Back in the pre-quarantine days when you couldn’t walk into a movie theater without tripping over a floor display for the latest MCU movie, it was almost hard to recall the time when Marvel had a reputation for stumbling in its attempts to bring its superheroes to the big screen. (Remember movie theaters? You’d sit in a dark room in a chair with a modestly reclining back and a slightly sticky cupholder armrest, and watch a movie on a giant screen with a bunch of strangers while munching on ten-dollar popcorn? Apparently they existed two months ago?) Long before Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, and Thor successfully swaggered their way onto screens, Marvel had a lot more misses than hits in trying to translate characters like Daredevil, Ghost Rider, and The Fantastic Four to film.
However, amid the sea of Marvel’s misfires were at least a few diamonds in the rough. Blade and X-Men both managed to buck the unfortunate trend, but they were only precursors to the crown jewel of pre-MCU Marvel movie fare: Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy. Until 2002’s Spider-Man, the classic hero had been reimagined for numerous television shows, including the animated Spider-Man in 1967, and the character’s first live-action appearance in 1977 with The Amazing Spider-Man, starring Nicholas Hammond, but the wall crawler had yet to receive the feature film treatment.
Since 2002, we’ve been treated to a slew of cinematic Spideys, from various reimaginings of the original web-slinger, Peter Parker, to alternate universe variations on the classic hero. But which is the best Spidey to have ever graced movie screens? With so many Spider-Men — or I suppose, more accurately, Spider-Folk, since a couple of the AU Spideys are definitely not men — there are a lot of choices to pick from, all of them good. However, I’m of the mind that having exclusively good options only makes ranking even more fun, if also more contentious.
Below, I rank every actor who has ever portrayed Spidey on the big screen, from those who spent years donning the character’s friendly neighborhood spandex, to one who only had a few fleeting seconds of animated screen time, and everyone in between. Keep in mind this is not a reflection of the quality (or lack thereof) of the movies they appeared in, but of how well they slipped into the web-head’s red boots. It’s also worth noting that while Hailee Steinfeld‘s Spider-Gwen is fantastic, she won’t be appearing on this list because she is neither Spider-Man nor an alt-universe version of the character. She’s her own thing.