As arguably the most famous Marvel comics character of all-time, every time Spider-Man has appeared on the big screen it has been a really big deal. As a result, it certainly seems like getting cast in a film about the wall-crawler would be a dream come true for anyone who has dreamed of making it as an actor.
Despite the fact that loads of actors have competed to appear in a Spider-Man movie, some of the people that have made the cut ended up making the resulting film worse in some way. On the other end of the spectrum, some of the actors who’ve appeared in these movies were fantastic and helped make this film franchise the success that it is. With that in mind, it is time to take a look at this list of 3 casting choices that hurt Spider-Man movies and 12 that saved them.
15 Saved: Zendaya as Michelle "MJ" Jones in Spider-Man: Homecoming
In some ways, Zendaya had a pretty thankless job when it came to starring in Spider-Man: Homecoming. After all, her character is important to the franchise but was underwritten in that film. Thankfully, Zendaya is talented enough to make the most out of every moment she appeared in that movie which is why we grew to like her character so much.
14 Saved: John Mulaney as Peter Porker / Spider-Ham in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Prior to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’s release, the fact that this animated movie featured a pig version of Spidey could have made people write the film off. Thankfully, the character ended up being hilarious in large part due to John Mulaney’s pitch-perfect vocal performance that made viewers care about Spider-Ham and laugh at his antics.
13 Saved: Willem Dafoe as Norman Osborn / Green Goblin in Spider-Man
If 2002’s Spider-Man had failed, the world may not have gotten to see the long list of fantastic superhero movies that followed in its footsteps. That is why we are so overjoyed that Willem Dafoe was cast as that film’s main villain. After all, he did a great job playing up the exaggerated way his character was written and he also pulled off delivering a monologue into a mirror.
12 Hurt: Paul Giamatti as Aleksei Sytsevich / Rhino in The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Considering how talented Paul Giamatti is, he could have been the perfect person to play Rhino. Instead, he ended up giving one of the worst performances ever seen in a superhero movie. Delivering all of his lines with a cartoonish Russian accent, the only explanation we can come up with to explain Giamatti’s performance as Rhino is he thought he was going to fight Adam West’s Batman.
11 Saved: Nicolas Cage as Peter Parker / Spider-Man Noir in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
On the face of things, Spider-Man Noir seems like he would be such an overly serious character that he would take away from the fun elements of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Fortunately for the many fans of that movie, Nicolas Cage managed to both play into the absurdity of the character while also delivering every line in an earnest way.
10 Saved: Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker / Spider-Man in the Amazing Spider-Man films
When Andrew Garfield was cast as Spider-Man, it was obvious that he was going to be compared to Tobey Maguire’s version of the character. While we enjoy Maguire’s work in the role, it was really great to see Garfield don the spandex as he truly managed to pull off the quippy sense of humor that his predecessor never quite made work.
9 Saved: Jake Johnson as Peter B. Parker / Spider-Man in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Even though fans have gotten to see several live-action versions of Spider-Man on the big screen, it wasn’t until Jake Johnson’s lovable portrayal of Peter B. Parker that we truly got something different. An incredibly damaged version of the wall-crawler who is filled with regret, his sadness was obvious even as he tried to show his new protégé the ropes and kept viewers in stitches.
8 Saved: Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy in the Amazing Spider-Man films
When it comes to The Amazing Spider-Man movies, it was abundantly clear that they wanted to make things different than Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films. For example, they chose to have Peter Parker’s first real love in the comic books, Gwen Stacy, star in the film instead of his eventual wife. While we love Mary Jane Watson, Emma Stone embodied Gwen’s inner strength and charm so perfectly that we couldn’t get enough of her.
7 Hurt: Dane DeHaan as Harry Osborn/ Green Goblin in The Amazing Spider-Man 2
While there were a lot of elements that went into many people rejecting The Amazing Spider-Man 2, one of the main problems with that film was Dane DeHaan’s portrayal of Harry Osborn. While DeHaan has been great in other films, like Chronicle, his version of the Green Goblin was laughably goofy and not in a good way. In fact, his over the top facial expressions were enough to make his performance fail.
6 Saved: Michael Keaton as Adrian Toomes / Vulture in Spider-Man: Homecoming
At various times, the comic book version of Vulture has been the kind of bad guy who twists his mustache and cackles at his devious plans. The polar opposite of that, Michael Keaton managed to make the character so human that viewers related to him despite rooting for Spidey to defeat him. On top of that, Keaton was so intense when his character talked to Parker in his car that the tension was overwhelming.
5 Saved: Alfred Molina as Otto Octavius / Doctor Octopus in Spider-Man 2
When people talk about Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, it is a given that the second film is the best in part because of Alfred’s Molina’s Doctor Octopus. Completely believable as a scientist during the film’s early moments, once Doc Ock is driven mad, everything from the way he talks to his physicality changes. For that reason, viewers manage to fear the villain despite the actor’s dad bod.
4 Saved: Shameik Moore as Miles Morales / Spider-Man in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Ever since Spider-Man’s comic book debut in 1962, millions of people have loved Peter Parker and his superhero alter ego. For that reason, getting people to accept the character Miles Morales as Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’s main character was a difficult task. However, Shameik Moore did such a great job voicing a newly powered superhero, that viewers who’d never heard of Miles Morales grew to love him.
3 Saved: J. K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson in the Spider-Man Movies
In all reality, from a storyline perspective, J. Jonah Jameson plays such a small role in Raimi’s Spider-Man films that it may seem strange that J.K. Simmons’ performance is so high on this list. However, Simmons was so delightful in the role that it seems impossible to imagine another actor playing Jameson.
2 Saved: Tom Holland as Peter Parker / Spider-Man in Spider-Man: Homecoming
Since the year 2002, three actors have played a live-action version of Spider-Man on the big screen. For that reason, people were so sick of the character getting rebooted that they were ready to reject Tom Holland in the role before seeing a second of him on the big screen. Thankfully, he was equally marvelous at playing the geeky side of Peter Parker and the hilarious aspects of Spider-Man.
1 Hurt: Topher Grace as Eddie Brock / Venom in Spider-Man 3
Even though fans who thought Heath Ledger was going to be bad as The Joker were proven wrong, everyone’s predictions that Topher Grace would suck as Venom were completely accurate. Instead of playing the fearsome antihero as the threatening entity he was meant to be, Grace’s version of Venom was a whiner that couldn’t intimidate anyone.