Throughout 20 years of web-slinging, rebooting, reversals of fortune, immersions into the Marvel Cinematic Universe and sporadic reappearances by the Spidey-hating J. Jonah Jameson, the “Spider-Man” movie franchise has been wildly inconsistent, but remarkably indestructible. “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse,” the most recent episode, a follow-up to the Oscar-winning animated function “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” (2018), seemingly will delight many long-time Spidey followers with its mythos-expanding plotting, quicksilver universe shuffling, considerable Easter Eggs, wide-ranging inclusivity, and audaciously variegated visuals — even when it completely confuses, if not actively annoys, newbies unfamiliar with the trivialities of what somebody right here aptly refers to as “the canon.”
Naturally, the Spider Dude additionally continues to draw legions of the devoted to animated TV sequence and direct-to-video product, all-star MCU group gatherings — and, sure, the comedian books that began all of it. But the ten theatrical options — motion pictures during which Spider-Man is the star, not an ensemble participant — are our focus right here on this revised least-to-best rating.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)
The longest (till “Spider-Man: No Way Home”) and least of the Spidey motion pictures is a ponderously overstuffed misfire solely partially redeemed by the chemistry generated between Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. Having discovered nothing from the debacle of “Batman and Robin” (1997), the filmmakers cram no fewer than three traditional comedian e-book villains — Electro, a reimagined Green Goblin and, fleetingly, Rhino — right into a padded narrative, demonstrating as soon as once more that, sure, extra will be much less. Originally supposed because the gateway to an prolonged universe of Spidey sagas, full with Sinister Six spin-offs, “Amazing 2” as an alternative led to a second franchise reboot.
Spider-Man 3 (2007)
If you watch all three of director Sam Raimi’s Spidey motion pictures back-to-back, it’s spectacular to see how easily every flows into the subsequent. Alas, the circulate was stemmed pretty early on this disappointing threequel, as Tobey Maguire’s moody web-slinger wobbled between smug swagger and vengeful wrath whereas battling an indifferently conceived supervillain (Thomas Haden Church’s underwhelming Sandman) and his personal Venom-fueled darkish facet. Even some diehard Spider-fans couldn’t assist guffawing whereas the “Bad” Peter Parker tried to strut and smooth-move like somebody affected by “Saturday Night Fever.” Others might solely surprise: Does being bitten by a radioactive spider actually flip you right into a grandstanding jazz pianist?
The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
Fairly or not, Andrew Garfield seemingly might be recalled because the George Lazenby of the Spider-Man motion pictures, given his comparatively quick stint because the second star of the franchise. (Spoiler Alert: He ultimately will get some large laughs with a couple of wink-wink, nudge-nudge allusions to his standing within the Spidey-Verse.) But give him due credit score: Garfield strikes the precise steadiness of callowness and cockiness all through the “origin story” of this reboot, and he’s downright charming as director Marc Webb (“500 Days of Summer”) dramatizes the primary blush of romance between nerdy Peter Parker and Emma Stone’s equally brainy however intimidatingly enticing Gwen Stacy. (A pleasant contact: Gwen is the marginally higher science scholar.) On the debit facet: The conspiratorial subplot involving Peter’s deceased scientist father is a superb deal lower than totally baked, and the villain of the piece (The Lizard, performed by Rhys Ifans whereas in human type) is just too clearly a CGI assemble.
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (2023)
Call it an excessive amount of of a superb factor and also you received’t be far off the mark. The second animated “Spider-Man” function focuses on neophyte Spidey Miles Morales, barely older and marginally wiser than he was in “Into the Spider-Verse,” but additionally provides near-equal time to his sweetie, the equally arachnid-enhanced Gwen Stacy, a.ok.a. Spider-Woman — and provides to the combination a veritable military of distinctive Spider-People, who every do derring-do of their particular person corners of the multiverse after they’re not banded collectively in a Spider Society designed to take care of borders and discourage interlopers. Trouble is, the start-and-stop pacing required to accommodate so many new people makes for a bumpy trip, as turbo-charged motion sequences that usually recall the framing and flamboyance of the unique comics are interspersed with buzz-killing stretches of backstory spinning and meandering character growth. Worse, this sporadically spectacular however discomfortingly overstuffed extravaganza concludes with a openly shameless “To Be Continued” cliffhanger that might very nicely encourage members of the viewers to shout impolite issues on the display screen.
Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)
In a post-“Avengers: Endgame” world, Peter Parker should press on with out the mentorship of a now-deceased Tony Stark — however with the high-tech assets of Stark Enterprises (represented by Jon Favreau’s Happy Hogan) and the gruff encouragement of S.H.I.E.L.D. honcho Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). Unfortunately, whereas there may be ample pleasure to be savored throughout this follow-up to “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” a dandy villain in Jake Gyllenhaal’s
Mysterio, and with some charming give-and-take between Tom Holland’s Spidey/Parker and Zendaya’s MJ Jones, the film continues the MCU pattern of steadily remodeling Spider-Man from a solo tremendous hero who depends on his personal grit and brains to defeat unhealthy guys to an under-achieving group participant who should don an Iron-Manly outfit earlier than he can battle the nice battle. For all its appreciable deserves, this can be the primary Spider-Man movie that may enchantment extra to relative newbies than long-time followers of the unique Marvel Comics. On the opposite hand, it’s amusing to see on the finish that J. Jonah Jameson (J.Ok. Simmons), merely an anti-Spidey newspaper editor in earlier movies, has been successfully reconstituted as a ranting-and-raving multimedia Spidey hater.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
Winner of the Academy Award for Animated Feature, this dramatically and visually exhilarating Spidey journey is directly respectfully devoted to its comic-book roots — with a wink-wink right here and there, after all — and exuberantly free-wheeling in its incorporation of different pop-culture influences each multifaceted and multicultural. The underlying conceit: Each parallel universe will get the Spider-Man it deserves and wishes. (Obviously, radioactive spiders are a continuing all over the place.) So when there’s a passing of the masks from veteran web-slinger Peter Parker to keen novice Miles Morales in our world, he’s in a position to attract on the help of such other-worldly Spideys as a hardboiled Spider-Man Noir (voiced by Nicolas Cage) and an out-of-shape however game-for-action Peter B. Parker (Jake Johnson). It is supposed as excessive reward to say the screenplay credited to Phil Lord and Rodney Rothman would have labored simply as nicely in a live-action movie.
Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
The inventive people behind the second franchise reboot rating factors for eschewing a standard “origin story” — clearly, they figured everybody who buys a ticket to a Spider-Man film already is aware of how the dude received his tremendous powers. (And those that didn’t certainly have been introduced in control when Spidey cameoed in 2016’s “Captain America: Civil War.”) Better nonetheless, they audaciously jumpstart the running-on-fumes film mythos by re-imagining the person behind the masks as a boy — particularly, an eager-but-awkward 15-year-old Peter Parker (Tom Holland) who has rather a lot to be taught from Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) with regards to doing derring-do. But wait, there’s extra: Michael Keaton earns a spot of honor within the pantheon of Spidey villains by successfully enjoying The Vulture as a fortuitously empowered blue-collar sort raging with class resentment directed at one-percenters like, nicely, Tony Stark.
Spider-Man 2 (2004)
Director Sam Raimi and Original Gangsta Spidey Tobey Maguire made lightning strike a second time of their first sequel to the groundbreaking 2002 franchise kickoff. Although it could be troublesome to understand now, after the large growth of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this movie’s canny mixture of super-heroics, human drama and (by then-contemporary requirements) cutting-edge particular results nonetheless had novelty worth going for it when “Spider-Man 2” first hit theaters. And the passing of time has accomplished nothing to decrease the leisure worth of Maguire’s partaking portrait of the superhero as a fallible younger man. (Even extra fallible right here after a brief, psychosomatic energy loss.) Co-star Kirsten Dunst (Mary Jane Watson), James Franco (Harry Osborn), and Rosemary Harris (Aunt May), together with comic-reliever J.Ok. Simmons (J. Jonah Jameson), remind us simply how completely forged they have been within the earlier film. And Alfred Molina triumphantly upstages the CGI trickery employed to boost his character because the demented Dr. Octopus, arguably the best villain in the complete Spidey franchise.
Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)
It’s virtually not possible with out spilling scads of spoilers to totally clarify why this third Spidey movie that includes Tom Holland because the resourceful teen webslinger is so excitingly entertaining, emotionally affecting and abundantly satisfying for each relative newcomers to the Marvel Cinematic Universe — together with those that know comparatively little in regards to the pleasant neighborhood hero previous to 2002’s “Spider-Man” — and people of us who’ve been Spidey followers as far again the primary challenge of “The Amazing Spider-Man,” whereby a cash-poor Spidey broke into the Baxter Building within the hope of auditioning for a high-paying gig with the Fantastic Four. (No, I’m not making that up.) Suffice it to say that director John Watts and scripters Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers cleverly pattern and scramble many components — together with heroes and villains — from earlier episodes within the franchise whereas establishing the cinematic equal of a legendary entertainer’s “Greatest Hits” LP, an impressed mashup technique that stands in marked distinction to the maladroit inclusivity of “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.” (A pleasant contact: J.Ok. Simmons’ Spidey-hating J. Jonah Jameson lives right down to expectations by going full Alex Jones right here.) But wait, there’s extra: They additionally ingeniously convey the character — and the franchise — again to Ground Zero, evoking a time when Spidey couldn’t depend on help from mentors like Iron Man or Dr. Strange, and even needed to sew his personal Spidey swimsuit.
Much like a primary kiss (or, on this case, an upside-down smooch) at all times appears the sweetest, the primary “Spider-Man” film stays essentially the most purely pleasant film within the franchise. Indeed, there’s one thing not solely not like an air of innocence wafting about the complete enterprise as Tobey Maguire miraculously obtains, initially misuses, and in the end focuses his superpowers, all of the whereas pining for (and, briefly, successful) the seemingly not possible object of his want, Kirsten Dunst’s girl-next-door Mary Jane Watson. A couple of diehard Marvel Comics followers quibbled about some evocations of creative license — on the earth in keeping with director Sam Raimi and scripter David Koepp, Spidey’s net is pure fiber, not artificial additive — however “Spider-Man” as an entire proved largely devoted to its supply materials, significantly in its repeated questioning of whether or not the hero would possibly ever catch a break. And that contributed generously to its large success. Pay no heed to the nitpickers who would possibly complain that the once-awesome particular results now seem a tad dated. The solely factor nonetheless price debating is: Did Willem Dafoe truly intend to sound a lot like Gilbert Gottfried whereas enjoying the villainous Green Goblin?