It’s tempting to believe that Spider-Man came to the big screen for the first time in 2002 when Sony made the incredibly astute decision to let genre film-maker Sam Raimi helm a big screen vehicle for the web spinner after close to three decades of development hell. But actually, Spider-Man was on the silver screen four times before Raimi was even handed the reins, and the franchise that has just been extended one more step by Homecoming is far bigger than most care to acknowledge.
That almost wilful ignorance is for good reason too: those Spider-Man movies were very firmly the product of an entirely different era, before Richard Donner’s Superman made comic book movies legitimate, when they were still corny staples of cable television. They might be better left forgotten, but as living museum exhibits, they offer a compelling parallel to how far Peter Parker has come on screen.
Watching them now alongside the shiny, MCU endorsed Parker who forms the heart of the excellent, John Hughes-inspired high school/comic book movie mash-up is as strange as it is enlightening. And anything that makes Jon Watts’ joyous reboot even more entertaining is no bad thing.
So how does Spider-Man’s Homecoming rank with the other Spidey movies? Was it worth Sony letting Marvel make it for them?