Spider-Man Movies, Ranked from Least to Most Fun

    From the so good to the so-bad-they're-good, and everything in between.

    Summertime has come to mean “superhero blockbuster season,” and this year is no exception. Wonder Woman made her triumphant big-screen debut in early June, and on July 7th,Tom Holland will swing into theaters in his first solo title in the role of Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Homecoming.


    Holland’s not the first to step into Peter Parker’s shoes: Homecoming will be the sixth live-action Spider-Man film in fifteen years, following a trilogy of films starring Tobey Maguire and a duology starring Andrew Garfield.


    As someone who sat in the theater 15 years ago to watch Spider-Man swing through New York, I have a soft spot for the movies that brought one of my favorite superheroes to life. Get pumped for Homecoming by watching all of the previous live-action Peter Parker movies, listed here in order from the least fun to the most fun. Got a quibble with our rankings? Let us know in the comments!

    The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)

    Spider-Man movies The Amazing Spider-Man Andrew Garfield
    Photo Credit: Sony

    If you’re into Peter’s Rogues Gallery, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is probably your go-to. Featuring not one but three classic series villains, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 packs a lot of villainous punch into two hours of film. Green Goblin, Rhino, and Electro all appear in the film, which follows Peter after his high school graduation.

    This Andrew Garfield-starring sequel is chock-full of plots and characters, and it’s a bit difficult to follow for those who aren’t already familiar with the Spiderverse, but great fun for those who are. It would probably rank higher on our list if the ending wasn’t, uh, kind of a mood-killer.

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    Spider-Man (2002)

    Spider-Man movies Spider-Man 2002 Tobey Maguire Kirsten Dunst
    Photo Credit: Columbia

    The first of the live-action feature films in the franchise, Spider-Man is a true introduction to Peter Parker. The plot follows his origin story, as dorky teenager Peter is transformed into a superhero after a radioactive spider bites him. Peter then goes on to battle the classic Spidey villain Green Goblin. Spider-Man also introduces the most well-known of Peter Parker’s love interests, Mary Jane Watson.

    This film has the added bonus of the Chad Kroeger song “Hero” as part of its awesome soundtrack, which will definitely make you feel like you can flip a car with your bare hands. Except you probably can’t. Please don’t try this at home.

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    The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

    Spider-Man movies The Amazing Spider-Man
    Photo Credit: Sony

    The 2010s kicked off with a new live-action film series starring Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker. Like the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man, The Amazing Spider-Man tells the story of Peter’s radioactive spider origins, though unlike the 2002 version, the movie's villain is the Lizard and the love interest is Gwen Stacy.

    Along with millions of others, I fell in love with the Spider-Man franchise because of the sheer fun that Peter Parker’s character brings to the series. It filled me with a sense of freedom and wonder to watch him swing through the streets of New York for the first time on a silver screen in 2002, and 2012's The Amazing Spider-Man also allows audiences to experience the thrill of Peter's acrobatic web-slinging. 

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    Spider-Man 3 (2007)

    spider-man-movies-spider-man-3_bryce-dallas-howard-topher-grace
    Photo Credit: Columbia

    The last of the Tobey Maguire movies features the classic villain Sandman, as well as the symbiote that eventually becomes the villain Venom. While things are generally going pretty well for Peter, the influence of the symbiote alters his personality, bringing out a “Dark Peter” who alienates the people around him.

    Spider-Man 3 is the most hilarious Spider-Man movie ever made, and I’ll fight anyone who tries to tell me otherwise. While I’m told it’s not supposed to be hilarious, the film is great for pure entertainment purposes. I mean, this is the movie with the amazing 'Emo Peter' montage. It doesn’t really get more fun than that.

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    Spider-Man 2 (2004)

    Spider-Man movies Spider-Man 2 2004
    Photo Credit: Columbia

    Spider-Man has a ton of classic villains, but my personal favorite has always been Doctor Octopus, who makes an appearance in the 2004 film starring Tobey Maguire. (This movie has both urban web-swinging and weird prehensile arms. Hard to resist.) Spider-Man 2 does a nice job showcasing the relationship between Peter and Aunt May, who’s one of my absolute favorite characters in the franchise. 

    It’s also a fan and critic favorite: Spider-Man 2 has the highest rating on Rotten Tomatoes out of all the Tobey Maguire Spidey films and also far outranks both of the Andrew Garfield films on the aggregate as well.

    Like its prequel, Spider-Man 2 came with a fantastic soundtrack, and an entire album was released containing music from as well as inspired by the movie, which includes the Dashboard Confessional hit “Vindicated.” I recommend Yellowcard’s “Gifts and Curses,” myself. Bonus points for running through the house in your Spider-Man T-shirt while singing along.

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    Each of the Spider-Man films has its own charms, and Spider-Man: Homecoming looks like it’s going to be an absolute blast to watch in theaters. Before you head out to see Homecoming, definitely give the older films a rewatch! 

    Which of the live-action Spider-Man films is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!

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    Featured still via Columbia Pictures; Additional stills: Sony; Columbia Pictures; Sony; Columbia Pictures; Columbia Pictures  

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