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Spider-Man films ranked – but was Tom Holland, Andrew Garfield or Tobey Maguire the best?



Who was the best Spider-Man? (Image: CTMG)

One aspect of the teasers shown to date that has intrigued many is the incorporation of the so-called spiderVerse, and with that, the appearances of several villains who we previously saw battle past incarnations of our friendly neighbourhood crime fighter. Speculation that we might see Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield in the new flick has been rife.

Many fans have been binging the older films and with that, it once again opens up the very important question: what’s the best Spider-Man film so far?

Excluding the made-for-TV films released in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, The Watchers has ranked all the Spider-Man movies to hit the big screen.

Let us know in the comments section whether you agree with our verdict.

Amazing Spider-Man 2

Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Image: Columbia Pictures Industries)

8. Amazing Spider-Man 2

With reaction to the Spider-Man series being rebooted in 2012 largely positive, many were hopeful of what was to come following Andrew Garfield’s portrayal of the web-slinger in Amazing Spider-Man.

Sadly, that was all kabooshed with the film’s disastrous sequel, Amazing Spider-Man 2.

To date, it is the only film to have received a rotten rating on the popular review site, Rotten Tomatoes, with many criticising the film’s length and bloated plot.

Indeed, it felt like director Marc Weed was trying to load too much into this story in order to build to what the studio had planned for afterwards.

Whilst Garfield’s chemistry with Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy can’t be faulted, with her death scene being particularly moving, Amazing Spider-Man 2 just falls flat on most levels.

Conflicts between the studio and Garfield meant that this would mark his final run as the character, stopping plans for two sequels and spin-offs featuring Venom and the Sinister Six in their tracks too.

Spider-Man 3

Spider-Man 3 (Image: Junko Kimura/Getty)

7. Spider-Man 3

Speaking of loading too much into a film, the conclusion to Sam Raimi’s original trilogy also falls victim to this troupe.

Spider-Man 3 took a shift away from its two predecessors in focusing on Peter Parker’s darker side as an alien symbiote attaches itself to his Spider-Man suit.

Whilst many of the action sequences in the film hit every note in spectacular fashion, the scenes that link between them really don’t hit that same mark.

The use of three main villains in particular in the form of Sandman, Venom and Harry Osborn as the New Goblin divided the fan base. The latter character, played by James Franco, felt almost like an afterthought in the overall plot despite the story of the three films being tailored to build this conclusion around him.

Whilst it was the highest-grossing of Raimi’s three films, the creative differences between the director and the producers ended his association with the franchise, and marked the final time we’d see Spider-Man on the big screen for five years.

Also, the less we talk about Tobey Maguire’s dance moves the better. Sorry.

Amazing Spider-Man

Amazing Spider-Man (Image: Mark Mainz/Getty)

6. Amazing Spider-Man

The return of our friendly neighbourhood hero in 2012 marked a new actor behind the mask in the form of Social Network star Andrew Garfield.

With that, we also saw a reboot in the overall story from Raimi’s trilogy.

Whilst Maguire’s portrayal of Spider-Man was linked to more liked overall films, Garfield’s work in the role tends to be seen by many fans as a better representation of the actual character.

As a result, Amazing Spider-Man lacks a lot of the action we were used to seeing, but tells a better story of Parker’s emotional journey that sees him become Spider-Man.

The film also flips Peter’s accompanying romantic storyline, with Gwen Stacy being his love interest this time as opposed to Mary-Jane Watson. This was much to the joy of comic book fans who were pleased to see Spidey’s first love come to life in the story’s origin.


Spider-Man (Image: Sportsphoto Ltd./Allstar/Columbia Pictures)

5. Spider-Man

The film that kicked things off. The OG.

After decades of anticipation, a cinematic release around the popular Marvel character was finally given the green light in 1999 for a 2002 release.

Aided by a superb cast, the original Spider-Man is just a memorable movie in so many ways. Firstly, the fact that it simply brings the hero to life gives it a big tick for nostalgic purposes.

Secondly, it contains so many moments that fans can easily relate to and remember with great ease nearly 20 years on. Who can forget that epic cage fight with Bonesaw (portrayed in amazingly cartoonish nature by wrestler Randy Savage) and the upside-down kiss in the rain with MJ?

And of course there’s Willam Defoe’s brilliant portrayal of Norman Osborn. He does a superb job of highlighting the character’s downfall into the villain, Green Goblin. His suit may look absolutely horrendous, but the character work is spot-on.

Overall it was a solid first edition in the series that succeeds in making superhero films cool again following the commercial failure of Batman and Robin back in 1997.

Spider-Man: Far From Home

Spider-Man: Far From Home (Image: CTMG)

4. Spider-Man: Far From Home

Marvel’s first release since Endgame, Far From Home deals with Peter Parker’s emotional grief following the loss of his mentor, Tony Stark, and in turn, being thrust to the front of the Avengers.

Parker’s struggles to truly adjust to his importance within the superhero group is a big part in this film, and could become pivotal as the MCU moves on from Iron-Man and Captain America.

As well as that, the film develops Spider-Man’s relationship with MJ, played by Zendaya, which was only alluded to in its predecessor Homecoming. The friendship bond the two have with Ned Leeds is one of this series’ strengths when compared to the previous two.

Another is Tom Holland in the lead role, who combines the boyish charms of Peter Parker and the charisma of Spider-Man the best way to date.

Whilst a bit more big stunt heavy compared to Homecoming, it edges Spider-Man in this list on the basis of its post-credit scene, which sees J. Jonah Jameson reveal Parker’s true identity.

This was also the original teasing of a Spider-Man multiverse as Jameson is portrayed by J.K. Simmons, as in the original Raimi films.

Spider-Man: Into the SpiderVerse

Spider-Man: Into the SpiderVerse (Image: Spider-Man)

3. Spider-Man: Into the SpiderVerse

The only animated film on this list, Into the SpiderVerse moves away from the more serious nature of the big blockbuster editions and takes things in a comedic direction.

Instead of focusing on Peter Parker, the film inside centres on Miles Morales, who is Parker’s successor as Spider-Man both here and in the comics.

Aided by spectacular animation work, Into the SpiderVerse is a comic book fan’s dream as it uses a multiverse storyline to incorporate characters the other films wouldn’t go near in hilarious fashion, such as Spider-Ham, Spider-Gwen and the oft-memed Spider-Man twin scene from the 1967 comics.

Whilst being an avid follower of the Spidey fiction will aid you when watching this film, it is not essential to this highly enjoyable two-hour thrill ride which could easily convert new fans.

The success of Into the SpiderVerse is summed up perfectly by the fact that it won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2018, becoming the first non-Disney/Pixar film to do so since 2011 and the first since 2006 to do so besting a Pixar film in the category.

Spider-Man: Homecoming

Spider-Man: Homecoming (Image: CTMG)

2. Spider-Man: Homecoming

Fans everywhere were losing their minds when Spider-Man was finally brought into the MCU during the 2016 film Captain America: Civil War.

So when it was announced that he’d be in turn getting his own series within the Marvel world, many were intrigued to see where this would take the character.

Spider-Man: Homecoming focuses less on the origins of the character, instead centring on Spider-Man’s attempts to be more than just a friendly neighbourhood crime fighter following his taste of life with the Avengers.

With Tom Holland getting star billing in the role for the first time, he does a great job of giving Peter Parker more of a childish vibe, particularly compared to Maguire and Garfield before him. Combine that with the added MCU charm being sprinkled on Spider-Man, it’s a stone-cold home run.

Michael Keaton brings the Vulcan to life spectacularly, and a less damsel in distress-style female lead in Zendaya’s MJ only aids the film even further.

Spider-Man 2

Spider-Man 2 (Image: PR Handout)

1. Spider-Man 2

It could really be only one.

As good as Holland’s Spider-Man has been so far, the original sequel to Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man remains iconic.

Like so many of the films we’ve seen, Peter Parker’s struggles to balance normal life and being Spider-Man are at the forefront of the plot.

Throw in a top-notch villain in the form of Doctor Otto Octavius and you have a winning formula. The fact that so many fans lost their minds when Alfred Molina appeared in the first No Way Home trailer is a testament to his iconic status.

Whilst the original Spider-Man film made comic book heroes cool again, this one saw them taken seriously as genuinely fantastic films for the first time. It can be argued that this film can only be topped by The Dark Knight in its genre in terms of its quality.

The highlight of the film is the epic scene where Octavius and Spider-Man battle aboard a New York Subway train, leading to Spider-Man having to physically stop the train from falling to its demise. The passengers all promising to protect his identity as a thank you adds an additional emotional layer that still sees it rank highly on top film scenes to this day.

It’s been 17 years and Spider-Man 2 still holds up brilliantly. Plus, it ends with the good guy getting the girl, so what’s not to love.

It may well get bested by No Way Home judging by the teases we’ve seen. But we’ll just have to wait for December 17.

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