Tom Holland’s Spider-Man may be a young man, but the web-slinger’s cinematic history is long and storied. In fact, there are few characters who have been played by so many actors, and with Spider-Man: No Way Home now in cinemas, there’s plenty of reason to revisit the wall-crawler’s history.
Below, you will find our picks for the best Spider-Man moments from the movies. We have included scenes from Holland’s time as Spides, Tobey Maguire’s trilogy, and Andrew Garfield’s two times in the hot-seat. There are moments from non-Spider-Man movies, such as Captain America: Civil War, plus we included the brilliant Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Also of note: we have NOT included any moments from Spider-Man: No Way Home – because who wants spoilers, right?
The story begins – Spider-Man (2002)
The moment that started it all. Maguire’s Peter takes MJ’s picture at the beginning of the first film – and fails to notice the mutated spider that takes a sizeable bite out of his hand… One bite later and Peter Parker’s back home with Aunt May and Uncle Ben, running up the stairs trying to not let on that he’s severely unwell. The next morning, Peter no longer needs glasses, and the adventure officially begins with Peter’s transformation into Spider-Man starting. There was no way we couldn’t include this moment, right?
Peter’s confession – Spider-Man 2 (2004)
Maguire’s Peter confesses to Aunt May that he lied to her about his whereabouts on the night his Uncle Ben died – as we all knew, but Aunt May didn’t, Peter was brawling for money instead of studying at the library. Peter feels a deep sadness and responsibility for what happened to Uncle Ben, and May takes a while to process what’s happening. Rosemary Harris’ reaction as Aunt May is what really makes this one so affecting. And as she moves her hand away from Pete’s, it’s heart-breaking.
Bully Maguire – Spider-Man 3 (2007)
Spider-Man 3 is (quite rightly) derided as the worst installment in Maguire’s trilogy, yet we also have the threequel to thank for some of the internet’s best memes. Perhaps the most brilliant is Emo Peter – AKA Bully Maguire. Things aren’t looking good for Peter as his relationship with Mary Jane breaks down. In fact, a black symbiote from space is causing his powers to increase, as well as his anger. Peter, though, embraces the symbiote, lets his fringe hang down, and decides to wear all black and dance at every opportunity. The result is one of the funniest, most memorable moments from throughout Spider-Man’s history – though also one many would rather forget…
Go get ’em tiger – Spider-Man 2 (2004)
After Spider-Man saves the day – and Mary Jane for the umpteenth time – the pair decide they cannot be together, Pete’s Spider-Man antics putting MJ’s life at risk. Mary Jane instead decides to get married to J. Jonah Jameson’s son. However, on the wedding day, and wearing her wedding dress, MJ does a runner, and heads straight to Pete’s rundown apartment. They smooch – and then we hear sirens outside. MJ utters the immortal line: “Go get ’em, tiger.” It’s not so much the line, but the idea that we’re seeing these two finally together and in full knowledge of the entire situation, AKA that Peter Parker is Spider-Man. It’s the ideal superhero situation. And then Spider-Man 3 came along and interrupted the relationship again…
Snap – The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)
If we were ranking the “most devastating” Spider-Man moments then this would be at the top. Garfield’s Peter has a few enemies, and the Green Goblin takes his girlfriend, Gwen Stacy, captive. She’s being held at the top of a clocktower, but things go wrong and the place crumbles, sending Gwen falling as Gobbers is knocked unconscious. Peter tries to save her with his web, but unfortunately, she still ends up dying. Garfield offers an astoundingly emotional reaction that sells just how attached Peter was to his love. It’s truly the defining moment in Garfield’s run as Spider-Man, and what they would have charged a huge emotional toll on the character had his story continued into a third Amazing Spider-Man movie.
This is nice – Avengers: Endgame (2019)
Tom Holland’s version of Spider-Man didn’t have quite the same Uncle Ben moment as the other two Spider-Men – at least, not on screen. Instead, he had a surrogate father in Iron Man, who took Parker under his wing during Captain America: Civil War, and then nurtured his abilities in Spider-Man: Homecoming. The pair share a huge bond, and while their best moment together is elsewhere on this list, when Spider-Man returns following the Blip, the hug he shares with Iron Man is an emotional high for the two.
Naming ceremony – Spider-Man 2 (2004)
Of course, no list of the best Spider-Man moments would be complete without J.K Simmons’ J. Jonah Jameson making an appearance. His portrayal was so good, they had to bring him back for Holland’s films, laying the foundation for the multiverse to arrive. In one of his best scenes, Jameson and underling Ted Hoffman attempt to come up with a name for Doc Ock. Jameson rejects all of Hoffman’s suggestions, first Doc Ock, then Doctor Strange (“That’s pretty good, but it’s taken”), before settling on… Doc Ock. Hoffman’s also a great comic sidekick, played brilliantly by Ted Raimi, and the two share so many wonderfully funny moments it’s hard picking one.
Peter tingle – Spider-Man: Far From Home (2017)
Spider-Man: Far From Home sees Peter go up against the devious Mysterio, who tricks the young web-slinger into giving over a powerful piece of Stark tech. With a bunch of invisible drones at his command, Mysterio sets them upon Peter, who must use his Spider-sense to stop them. However, it’s not known as the Spider-sense here – it’s dubbed as the “Peter tingle”. And if you don’t find the idea of Peter Parker amping himself by saying “Come on Peter tingle” funny, then you should probably stop watching Spider-Man movies right now.
Hey everyone! – Captain America: Civil War (2016)
An epic fight between Captain America and Iron Man’s two sides is about to kick off when Holland’s Spider-Man swings in from out of nowhere and grabs Cap’s shield only to make a speculator landing. The cheeky “Hey everyone!” greeting makes this the perfect MCU debut for the character, with Civil War marking the first time Spider-Man appears alongside the Avengers. Looking back, it seems strange that Spider-Man and Iron Man rubbing shoulder was a completely unrealistic fan dream as the two characters were owned by different studios. And while Disney has not gobbled up Sony (yet) we’re glad that the pair came together to get Spider-Man into the MCU (even if it means Venom came with him).
Meet the Spider-Men – Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse introduced us to the idea of multiple Spider-Men all existing within one movie, all thanks to the multiverse. And while that’s a fun concept, there was no point in introducing it without a great story. Spider-Verse delivers that, but there’s no escaping how wonderfully fun being introduced to all these weird variations of Spider-Man is. There’s Noir Spider-Man voiced by Nic Cage; Peni Parker and her robotic pal, SP//dr; and, of course, Spider-Ham, not to be confused with Spider-Pig who appeared in The Simpsons Movie. All these Spider-Men have fun introductions told with visual panache.
Ready to rumble – Spider-Man (2002)
Maguire’s Peter tries out his new suit and new abilities at an amateur wrestling event, with the inimitable Bruce Campbell serving as ring announcer for his first bout. “The Human Spider,” Peter says as his name. “That sucks,” bemoans Bruce, introducing him as “The Amazing Spider-Man” instead. Campbell, a long-time collaborator with director Sam Raimi, is brilliant as ever. Plus, it’s a great way of giving Spidey his name, and Macho Man Randy Savage is his opponent in the ring. This is the first time Peter unleashes his full power against someone else, and the result is a fun, awkward fight. Side note: Campbell also appears in Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man 3 in different cameos, with Raimi’s intention being that he would return as Mysterio in a later Spider-Man film. Now, that would have been a cool twist.
Stop that train – Spider-Man 2 (2004)
Doctor Octopus is one of Spider-Man’s best villains – a good man made insane following a failed experiment, the death of his wife, and an inhibitor chip breaking. Perhaps his most dastardly moment (other than creating a mini sun that threatens to destroy New York) is trying to kill Spider-Man by threatening the lives of a bunch of innocent New Yorkers on a subway train. Thankfully, Spider-Man’s able to save the day, but falls unconscious after using all his strength, leaving him open to another attack from the eight-limbed Doc. The people of New York stand up to try and protect Spies, but unfortunately the villain is too strong.
Take it – The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
Garfield’s Peter uses his new powers to make a fool out of obnoxious jock Flash Thompson, keeping a basketball away from him, before slamming it home in spectacular style and breaking the hoop. Garfield’s Peter is a more suave Peter than Maguire’s version, and you can see the ever-so-slightly smug joy in Peter’s face as he continues to humiliate Flash in front of his fellow players. However, Peter’s taught a lesson in not showing off as the hoop breaks and everyone thinks he’s slightly weird… It’s a fun minor superhero moment that shows why Garfield was such a good fit for Spider-Man (even if his movies weren’t the best of the bunch).
Can it – Spider-Man 2 (2004)
The pressures of great power and great responsibility weigh heavily on Maguire’s Peter’s shoulders – how can he be Spider-Man and be with Mary Jane? Should he choose to be with her, then his villains become threats to more than himself. And when the pressure becomes too much, Peter decides to dump the Spidey suit in a trash can. The scene allows Raimi to show off his eye for detail, with the final frame an exact recreation of a similarly famous panel from the comics. Later on, we see the suit again: hung up on Jameson’s wall, the newspaper editor claiming to have run Spider-Man out of town. A solid front page for the Daily Bugle.
Leap of faith – Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is packed full of amazing visuals, but none are better than Miles Morales’ leap of faith. The hero accepts that, yes, he’s Spider-Man, and decides to test his newfound faith in his abilities. Rather than swing from a construction crane like any other Spider-Man, though, Miles climbs a huge building and takes a huge jump. As he falls, he looks ever-so-slightly in danger, but then, bam, he fires his web-shooters, and starts swinging through New York. An instantly-iconic moment from through the Spider-Verse.
Meet the father – Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
Spider-Man really does not have a great time in love. Holland’s Peter, though, lands a date with fellow classmate Liz, and the two are meant to go to the homecoming dance together. However, when Peter arrives at her door, who should answer the door but Adrian Toomes, AKA the Vulture, played by Michael Keaton. Turns out, Liz’s father happens to be Spider-Man’s nemesis, and a long, cruel car ride later and Toomes has worked out Peter’s secret identity and threatens him. If you managed to avoid spoilers before seeing the reveal, then you would no doubt have been as shocked – perhaps even more so – than Peter on his big night.
Split personality – Spider-Man (2002)
Midway through Maguire’s first Spider-Man movie, Norman Osborn begins to lose the plot, hearing a manic cackling ringing through his apartment before discovering the Green Goblin, his alter ego, in the mirror. A villain is born! Willem Dafoe’s on top scenery-chewing form here, playing the character like an even wilder version of Gollum from Lord of the Rings. Even though he’s not wearing the mask in the scene, it’s one of the most iconic moments for the Goblin, with Dafoe such a commanding screen presence. No wonder they brought him back for cameos in both the second and third film, as well as No Way Home.
Spider-Man revealed – Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)
The Spider-Man: Far From Home ending will go down as the moment that changed the MCU’s Spider-Man’s life forever. The hero has finally got the girl, and his identity remains a secret to the masses. And then, shock and horror as Mysterio leaves behind a message that the Daily Bugle is more than happy for the entire world to see: the revelation that Spider-Man is Peter Parker. It’s a massive surprise and ends the movie with Peter grabbing his head in disbelief and nearly shouting the f-word. Few film endings are as impactful.
I’m Spider-Man – Spider-Man (2002)
Maguire’s Peter and Kirsten Dunst’s Mary Jane share a kiss following Norman Osborne’s funeral. As MJ realizes where she recognizes the embrace from, Peter’s voiceover kicks in: “Whatever life holds in store for me, I will never forget these words: ‘with great power comes great responsibility.’ This is my gift, my curse. Who am I? I’m Spider-Man.” If the goosebumps haven’t already kicked in at the speech, the following skyscraper-swinging scene should seal the deal. An ending to a film that helped make superhero movies the box-office conquering behemoths they became over the ensuing two decades.
Hey, kid – The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)
Garfield’s Spider-Man retires following the death of Gwen Stacy, but New York’s still being ravaged by criminals. Paul Giamatti’s Aleksei Sytsevich is now in a robotic Rhino suit and causing chaos around town. But there’s another Spider-Man there to try and save the day – a young boy, wearing the costume of his favorite superhero, steps out to face off against Rhino. Why his mother let him go, who knows but luckily the real Spider-Man is there to swing by and save the day. Phew. That could have been ugly. Unfortunately, we don’t get to see the rest of the Rhino fight scene as the movie cuts to black – a tease for a sequel that was never released. Still, seeing the young boy step up to fight is pure Spider-Man goodness.
Ferry rescue – Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
Spider-Man: Homecoming saw the MCU’s version of Peter Parker still finding his feet. Midway through the movie, Pete tries to stop Vulture selling some weapons on a Staten Island ferry. However, things go wrong, and Vulture blasts the boat in two. Spider-Man tries to save the day by webbing everything together but isn’t quite strong enough. Luckily, Iron Man’s been keeping tabs, and comes to the rescue – but doesn’t see Peter as fit to continue on as Spider-Man and he takes away the suit. It’s a big moment for the character, where he doesn’t succeed and needs to accept, more often than not, he needs a helping hand.
Kiss the Rain – Spider-Man (2002)
Maguire’s Peter rescues Dunst’s Mary Jane from a gang of muggers, earning a rain-soaked kiss for his troubles. Now, a kiss in the rain is nothing new, but the upside-down element lends it a certain something. It’s certainly memorable, as you’d expect MJ to get a face full of his chin and give up with the endeavor. But no. The pair have instant chemistry. Whenever lists of the best on-screen kisses are drawn up, this one’s always in contention. No other superhero movie has managed to capture such a romantic moment since.
I don’t feel so good… – Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Avengers: Infinity War saw half the universe wiped out after Thanos accumulated all the Infinity Stones. It’s a rare instance where the heroes actually lose, and while all the original members of the Avengers remain intact, the vast majority of newcomers disappear to dust – including Spider-Man. Holland carries a lot of emotional weight as Parker starts to evaporate in Tony Stark’s arms. “I don’t feel so good,” he says falling to the floor. “I don’t want to go,” he pleads… It’s as shocking today as it was back in 2018.
Who the heck are you – Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
“I’m Spider-Man,” says future Spider-Man. “I need you to come with-“
“Who the heck are you?” asks the other Spider-Man.
“I… I just told you. Listen, I’m from the future.”
“How dare you point at me.”
“You just pointed at me.”
“Rude to point.”
“You’re being very rude!”
Ok, you get the point. It’s a very funny post-credits sting that references one of the most iconic Spider-Man memes in a way that’s just brilliant.
With great power… – Spider-Man (2002)
Maguire’s Peter returns late from his wrestling escapades to find his waiting Uncle Ben bleeding out on the sidewalk. It’s a devastating blow to our hero, which is why Ben’s speech about great power and great responsibility looms so large in his consciousness. The actual “great power” speech happens at a turbulent moment for Peter and Ben, as the two are arguing about Peter’s mood. In fact, Peter storms off after telling Ben to “stop” trying to be his Dad. It really is heartbreaking when Ben dies later on, but his advice to the young Peter lives on – and remains an iconic adage from cinema history.