My Top-5 Spider-Man Films
Just recently saw Spider-Man: Homecoming, so again, I felt it was appropriate to load up another Top-5 on the various cinematic adaptions of the lovable web-head. Without further ado, here are my five favourite Spidey films.
Even though Tobey Maguire was easily my favourite Spider-Man actor and despite the fact how I feel Amazing Spider-Man repeated a few of the mistakes of the first Raimi instalment (which is not on the list and you can read here why), I would still hazard to say that it’s still at least a serviceable Spider-Man film.
My number-1 gripe with this movie is that, just as the Raimi Spider-Man, half of the movie is nothing but origin story. To its credit, the film goes about it a different way, tying the story in with the story of Parker’s parents, showing him create his web-shooters and inevitably never finding Uncle Ben’s killer. All interesting moves. The teen drama in this film is still weak, but Pete and Gwen Stacey’s relationship is still pretty alright.
Also, the Lizard was still a pretty solid villain, even if his ultimate master plan is more than a little silly. The Amazing Spider-Man at least has great comic book action (including one of the best Stan Lee cameos ever) to justify its otherwise rather cookie-cutter comic book film vibe.
It’s not perfect and there is a lot to nit-pick (Andrew Garfield’s performance in particular), but it’s still over-all quite enjoyable.
The second appearance by the MCU Spider-Man and his first stand-alone (not) feature. Homecoming shows us a much younger Spider-Man, giving the film a much stronger teen-comedy vibe than any prior cinematic version of the character. This is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, the strong comedic approach does help the film gain its own identity to a degree and definitely helps make the film more relatable for those people who are maybe not overly familiar with the comic-book. The comedy is a mixed bag, but occasionally the jokes were great.
In the action department, the movie is a little messy but the Vulture was a great villain and the film does a good job in portraying Peter’s troubles. I think the movie tries a little too hard to be funny sometimes, but there is certainly a lot of entertainment factor, so there’s no complaints there. I also think Spidey gets to lay down some awesome funny lines which luckily supplements (but doesn’t fully make up for) the lack of Spidey’s inner monologue in the cinematic interpretations.
My biggest gripe with the film, and one that leads to its biggest sin, is that the film is set in the MCU and that so much ado is made of Spidey obsessing over his membership in the Avengers. Unless you’ve seen the prior MCU films, this whole part of the story is meaningless. But like I said, the movie manages to strike on its own with the story enough which unfortunately does also drag out its running time.
However, at least it’s not just Spidey’s origin story again, which is a relief and lands it firmly above the first Raimi and Amazing Spider-Mans.
The second film in the unfortunately cancelled Amazing-series, sees Peter and Gwen’s relationship tested, him encountering Electro and having to come to grips with his thorny relationship with Harry Osborne. Right out the gates, Amazing Spider-Man 2 improves immensely over its predecessor with more comedy and more recognisable Spidey characters making the scene.
My biggest gripe for this movie is ironically the same as with Homecoming, that the movie is a little bit long and partly because of Peter and Gwen’s awkward romance (albeit it also leads to some of the best scenes in the movie). The past of Peter’s parents also gets some interesting colour to it and I have to admit that Jamie Foxx’s Electro (despite being a huge departure from the comics) is pretty fucking epic.
Some might feel that the movie crammed too much Spider-lore into one film, but frankly, that’s why it feels so nice and fresh for me. The comedy is way better, Andrew Garfield’s acting is much better, the action-scenes are awesome and there’s more references than you can swing a web at.
It’s sad that the movie teases pretty much everything from the Black Cat’s day-time alter ego to the Sinister Six, because unfortunately the sequel never materialised. This is a Spidey film I think people have overlooked unfairly.
Peter Parker meet his scientific icon, Dr. Octavius, he becomes fused with mechanical tentacles, Harry Osborne discovers Spider-Man’s identity and Spidey loses faith and his powers in one fell swoop. What doesn’t happen in the second Raimi instalment?
This movie just improves leaps and bounds over the drawn out, boring and, at times, super tacky first Raimi entry by pitting Spidey against my favourite Spider-Man villain, building the characters and individuals way more and by giving us some really solid Spider-Man action. The first Doc Oc vs. Spider-Man scene is just brilliant in all its crazy comic book glory.
Spider-Man 2’s one and only weakness is unfortunately one it inherited from the first film, which is the lack of Spider-Man’s inner monologue. Unfortunately, with Raimi’s scene building this occasionally leads to some really dull and drawn out moments in the middle of the film which I’ve never been a big fan of.
Still, the movie gets so much right that its position as most people’s favourite Spider-Man film is more than justified. And hell, watching the film for Alfred Molina’s brilliant performance alone is worth the price of admission alone.
Now, just as with The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (and my apologies for repeating the same shit), Spidey 3 gets frequently and universally criticised for cramming too much Spider-Lore into one movie. My rebuttal to this however is, why is any of that bad thing? Spider-Man is single-handedly Marvel’s best super-hero title alongside the X-Men, so I don’t mind at all being drenched in Spider goodness.
We have Harry Osborne picking up the Green Goblin mantle (sans terrible mask), the Sand-Man tearing shit up and even Venom gets a pretty kickass extended cameo towards the end. Yes, it would have been cooler to have Venom in the movie more, but that’s just how the chips land. Maybe he’ll get another shot with the MCU Spidey, but honestly, I was still happy with this brief appearance.
Also, Peter’s turn to the dark-side thanks to the symbiote doesn’t get nearly as much recognition as I think it deserves. Raimi could have made gloomy and dull, but instead he made it snazzy, quirky and funny like he always does. Again, why is that a bad thing?
So if you want to get with that Spider goodness, Spider-Man 3 has the most concentrated shot of it.