Only 19 years have elapsed since Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man premiered, but this month we’ll see the ninth feature film devoted to the web-slinger, not counting his other MCU appearances.
We’ve had Tobey Maguire’s mild-mannered outcast, smooth operator Andrew Garfield and the adorkable Tom Holland. The Spider-Verse was packed to the brim with Miles Morales, Peni Parker, Peter Porker and Nicolas Cage’s velvet-voiced Spider-Man Noir. Sure, not every film has been a classic. But have any of the Spidey films since 2002 been bad?
Several of these count among the greatest superhero films ever made. Into The Spider-Verse’s leap of faith, the upside-down kiss, the terrifying car ride to the prom and any scene with Otto Octavius are sequences burned into our collective cultural consciousness.
True, there’s been some baggy stuff in between. Why The Amazing Spider-Man felt we needed to watch Uncle Ben die again is one of life’s great mysteries. The worst is the tendency to overstuff the movies with villains. Although the Sandman’s creation was stunning, the inclusion of the New Goblin and Venom in Spider-Man 3 left the characters with little room to breathe.
This was even more egregious in Garfield’s final outing: Electro, Harry and Rhino barely got a look in, while Peter Parker was busy solving the mystery of his parents’ deaths while trying to win back Gwen Stacy.
Spider-Man films can overindulge at times, but be outright bad? Never. Despite a dodgy CGI Lizard, there is electrifying chemistry between Emma Stone and Garfield. While Maguire’s dancing may make you cringe, the stillness where he forgives Flint Marko for murdering his uncle is a powerful conclusion.
And while people rolled their eyes at the news of Holland as yet another Peter, his films have been a refreshing addition to the MCU, with smaller stakes and a tangible human cost.
As for Into The Spider-Verse, there’s nothing to criticise; the film is perfect. The Spider-Man films have never lost sight of the man behind the mask and any time spent with him has always been a pleasure… or is it just me?