Everyone’s favorite webslinger has had a rocky history on the big screen. In just 13 years, he has already been through two separate film series and was only just recently introduced into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With Tom Holland taking on the titular role in Spider-Man: Homecoming, we look back at the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man’s cinematic exploits up until his latest incarnation.
5. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)
Following the success of The Amazing Spider-Man, this sequel sees Spider-Man face off against Electro (Jamie Foxx) and continues the troubled romance of Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) and Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). Much like the last of Raimi’s Spider-Man films (more on that in a moment), the story takes on far too many different subplots and, rather than grounding Peter’s life, embraces goofier elements. Cliché-ridden and featuring a rushed, unsatisfying finale, its disappointing box office and critical failure crushed plans for a shared universe of Spidey adventures.
4. Spider-Man 3 (2007)
After delivering two monstrously successful films, Raimi and company rounded off the initial Spider-Man trilogy with this subpar entry. Too many villains and not one but two lame dance sequences quickly undid the audience’s goodwill toward the franchise. Creative squabbles behind the scenes are reportedly to blame, but regardless, this final adventure starring Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man made so many missteps that it’s easy to see why plans for Maguire and Kirsten Dunst to return for a fourth film were scrapped, paving the way for the inevitable reboot.
3. The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
Sure, Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man may have its share of flaws — chief among them the significant screentime it spends telling the hero’s origin story — but stars Garfield and Stone elevate the material with their palpable chemistry, which easily eclipses that of Maguire and Dunst. Moreover, the introduction of classic Spidey villain The Lizard makes for some thrilling sequences, even if Dr. Connors’s fate closely resembles the scientist-experiments-on-himself-and-turns-evil premise of the first two Raimi films. Not a classic film but a solid start.
2. Spider-Man (2002)
During a time when the superhero boom was just heating up, Raimi brought Spider-Man to theaters for the first time, and the film went on to become the highest-grossing film of the year, bringing in more than $400 million domestically. Maguire proved to be the perfect casting choice, and Willem Dafoe brought genuine menace to Norman Osborn, despite his silly Green Goblin mask. More than anything, longtime fans were so pleased to see how closely the film hewed to the character’s comic book depiction and the light but serious tone Raimi took in telling his story.
1. Spider-Man 2 (2004)
While the first Spider-Man established the character’s backstory and relationships, this sequel jumps right to the action. As it turns out, the responsibility of being a hero has taken an understandable toll on Peter’s personal life, and his inner conflict leads his powers to disappear. In addition to the character story at its heart, the film features the best villain of any Spider-Man film to date in Alfred Molina’s Doctor Octopus and some of the most breathtaking sequences in superhero cinema history (that subway scene!). Still one of the best comic book films ever made.
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