettable, experience.
6. Spider-Man 3
I’m not going to lie and pretend that there aren’t legitimate grievances with this film, like having too much stuff crammed into it (although certainly not as much as The Amazing Spider-Man 2) and Tobey Maguire’s performance as the “tortured” Peter Parker. But is this film a touch over hated? I think so. Maybe it’s because people went in expecting something as great as Spider-Man 2, but were disappointed when it didn’t deliver. I think part of the issue is that, because this came out after Batman Begins, Sam Raimi was attempting to make this film darker (literally in some cases, as the color palette of this film just seems less bright and colorful than the first two films), and Nolan’s darker and more realistic take on superheroes doesn’t mesh with Raimi’s style. But this was the most interesting that Kirstin Dunst’s MJ ever was, Sandman was an incredible antagonist, and some of the action scenes are still incredible and creative. It’s not perfect, in fact this probably contains the largest number of cheesy scenes out of all the Spider-Man films, but there’s still something kind of charming about it that makes it difficult to hate, in spite of its flaws.
5. Spider-Man: Homecoming
I was probably a bit too harsh on this one during my first viewing of the film. While I didn’t hate it, I didn’t really think was anything particularly special. I just thought it was okay. However, my opinion has since changed. Now, I still think the runtime is a bit too excessive, and that stupid subplot about Ned telling everyone at school he knows Spider-Man, and that he can get him to stop by a party should’ve been dropped entirely. But there’s far more here that’s good than bad. Tom Holland is both a great Peter Parker and a great Spider-Man. While Tobey Maguire is a better Parker than Spider-Man, and Andrew Garfield is a better Spider-Man than Parker, Holland nails both of them perfectly, and there’s not one that he’s better at. Also, Michael Keaton is a genuinely fantastic villain, who brings both menace and nuance, to what could’ve been a rather archetypal antagonist. This was an attempt at a more low-key and personal MCU entry, and it mostly succeeds. Could it have been better? Yes. But’s in no way a bad film.
Here it is, the very first Spider-Man film ever made, the film that single-handedly saved the superhero genre, and a pretty darn good film that still holds up pretty well. Under the direction of Sam Raimi, he knows when to be subtle and subdued, and when it’s okay to go over-the-top goofy. The action scenes are well done, including the final fight between our hero and villain being exceptionally brutal and genuinely hard-hitting. Tobey Maguire was a great pick for the titular character, and Willem Dafoe completely steals the show as the Green Goblin. Not everything is perfect though. There are some moments that are… pretty corny and stupid, even taking into account that this is a comic book film. But still, this is an entertaining, fun superhero film, that has rightly earned a spot in the pantheon of most influential superhero films.
3. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
I don’t think anyone could have anticipated how well received this film was going to be. I certainly wasn’t. But any movie that has so much creativity, so many subtle touches, and so many well written characters deserves every heap of praise that gets tossed its way. This is one of the most seamlessly entertaining superhero films ever made, and its animation is simply stunning, and possibly even groundbreaking. All the characters are memorable and well-written, especially Miles Morales, who became my favorite cinematic iteration of Spider-Man in just one movie. It’s a great family film, it’s a great superhero film, and it’s a great comedy. If it had managed to pull off just one of these it would’ve been impressive. The fact it managed to hit all three so perfectly is a truly remarkable feat.
2. Spider-Man 2
This is the Sam Raimi Spider-Man film in which everything just clicked together perfectly; the plot, the characters, the action, the villain, the drama; everything just works together nearly perfectly. Do I have a soft spot for this film because it was the first superhero film I ever saw? Possibly. But that doesn’t change the fact that when I rewatched this recently for the first time in years, I was blown away by how well-made and entertaining it was. I think what makes this film work as well as it does is that it everything balances out; it’s a little goofy, but not as goofy as the first Spider-Man could get, the drama also feels the most realistic and relatable out of all these Spider-Man films without becoming melodramatic, and this also has some of the most striking imagery out of these films without feeling showy. Honestly, nothing really much to say, other than this was the peak for the Sam Raimi Spider-Man films and is one of the very best superhero films ever made.
1. Spider-Man: Far from Home
If I had been told just a few weeks ago that this film was going to be my new favorite Spider-Man film, I wouldn’t have believed it. I mean, I would’ve expected to like it, but new favorite? That’s not a statement that I make lightly. So, why is it my favorite? Because it has everything that I want in a superhero film done to its almost absolute best. It’s funny, it’s emotional, the characters are all wonderful and at their very best, the villain is excellent (like top 5 greatest supervillains in film, excellent), the romance is believable and sweet, the action scenes are incredible, the writing is at the top of its game, and it’s a film that actually gets better on reflection. It takes everything in Spider-Man: Homecoming that worked, and improves on everything that didn’t. Also, one of the very best endings to a superhero film in cinematic history. There’s really not much else I can add that anyone else hasn’t already said; it’s just a film that’s both all-around great and genuinely entertaining.