From Tobey to Tom, Ranking Every Spider-Man Film


This article contains spoilers for every Spider-Man film released to date, including Spider-Man: No Way Home. You’ve been warned.

In the last 20 years, we’ve had three Batmen, three Jokers and three Spider-Men, plus countless animated versions of them. But while Batman and the Joker have had the highest highs and lowest lows, Spider-Man has remained fairly consistent in quality over that time. Even Peter Parker’s worst on-screen appearances have at least something to recommend in them. Below are all nine films, ranked from least to greatest.


The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)
Director: Marc Webb
Spider-Man: Andrew Garfield

Villains: Rhino (Paul Giamatti), Electro (Jamie Foxx), Green Goblin (Dane DeHaan)

No doubt about it: This is easily the worst Spider-Man movie. But it’s easy to see the ways in which it could have gone right. Cutting Electro entirely – along with Jamie Foxx’s weird performance as a schlubby engineer who becomes a big blue ball of electricity – and focusing more on the broken friendship between Peter and Harry would have been a good start. The latter’s heel turn would have had a lot more impact. Still, Gwen’s death still delivers an emotional wallop and Webb delivers a truly magical scene set to Phosphorescent’s “Song for Zula.”


Spider-Man 3 (2007)

Director: Sam Raimi

Spider-Man: Tobey Maguire

Villains: Green Goblin (James Franco), Sandman (Thomas Haden Church), Venom (Topher Grace)

Once again, this movie mostly doesn’t work. There are too many villains, including Sandman (who’s impossible to make compelling or menacing on-screen) and Venom (played by a woefully miscast Topher Grace). But the beats that once served as punchlines – namely Maguire’s dancing and eyeliner – now feel like refreshingly quirky grace notes in an era when most superhero movies have zero personality.


The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

Director: Marc Webb

Spider-Man: Andrew Garfield

Villain: The Lizard (Rhys Ifans)

This really should have been a fourth Spider-Man movie with Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst and Sam Raimi returning. But creative differences caused that project to be canceled. While this reboot is ultimately unnecessary (except to Sony, who needed to retain the rights to the character), it’s still quite well-done. Garfield’s a better actor than Maguire or Holland, and he brings emotional depth to Peter Parker that sometimes has to be drawn out of the other actors who have swung across New York City.


Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)

Director: Jon Watts

Spider-Man: Tom Holland, Andrew Garfield, Tobey Maguire

Allies: Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau)

Villains: Doctor Octopus (Alfred Molina), Sandman (Thomas Haden Church), The Lizard (Rhys Ifans), Electro (Jamie Foxx), Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe)

The next three entries – the only ones that are officially part of the MCU – are basically interchangeable on this list. They’re all sharp and funny, and feature the first actor to convincingly pass for a teenager. Really, the only thing really keeping them from greatness is the requirement to tie into the larger film series. This much-anticipated threequel juggles the enormous cast well. It expects you to know all these characters, so it doesn’t waste time reintroducing them. Once all three Parkers join forces, the movie really takes flight, with plenty of meta humor and moving emotional beats.


Spider-Man: Far from Home (2019)

Director: Jon Watts

Spider-Man: Tom Holland

Allies: Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders), Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau)

Villain: Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal)

While the film fails to capitalize on its globe-hopping, it has what might be the most fascinating villain of all the films. Jake Gyllenhaal is delightfully unhinged as Mysterio (aka Quentin Beck), an “interdimensional warrior” and master of illusion. He’s really a vengeful con artist out to destroy the reputation of his boss, the late Tony Stark. Jacob Batalon and Angourie Rice steal every scene they’re in as Peter’s friends Ned and Betty, who take their chaste romance far too seriously. But the film’s VFX really shine in scenes where Mysterio deceives and attempts to kill Peter.


Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Director: Jon Watts

Spider-Man: Tom Holland

Allies: Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau)

Villains: Vulture (Michael Keaton), Shocker (Logan Marshall-Green and Bokeem Woodbine)

Since all of Holland’s turns as the web-slinger are basically on the same level, I’m giving this one the edge for one scene in particular. I’m talking of course about the scene where Peter picks up his prom date Liz (Laura Harrier) and meets her dad, revealed to be the villain Spider-Man has been fighting all along. Keaton plays this scene with the perfect amount of menace.


Spider-Man (2002)

Director: Sam Raimi

Spider-Man: Tobey Maguire

Villain: Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe)

It may be hard to remember a time when there wasn’t a new comic book movie every few months. I was obsessed as a kid, but superheroes were mostly confined to animated daytime TV. Yes, I saw Joel Schumacher’s campy Batman adventures in theaters, along with Bryan Singer’s solid X-Men adaptation. But they were still fairly rare. In May 2002, I could hardly believe I was finally seeing a big budget version of one of my favorite characters. As a 14-year-old, this was the coolest thing I’d ever seen. But why it endures is Raimi’s take on the material. Like Burton’s Batman before it, this is another case of a true weirdo playing with house money to make some wonderfully loony decisions, including a match cut of exploding debris and graduation caps being tossed in the air ( ). Willem Dafoe is at his twisted best as Norman Osborn. Rosemary Harris is just plain delightful as Aunt May, who thinks nothing of slapping Norman’s hand when he tries to sneak a marshmallow off the baked yams at Thanksgiving dinner.


Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)

Directors: Bob Perschietti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman

Spider-Man: Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Chris Pine

Allies: Spider-Woman (Hailee Steinfeld), Spider-Ham (John Mulaney), Peni Parker (Kimiko Glenn), Spider-Man Noir (Nicolas Cage)

Villains: Prowler (Mahershala Ali), Doctor Octopus (Kathryn Hahn), Kingpin (Live Schreiber), Green Goblin (Jorma Taccone), Tombstone (Marvin Jones III), Scorpion (Joaquín Cosío)

As successful as No Way Home is, it pales in comparison to this multi-verse tale. The animation is jaw-dropping, the comedy is hilarious, and the emotions are the strongest of any film on this list. It’s no surprise it broke Disney’s stranglehold on the Oscars. Just how good is it? It made me like a Post Malone song!


Spider-Man 2 (2004)

Director: Sam Raimi

Spider-Man: Tobey Maguire

Villains: Doctor Octopus (Alfred Molina)

As much as the 2010s were a boom economy for comic book movies, most of them have yet to reach the creative heights of this film. Alfred Molina bears his heart and soul as Dr. Otto Octavius, taking the part as seriously as any of his theatrical roles. Peter now has bigger problems like making rent and more serious relationship issues with Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst) in a way that feels authentic. But what’s truly impressive is how Raimi and Oscar-winning screenwriter Alvin Sargent (Ordinary People) raise the stakes in a way that makes the world feel bigger without getting too big, a problem that would plague later movies.


About Kip Mooney

Kip Mooney
Like many film critics born during and after the 1980s, my hero is Roger Ebert. The man was already the best critic in the nation when he won the Pulitzer in 1975, but his indomitable spirit during and after his recent battle with cancer keeps me coming back to read not only his reviews but his insightful commentary on the everyday. But enough about a guy you know a lot about. I knew I was going to be a film critic—some would say a snob—in middle school, when I had to voraciously defend my position that The Royal Tenenbaums was only a million times better than Adam Sandler’s remake of Mr. Deeds. From then on, I would seek out Wes Anderson’s films and avoid Sandler’s like the plague. Still, I like to think of myself as a populist, and I’ll be just as likely to see the next superhero movie as the next Sundance sensation. The thing I most deplore in a movie is laziness. I’d much rather see movies with big ambitions try and fail than movies with no ambitions succeed at simply existing. I’m also a big advocate of fun-bad movies like The Room and most of Nicolas Cage’s work. In the past, I’ve written for The Dallas Morning News and the North Texas Daily, which I edited for a semester. I also contributed to Dallas-based Pegasus News, which in the circle of life, is now part of The Dallas Morning News, where I got my big break in 2007. Eventually, I’d love to write and talk about film full-time, but until that’s a viable career option, I work as an auditor for Wells Fargo. I hope to one day meet my hero, go to the Toronto International Film Festival, and compete on Jeopardy. Until then, I’m excited to share my love of film with you.