Every Spider-Man Movie Ranked from Best to Worst

There aren't many superheroes who are as universally recognizable and iconic as Spider-Man.

From his comic book debut in 1962 to his subsequent portrayals in numerous memorable video games, TV shows, and movies, people worldwide have grown up with the image of the blue-and-red-clad wallcrawler permanently etched in their minds.

Whether you find him on the pages of a comic, swinging from building to building and taking on some of Marvel's most infamous villains, or brought to life by Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, Tom Holland, or Shameik Moore, Spider-Man will forever hold a special place in superheroes’ fans' hearts.

With the recent release of Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, we thought it is only fitting to look back at Spider-Man's previous appearances in film, ranking each one of the movies he stars in from best to worst.

Spider-Man 2

Spider-Man 2 Toby Maguire
Image Credit: Sony Pictures Releasing.

We don't know how he can do it, but man, can Sam Raimi nail a sequel. And just as his earlier Evil Dead II was more than able to follow up on his breakout film, The Evil Dead, Spider-Man 2 similarly manages to go above and beyond in Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy.

Finding himself stretched too thin in his personal life, Spider-Man (Tobey Maguire) contemplates hanging up the cowl and becoming Peter Parker full-time once again. As he weighs his options, he is confronted by a tragedy involving his mentor, Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina), who is transformed into the deranged multi-limbed supervillain, Doctor Octopus.

Widely considered the greatest superhero movie ever made and one of the best sequels in existence, Spider-Man 2 is an improvement on the original Spider-Man in every way imaginable. Not having to waste time establishing Peter's origin story, the movie was able to analyze the personal problems in Peter's daily life as a result of his commitment to being Spider-Man. Leaving the youthful angst of his character behind, Maguire also hands in his strongest performance in the series, portraying a deep-seated uncertainty over whether to devote his life to being New York’s wall-crawler or not.

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (2023)
Image Credit: Sony Animation.

The latest Spider-Man film to hit theaters, Across the Spider-Verse expands the universe (or rather the multiverse) of Sony’s animated Spider-Man series in new, exciting ways. Most importantly, it continues to show the young Miles’ growth as a superhero, learning the responsibilities of being Spider-Man and his heroism's painful toll on his family and loved ones.

As he adapts to life as Spider-Man, Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) battles a new foe (Jason Schwartzman) who can freely travel between dimensions. To deal with this new threat, Miles teams up with an alliance of Spider-People gathered from across the multiverse, including his close friend Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld) and his mentor Peter B. Parker (Jake Johnson).

Surpassing the quality of the original Into the Spider-Verse by a very thin margin, Across the Spider-Verse’s unfettered creativity makes it not only a gorgeous movie to look at but one that unwaveringly holds your attention. Bringing in practically every iteration of Spider-Man that came before it, it’s the perfect lead-in to the trilogy’s conclusive chapter, Beyond the Spider-Verse, set for release in March 2024.

Spider-Man: No Way Home

Spider-Man: No Way Home Marisa Tomei Jamie Foxx Thomas Haden Chruch Alfred Molina Willem Dafoe Tom Holland
Image Credit: Disney/Marvel.

If you had said there would be an MCU film featuring Tom Holland, Tobey Maguire, and Andrew Garfield’s respective portrayals of Spider-Man, people would probably believe you’d lost your mind. An idea simply too good to be true, such a dream project ultimately came to pass with 2021’s Spider-Man: No Way Home, the best live-action Spider-Man film of the past two decades.

With his life in ruins now that everyone knows his secret identity, Peter (Holland) contacts Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), hoping his fellow Avenger will be able to cast a spell and make the world forget that he’s Spider-Man. After the spell is botched, Peter encounters several individuals from neighboring realities, including Electro (Jamie Foxx), Doc Ock (Alfred Molina), the Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe), and even alternative versions of himself (Maguire and Garfield).

Introducing two separate cinematic franchises into one interconnected universe can’t be easy, but No Way Home completes this rare feat with startling ease. Ushering in many beloved characters from Spidey’s cinematic past, the movie not only continued the story of the MCU Peter but also provided epilogues for Maguire and Garfield’s tenures as the character, redeeming the disappointing Spider-Man 3 and The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse
Image Credit: Sony Pictures.

When it was initially released in 2018, Into the Spider-Verse came virtually out of nowhere. A runaway sensation in terms of its critical and commercial success, its popularity and acclaim directly matched the numerous Spider-Man movies that came before it – in most cases, even surpassing a majority of them.

Struggling to fit in at high school, teenager Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) gains superhuman powers after being bitten by a radioactive spider. Adopting the mantle of Spider-Man from his predecessor, the deceased Peter Parker (Chris Pine), Miles contends with a threat to his reality when alternative versions of Spider-Man start appearing in his universe.

Wonderfully animated with vividly bright colors, Into the Spider-Verse is far from being a simple technical achievement alone. Along with its crisp artistic design, the movie's unconventional take on the Marvel multiverse helped its narrative grow apart from the MCU, differentiating itself from every other superhero movie.

Spider-Man: Homecoming

Spider-Man: Homecoming Tom Holland
Image Credit: Disney/Marvel Studios.

Upon his debut in Captain America: Civil War, Tom Holland was widely praised for taking up the red-and-blue tights and portraying the MCU version of Spider-Man. In his first solo movie, Holland’s Spider-Man is attempting to balance his time spent as Spider-Man with his life as a high school student. Complicating that is Peter's crush on Liz (Laura Harrier), a popular fellow student, and his coming into contact with an experimental weapons dealer dubbed the Vulture (Michael Keaton).

Previously, we'd seen Peter's social and personal life in significantly smaller glimpses, mostly revolving around his romances with M.J. in the first three movies or Gwen Stacy in The Amazing Spider-Man. The great part of the newer MCU Spider-Man movies is that it's able to balance the character's personal life and his role as a superhero without one taking precedence over the other, as had been the case before.

The result is a great first Spider-Man-focused MCU movie, exploring Peter's insecurities both at school and as Spider-Man, and his difficulty accepting his responsibilities as a superhero.

Maguire played a good Peter Parker, and Garfield brought out the snarkier New Yorker aspect of Spider-Man. Still, Holland balances both parts of the character equally well, perfectly portraying nerdy high school student Peter and his wisecracking, slightly more sure of himself Spider-Man. (Stan Lee had even said Holland was the ideal actor for the role, being precisely what he envisioned when he first co-created the character with Steve Ditko in 1962.)


Image Credit: Sony Pictures Releasing

Along with the original Blade and the 2000 X-Men, the first entry in Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy was the grandfather of the superhero genre as we know it today, paving the way for the later Marvel movies and, consequently, the entire MCU.

Utilizing the most up-to-date filmmaking techniques at his disposal – including extensive use of CGI – Raimi delivered a fantastic adaptation of the Spider-Man comic books that managed to distance itself just enough from the original comics (omitting Spider-Man’s signature comic book web-shooters and tweaking characters’ costumes), and also paying clear homage to them as well.

Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) is a bookish high school senior whose life is forever changed when a genetically engineered spider bites him. Gaining spider-like abilities, Peter adopts a superhero alter-ego and soon faces off against a maniacal villain known as the Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe).

While the movie may not be the same kind of superhero movie audiences are used to seeing produced in the MCU, the original Spider-Man remains remarkable for several reasons. It’s that film responsible for sparking renewed interest in Spider-Man and superhero movies. Without it, who knows what superhero movies would look like today – or if they'd even be around.

Spider-Man: Far From Home

spider man far from home e1658095773192
Image Credit: Sony Pictures Releasing.

Following Thanos's defeat and the return of everyone who was “Blipped” (erased from existence) in Infinity War, the world is now slowly beginning to return to normal, with students of the Midtown School of Science and Technology – including the recently returned Peter Parker (Holland) – resuming their normal lives. Venturing to Europe on a class field trip, Peter is called into action to battle a strange alien species known as the Elementals, fighting side by side with the enigmatic superhero Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal).

The last film of Marvel's Phase Three series and the first MCU movie following Endgame, Far From Home perfectly explained some of the more realistic repercussions introduced in Infinity War, respectively (such as half the universe returning after being wiped out by Thanos’s snap). Featuring Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) in a similar role as Tony Stark's in Homecoming made for an interesting dynamic. Still, it didn't have the same father-son magic as Holland and R.D.J. had.

It's an entertaining movie, carrying the MCU forward following the years-in-the-making climax of Endgame. It also adequately raises the stakes for Spider-Man’s next outing in No Way Home, culminating in Far From Home’s bombshell ending.

The Amazing Spider-Man

Amazing Spider Man
Image Credit: Sony Pictures Releasing.

Teenager Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is a high school student bitten by a genetically-altered spider, gaining spider-like abilities. After his uncle's (Martin Sheen) death, Peter decides to use his new powers to become a superhero, defending the city from a former scientist turned inhumane supervillain, the Lizard (Rhys Ifans).

After the mediocre disappointment that was Spider-Man 3 and Sam Raimi's subsequent departure from the studio over creative differences, Sony attempted rebooting the character, casting then-rising star Andrew Garfield as everyone’s favorite web-slinger in the most New York interpretation of the character yet (just listen to that accent).

Fans might have been divided at first, but the resulting film, 2012's The Amazing Spider-Man, was more than decent, especially compared to Spider-Man 3. Rather than basing too much of his portrayal of Spider-Man on Tobey Maguire's iteration of the character, Garfield manages to create his own distinct version of Peter. It may not be a perfect Spider-Man movie – it doesn't really have the heart of Raimi's films or the lovable geekiness of Tom Holland's Spider-Man – but it's an enjoyable enough superhero movie in its own right.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Image Credit: Sony Pictures Releasing.

Andrew Garfield's iteration of Spider-Man tends to get a bit overshadowed by more nostalgic fans of Tobey Maguire and the newer MCU fans of Tom Holland. Though perhaps lacking the awkward comedic portrayal of Holland or the more heroic aspect of the character that Maguire brings out, Garfield wasn't necessarily a bad Spider-Man. Sadly, his character performance tends to get bogged down by the lesser movies he appeared in, especially The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

After a dangerous new supervillain (Jamie Foxx) emerges in New York City, Spider-Man (Garfield) traces his origins back to Oscorp, discovering a dark secret behind his close friend, Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan), in his investigation.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is not an altogether terrible movie. However, it still makes for one of the more underwhelming entries out of all the Spider-Man-related movies, temporarily derailing Sony’s plans for a sequel and a potential spin-off series focusing on the villains of the Sinister Six. In essence, there are too many characters and too many plot points to properly focus on, making the entire film feel bloated and overstuffed, never fully getting off the ground.

Spider-Man 3

Spider-Man 3 Sandman
Image Credit: Sony Pictures/Columbia Pictures.

Unfortunately, there's no sugarcoating this one – Spider-Man 3 is plain bad. Equal parts cringey as it is poorly acted, Spider-Man 3 is by far the most disappointing entry in the Sam Raimi trilogy. Topher Grace was horribly miscast as Venom, and Tobey Maguire's darker portrayal of post-symbiote Peter Parker – known today as the popular meme, “Bully Maguire” – is honestly difficult to sit through at some points.

As Peter (Maguire) tries to move ahead in his relationship with Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst), he becomes distracted by the re-emergence of his uncle's killer (Thomas Haden Church), as well as the sudden arrival of an alien symbiote that can enhance Peter's powers, but also brings out a much more sinister side of his personality.

The movie does have some very strong moments – including the symbiote's assimilation of Peter and his subsequent transformation into the black-suited Spider-Man, Flint Marko piecing himself together bit by bit and becoming the Sandman, or the symbiote attaching itself to Eddie. However, it becomes clear that, when held up to its predecessors, Spider-Man 3 is by far the weakest Spider-Man movie to date, ending Raimi's trilogy with more of a whimper than a bang.

Richard Chachowski is a freelance writer based in New Jersey. He loves reading, his dog Tootsie, and pretty much every movie to ever exist (especially Star Wars).