6. Andrew Garfield 2: Electric Boogaloo
The sequel that didn’t learn anything from its predecessors and decided to shove in as many villains as it could only served to bloat down the plot and create the worst Spider-man movie to date. This movie features a rushed Harry Osborn character that is friends with Peter Parker, again, and his motivations to become a villain vaguely revolve around him dying from a disease that will kill him 40 some years down the road. He needs to act fast! HobGoblin stars with an Electro so laughably bad that I’m sure Jamie Fox laments this role the same way Clooney does when thinking about Batman. Together the two of them combine for some of the most poorly fleshed out and cartoonish villains that have little reason to work together or even hate Spider-man, but they do. Also the Rhino is squeezed into this movie as well, somehow.
The trailer focused on saving Gwen Stacy, so even non-comic book readers knew what would eventually happen, but the movie still consistently showcases warnings and reasons for her and Peter to stay away from each other, warnings that they obviously ignore. Who knew dating a superhero could come with risks? It’s only a plot point more overdone than Uncle Ben’s death. There are 6 Oscar nominees (Andrew Garfield, Jamie Fox, Emma Stone, Sally Fields, Felicity Jones, and Paul Giamatti) and half of them are winners (Fox, Stone, Fields) yet it’s still easily the worst acted Spider-man movie. There’s only so much acting can do with terrible dialogue and plot direction. I would have enjoyed this movie a lot more if I didn’t see it.
5. The Amazing Spider-Man
A short 5 years after the original Spider-man trilogy concluded Sony’s greed reels audiences back in with this amazingly forced, bland, and unoriginal reboot. Some notable changes from the original include artificial web fluid, a more attractive cast, and a protective father subplot featuring Gwen Stacy’s dad with predictable results.
Emma Stone looks exactly how I would picture MJ in real life, but was cast as Gwen Stacy because they needed to change up the story! They shove Uncle Ben’s death down our throats, again, and include Peter getting bit by a spider, who cares!, but gosh darn slap a blonde wig on Emma Stone otherwise this movie would be too similar to the original! The movie somehow makes a one-armed mutant lizard version of Dr. Jekyll boring and forgettable because he’s essentially a worse version of Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin. Both are good men turned accidentally evil when pressured by their science company executives and they’re both green. The movie sort of tries to include Peter’s parents, but they only explore that plot point further in the 2nd film, because they didn’t have enough time for it in this film, they needed to show us in intricate detail how Peter got his powers again!
One scene in the movie features dozens of construction cranes that is so corny I get uncomfortable thinking about it. Garfield is miscast as a nerdy Peter Parker, who somehow only uses Bing to search for things online, how smart could he be then? It’s not his fault they placed him in high school, again. Honestly, I don’t know how this movie did well, but I’m sure attractive leading actors Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone helped.
4. Spider-Man 3
For many people this was the worst Spider-man movie and it was for a while until the rebooted Amazing abominations came out. J.K. Simmons’ iconic J. Jonah Jameson is still around and he’s a bright spot NO ONE can dislike. For all the flack that cocky Peter Parker gets for strutting down 5th avenue, from a narrative perspective it makes sense. He’s not supposed to be cool, he’s just supposed to think he’s cool because of the Venom influence, the scene is meant to be awkward! Venom was a villain forced into the movie by Sony and it clearly made the final product convoluted. Venom was meant to be the anti-Peter, so I don’t think the portrayal by Eric Foreman was too egregious. Sandman was a sympathetic and unique antagonist and James Franco’s role felt a bit brushed aside because of the other two villains, he should have been featured as the main villain, but without Venom I guess it would have been weird to have Sandman and Harry turn good in the end? Gwen Stacy probably could have been cut out and no one would have noticed. Regardless, there are moments in this movie that I enjoyed, something I can’t say for the Amazing Spider-Man saga.
There is a pretty significant gap between the three best Spider-man films and the worst three, but I would argue that my 3rd and 2nd favorite Spider-man movies are pretty interchangeable. It started the cliché mantra “with great power comes great responsibility” and may be referenced too often now, but that just goes to show just how popular this movie was. It inspired a broadway musical, a disastrous injury inducing extravaganza, but I would still rank it ahead of both Amazing Spider-man films. It’s not the best movie to re-watch, but there are still amazing moments referenced today like Bonesaw is ready and the iconic upside down kiss in the rain. William Dafoe was a solid main antagonist as the Green Goblin, J.K. Simmons was a perfect J. Jonah Jameson, and the main “high school” trio were all likable and fun to watch. A great movie, just not the greatest Spider-man movie.
2. Spider-Man Homecoming
The movie that inspired me to write up this power ranking, Homecoming blew me away. I thought that by now I would be tired of Spider-man movies, but somehow Homecoming came off as fresh and enjoyable. Tom Holland was the only successful actor to pull-off a teenage Spider-man, he was also the youngest, but where The Amazing Spider-man was a rehash/cheap cash grab by Sony, this movie felt more fleshed out and had the added benefit of the Marvel Universe, Robert Downey Jr. makes every movie he’s in better.
The kids actually looked and acted like teenagers. It’s also a very lighthearted and funny film. Peter’s not swinging from skyscrapers on the first day, in fact there’s barely any iconic swinging at all, which was refreshing. Michael Keaton was a great and fleshed out villain as the Vulture and the perfect first antagonist for a Spider-man learning the ropes. Things are established from the other Marvel movies, the Vulture has been doing his underground market business for years before Peter Parker runs into him. The villain wasn’t conveniently related to the main character and Spider-man initially has to go out of his way to stop him.
The original Spider-man movie is so old that this one even had a couple of homages in it, which was neat because it was able to turn the older stories into a positive and not shove the same narrative down our throats for a third time. A very enjoyable movie that’s funny and mixed in with the perfect amount of stakes and drama.
1. Spider-Man 2
An improvement to a fantastic origin story and featured some of the best fight scenes in a superhero movie to date. The entire clock tower to subway train fight was unique, fun, and visually easy to follow. It’s an aspect that Homecoming lacked and the original Spider-man didn’t quite achieve. Doctor Octopus is a sympathetic villain and probably my favorite of the entire series, I loved his relationship with Peter in the movie and his overall character arc was satisfying. The octopus arms hold up to this day and don’t look out of place in this CGI heavy era. The humor was probably best in Homecoming, but this movie had plenty of humorous parts as well. I was invested in the MJ and Peter love story for perhaps the only time and I personally like to remember this ending opposed to the 3rd movie for their relationship. Harry’s slow crawl to HobGoblin didn’t feel rushed, it’s a shame the character buildup didn’t really pay off too well in the next film. This movie still remains my favorite, but with the way that Marvel has been making movies I wouldn’t bet against what they put out next.