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Ranking All 50 Live-Action Spider-Man Characters from Movies – Part Two

Given that we’ve seen three iterations of Peter Parker and his story on the big screen in the last two decades, we’ve put together a definitive ranking of all the characters in the live-action Spider-Man movies. 

All the Spider-Man Movie Characters Ranked

* This article contains spoilers from Spider-Man: No Way Home. * 

Spider-Man has been around for nearly sixty years, and during this time we’ve seen nearly every version of him—and his story—imaginable. From time-travelling spider-people to egg-laying spider-monsters, the Spider-Man cannon is rich in characters. Given that we’ve also seen three iterations of Peter Parker and his story on the big screen in the last two decades, we’ve put together a definitive ranking of all the characters in the live-action Spider-Man movies. 

If you didn’t catch Part One, you can find it here!

Mr. Dell Spider-Man Far from Home

25. Mr. Dell (J.B. Smoove) 

First Appearance: Spider-Man: Far from Home (2019) 

Although J.B. Smoove’s role in Spider-Man: Far From Home is a small one, we can’t understate just how funny he is. In addition to being an irresponsible teacher, his obsession with “witches” ruining his science-based field trip to Europe is exactly the comic relief the movie needs. 

Eddie Brock Venom

24. Eddie Brock aka. Venom (Tom Hardy) 

First Appearance: Venom (2018) 

While Tom Hardy’s appearance as Eddie Brock might have been a short post-credit scene in Spider-Man: No Way Home, we can’t help but love it. The fact that he spent his entirety in the MCU drinking with Venom at a bar trying to wrap his head around Thanos (Josh Brolin) is hilarious. (And the fact that part of the symbiote got left behind when he was teleported back to his timeline is pretty cool too.) 

Ursula Spider-Man 3

23. Ursula (Mageina Tovah) 

First Appearance: Spider-Man 2 (2004) 

While there isn’t much to say about Ursula, the sweet daughter of Mr. Ditkovich (Elya Baskin), none of it’s bad. She’s there for Peter when he’s you’re friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man and she’s there for the *sshole he turns into while under the influence of the symbiote. 

Mr. Ditkovich Spider-Man 2

22. Mr. Ditkovich (Elya Baskin)

First Appearance: Spider-Man 2 (2004) 

This iconic landlord is always on the hunt for his rent. While that, paired with the run-down apartment complex he owns, should be enough for audiences to hate him, there’s something hilarious about the way Baskin plays him onscreen. (And if you don’t believe us, just check out all the sweet Ditkovitch memes.) 

Coach Wilson Spider-Man Homecoming

21. Coach Wilson (Hannibal Buress) 

First Appearance: Spider-Man: Homecoming 

Did we ever expect Hannibal Buress to make the perfect gym teacher? No. Does he? Absolutely. His bitter sarcasm and discontent for the work he does as a teacher is side-splittingly hilarious, although we could do without his conspiracy theory-ish vibe in Spider-Man: No Way Home once Peter Parker returns to Midtown School of Science and Technology. 

Mr. Harrington Spider-Man Homecoming

20. Mr. Harrington (Martin Starr) 

First Appearance: Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) 

This man is so boring, so underwhelming, so painful to be around that—according to him—his wife faked her death as part of the Blip to get away from him. Big oof. Martin Starr’s performance as the awkward teacher is one part slapstick and one part comedic genius, and audiences can’t help but crack up when he’s on-screen. While the character might just seem funny, he’s also a sincerely kind teacher who just wants the best for the kids he’s tasked with protecting. 

Shocker 2 Spider-Man Homecoming

19. Herman Schultz aka. Shocker #2 (Bokeem Woodbine) 

First Appearance: Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) 

Unlike his predecessor, this Shocker is, uh, actually pretty shocking. While Jackson Brice was impulsive, aggressive, and rebellious, Herman Schultz proves he’s clever, determined, and dedicated to taking down Spider-Man. Although things ultimately don’t work out for him—thanks in part to Ned’s (Jacob Batalon) assistance—he’s still a force to be reckoned with and we can only hope to see more of him. 

Betty Brant Spider-Man Far from Home

18. Betty Brant (Angourie Rice) 

First Appearance: Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) 

Angourie Rice’s Betty Brant is easily our favourite of the duo. Although she doesn’t get a ton of screen time, she makes every second count. Whether she’s trying to stay serious during an homage to the late Tony Stark, keeping her cool during an attack from the Elementals while dating Ned (a fun nod to their relationship in the comics), or reporting about Peter’s first day back at school as Spider-Man, this iteration of Betty Brant really shines. 

Flash Thompson Spider-Man Far from Home

17. Flash Thompson (Tony Revolori) 

First Appearance: Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) 

It should come as no surprise that Tony Revolori’s Flash Thompson is miles ahead of the versions we see in both Raimi’s and Webb’s franchises. Unlike previous portrayals, this Flash bullies Peter but shows absolute reverence for Spider-Man. Additionally, while he and Peter are never friends, they’re not too antagonistic with each other either. We also get a fully fleshed-out character in Jon Watt’s imagining of Flash as we see his unhappy and often lonely childhood juxtaposed with a teenager who, like everyone else, just wants to fit in. 

Liz Spider-Man Homecoming

16. Liz (Laura Harrier) 

First Appearance: Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Although Liz isn’t in Jon Watt’s trilogy for long, she certainly makes an impact. Played by the talented Laura Harrier, Liz is Peter Parker’s first crush in the franchise and, unfortunately, the daughter of his enemy, the Vulture (Michael Keaton). Liz is friendly, kind, and passionate about her school. She also helps Peter to understand the responsibility that comes with leadership, as well as the price a hero often pays to make the right choice. While nothing has been confirmed with Marvel, we can’t help but cross our fingers that we get to see her again (possibly as a reimagining of Starling, originally meant to be the granddaughter of the Vulture). 

Aunt May The Amazing Spider-Man

15. Aunt May (Sally Field) 

First Appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) 

Although The Amazing Spider-Man and its sequel got a lot of hate, we can’t help but feel that any vitriol sent Sally Field’s way was misdirected. While she’s not our favourite version of Aunt May’s to grace the big screen, that doesn’t mean we didn’t love her. Harsher than Rosemary Harris’ version, Field still pulls off the role of loving aunt and concerned guardian when it comes to Peter’s safety. She’s no-nonsense without seeming cruel, and while she doesn’t sugarcoat what she thinks, she’s always there to help guide her nephew when he needs it. 

Happy Hogan Spider-Man Far from Home

14. Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau)

First Appearance: Iron Man (2008) 

Even though Happy Hogan originated in Iron Man, he’s become a key figure in Jon Watt’s series. He begins the franchise as Peter’s reluctant driver, then he becomes Peter’s friend and confidant following the death of Tony Stark (their relationship similar to the one Happy and Tony once had), and then in the third installment, his role takes on an almost guardianship quality to it. Happy provides Peter with a safe space to be himself and provides the same kind of love and compassion he once provided to Stark. It’s also great to see how his relationship with May (Marisa Tomei) has evolved over the three movies. 

Tobey Maguire Spider-Man

13. Peter Parker aka. Spider-Man (Tobey Maguire) 

First Appearance: Spider-Man (2002) 

Tobey Maguire got slammed with a lot of hate for his role as Peter Parker. He was mocked, made into memes, and is often considered to be the worst iteration of Spider-Man. And while we, unfortunately, do agree that Andrew Garfield and Tom Holland outshone Maguire in the role, we’re happy to defend this wall-crawler to the death. Although Maguire was over the top in his movies, Raimi’s films were meant to be over the top and exaggerated (which is exactly how Maguire played him). It’s also clear how important direction is when it comes to Maguire, as his reprisal of the role had audiences marvelling at how laid back and relaxed his character seemed in Spider-Man: No Way Home

Michael Keaton

12. Adrian Toomes aka. Vulture (Michael Keaton) 

First Appearance: Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) 

Michael Keaton is no stranger when it comes to superhero movies, having played Batman in the 1989 movie of the same name. However, unlike that film, Keaton gives us a killer portrayal of the Vulture. A man who’s just doing his best to provide for his family, Adrian Toomes quickly finds himself on the wrong side of the law once he decides to make matters—and the law—into his own hands. Keaton makes for one seriously threatening villain and his dynamic with Tom Holland’s Spider-Man is incredible. 

Dock Ock Spider-Man 2

11. Dr. Otto Octavius aka. Doc Ock (Alfred Molina) 

First Appearance: Spider-Man 2 (2004) 

There’s a reason that Spider-Man 2 is wildly considered to be the best in the Raimi trilogy, and our guess is it’s because of Alfred Molina as Doc Ock. A scientist just trying to get the power of the sun in the palm of his hand, things go back when the AI in his tentacles overtakes him. Despite the exaggerative nature of Raimi’s series, Molina gave audiences a balanced performance of the eight-limbed villain in the second installment and gave fans one of the best redemption arcs they’ve seen in Jon Watts’ Spider-Man: No Way Home

Mysterio Spider-Man Far from Home

10. Quentin Beck aka. Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal)

First Appearance: Spider-Man: Far from Home (2019) 

We know: Mysterio is less a single person and more an entire team, but for the sake of this list we’re going to say he’s Quentin Beck. In addition to being a sincerely frightening villain while in costume (those illusions were absolutely terrifying, albeit stunning to look at), Gyllenhaal’s Mysterio highlights the danger of trusting others too much and not believing in yourself enough. Mysterio was the perfect villain for Spider-Man to fight in the second installment of the franchise as it helped move Peter from a young man learning to be a hero to a young hero understanding the burden that comes with his power. 

Gwen Stacy The Amazing Spider-Man 2

9. Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) 

First Appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) 

Emma Stone might have gotten a lot of flack for her depiction of Gwen Stacy, but we’d argue that it was incredible. Unlike Mary Jane from the Raimi movies, Gwen’s character has agency and even sets firm boundaries with Peter when she needs to prioritize her wellness. She frequently demonstrates to audiences that she’s able to hold her own, both when it comes to her science know-how and against Spidey’s foes, and her death at the end of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is heartbreaking. Given the news existence of a multiverse and hints that Miles Morales will be joining the MCU, we’re hopeful that Gwen Stacy as Ghost-Spider will be coming along too. 

J Jonah Jameson Spider-Man

8. J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons) 

First Appearance: Spider-Man (2002) 

Do we even need to say anything? J.K. Simmons crushed it as J. Jonah Jameson in Raimi’s trilogy, and his reprisal of the role in both Spider-Man: Far from Home and Spider-Man: No Way Home as the legendary journalist is just as iconic but with a modern flare. 

Ned Spider-Man Homecoming

7. Ned Leeds (Jacob Batalon) 

First Appearance: Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) 

Having seen two Harry Osborns grace the big screen, Jon Watts’ Ned Leeds feels like a wonderfully fresh take on Peter Parker’s best-friend storyline. Spider-Man’s “guy in the chair,” Ned accidentally discovers Spider-Man’s secret identity and helps on his mission to do good. In what has to be the coolest twist to date, audiences discovering that Ned can use magic—specifically the portal ring that’s worn by Doctor Strange—was an absolute highlight in Spider-Man: No Way Home

Andrew Garfield Spider-Man

6. Peter Parker aka. Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield) 

First Appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) 

In what has to be a first, this iteration of Spider-Man did what Raimi’s Spider-Man didn’t: used science to fix his problems. Although this isn’t necessarily a marker of how successful Andrew Garfield was in the role, it certainly adds to the charm of his performance. Although Marc Webb’s version of this hero isn’t perfect, Garfield made a charming, funny, and heartfelt Peter who faced one of the most traumatic moments in Spider-Man history. Thankfully, his character got to redeem himself for the death of Gwen Stacy by rescuing MJ in the latest movie. 

Norman Osborn Spider-Man

5. Norman Osborn aka. Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe) 

First Appearance: Spider-Man (2002) 

We don’t care what anyone says: Willem Dafoe made the perfect villain. Although he was overly comical in Spider-Man, he did a great job playing this unhinged businessman who was something of a scientist himself. And while it may not have been a show-stopping performance in Raimi’s flick, his portrayal of the Green Goblin in Spider-Man: No Way Home is absolutely terrifying. Not only does he do a great job of playing a man wrestling with his inner demons, but he’s more than convincing as a supervillain hellbent on the destruction of everything Peter Parker holds dear. 

MJ Spider-Man Far from Home

4. MJ (Zendaya) 

First Appearance: Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) 

Zendaya’s MJ is perfection. It’s as simple as that. She’s intelligent, funny, and a fully-fledged character in her own right. She doesn’t try to follow in the footsteps of Kirsten Dunst’s Mary Jane but neither does she try to be Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy. Instead, MJ is entirely new and it’s why she feels so fresh on-screen. It’s also great getting to see her discover Peter’s secret in Spider-Man: Far from Home and be a supportive girlfriend without compromising her own goals for the future.  

Iron Man Spider-Man Homecoming

3. Tony Stark aka. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) 

First Appearance: Iron Man (2008) 

Although Tony Stark isn’t just a character in Jon Watts’ series, there’s no way we couldn’t include him on this list. In addition to helping get Peter Parker a new Spider-Man suit and making him an Avenger, Tony acts as a surrogate father to Peter. He gives him someone to look up to and helps Peter establish his moral compass. When Tony passes away, the ramifications of it are felt by Peter throughout the series and he’s forced to learn how to stand on his own two feet. The two of them have a beautiful relationship and the impact of it is felt throughout the franchise. 

May Spider-Man No Way Home

2. May Parker (Marisa Tomei) 

First Appearance: Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) 

Hands down, Marisa Tomei’s portrayal of Aunt May is the best in the business. Not only does she act as a loving parental figure to Peter, but she helps him on his journey of self-discovery. When Peter begins shirking his responsibilities in Spider-Man: Homecoming, May is there to remind him that he has obligations to the people he loves. When Peter tries to take a break from being Spider-Man in Far from Home, May packs him his suit knowing that heroes don’t get the luxury of time off. And when she convinces Peter to help the villains brought to their dimension in Spider-Man: No Way Home, she teaches him that “with great power comes great responsibility” better than any Ben Parker before her. Her connection with and love for her nephew is palpable and it’s why her death in No Way Home will haunt audiences more than Peter’s onslaught of dead uncles ever will. 

Tom Holland Spider-Man

1. Peter Parker aka. Spider-Man (Tom Holland) 

First Appearance: Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)  

Say what you will about Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire, but Tom Holland is easily the best Peter Park and Spider-Man we’ve had to date. Funny, awkward, intelligent, and unsure of himself, this version of Peter is exactly what audiences have been waiting for. (Plus, he looks young enough to be in high school, which is a bonus in our books.) It was also great getting to see Holland’s character grow from a nervous teenager to a steadfast young man, albeit heartbreaking to see him give up his ties with the people he loves for the sake of the universe. 

Part One | Top 50

Written By

Caitlin Marceau is an author and lecturer living and working in Montreal. She holds a B.A. in Creative Writing, is a member of both the Horror Writers Association and the Quebec Writers’ Federation, and spends most of her time writing horror and experimental fiction. Her collections, "A Blackness Absolute" and "Palimpsest", are slated for publication by D&T Publishing LLC and Ghost Orchid Press respectively in 2022. When she’s not covered in ink or wading through stacks of paper, you can find her ranting about issues in pop culture or nerding out over a good book. For more, visit CaitlinMarceau.ca.

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