“Franchise Retrospective: Ranking the Spider-Man Films”

The Spider-Man movies hold a special place in my heart. One of my oldest memories as a child was going to the first film in 2002 and being heartbroken that it was sold out. Then getting the VHS as a birthday present. I genuinely love these movies, flaws and all. Some are better than others, and some involve some horribly congested plot. Having revisited them recently and with Homecoming on the horizon, I’ll rank the previous five spidey films from worst to best. 

5. Spider-Man 3

Coming off the heals of one of the best comic book movies ever made, Spider-Man 3 had to be a near perfect film to live up to its predecessor. We all know the story by now. Rami was steadfast in not including Venom. Sony pushed him to put him in the film, and it resulted in a convoluted mess. The symbiote just happens to crash from space via a meteor, right next to Peter and MJ. Then you have the infamous emo scenes, that really drags this film through the mud. Those moments are genuinely unwatchable. Also, you build up Harry Osborne becoming New Goblin, just to have him go through amnesia through most of the movie. Topher Grace in the Venom role was horrible, more cheesy than menacing. There is some good in here though. Thomas Haden Church as Sandman was fantastic. He made you compassionate towards his character, and his ultimate end was a touching moment. Spider-Man and New Goblin’s team up was a nice moment. Osborne getting to do the right thing before meeting his demise was heartwarming. Ending how it began, with Peter and MJ by his side. 

4. The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Coming off the reboot, this sequel needed to be another step in the right direction. Marc Webb took that as putting three villains into the film. That’s the kiss of death in this franchise. Did Webb even see Spider-Man 3? When you have more than two villains none of them get the full attention they deserve. Introducing Harry Osborne into this already bloated film was a mistake. Rami was right in his handling of the Osbournes. Marc Webb threw them into this film with no development, and no direction. Harry’s turn into New Goblin isn’t something you can tell in one film. If you are doing it in one film you have to make him the focus, no Electro or Rhino, just Harry and Norman. TASM2 is one of those films that you can pluck certain elements out, and you’d still end up with the film following the same trajectory. Rhino, completely unnecessary. The New Goblin stuff seems to be included to just kill off Gwen Stacey and intro the Sinister Six. There’s just too much going on here, this film provides good moments, but it doesn’t work as one cohesive story. 

3. The Amazing Spider-Man 

The story off how this reboot came about is fascinating. Rami and Maguire were going to come back for a Spider-Man 4, but Rami wanted it to be perfect because the backlash from three was so strong. Instead of Sony pushing the release date back, they rebooted the franchise. Andrew Garfield in the title role was fantastic. He brought a boyish wonder to the character. Garfield was a great fit for the role. Rhys Ifans as The Lizard was good as well. Watching his arch develop from Dr. Connors to The Lizard felt natural. I enjoyed Emma Stone as Gwen Stacey. Stone and Garfield have tremendous chemistry, and their love story played well in both of the films. TASM was a great reboot of the character and left a promising future on the table. 

2. Spider-Man

In 2002, this film took the world by storm. Toby Maguire was a fantastic Spider-Man. He brought that nerdy persona perfectly to the Peter Parker role. The relationships play a major role in my love for this movie. Peter and Harry, Norman, Aunt May, Mary Jane, and Uncle Ben. Peter and Harry feel like best friends. Spider-Man and MJ’s relationship is cute, that kiss is an iconic moment in superhero history. Willem Daffoe’s performance as Green Goblin was world class. His decent into madness was believable, and you always felt a little bad for him. The ending with Spider-Man flipping over the glider to kill his friends father was an iconic moment. It set in motion Harry’s hatred for Spider-Man which gets resolved in the third film. In my opinion this is amongst some of the greatest superhero movies ever. You also have that iconic Danny Elfman score, some of the best music composed for a comic book movie. 

1. Spider-Man 2

This is by far the best film with the Spider-Man character. Peter is dealing with not having a true life outside of dawning that suit. It’s a movie about finding yourself. Mary Jane is a big broadway star, and eventually gets fired, she now has to find herself. Spider-Man saves Harry from Doc Oc, he has to deal with someone he hates saving him. How disgusted he must’ve felt. Alfred Molina as Doc Oc is one of the best villains in comic book movie history. The train scene is my personal favorite in the history of superhero movies. When the New Yorkers realize that Spider-Man is just a kid, as they are holding him up above their heads. The symbolism there, Spider-Man being their savior. This film is just incredible from beginning to end. One of the best sequels ever, and a top five comic book movie all time. 


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