Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Ranking Every Spider-Man Movie's Opening Scene Worst To Best

Can you judge a movie by its opening scene alone? Probably not. But that doesn't mean the first few minutes aren't crucial. In an age of streaming, when a bored audience doesn't have to do anything as dramatic or expensive as walking out of a movie they already paid to see, you need to hook your audience early — especially in the superhero genre.

Reviewing and judging the opening scenes of the "Spider-Man" films proves to be a little surprising. For the most part, they don't stray too far from the quality of the overall films –  the good ones have good openings, and the bad ones start off bad. But here and there are some interesting exceptions. 

Without further preamble, here our picks for the "Spider-Man" movie openings, from worst to best. Just as we've done in similar lists, we've included the "Venom" spin-offs. 

Venom: Let There Be Carnage (2021)

Even those who enjoyed "Venom: Let There Be Carnage" often file it in the "so bad it's good" category. Its opening scene is no exception.

Soon after the film opens on the creepy children's home where the younger versions of the villains Cletus Kasady (Jack Bandeira) and Frances Louise Barrison (Olumide Olorunfemi) are being kept, director Andy Serkis makes the embarrassingly poor choice to use the voices of Woody Harrelson and Naomie Harris, who play the older versions of the characters. As soon as you hear their voices, it's impossible to take anything that happens in the scene seriously.

Otherwise, it isn't as if there's anything particularly horrible about the scene. It does its job of establishing the relationship between Carnage and Shriek, as well as the long feud between Shriek and Mulligan (Stephen Graham). It's just that the voices of Harrelson and Harris are so horribly mismatched with the faces of Banderia and Olorunfemi that all of the drama of the moment is overpowered by the unavoidable humor. You shouldn't want to laugh when Shriek yells to Cletus as being she's dragged away, "I will always love you!" but how can you not?

Spider-Man 3 (2007)

At 2 hours and 19 minutes, 2007's "Spider-Man 3" is the longest of the Sam Raimi-directed "Spider-Man" films. Surprisingly, it's not exceptionally longer than the other entries; 2002's "Spider-Man" is just a smidge over 2 hours, and 2004's "Spider-Man 2" is 2 hours and 7 minutes. But one of the many complaints fans had of the final chapter of the Tobey Maguire-led trilogy is that you really feel those extra 12 minutes in "Spider-Man 3," and the opening scene is a perfect example.

Of all the Maguire-led "Spider-Man" movies, the opening scene for "Spider-Man 3" is the least dynamic and the least interesting. We're greeted with a montage of Peter Parker's life, and things appear better than ever. New York City is safe and magazine covers praise Parker's masked alter-ego. He's no longer nodding off in class and you can see the beginning of a romance between him and Gwen Stacy (Bryce Dallas Howard). Finally, he arrives at MJ's (Kristen Dunst) show uncharacteristically on time. The only rot in the garden is Harry Osborn (James Franco) and his thirst for vengeance.

Narratively, the scene does what it's supposed to do, but it's just boring. It doesn't leave you wanting more. It just leaves you hoping your seat is comfortable.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)

The opening scene of 2014's "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" takes us back to the same flashback that opens its 2012 predecessor, only this time we get to see more and it's told from a different point of view. While the flashback in the first movie is told through the young Peter Parker's eyes, this time we see it through his father Richard (Campbell Scott). We see Richard destroy his experiments, we once again watch as he and Mary (Embeth Davidtz) leave their son with his aunt and uncle, and finally see the couple begin what they believe will be a long life of looking over their shoulders, but which proves to be much shorter. 

"The Amazing Spider-Man 2" opening scene isn't particularly bad, but much of it feels unnecessary. That the Parkers left their son with May (Sally Field), went on the run, and didn't survive is already established in the first movie. Seeing their deaths unfold doesn't wind up feeling very important. As suspenseful as the final struggle between the assassin and his victims proves to be, it also feels like a waste. 

Not to mention that — while you may understandably think it's silly to comment on what is and isn't realistic in a superhero film — the notion that a plane plummeting to its doom would have a stable enough Internet connection for Richard to keep uploading his data is just a little bit too silly.

Spider-Man: Far from Home (2019)

Like its 2017 predecessor, 2019's "Spider-Man: Far from Home" opens up without its hero, and instead focuses on introducing the villain, Quentin Beck aka Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal). The pair we're meant to believe are Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) — but later turn out to be Skrulls — investigate the devastated city of Ixtenco, Mexico and when a creature seemingly made of earth arrives, Beck tells the SHIELD agents, "you don't want any part of this," and attacks the thing. 

The "Far from Home" opening is pretty solid, though not perfect. It's long enough to get the audience interested, but not too long. The scene cuts away as soon as the action starts and you're left wanting more. It also introduces an intriguing mystery that remains unsolved in the MCU. When Hill and Fury arrive in Ixtenco, the former says, "Nick, this was a tragedy, but it's not why we're here." If they weren't in Mexico to investigate what happened in Ixtenco, what were they there for?

The only failing of the scene is that it relies on the audience's ability to accept Beck as a potential hero, and you wouldn't think many audience members went to "Far from Home" without knowing he was the bad guy. Mysterio is a Spider-Man villain. Even if you didn't know that, how do you expect someone with a name like "Mysterio" to be a good guy? Only two kinds of people could have a name like that — professional magicians and supervillains. Beck is a little bit of both. 

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Unlike the first chapter in previous "Spider-Man" film series, "Spider-Man: Homecoming" isn't burdened with the hero's origin story. "Homecoming" opens in the aftermath of 2012's "The Avengers," with Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton) and his crew cleaning up the wreckage from the Battle of New York. With his new contract from the city and the freedom to pilfer alien tech, Toomes at first appears about as happy as an enterprising business owner can be. Unfortunately, Anne Marie Hoag (Tyne Daly) shows up with her Damage Control underlings to pull the rug out from under him. 

If there's nothing else the MCU has taught us about making great villains, it's that you've got to give them a good reason to be bad. The opening scene of "Homecoming" does exactly that. It takes a relatively unremarkable comic book villain and makes him fairly sympathetic right away. Whether or not he or his men are justified for what they do in the aftermath is a matter of debate, but few watching the scene and being honest with themselves could deny how tempting it would be, given the circumstances.

If there's any big "meh" moment in the scene it's when the Damage Control agents pull their guns in response to Toomes clocking one of them. It just comes off as a bit too dramatic a reaction to one guy decking another guy out of anger — especially when Toomes telegraphed that punch so much that it should've been seen coming from as far away as the moon.

Spider-Man (2002)

Like so many other things about the "Spider-Man" films, the intro to the first live-action "Spider-Man" film directed by Sam Raimi set the standard. The first face we see isn't Parker's, but that of Mary Jane. Parker's narration tells us the story is "all about" her. As opposed to the super strong, supernaturally agile creature we're soon to meet, Maguire's Parker can't make it to the back of a bus without getting humiliated by a bully. In fact, he can't even make it to the bus at all without Mary Jane. We meet Parker outside the bus, where he's chasing it and futilely slapping the side of the thing. It only stops because Mary Jane shames the bus driver into finally hitting the brakes.

It's not the most exciting intro or the funniest. But the opening scene of "Spider-Man" introduces us to the cruel high school world Parker lives in before gaining his powers, and the big heart Mary Jane shows long before she and Peter are an item. It also serves as a potential cautionary tale depending on how you look at the story, making you wonder whether or not Peter's life was better or worse before being bit by that spider. Being bullied isn't fun for anyone, but considering what unfolds for Parker in the stories that follow, you could argue it was the preferable existence.

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

Since Hollywood has now given us three live-action "Spider-Man" film series, it may be easy to forget that, long before Tom Holland had anything to do with the character, fans were shocked at how quickly the franchise was rebooted with Andrew Garfield as the lead. There were only five years between "Spider-Man 3" and "The Amazing Spider-Man"; as opposed to the eight years between 1997's "Batman & Robin" and 2005's "Batman Begins," and the 19 years between 1987's "Superman IV: The Quest for Peace" and 2006's "Superman Returns." 

Marc Webb needed to make his "Spider-Man" flick feel new, and he uses the intro to let the audience know the story that's about to unfold isn't one they've seen before. It introduces Peter Parker's often forgotten biological parents to the big screen and it gives the audience a traumatic moment in Peter's past other than the death of Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen). We see the young Peter playing a game with his father, only to discover his father's office has been broken into. We don't know why it's happened or who the culprit is, but Peter's parents bring him to Aunt May and Uncle Ben for safety, never to be seen again.

It adds a new trauma to Parker's already difficult childhood as well as a new mystery to be unraveled. Because of that, it signals to the audience that this will not just be a rehash of what you've already seen. 

Venom (2018)

"Venom" is not the best movie. It's not the best superhero movie or even the best "Spider-Man" related flick, but its opening scene is solid. The Life Foundation's ship returns home to Earth and while things seem fine at first, that changes quickly upon re-entry and the ship crashes in Malaysia. We meet Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed) as he watches helplessly in Life Foundation's mission control. To anyone familiar with the source material, what comes next isn't surprising. One of the astronauts is possessed by one of the symbiotes and when EMTs try to bring him to the hospital, it emerges, crashes the ambulance, kills most of the EMTs and takes over the body of another (Michelle Lee). It emerges from the ambulance by ripping open the roof and walking wordlessly away, healing its host's horrible injuries as it goes. 

Not only does the "Venom" intro evoke sci-fi classics like "The Thing" and the "Aliens" films while showing us exactly what Venom and the other symbiotes can do, but it introduces a surprising amount of moral ambiguity to the titular anti-hero. The symbiote who kills all the EMTs eventually proves to be Riot — who later merges with Carlton Drake to become the film's central antagonist — but when we first see the intro, we don't know for sure we're not watching Venom at work. It not only makes us wonder just how much of "hero" will be in Venom's "anti-hero," but when we finally do meet Venom, it makes it easier to accept the moral lines he does cross. 

Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)

"Spider-Man: No Way Home" is the first of the Jon Watts-directed trilogy with an opening scene that actually features Spider-Man. "Homecoming" and "Far from Home" both use their beginnings to introduce the respective villains, while "No Way Home" instead picks up right where the mid-credits scene of the previous chapter left off — with J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons) revealing Spider-Man's secret identity to the entire world just as Peter and MJ (Zendaya) enjoy some recreational swinging. 

Accosted by an angry mob, the couple is forced to flee, with MJ dealing with the terror of swinging over NYC while coping with the incredible news of her boyfriend's new worldwide infamy. When they finally arrive at the Parkers' apartment, Peter is thrown into the hilarious mix of complexities of trying to hide the media frenzy outside until he can tell May (Marisa Tomei) about it, May meeting MJ for the first time, May thinking Peter and MJ were about to have sex, and discovering his aunt had just broken up with Happy (Jon Favreau).

The opening scene of "No Way Home" is the perfect introduction to the film. Not only is it funny and suspenseful, but it illustrates exactly why Peter is later willing to go to literal multiverse-shattering lengths to fix it all.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)

"Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" accomplished something amazing. The animated film came out at the end of 2018, which was one of the most crowded years ever for superhero movies. The cinematic schedule that year included mega-hits like "Black Panther" and "Avengers: Infinity War," the long-awaited "Incredibles 2," "Aquaman," "Deadpool 2," and more. Yet many walked out of "Into the Spider-Verse" naming it not only the best superhero movie to come out that year, but the best one they'd ever seen.

"Into the Spider-Verse" does not open on its hero, nor does it — like most of the Holland-led films — introduce the villain. Instead we get a fun montage of Peter Parker in some of the usual situations in which we expect to find him, including in brilliant takes on some of the most memorable scenes from earlier live-action films. The intro is narrated by Parker (Jake Johnson) who ends with the line, "there's only one Spider-Man, and you're looking at him."

Along with being entertaining right out of the gate, the "Into the Spider-Verse" opening scene accomplishes two very important things. First, it lets the audience know that while the main hero, Miles Morales, is someone who will be brand new to many of them, the OG Spidey hasn't been forgotten and won't be disrespected. Second, with its callbacks to previous live-action films, animated series, and the comics, it's the beginning of the movie's celebration of Spider-Man as well as the history of comics and animation.

Spider-Man 2 (2004)

For fans who prefer either the Tom Holland or Andrew Garfield versions of Peter Parker, one of the most frequent complaints about Tobey Maguire's performances as the hero is that his portrayal lacks the sense of humor of the comic book version. It's a valid grievance. In the source material, Spidey's battlefield quips are part of what defines the character, whereas in the Maguire-led films, he hardly lets out a single joke and when he does, it comes off as forced. 

But one area in which the first "Spider-Man" trilogy eclipses the ones that followed was in how it portrayed the horrible tension between Parker's responsibilities as a superhero and those of his civilian. This is demonstrated perfectly in opening scene of "Spider-Man 2." The scene that has since spawned thousands of "Pizza Time" memes finds Parker rushing to impossibly deliver a stack of pizzas before his boss' 30-minute delivery guarantee expires. As both Parker and Spider-Man; he's forced to navigate insane traffic, endangered children, and hungry New Yorkers. Funny, suspenseful, and cute — as the hero takes time to lecture two kids about street-crossing safety — the scene entertains while at the same time setting the stage for the rest of the film. Peter Parker can save New York City but he can't hold down a job, pay his rent, or even make it to the performance of the woman who occupies so much of his dreams.