Since the ill-fated James Cameron directed Spider-Man from the 90s which ultimately collapsed, to the contemporary Tom Holland Marvel Cinematic Universe flicks, Spidey has been a mainstay in pop culture and starred in iconic action scenes across 3 major iterations.
1. The Train Sequence (Spider-Man 2)
Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 is often considered the perfect superhero movie, and the defining Spider-Man cinematic entry. With a great cast, director, and perhaps most importantly – Spider-Man’s greatest villain.
It all kicks off with Doc Ock (Alfred Molina) robbing a bank and just escalates from there. It’s an amazing sequence. From throwing coin bags at Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker / Spider-Man to ending up across the top of buildings, to its climax on a New York train line.
After a solid 15 minutes of back and forth, including Spider-Man stopping a train by using himself and his webs as a brake, it ends with an exhausted Spidey knocked out cold and unmasked by Doc Ock. This then leads to an all-time Spider-Man cinematic moment – “he’s just a kid” the passengers on the train say. They promise to keep his secret identity a secret, and Spider-Man lives to fight another day.
The train sequence is so good and iconic it gets riffed on in the Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse animated film with Miles Morales replicating the feat.
2. Goblin Final Battle (Spider-Man 1)
The final clash between Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe) and Spider-Man sees the hero and villain battle in an old graveyard/estate.
Spider-Man takes goblin bomb fragments to his face and body, resulting in scarring and a battle-worn Parker. Owing much to director Sam Raimi’s days on Evil Dead, this is a ruthless and ferocious fight.
Dafoe succumbing to his own glider is a shocking end to his time amongst the living. Dafoe reprised his role in the two sequels as a hallucination of his son Harry Osborne (James Franco).
3. Mysterio’s Illusions (Far From Home)
After discovering Jake Gyllenhaal’s Quentin Beck / Mysterio is a fraud and not a benevolent multiverse traversing hero, Peter Parker plans to tell Interpol, before he realises it’s part of an illusion cast by Mysterio and his high-tech drones.
A visually striking and interesting sequence, it’s the most horror-like scene in a Spider-Man movie since Doc Ock’s failed surgery in Spider-Man 2 to remove his tentacles. The character work done here is smart and while you do wonder how long it took Mysterio to plan this entire sequence, it’s very effective.
4. Times Square Fight (The Amazing Spider-Man 2)
Despite middling success as a movie, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 features one of the most visually interesting cinematic action scenes as Electro (Jamie Foxx) is unleashed upon Times Square.
The mixture of a brighter color palette on Spider-Man and a visually striking villain in Electro lends itself to an aesthetically pleasing action set piece.
5. Lizard’s School Excursion (The Amazing Spider-Man)
Despite being a mostly forgettable origin film, Sony’s 2012 Spider-Man reboot with Andrew Garfield boasts a great action sequence in Midtown High.
The Lizard (Rhys Ifans) is after Parker following an unfortunate “property of Peter Parker” plot device/sticker. His plan is fairly dumb but the sequence is very fun. The sprawling action scene includes an all-time Stan Lee cameo. As the chaos and fight unfolds behind him, he’s completely oblivious. A fan favourite cameo for the famed Marvel ‘Generalissimo’.