Mon. May 23rd, 2022


There was a time when fans of Spider-Man could only dream of seeing the webhead in action on the big screen, wishing his powers, origin and character being adapted with not just respect, but aplomb. Now, it’s 2022, and we’ve had three cinematic adaptations of Peter Parker, an Oscar-winning animated version, and a rapidly-expanding shared universe of supporting characters. So here we have it; the Spider-Verse movies ranked by JoBlo.

Morbius is finally about to debut in theaters – with its director already spoiling the movie on Twitter – it’s a perfect time to review the ongoing Spider-Verse, now that all the movies Sony have produced since 2002 are officially connected by way of multiverse (everybody’s favorite concept right now).

Included below are the Venom movies, all the Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield-fronted ventures, as well as Tom Holland’s solo Marvel Cinematic Universe offerings (Avengers appearances don’t count, for obvious reasons). Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse earns a seat at the table too, as it rightfully exists within the establish Sony multiverse of Spider-Man content. As ever, this is just our humble opinion, and your mileage may vary. Feel free to sound off in the comments with your own arbitrary rankings, and remember, it’s all just a bit of fun. Sling a web around that popcorn and let’s get stuck in!

11. Venom: Let There Be Carnage

The Venom sequel, oft-delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, finally took a bow in October of 2021 to middling reviews and 500 mil in worldwide box office receipts. 250 million less than the first Venom movie made, although the ongoing pandemic likely played a part in that decrease.

Fans were cautiously optimistic in the run-up to its release; the promise of seeing Carnage brought to life on-screen, played by Woody Harrelson – sans Sideshow Bob hair from the post-credits tag of Venom – as well as capable mocap auteur Andy Serkis behind the camera this time around made for a potentially potent mix.

Alas, Venom: Let There Be Carnage didn’t exactly light up the box office, nor inspire positive reviews from fans or critics. Ironically, Sony didn’t exactly let there be a lot of carnage with the film’s PG13 rating. Seeing as Cletus Kasady is a serial killer and his symbiote is even more violent than its host, having such a bloodless rampage neuters the character’s effectiveness.

Tom Hardy is clearly still having fun with his Venom double act, this time the relationship being more like a rom-com, weirdly. This kind of shtick has its fans and its detractors, but no one’s going to argue that Hardy wasn’t giving the role his all. Ultimately, Venom: Let There Be Carnage didn’t do enough to escalate or improve upon the first installment, which wasn’t exactly the best comic book movie to begin with – although it still feels more exciting and fresh than this. This puts Venom: Let There Be Carnage at the bottom of our list of Spider-Verse movies, ranked.

10. Venom

Edging just one spot above its sequel in our Spider-Verse movie rankings, Venom ain’t nothing to write home about. There’s fun to be had, in Tom Hardy’s madcap stylings and yet another kinda weird accent added to his repertoire (is he from Brooklyn? Is he from San Francisco? Who knows).

It was a bold move on Sony’s part, deciding to launch a standalone movie about one of Spider-Man’s greatest villains… with Spider-Man nowhere in sight. It’s understandable why Sony would attempt to launch new franchises in this way, considering they have the rights to adapt any of Spider-Man’s ancillary characters (no doubt, to Marvel Studios’ chagrin). Even though it’s a shameless cash grab from day one – let’s face it, any adaptations of existing IP always will be – Venom was still made by people looking to show us a good time.

Hardy benefits from Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland, Uncharted) behind the camera, and finds himself surrounded by the likes of Academy Award Nominee Michelle Williams and Academy Award Winner Riz Ahmed for the supporting cast. The result is a frenetic hodge-podge of a movie that weirdly feels like an early 00s comic book movie in all the best ways. Check out its 81% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes for confirmation of a good time.

9. The Amazing Spider-Man

Relaunching their flagship franchise a scant five years after Tobey Maguire’s trilogy closer Spider-Man 3, Andrew Garfield’s first foray in the red and blue pajamas didn’t quite make the splash Sony would’ve wanted. Tepid reviews and an equally lukewarm box office take – compared to Maguire’s movies at least – made for a rocky start.

Because Sam Raimi and Maguire’s Spider-Man 4 never quite got off the ground after a short time in pre-production, Sony were left scrambling to fill the void, clearly wanting to put some kind of Spider-Man movie out into the world. Cue a hip new vision, with (500) Days of Summer‘s Marc Webb (that’s still amusing after all this time) directing a reboot with British actor Andrew Garfield in the webs this time out. Emma Stone provided plucky verve as love interest Gwen Stacy, her off-screen romance with Garfield blossoming into some nice on-screen chemistry.

Sally Field and Martin Sheen gave a great Uncle Ben – even though the latter was made to dance around not-saying “With great power comes great responsibility”. Denis Leary also delivers a pitch-perfect Captain Stacy, offering the on-screen Spider-Man a worthy adaptation of the character and his final fate, per the source material.

The Amazing Spider-Man also finally brought the Lizard to the big screen, as played by Rhys Ifans, although sadly without the iconic crocodile-esque snout from the comics – making him look like one of those Koopa Troopas from the hellacious Super Mario Bros movie. Regardless, it was fun to see Spidey fight the dino-man, even if his arch goal was a little on the goofy side (let’s turn the whole city into lizards because, sure).

Taking a few cues from the Ultimate Spider-Man comics that were a huge hit in the early 00s, The Amazing Spider-Man is a fun new direction for the character, although had lofty shoes to fill with the departure of Raimi, Maguire and co. The wounds were likely a little fresh from not getting a fourth outing with John Malkovich as the Vulture and Dylan Baker finally turning into the Lizard – having been teased in the second and third Raimi movies.

Time has been kinder to The Amazing Spider-Man since Garfield has made a triumphant return to the role in Spider-Man: No Way Home, but it still remains the red-headed stepchild out of all the solo Spider-Man flicks.

8. Spider-Man 3

Sam Raimi himself is quoted as being “very unhappy” with Spider-Man 3, and many would join him in the assessment. An over-stuffed movie thanks to three villains – count ’em – as well as subplots where Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) has to deal with the effects of his own symbiote suit and failing relationship with Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst).

Raimi made compromises with the studio, who wanted to include fan-favorite character Venom in the trilogy closer, while the director wanted Sandman. You can pretty much tell in the final product that Raimi gave a lot of care and attention to Flint Marko/Sandman (Thomas Haden Church), while Eddie Brock/Venom felt a little tacked-on (and, to some, woefully miscast, although I think Topher Grace ably did as he was asked).

It’s fun seeing Maguire/Spidey cut loose in the iconic black symbiote suit, although it’s hard to forget the emo direction Peter Parker takes, with his bangs and douchey black three-piece suit trying to denote the character’s descent into assholery. The dancing alone is the reason Spider-Man 3 appears so far down the ranking, here.

Having rewatched Spider-Man 3 recently, the Harry Osborn thread is the most stirring element of the threequel, with Harry having found out Peter was Spider-Man at the end of the previous flick and still wanting his revenge for the death of his father. He goes from villain to amnesiac and back again, although caps the movie with a redemptive turn when he teams with Spider-Man in his Nu Goblin suit to save Mary Jane from Venom and Sandman in a climactic fight which still holds up to this day.

Points are lost for the Peter/Mary Jane/Gwen Stacy love triangle subplot, with Peter obnoxiously denying that the use of their upside-down Spider-Man kiss with Gwen Stacy could be anything other than perfectly reasonable behavior. He’s crappy to Mary Jane for pretty much the whole movie, for no other reason than the writers needed to drive a wedge between them. No wonder she started dancing to Chubby Checker with his best friend. For Mary Jane’s honor, Spider-Man 3 comes in at number 8 in this list of Spider-Verse movies, ranked.

7. The Amazing Spider-Man 2

A marked improvement over The Amazing Spider-Man, with Garfield settled into the role, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 still managed to suffer from the same malady that befell Spider-Man 3; too many villains.

Spider-Man: No Way Home eventually goes on to avoid these problems as the villains come fully-formed, all with a shared goal (for the most part), whereas Garfield’s one and only sequel has to set up Electro (Jamie Foxx), then introduce Harry (Dane DeHaan), then reinstall Harry and Peter’s friendship, then turn Harry into the Goblin, then have him find out Peter is Spider-Man etc etc. It’s a lot of heavy lifting, and the film suffers for it. Sony are also working overtime to try and set up their Sinister Six movie that never happened, for all the good that did.

Jamie Foxx’s all-blue version of Electro gains its inspiration from the Ultimate Spider-Man comics, as does Spider-Man’s new costume, with its giant eye lenses. The sequel is more colorful than the unusually drab and “gritty” vibe of the preceding chapter, and is all the better for it. The action scenes are more visually interesting thanks to Electro’s powers, although for the same reason The Amazing Spider-Man 2 sometimes devolves into looking a little like we’re watching someone play a video game.

TASM2 has the edge over the preceding chapter thanks to the emotional heft of its story; the death of Gwen Stacy is repeated fairly faithfully from the comics, in a shocking moment where Emma Stone’s neck bounces off the cement. We get a guilt-ridden Spider-Man neglecting his duties, only to be re-inspired to take up the mantle once more after rewatching Gwen’s touching graduation speech (that he missed). It’s the most affecting part of the movie and the reason that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 takes the number 7 spot on this list of Spider-Verse movies ranked.

6. Spider-Man: Far From Home

Probably the least invigorating of Tom Holland’s solo Spider-Man movies, although there are many who would argue that point with you (or me, rather), Spider-Man: Far From Home is by no means a bad movie, nor a bad sequel. It’s a crowded field, and the best things that Far From Home have going for it are ‘Spider-Man goes to Europe’ and Jake Gyllenhaal turning in yet another solid performance as the greatest depiction of Mysterio we could’ve hoped for (short of Bruce Campbell, that is).

While Far From Home gets a little mired in the MCU of it all, as he struggles to cope with the death of his mentor Tony Stark – as well as “the blip”, which saw a few billion people return from the dust of Infinity War. Regardless, we get an interesting spin on Hydro-Man and Sandman as “elementals” controlled by Mysterio, and there’s a fun callback to past MCU offerings with the bad guys being comprised of people screwed over by Stark Internatonal.

Spider-Man also gets his own “designing the suit” montage, set to Stark’s favorite song (Back in Black, natch), although some fans argue this tips Spidey a little too far into Iron Man territory, getting away from all the basics that make Spider-Man who he is. Fear not, as obviously that’s all been scaled back with the climax of No Way Home.

Spider-Man: Far From Home makes it to number six on our list of Spider-Verse movies ranked, thanks to the thrilling sequences where the webhead fully embraces his “Peter tingle” to escape Mysterio’s dastardly illusions. Again, while they came across as overly reminiscent of a video game, that was arguably the point, being how they’re composed of VFX holograms.

5. Spider-Man

The film that started it all, Spider-Man led the early 00s surge of superhero blockbusters that led us to the golden age we’re living in today. Sam Raimi spearheaded a flick that brought Spider-Man’s webslinging to life, with all the due care and attention paid to the beloved character’s origin and powers. Even the switch to organic webbing made more sense, when you think about it.

Spider-Man can feel dated upon a rewatch, with some of the CGI not aging terribly well and the Green Goblin’s motives being a little vague. He wants Spider-Man to join him because, reasons – what his goals were after said alliance, who knows (who cares?). Then he gets unreasonably upset when he says no.

Regardless, Willem Dafoe gave us one of the all-time great on-screen villains, and Tobey Maguire holds his own as the eternally earnest underdog, Peter Parker. Rosemary Harris gives great Aunt May, and James Franco and Kirsten Dunst were solid in their thankless Harry Osborn role.

Spider-Man started the franchise that many Spider-Man fans consider “their” Spider-Man; just like with James Bond, every generation is now starting to receive their own Spidey, and Millennials (and older) have fond memories of “the original” Spider-Man. The flick still holds up, and Tobey Maguire and co more than earn this number 5 spot on our list of Spider-Verse movies ranked.

4. Spider-Man: Homecoming

Spider-Man: Homecoming was the highly anticipated first solo Spider-Man outing prepared as a co-venture between Sony and Marvel Studios, bringing a Spider-Man headlining act into the Marvel Cinematic Universe for the first time. Fresh off of his introduction in Captain America: Civil War, Tom Holland’s Peter Parker is the youngest yet brought to the screen, and spending the entire trilogy in high school was a shrewd move.

Kicking off in Parker’s junior year, where his biggest problems are getting to grips with his new Spider-suit (provided by Tony Stark), wrestling with his responsibilities as a mathlete, as well as trying to win the affections of his crush, Liz Allen. Until Michael Keaton’s Vulture starts flying around selling alien tech on the black market, and Peter has to step up – sometimes haphazardly – to take down the bad guy.

In one of the film’s best sequences, the Vulture is revealed to be Liz’ dad, and the two have a tense tête-à-tête as the old birdman drops them off at the homecoming dance. Spider-Man: Homecoming has tension, heart, laughs, cameos and easter eggs galore, which combine to make it one of the superior Spider-Man movies that have been released.

Tom Holland’s solo debut capitalizes on his brief tease in Civil War, proving that his take on the character wasn’t a one-off moment of magic. He nails the Queens accent, and really effectively comes across as a teenaged Peter Parker still finding his feet. The moment where he’s buried under the rubble of a warehouse by the Vulture, left crying and pleading for help with no one to save him, is one of the best in the entire pantheon of Spidey movies. He finds his strength and finds his identity in that moment and we see him become Spider-Man before our eyes.

Homecoming might fall short without an on-screen origin for our hero, but at that point in 2017 we had already had two thanks to Maguire and Garfield’s renditions. Although this created confusion down the line, with it being unclear whether Holand-Peter had an Uncle Ben and whether he was responsible for his death, regardless, Parker’s in the tights and he does what he does because it’s the right thing to do. Spider-bite yadda yadda. Kudos for skipping it this go round.

3. Spider-Man 2

Even after 18 years, Spider-Man 2 still stands strong as one of the strongest superhero movies, period, regardless of its sequel status. A compelling central villain in the form of Doctor Octopus (Alfred Molina) helps keep the conflict grounded, as Doc Ock finds himself oddly compelled to complete his machine… that will basically swallow New York into a black hole.

Raimi gets to flex his horror muscles once more, with a bravura sequence where the good doctor’s tentacles spring to life in an operating theater as they’re about to be surgically removed from his body. The director even manages to squeeze in a nod to his Evil Dead movies, thanks to the appearance of a chainsaw (if you know, you know). And that’s not even considering Bruce Campbell’s cameo as a snooty usher determined to break Peter Parker down into tiny pieces for being late to a show.

Peter’s journey in Spider-Man 2 is a thrilling battle between his desire for a personal life with Mary Jane – where he constantly finds himself letting her down – and his responsibilities as Spider-Man. He even suffers an existential crisis that represses his powers for a time – the classic, ‘hero-loses-his-powers’ subplot that’s favored by so many superhero sequels. We even get a recreation of the classic comic book cover where Pete dumps his Spider-threads in a trashcan; it’s a great touch.

We get the fantastic J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson, once again firing on all cylinders, as well as some of the greatest superhero fight sequences ever put to celluloid; who can forget the infamous train scene, as Spidey and Ock tussle, before our hero is left fighting against his webs to restrain every last carriage from tipping into the Hudson? Spider-Man 2 doesn’t miss, and is only triumphed by the next two slots on our list of Spider-Verse movies ranked.

2. Spider-Man: No Way Home

A real ‘love letter’ to the entire live-action Spider-Man mythos and a fitting capstone to Holland’s trilogy. While Spider-Man: No Way Home sadly had many of its secrets spoiled earlier on, the on-screen reappearance of Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield still brought the house down across the world. The threequel was the biggest success story of our mid-pandemic years, to the tune of $1.89 billion dollars worldwide at the time of writing. Chump change it ain’t.

Weaving together a story that not only sees Peter Parker close out his teenage schooling years (although not quite with a G.E.D.) but set him squarely on a path to adulthood and responsibility heretofore unseen for Holland’s iteration of the character. Not only that, but there was time for hijinx with Doctor Strange, a melancholy (if – potentially – temporary) end to his relationships with MJ and Ned, the tragic death of Aunt May, the reappearance of five classic on-screen Spider-Man villains (one wonders why they didn’t just make it six and form the long-awaited Sinister Six) as well as the aforementioned reappearance of Maguire and Garfield. Phew!

Once again pulling ahead of DC (as they did with The Avengers back in the day, which preced Justice League by five years) with their upcoming multiversal fun in The Flash, Marvel Studios wisely and deftly incorporates the concept of the multiverse to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

As we all know by now – unless you’re part of the stone age tribe that lives on North Sentinel Island – No Way Home sees Peter f*ck up a spell designed to make everyone forget that he’s Spider-Man, instead pulling in people from across the multiverse who know he’s Spider-Man. That includes Doc Ock (Molina, back with 8 limbs and a de-aged face), Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe, ditto the face), the Lizard (Rhys Ifans, voice only apart from some re-utilized footage from TASM), Electro (Jamie Foxx, in human mode this time – and looking foine) and the Sandman (Thomas Haden Church, in similar appearance to Rhys Ifans). It’s a crowded movie, but everyone gets a moment to shine or crack wise.

Of course, the real crowd-pleasing moments comes from seeing Maguire, Garfield and Holland interact. Garfield gets some renewed respect, and the opportunity to save a Parker love interest – redeeming himself for Gwen’s death – in what is arguably the best moment of the movie (my crowd cheered, I’d be shocked if yours didn’t). Maguire gets to amusingly complain and call back to his back problems, and Holland displays the perfect amount of respect to both his newfound “brothers”. It’s a fist-pumpingly awesome moment to see them all swinging around together and working as a team, you’d have to have a heart of stone not to smile.

The movie’s heart comes from Aunt May, who manages to impart the all-important “Great Responsibility” motto before savagely kicking the bucket. By the end, everyone’s forgotten who Peter Parker is and it’s essentially ‘Peter Parker No More’. Garbed in vivid blue and red threads, it’s Spider-Man and his mission, swinging into the crisp Manhattan night. It’s a fantastic ending to a solid trilogy, as well as an exciting new beginning for the character, free of everything Avengers- or previous franchise-related, but cognizant of everything that’s molded him into who he needs to be. Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man. Spider-Man: No Way Home clinches the number 2 spot on our list of Spider-Verse movies ranked.

1. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

So why then does Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse nab the top spot away from such a spectacular live-action Spider-Man movie? It’s because it distills everything relatable and powerful about Spider-Man into one standalone flick; it doesn’t rely on prior building blocks to understand and appreciate it (although obviously, knowing who Spider-Man does help with appreciating some of the easter eggs and decisions the creators made).

Into the Spider-Verse remains the gold standard for Spider-Man movies. It distills everything pure about Spider-Man into one picture, gives the world its first big screen adaptation of Miles Morales’ story, and carefully doles out the kindhearted message that anyone can be Spider-Man. The costume “always fits… eventually”, after all. The idea that anyone can be behind the mask is a powerful one and Into the Spider-Verse communicates that beautifully in a sincere, heartfelt way.

Another multiverse story, this time the Kingpin’s scientific schemes bring parallel universes colliding on top of one another to bring separate versions of Spider-Man together to put the said multiverse right and send everybody home in one piece. No Way Home arguably took some of its finer story points directly from this movie – with some obvious tweaks – and Into the Spider-Verse deserves props for that. Of course, Into the Spider-Verse drew from a similar Spider-Man comics event from writer Dan Slott, making the circle well and truly complete.

The animators literally created a new animation style for this flick, and it comes through in every pixel on the screen. The voice cast is on point, featuring Shameik Moore (as Miles Morales), Jake Johnson (as the wonderfully schlubby Peter B. Parker), Hailee Steinfeld (as Spider-Gwen), Mahersha Ali (as Uncle Aaron/The Prowler), Bryan Tyree Henry (as Miles’ dad, Jefferson), Kathryn Hahn (as Doctor Octopus) and Liev Schreiber doing an awesome Kingpin. That’s not to forget the additional Spider-Men, with Nicolas Cage as Spider-Man Noir and John Mulaney as Spider-Ham (yup).

Into the Spider-Verse won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature, and raked in a respectable $375 million worldwide against a budget almost one quarter of that. No wonder we’re getting not one, but two sequels with Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse – Part One due in October of this year (2022). The sequel will be adding Oscar Isaac as Spider-Man 2099 and Issa Rae as Jessica Drew/Spider-Woman, and we should be in for more of the fun and gloriously gonzo animation the last installment brought us.

So there we have it; our list of Spider-Verse movies, ranked. Check back soon to see where Morbius fits into the rankings after its release this Thursday, April 1st!



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