by Ryan Pollard
With the currently acclaimed release of Spider-Man: Homecoming being felt around the world, it’s clear that the franchise has been reinvigorated in a brand new way. But where do these movies rank from worst to best? Well, look no further. Here are Vulture Hound’s top 6 Spider-Man movies to date.
- The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Marc Webb, 2014) – Not only the worst Spider-Man film, but also one of the worst comic book movies ever made. Inept and horribly structured, it was as if a drooling child hammer-cobbled this sorry excuse of a script together, and the tone was all over the place, from one non-sensical scene to the next. It didn’t know whether it wanted to be a romantic dramedy, a corporate thriller, or just a modern remake of Joel Schumacher’s infamous Batman & Robin. Even Jamie Foxx’s Electro started out like Jim Carrey’s Riddler from Batman Forever before turning into Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Mr Freeze. Oh, and don’t get me started on Paul Giamatti’s Rhino. You have to feel sorry for the talent involved seeing as this film just made them look silly – particularly Dane DeHaan’s Green Goblin who looks like a meth addict with face herpes! Thank God Sony scrapped their plans for future movies and spin-offs (involving two sequels, as well as a Sinister Six movie), in favour of partnering with Marvel.
- The Amazing Spider-Man (Marc Webb, 2012) – Instead of trying to reenergise Sam Raimi’s trilogy and attempt to make up for the mistakes of Spider-Man 3, Sony instead opted to go with a reboot that was essentially a remake, and a pretty bad one at that. Granted, this movie has its fair share of fans, yet it’s baffling to see why considering that this was just a poorly directed, poorly edited, poorly made movie with an ugly visual aesthetic – dull and drab colours instead of the traditional bright, primary colours that Spider-Man is recognised for having. This felt like a cash-grab film in order for Sony to hang onto the rights, and the story was particularly lazy with its average attempt at redoing the origin story, and for having a poor villain in the Lizard, who was one of the worst developed villains in the franchise. Even though he has his fans, Andrew Garfield’s take on Peter Parker felt too much like an emo punk, while Emma Stone was at least a likeable presence. In the end, both Marc Webb’s Amazing Spider-Man films felt like processed entities designed by committee to target specific demographics. Sounds very familiar to what Sony did with the recent Ghostbusters movie doesn’t it?
- Spider-Man 3 (Sam Raimi, 2007) – Yeah, pretty hard not to include what is considered by many to be one of the most disappointing movies of all time. Hell, it’s considered by some to be one of the worst comic book movies, as well as overall movies, of all time, which in retrospect is a tad too extreme. Sure, there are a lot of incredibly stupid elements thrown into what was already an overcrowded blender of plots and subplots – whether it’s emo Peter Parker dancing, having Topher Grace play Spidey’s ultimate archnemesis in Venom, or making Sandman the actual killer of Uncle Ben. However, it still has a lot of great scenes that are hard to ignore, like the birth of Sandman, the church tower sequence, Harry’s death and so on. But even then, this is ultimately a film that had too much to work with, and having Venom and the black suit storyline forced in by Avi Arad and the studio execs against Sam Raimi’s wishes didn’t help matters. In the end, this should’ve been a two-parter, or perhaps, Sam Raimi should’ve left the movie altogether and have someone come in with fresh eyes and ideas to boost this film and potential future installments. However, that’s not what happened…
- Spider-Man (Sam Raimi, 2002) – The first Spider-Man movie was an important milestone in cinema history since it was the film to kickstart what’s referred to now as “the superhero boom”. Granted Blade and X-Men both opened the doors a little bit, but Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man blew them wide open, and it’s still not hard to see why. Even though this was released in 2002, it still holds up extremely well by having elements that paid off spectacularly; from Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst’s great chemistry, Willem Dafoe’s insane performance as the Green Goblin (a well-told story that drew heavy inspiration timeless Spidey stories), and having memorable iconic moments that stayed with you – Mary Jane kissing Spider-Man upside down in the pouring rain is one of the most beautiful and weirdest sequences in superhero movie history. Sure, the Green Goblin’s outfit ended up being a huge missed opportunity, but even that wasn’t enough to spoil this corker of a film. This film demonstrated how cool superhero/comic-book movies can be and we probably wouldn’t have what’s referred to now as “the Golden Age of superhero movies” if not for this film.
- Spider-Man 2 (Sam Raimi, 2004) – Once again, Sam Raimi knocked it out of the park, by taking the risk of trying to expand the story set up in the first film and taking the characters forward, while also doing what most sequels fail to do, by outdoing the first movie instead of just copying it beat for beat. The relationship between Peter and Mary Jane is taken to emotional peaks, you have Peter torn between the man and the hero, and being pushed to the limits while choosing. He is put into conflict with his best friend Harry, and a new villain enters the fray with Doc Ock himself – Doctor Octopus, played with manic glee by Alfred Molina. Even the action sequences are taken to a whole new level, especially in the iconic train sequence that results in one of the best moments in superhero movie history of the train bystanders showing their gratitude to the wall-crawler by promising to keep his identity a secret and defending him from Doc Ock after he had just saved their lives. This film perfectly shows the morals and benefits of being a hero, as well as showing how there is a hero deep down in all of us, and that is true storytelling.
- Spider-Man: Homecoming (Jon Watts, 2017) – This was the riskiest Spider-Man movie to have been made to date. After the critical and commercial embarrassment of the two Amazing Spider-Man movies, Sony had to make up big time, and after the leaks in 2014, it did just that by partnering up with Marvel Studios to make the most faithful Spider-Man movie it can. This didn’t feel epic in scale, nor did it have a huge imposing force threatening the city (or bother to try and set up future movies and spin-offs). Instead, this tried to be a good movie that focused on what makes Spider-Man so beloved a character to begin with. We get to see the trials and tribulations of a young and inexperienced Peter Parker thrown into the deep end after his big introduction in Captain America: Civil War, by trying to stop his first major villain in the Vulture, while also juggling his personal life in high school. It starts off spectacularly and by the halfway point, it kicks into high-gear, resulting in a thoroughly enjoyable and hugely spectacular movie. Jon Watts nailed the tone and feel, drawing heavy influence from the works of John Hughes. Meanwhile, Tom Holland is the best actor to have played the wall-crawler to date, capturing both aspects of the character perfectly. Michael Keaton also proved to be the perfect foil as the slightly-unhinged Vulture. Having proved to be a popular hit, Spider-Man: Homecoming is my favourite Spider-Man movie to date; granted, Sam Raimi’s first two Spider-Man movies are the better films, but this proved to be the perfect adaptation that we all been waiting for.
So that’s my list, but what did you think? What are your favourite Spider-Man movies and why? Let us know in the comments below.