Up to this point in recorded human history, there have been nine solo Spider-Man movies with a further three appearances in other films within the MCU (we don’t count the European releases of the fantastically wonky movue-edits of the 70’s tv show around here…), but if the producers of Spider-Man: No Way Home are to be believed, we haven’t seen anything yet.
With a returning rogues gallery of fan favorite baddies and massively rumoured roles for previous Spider-Men Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield to rub webbed shoulders with Tom Holland, it seems that we are, indeed primed for the ultimate Spider-Man movie experience ever experienced.
But what are the moments that’s reigned supreme so far? What bits of Peter’s varied movie career has best shown us the power and responsibility of modern filmmakers to realise one of the world’s most beloved superheroes on the big screen.
It’s time to do whatever a spider can…
5) Sudden Impact (The Amazing Spider-Man 2 – 2014)
While many of you may be surprised that a moment from arguably the most maligned Spidey movie of all has made the cut, even the most ardent ASM2 hater should admit that despite the relative mess of the movie as a whole, the death of Gwen Stacy was handled superbly. Brawling in a creaky clock tower with Dane DeHaan’s Billy Idol looking Green Goblin, Spider-Man has to keep one eye on the safety of sweetheart Gwen as she balances precariously on the cogs and gears below. Ultimately the structure can’t handle the strain and as it all comes apart, the young Ms Stacy is sent plummeting to the ground with fatal consequences.
Director Marc Webb obviously understands the huge importance of this infamous incident in Spidey’s history (after nearly 60 years of Spider-Man comics, it’s still the character’s defining moment) and goes all in to drag out the scene for dramatic effect.
Emma Stone’s heroine falls in dreamy Slo-Mo while Andrew Garfield’s Web Slinger fires a sticky lifeline that unfurls like a desperately grasping hand and just when you think things are going to be ok – the wet thud of Gwen’s skull cracking concrete reduces the cinema to dead silence. It’s a perfect moment in an imperfect movie and Peter’s gradual return to the costume thanks to a rampaging Rhino is subsequently warm and triumphant.
4) The Tragical Mysterio Tour (Spider-Man: Far From Home – 2019)
Spider-Man: Homecoming may be a better movie stuffed full of memorable moments (the Washington Monument, the Karen A.I., the Donald Glover cameo and that Vulture reveal), but there’s never been a more purely Spider-Man sequence in the entirety of his time in the MCU. Essentially bombarded by vision after vision from Quentin Beck’s holographic drones, Peter endures a four minute sequence of trippy trauma that takes in a zombie Iron Man, MJ in peril and loads of brain melting visuals that ultimately leaves Peter in the path of a speeding train.
Mysterio screwing with the Wall Crawler’s reality is a moment that’s as familiar to the character as Reed Richards wrapping himself around an enraged Ben Grimm is to the Fantastic Four – it’s just always been there. It’s happened repeatedly in comics, cartoons, video games and – finally, thanks to director Jon Watts – it’s now happened in movie too.
Aside from having Peter say “power and responsibility” while eating Aunt May’s wheat cakes while reminiscing about Uncle Ben, you’ll never have a more quintessential Spidey moment. Well, so far, anyway….
3) Miles To Go (Spider-Man: Into The Spider-verse – 2018)
There are so many genius moments to choose from Sony’s Oscar winning Spider-riot (Spider-Man Noir’s confusion at a rubix cube being phenomenally high on the list), but it’s the moment young, fledgling Spider-Person Miles Morales finally accepts his responsibility, dons a costume with the help of a Q-from-James-Bond-type Aunt May and launches of a building to embrace his destiny that resonates the most. With an inverted frame that ingeniously makes Miles rise as he falls and with Blackway and Black Caviar’s “What’s Up Danger” pumping on the soundtrack, it’s a rare, important Peter Parker-less moment in a history full of them that proves that truly anyone can be Spider-Man.
2) “Hey, Everyone…” (Captain America: Civil War – 2016)
Peter Parker’s long overdue introduction into the MCU came with an intriguing problem: how do you make a good first impression when everyone already knows who you are?
It was a question that the Russo Brothers solved remarkably easily by simply ditching Spidey’s over-told origin entirely and has Tony Stark recruiting our arachnid-themed hero six months after that fateful spider bite. No Uncle Ben, no powers learning montage, just Robert Downey Jr. and Tom Holland having a chat.
Never has a title card affected a comic fan so much in their lifetime, but when the word “QUEENS” filled the entire screen, my heart lept into my mouths as we were introduced to the character all over again. Even better, however, was his appearance in full costume; stealing Captain America’s shield, punking the Winter Soldier and using The Empire Strikes Back to defeat a giant Ant-Man all while awkwardly introducing himself to his heroes, he essentially tag teamed with Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther in stealing the entire movie out from a seasoned MCU cast and secured his Homecoming in typical Spider-Man style.
1) Loco-motive (Spider-Man 2 – 2004)
It had to be this.
Lodged within the final third of Sam Raimi’s majestic Spider-sequel is not only the greatest action sequence in the entire franchise, but it’s a clear choice for greatest comic book action sequence ever made. But while the BLAMS and THWACKS are hugely impressive, it’s the emotional ending and the fact that the sequence never loses sight of the fact that Spider-Man will always choose helping people over punching a villain in the hooter. After a brief scuffle on the side of a building sends a revitalised Spidey and a frenzied Doctor Octopus tumbling onto the roof of a passing train, the two duke it out on, around, in and under the hurtling passenger service as terrified New Yorkers are forced to endure the ride. Countering everything Doc Ock’s whirling tentacles have to offer, Spidey’s day gets a lot harder when multi-limbed opponent proves to be a sore loser and dents the train hurtling out of control while he leaps to safety leaving Parker to somehow halt the speeding juggernaut while weathering the snark of native New Yorkers.
Halting it with some of the most spirited gurning Tobey Maguire can muster, an exhausted Web Head nearly falls to his doom, but is saved by the grateful passengers who pass him over their heads like he’s some kind of fallen messiah. It’s a sublime sequence in a movie full of magnificent Raimi-isms and it’s some welcome praise for a character the legendarily mischievous director has delighted in tormenting for the entire movie.
Spider-Man: No Way Home swings into cinemas 17th December (15th in the UK)