Ranking Spidey and Friends

Warning: This Internet Debate Is Not For the Faint of Heart


As a Marvel fan, I am beyond excited to see Spider-Man: No Way Home. This movie is a culmination of different Spider-Man franchises as well as the conclusion of MCU’s Spider-Man trilogy. This past winter break I decided to watch all the different Spider-Man movies. It took my sister and I a full week to watch the different franchises which included Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man franchise with Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker, The Amazing Spider-Man franchise with Andrew Garfield as Spidey, and the MCU Homecoming trilogy with Tom Holland as our hero. The past week after No Way Home‘s release, I constantly scrolled through memes and articles ranking the Spider-Men and their supporting cast of characters. Ultimately, I realized I myself hadn’t fully processed who were my favorite characters across these franchises or which franchise portrayed our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man the best. So without further ado, here are my rankings. (I also don’t know how controversial my opinions are so here we go). They are broken over a series of categories including Best BFF, Best Love Interest, Best Aunt May, and Best Spider-Man. 


Best BFF 


3  Harry Osborn (James Franco)

 In my humble opinion, the character of Harry Osborn was the worst because he didn’t fit the role of Harry Osborn being Peter’s friend turned enemy. He was always the enemy because he stole Mary Jane from Peter constantly despite knowing that Peter liked MJ. Additionally, there’s no clear character arc for Harry because he constantly switches sides from enemy to friend both as a person in Peter’s life and as an enemy of Spider-Man. 


2 Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) 

Dane DeHaan’s interpretation of Harry Osborn is more in line and matches the tone of the story. His purpose was to be the rich kid who takes on the burden of his late father. Dane DeHaan fits the role perfectly and balances his dark charm with Harry’s young adult naiveté. Unfortunately, he is not introduced until the second movie. This late introduction creates an unrealistic void in Peter’s high school life. It forces him to have no friends besides Gwen Stacy and creates a loner with no social connections that Peter Parker never was in the comics. 


1 Ned Leeds (Jacob Batalon) 

Jacob Batalon’s character of Ned Leeds in my opinion is the best interpretation of Peter Parker’s best friend. He’s a loyal FOS (Friend of Spider-Man) as well. It is hilarious to see what happens to a friendship after Ned discovers that Peter is Spider-Man. Unlike the other best friends who wanted to steal Spidey’s blood after their discovery of Spider-Man’s true identity, Ned volunteers to be Spider-Man’s “guy in the chair.” The accuracy of true friendship among outsiders is shown at Liz Allan’s party. Where Peter refuses to show up as Spider-Man: “Spider-Man is not a party trick, I’m just gonna try and be myself.” Ned responds in true outsider/loyal friend fashion: “Peter, nobody wants that.” As a high schooler, I relate to this scene all too well. 


Best Love Interest 


3 Mary Jane “MJ” Watson (Kristen Dunst) 

There’s a bunch of reasons why I could say I absolutely despise MJ, but long story short, her portrayal of MJ makes her a very self-centered, sexist, and toxic character. She constantly needs Spider-Man but never wants to be with Peter Parker. 


2 Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone)

Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy is an improvement from Dunst’s MJ. She is smart, reliant and all ways quick to respond when Peter needs help. She is a selfless person, which is what anybody would want in a friend or girlfriend. The only problem with her character was her role at Oscorp was unclear, thus mudding the plot a tad in Amazing Spider-Man 2 when she knows information about the electricity department but she’s just an intern specializing in biology.  Additionally, the awkwardness between Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy is almost too prolonged, and there’s no sense of relatable humor in these moments. The audience is just left to cringe. 


1 Michelle Jones “MJ” Watson (Zendaya) 

Zendaya is the most realistic version of MJ as a teenage girl. She is sarcastic and witty with her slick sense of humor. She is a lovable, awkward character, just as any teenage girl would be sometimes. My favorite part about her character is that she likes and notices Peter Parker before he reveals himself as Spider-Man. Additionally, I really loved how she was the one who figured out he was Spider-Man without him confessing to her. This moment makes for top tier comedy because he denies it at first, until MJ tells him that her class thinks that he is a male escort. 


Best Aunt May 


3 Aunt May (Rosemary Harris) 

This interpretation is a comic accurate representation of who Aunt May was in the comics. But like always, sometimes change is good. Aunt May was a character that needed significant change because an accurate representation of the comic character did not translate well to the big screen. 


2 Aunt May (Sally Field) 

The Amazing Spider-Man’s version of Aunt May is an improvement from the Raimi trilogy’s interpretation of Aunt May. There is a more realistic age difference between the aunt and nephew pair in these movies. And their interactions with each other are absolutely endearing and hilarious at the same time. Aunt May volunteers to wash Peter’s clothes because he turned everything red and blue once. Peter tries to save face and tries to explain he washed an American Flag. The only fallback of this portrayal is that the story frames her as an insignificant character despite the fact she would have had to raise him as her own son because of the loss of his parents. 


1 May Parker (Marisa Tomei) 

Marisa Tomei’s portrayal of Aunt May is the perfect example of how an update to a comic book character is sometimes better than the original. Her Aunt May captures the spirit of a parental figure because she cares for Peter and reminds to be unapologetically himself. Additionally, the story frames her as a significant character because she is always a constant presence when the movie refers back to Peter’s home life. Additionally, she has the perfect youthful energy to complement being the guardian of a teenager. 


Finally —– The Best Spider-Man

3 Tobey Maguire 

To me Tobey Maguire is the worst Spider-Man (please don’t come at me if you disagree). He portrays Peter as a completely helpless awkward teenager. This portrayal leads the audience to cringe and pray that the situation is resolved immediately. Additionally, when he is Spider-Man there are no witty quips which are a signature of our beloved hero. Another weird aspect of his version of the hero, his webs come directly from his wrists. (Like how????) There’s no explanation or any rationale behind this superpower. (Like what is inside of him???) 


2 Andrew Garfield 

Garfield’s portrayal of Spider-Man is an improvement from Maguire’s. He was a master at the small witty quips that Spider-Man made during fights. Unfortunately, his downfall came with his portrayal of Peter Parker. He made Peter almost a helpless awkward person like Maguire. It was painful to watch his interaction. I almost felt like I was getting second-hand embarrassment. It improves in the second movie, but alas not enough. 


1 Tom Holland 

Holland’s portrayal of our arachnid hero is superior because it is perfectly balanced unlike the others. Tom Holland captured the awkwardness of Peter Parker, but he does so through the relatable lens and not the excessive awkwardness that Garfield had. There’s a sense of naiveté that is perfectly captured by the MCU’s Spider-Man. Additionally, he is more believable to be a teenager than the other two actors. Holland was cast when he was eighteen for the role, while the other actors were well into their twenties when they stepped into the role. Additionally, in Holland’s franchise all of him and his surrounding cast of characters are not as exaggerated as the other franchise’s. Therefore, the audience can relate more and see their teenage years represented in the movie. It’s unique because it’s first and foremost a coming-of-age film rather than a superhero movie.