Spider-Man movies ranked: which is the webslinger's best film?

Spider-Man movies ranked - No Way Home
(Image credit: Sony Pictures / Marvel Studios)

This is where you'll find our list of the best Spider-Man movies, ranked from worst to best. Spider-Man: No Way Home released in cinemas last year, bringing the total in the franchise to nine and adding an excellent addition to the collection that was widely praised by audience and critics alike.

It was Tobey Maguire who first took on the iconic role of Spider-Man in 2002, followed by Andrew Garfield and lastly Tom Holland. But where do the stars fit into our list of Spider-Man movies, ranked? It's important to note we have only included Marvel character's standalone adventures, and not any team-up missions. So don't go looking for Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War or Avengers: Endgame below.

When Spider-Man: No Way Home (the final Marvel Phase 4 project of 2021) came out, the TechRadar team voted on which are the best Spider-Man movies. The last and first place movies were almost unanimous, but titles were trickier to place in the middle. With Spider-Man 4 some way off (it's rumoured for 2024), this list is unlikely to change for some time – however much you disagree with our choices.

If you want to know how Holland's Spider-Man films fit into the MCU, head to our guide on how to watch the Marvel movies in order. Otherwise, read on for our Spider-Man movies ranked list and see if you agree with where we've placed them.

Spider-Man movies, ranked

9. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a messy follow-up to the Andrew Garfield-starring 2012 movie. It's a scattered film with an unsatisfying plot, and it actually could've benefitted from a more pared-down approach like its predecessor.

It's not short on villains, packing in Electro (Jamie Foxx), the Green Goblin (Dane DeHaan) and, to a lesser extent, the Rhino (Paul Giamatti), but none of them really stand out. Additionally, it was also a mistake for the film to try and re-tread the ground of Peter Parker and Harry Osborn's friendship – something explored so comprehensively in Sam Raimi's beloved trilogy. 

Given what came before, the two Amazing Spider-Man movies feel inessential, and the running plot thread in these two films about what happened to Peter's parents feels weirdly off-brand – not to mention boring for a Spider-Man story. 

Still, Garfield's excellent portrayal of the wallcrawler deserved a better final movie than this. The chemistry he shared with Emma Stone's Gwen Stacy was the highlight of this duology and, save for Garfield's crowd-pleasing return in no Way Home, it's a slight disappointment that his Spider-Man movies weren't as good as what came before or after them.

8. Spider-Man 3 (2007)

Spider-Man 3's issues are well-documented. The laughable (but meme-worthy) dancing, the overload of villains, and the film's messy structure ensured that the final instalment in Maguire and Raimi's webhead trilogy ended it on a sour note.

The film isn't a total write-off, but it lacks the strong characterization of the first two movies, which focused on a single villain with a believable motivation, and made Peter Parker's personal life fit around that to interesting dramatic effect. 

Instead, Tobey Maguire's Parker is (deliberately) harder to like, and the introduction of Venom to the series was a bit botched. It feels like a film that had too many cooks behind-the-scenes, and seemed to be the nail in the proverbial coffin for this film series overall (a fourth movie had been in the works before Raimi departed it in 2010).

Still, given how The Amazing Spider-Man movies turned out, we can't help but wish Raimi had one more roll of the dice to get Spidey back on track with a fourth movie. What If, hey?

7. The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

A perfectly fine reboot of the Spidey series saw Garfield assume the mantle of Peter Parker and convincingly bring his own vibe to the webslinger. 

Unfortunately, the movie itself lacked a fundamentally different and interesting creative angle to the Raimi movies, and only seemed to exist at all because Sony Pictures felt that a reboot was necessary. It wasn't, in our view, but money talks.

Rhys Ifans made for a decent enough villain as Curt Connors, aka the Lizard, and Garfield and Stone's on-screen relationship fizzes and sparkles with energy. The world just didn't really need The Amazing Spider-Man, though, and the end result showed. And the less said about turning Parker into a skateboarding, semi-popular kid, the better.

6. Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)

Spider-Man: Far From Home was the perfect post-Avengers: Endgame tonic. Peter Parker (Tom Holland) takes a school trip to Venice and tries to win the heart of MJ (Zendaya) – albeit in the deeply sanitized and un-horny way we've come to expect from the MCU.

Along the way he encounters Quintin Beck, better known as Mysterio, who (spoilers!) is essentially a con artist masquerading as a superhero, and who has an axe to grind with Tony Stark. Yep, another villain who owes their existence to the now-deceased Iron Man. Still, Mysterio is brought to life with real gusto by a fun Jake Gyllenhaal, and it's a pity that he's killed off by the film's finale.

While the way Mysterio is introduced as a hero works really well, Far From Home definitely lacks the impact of the Raimi movies on an emotional level. It treads a lot of the ground that its predecessor – Spider-Man: Homecoming – did, too, which isn't what you want from a sequel that's supposed to build on what came before.

That said, the ending reveal, which features JK Simmons reprising his role as J Jonah Jameson from the Raimi films was a big surprise to many, and set up the events of No Way Home nicely.

5. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

The MCU's Spider-Man made an strong debut in Captain America: Civil War as Stark's thankless protégé, tasked with fighting a bunch of rogue Avengers in Leipzig airport, Germany. 

As a follow-up film to Civil War's events, Homecoming definitely brings the best out of Holland's Marty McFly-esque Peter Parker, and actually explores what student life is like for Spidey, which the previous movie series didn't lean into as heavily. It's also fun to explore Holland's Parker and Jacob Batalon's Ned Leeds' friendship, which hasn't been examined in live-action before the 2017 flick, either.

Michael Keaton's Vulture is a pretty solid villain with an interesting working class edge and the subject of a great twist. The brief appearances from Robert Downey Jr's Tony Stark, too, help to root Homecoming in the MCU further. This flick does feel a bit safe overall but, given the poor critical reception to The Amazing Spider-Man franchise, playing it safe wasn't necessarily a bad thing.

4. Spider-Man (2002)

Fox's 2000 X-Men movie came first and set the stage for the superhero boom in the early 2000s, but 2002' Spider-Man felt like the real start of how the genre has established itself in the mainstream over the last two decades. 

Raimi's first film set a template of putting the hero's personal life at the center of the story, with the superhero action growing out of that. Almost every MCU movie has followed a similar format since so, while 2002's Spider-Man isn't a part of that (well, it technically is now, thanks to No Way Home), it pioneered the formula that has made the MCU the cinematic juggernaut that it is today.

Tobey Maguire's affable Spidey was spot-on casting and, while Willem Dafoe is often mocked for a touch of overacting as Norman Osborn's Green Goblin, everything about this film felt right. It makes for a highly enjoyable rewatch almost two decades later, and will always feel like the primary on-screen version of Spidey to a certain generation. 

3. Spider-Man: No Way Home

A demasked Peter Parker in Spider-Man: No Way Home

(Image credit: Sony Pictures/Marvel Entertainment)

It may be the second of two Spider-Man multiverse movies to arrive in theaters (and it's not as good as the other one, which we'll get to), but No Way Home is certainly the strongest of the Tom Holland wallcrawler era.

Holland revels in his funnier and slightly darker take on Spider-Man, utilizing his full range of emotions to deliver an extremely poignant, comical and moving performance in what may be his final outing as the iconic hero. The return of multiple Spidey villains in Dafoe's Green Goblin, Alfred Molina's Doc Ock, Jamie Foxx's Electro, Rhys Ifans' Lizard and Thomas Hayden Church's Sandman may have led to No Way Home befalling a similar fate as The Amazing Spider-Man 2. But, here, they're all given ample time to flex their muscles and feel necessary to No Way Home's plot.

No Way Home is an action-packed, humorous and emotional gut-punch of a movie that arguably wouldn't be in our top three even if Holland was the only Spider-Man on screen. But, with Maguire and Garfield reprising their roles as the beloved superhero – a decision that proves to be more than just pure fan service as it gives both Spider-Men some much needed closure to their own turns as the webhead – No Way Home catapults itself into our hearts and into third place on our list. 

A truly breath taking film that'll have Spider-Man fans cheering wildly, laughing uncontrollably, and even shedding a tear or two.

2. Spider-Man 2 (2004)

Raimi's dual focus on Peter Parker's personal and superhero lives is perfected in one of the best superhero movies of all-time in this 2004 sequel.

Alfred Molina's Doc Ock is a brilliantly-conceived, tragic villain – a scientist with good intentions, who ends up terrorizing New York after his wife is killed in an accident, and his brain is warped by a chip that alters his behavior. And yep, he has robot arms, which must have been a nightmare for Molina to work with but, ultimately, brought Doc Ock to life on the big screen in an identical way to how he's portrayed in the comics.

Meanwhile, Spider-Man 2 explores the idea of Parker stepping away from the limelight of being Spidey when it all gets a bit too much, which is lifted from the famous 'Spider-Man: No More!' story in the comics. The film also features numerous great set pieces – most memorably Spider-Man's efforts to stop a runaway train by firing as many webs off as possible in order to stop it after a pulsating one-on-one fight with Doc Ock. 

This is probably as good as live-action Spidey movies will ever get, but No Way Home certainly gave it a run for its money.

1. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)

As well as being one of the nicest-looking animated films ever made – that animated comic book aesthetic is right on the money – Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a funny, inventive and well-written crossover movie of multiple Spider-folk. 

Here, this universe's version of Peter Parker dies at the hands of the Kingpin, and young student Miles Morales steps up to replace the iconic webslinger.

Except he's not alone. Miles is soon joined by another universe's slightly less perfect, dadbod-bearing Peter Parker, and other Spider-heroes from across different realities, including Gwen Stacy's Spider-Woman, Spider-Ham, Peni Parker, and Spider-Man Noir. The quintet, though, need to get back to their realities or they'll die in Miles' world (they can't survive in another hero's dimension), so the group team up to take Kingpin's Super Collider project down so they can return home. 

Not only is this a great, ambitious sci-fi spin on a superhero team-up movie, it's incredibly heartfelt, with terrific characterization across the board. It's one of the best animated movies ever made, and set the stage for No Way Home (and the Marvel Cinematic Multiverse in general). If that doesn't make it the best Spider-Man movie of all-time, we don't know what will.

If you'd like more Spider-Man content, you can find out all we know about Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse Part One.

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