Although the obviousness of the title of this article is very obvious, here’s a clarification: this is a ranking of all the feature-length Spider-Man movies. A Wikipedia article on Spider-Man movies shows that there are films on the wall-crawler, in addition to the ones mentioned in this list. But that’s not exactly true since they are either pilots to series or a composite of a couple of episodes that were released as a “film”. So, that doesn’t count. The ones that we are considering are the Sam Raimi trilogy, the Marc Webb duology, the Jon Watts trilogy, and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018).
Here’s another clarification. I grew up with Tobey Maguire’s era of Spider-Man. I had a Spider-Man-themed cake for my 11th birthday party. Spider-Man 3 was the first Spider-Man that I had watched theatrically. And after that, apart from the Andrew Garfield films (because there were no theaters in and around the city where my college was located), I have watched every single of the Spider-Man films on the big screen multiple times. That’s a roundabout way of saying that I am a huge Spider-Man fan.
With all that out of the way, let’s start the list.
10. The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
Back when the movie was released, I didn’t know Andrew Garfield too well. So, the biggest reason that I tuned into Marc Webb’s Spidey film was that Irrfan Khan was in it. And the movie should’ve given Irrfan more screen time. As the few minutes that he’s in the film are much, much more interesting than anything else in it.
Garfield’s Peter Parker comes off as a jock, which I didn’t really like. His Spider-Man goes from being a bully to being a superhero, which makes sense. However, the execution of that arc is so poor that Spider-Man’s final form is overshadowed by his jerk-ish behavior.
I know that we like to make fun of Lizard’s plan. But it’s a mutated Lizard with a plan. Of course, he is going to turn the people in the city into lizards. Why would you expect it to make sense? What it needed was more camp and time in the oven to synchronize us with the bizarreness of said plan. Instead, all we got is this self-serious vibe that’s only accentuated by the movie’s “moody” visuals.
Also, Read – Every Spider-Man Live-Action Movie Villains Ranked
9. Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)
I think the term “wasted potential” is a good way to define Far From Home (and a lot of MCU movies, to be honest). There’s a very meaty story about Peter Parker’s habit of leaning on a father figure being misused by Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) and him learning to be his own person. And how Beck assembles a team to be this father figure to not just Peter, but the world as well by filling the space left by Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.).
There’s room for some political commentary about fake news, the internet, and conspiracy theories. However, the handling of all these topics is so surface-level that it’s borderline frustrating. You can actually see Jon Watts and writers Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers pulling back their punches, thereby turning the movie into a flaky viewing experience. The presentation matches the drabness of the storytelling. It only livens up during the CGI-heavy moments, thereby creating the illusion that its visuals are actually decent overall. No, that’s not the movie’s way of echoing Mysterio’s trickery. Far From Home actually looks bad.
Related to Spider-Man Movies – Spider-Man: Far From Home  Review – Far From Greatness
8. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)
One of the most important things that need to be considered while talking about the second solo outing of Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man is that it was practically manhandled by the studio. James Vanderbilt was brought in to write the script and then Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci were hired to rewrite it. That resulted in a story that didn’t have any direction.
Tonally, it was all over the place. Hence, it’s largely considered to be one of the worst Spider-Man movies of all time. I disagree. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 looks like a million bucks thanks to Dan Mindel’s cinematography. The VFX work in this is spectacular. Hans Zimmer’s score is probably one of the best compositions in the superhero sub-genre. Garfield is sincere as Peter Parker and Spider-Man (especially as Spider-Man). The action is visible and quite imaginative. It throws a lot of things at the wall. Some of it sticks. Others lead to cringe-worthy and unintentionally funny moments (yes, I am talking about the ‘Gone, Gone, Gone’ by Phillip Phillips sequence). And I am here for it.
7. Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)
Jon Watts’s visual storytelling has never been his strongest suit. Unlike the other two Spider-Man films that he has directed, here he tries something by conducting a few long-ish takes. But I don’t think anyone will even remember them by the end of the film since they don’t add anything to the story or the moment they take place in. They feel like a fun experiment.
As Holland’s Spider-Man is part of a bigger franchise, writers Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers have always pushed Peter to rely on other well-established characters instead of establishing Peter. They do that again here. However, since they hide it under an unhealthy albeit welcome dose of nostalgia and set Holland up to be a Peter Parker/Spider-Man that’s closer to the source material, I can’t help but forgive them a little.
Not too much though because they squander the opportunity to tell a compelling story about the legal and life-altering repercussions of Peter’s actions that are staring right at their faces. Which is again balanced out by the performances (especially Holland’s and Willem Dafoe’s) and Michael Giacchino’s score. So, yes, it’s a mixed bag.
Related to Spider-Man Movies – Spider-Man: No Way Home  Review – A Tale of Two Movies At Odds With Each Other
6. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
Have you watched that scene in the car with Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton) and Peter? If you haven’t watched it recently, you should right now. Every time I come around that scene, I get chills. There are several reasons for that. The first one is that there’s no elaborate process for Toomes to learn that Parker is Spider-Man. It takes him one conversation scene to figure it out. He doesn’t even talk to Parker directly. He connects the dots by talking to his daughter. The traffic signal going from red to green is another reason. I know that’s a really small touch but it’s these details that make a movie great.
Finally, it’s Toomes’s reaction because it catches you by surprise. He’s pulling a gun on a 15-year-old boy within the school premises. If that’s not gangster-as-hell, I clearly don’t know what is. Then of course the movie around that scene is fantastic as well. The scene with Holland lifting the rubble trapping him always manages to extract tears from my eyes. Michael Giacchino’s score is amazing as always. And the finale is probably one of the best finales in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Related to Spider-Man Movies – Spider-Man – Spiderman: Homecoming  Review: The Highway to Heroism
5. Spider-Man 3 (2007)
As mentioned before, Spider-Man 3 was the first Spider-Man movie I had watched on the big screen. Back then, the internet wasn’t quite a thing in my hometown. Or at least in my household. So, my feelings about the film (which were overwhelmingly positive) were based on what I had watched and then validated by the people who were in the theater with me (who were as positive about it as me).
Several years later, when I entered the cyber-space, I was told that this movie is one of the worst films that have graced the silver screen and I should definitely hate it. A few years after that, I re-watched it a couple of times (with the most recent viewing being a week ago) and I am here to set the record straight. Spider-Man 3 is one of the best superhero movies of all time. Despite studio pressure, Sam Raimi didn’t dilute his imagination and craft in any way.
Bill Pope’s kinetic and pulpy cinematography is eons ahead of what we are getting nowadays in the sub-genre. Christopher Young’s Venom and Sandman themes are gorgeous and brimming with so much emotion. The VFX work is amazing. The practical effects are of course amazing. The editing is crisp. Emo Peter Parker is enjoyable as hell. And all of this is wrapped in the layer of sincerity and joy that was introduced by Raimi and Tobey Maguire in the first Spider-Man movie.
4. Spider-Man (2002)
If I am remembering this correctly, Spider-Man is the first movie that made me cry (I was 9 years old, by the way). I hadn’t experienced any real-life loss then. So, I didn’t quite know the pain that attacks you after you watch a loved one die. Actually, I probably didn’t even know what death was. Therefore, you can only imagine how alien the concept of being sad over the demise of a fictional person was. Yet, I found myself bawling my eyes out at the death of Uncle Ben (Cliff Robertson). And that emotion got another layer of complexity when I realized that I am not crying because of the death, but for the anguish that someone as good-hearted as Peter was experiencing.
That’s why I think Sam Raimi is one of the best directors of all time and Spider-Man is one of the best movies of all time since they managed to pierce through my thick skull and educated me about the nuances of humanity. Personal anecdotes aside, Spider-Man is a genuinely well-made film and is still the gold standard for origin stories. Not a lot of on-screen couples, especially in the superhero sub-genre have come even close to emulating the chemistry between Tobey and Kirsten Dunst. Willem Dafoe, J.K. Simmons, and Rosemary Ann Harris are fantastic. The action scenes have so much weight to them with the final fight being absolutely brutal. I can go on and on about this movie.
3. Spider-Man 2 (2004)
What can I say about this movie that hasn’t been said already? It’s one of the best superhero movies of all time. It’s one of the best sequels of all time. It features one of the best villains of all time. It’s one of the best movies of all time.
Now, between 2004 and 2020, if you would have asked me what are some of my favorite scenes from the movie, I would’ve responded with the fight on the train, the fight on the building, or the finale. But during one of my recent re-watches, I caught myself becoming overly emotional during two scenes: the garage sale scene and the chocolate cake scene. Now, the garage sale scene is an obvious choice. From Rosemary Ann Harris and Tobey Maguire’s performances to the weight of the words being exchanged by them, everything about it encapsulates the crux of every superhero movie and maybe even every self-respecting person’s life.
What about the chocolate cake scene though? Well, when you’re a kid and the center of everyone’s attention, with adults rushing to your aid every time you fall, you feel like you’re the king of the world. However, things don’t quite go like that when you’re an adult. There are days where you feel like it’s the end of the world. You have no one to help you pick up the pieces because everyone is busy with their lives. Then, out of the blue, when you get something like a piece of cake and some milk, it acts like the most divine morale booster. So, seeing something as relatable and grounded as that in Spider-Man 2 hit me in the feels. We need more scenes like this in movies, period.
2. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
At this point in the list, I think it’s pretty clear what I want from my superhero films and Spider-Man films. And the fact that Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse occupies this spot says one thing and one thing only: that it has everything I need from superhero films, Spider-Man films, and films, in general.
The narrative storytelling by Phil Lord and Rodney Rothman is immaculate. The visual storytelling by Rothman, Bob Persichetti, and Peter Ramsey, along with the hundreds of animators at Sony, is mind-boggling. The way they manage to balance Miles’s (Shameik Moore) personal journey and the magnanimity of the multiverse is inspirational.
The voice acting by Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali, Brian Tyree Henry, John Mulaney, Kimiko Glenn, Nicolas Cage, Kathryn Hahn, and Liev Schreiber is so on point that it’s insane. Daniel Pemberton’s score is beautiful. It’s true that I have actually lost count of how many times I have watched the movie. But I know that during every single one of those viewings I have cried every single time I have heard Jake Johnson say, “Not bad, kid”.
1. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (2023)
Across the Spider-Verse not only proves that Spider-Man and the medium of animation are a match made in heaven, it also goes to show that there’s so much left to explore about this character. With Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, David Callaham in charge of the writing, and Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, and Justin K. Thompson in the directors’ chairs, the web swinging, wall crawler is put across a new enemy called The Spot. And although he comes off as a joke initially, the blots on his entire body start to mirror Miles’ entire existence as he is deemed an aberration in the multiverse.
So, on the one hand, it’s filled to the brim with jokes, cameos, easter eggs, and references to Spider-Man’s huge comic-book history. But on the other hand, it’s deeply existential because Miles isn’t just dealing with the villain of the week, he’s tackling the crushing weight of having all his life experience, his relationships, his efforts to be a hero rendered meaningless. Since that is some heavy stuff, it’s nice that the film slows down between its chaotic and eye-popping action sequences and lets the character moments breathe. I don’t think it’ll be a stretch to say that Across the Spider-Verse has set a new standard for multiversal storytelling, which can only be one-upped by Beyond the Spider-Verse. Also, we can’t be friends if you aren’t a fan of Karan Soni’s Pavitr Prabhakar and Daniel Kaluuya’s Spider-Punk almost instantly.