The Ultimate Spider-Man Actor Rankings
Who are the best Spider-Man actors? On paper, this seems like a relatively easy question. After all, there were only three, right? Well, we only got three Spider-Men live on the big screen, but plenty of artists played the crawler.
In Spider-Verse alone, we get eight different versions of the Web-Head. Of course they don’t everything are called “Spider-Man” but as we learned in this wonderful animated film, “anyone can wear the mask”. We haven’t even begun to consider all the different versions of Spidey we’ve seen on different TV shows over the years.
So, as dedicated fans of all things Spidey, we here at The Digital Fix decided to review and rank every Spider-Man actor on the big screen, from the animation to the MCU. Unfortunately, that means Nick Hammond and Shinji Tôdô are both missing because they were only in TV movies. And, of course, it’s important to remember that there are no bad Spider-Man actors, just bad Spider-Man movies.
Who are the best Spider-Man actors?
- Oscar Isaac – Miguel O’Hara/Spider-Man 2099
- Chris Pine – Peter Parker/Spider-Man
- Kimiko Glenn – Peni Parker / SP//dr
- John Mulaney – Peter Porker / Spider-Ham
- Nicolas Cage – Peter Parker / Spider-Man Noir
- Hailee Steinfeld – Gwen Stacy/Spider-Gwen
- Jake Johnson – Peter B. Parker/Spider-Man
- Andrew Garfield – Peter Parker/Spider-Man
- Tobey Maguire – Peter Parker/Spider-Man
- Tom Holland – Peter Parker/Spider-Man
- Shameik Moore – Miles Morales/Spider-Man
Oscar Isaac – Spider-Man 2099
Anyone who thought Oscar Isaac, of all people, would be at the bottom of an acting list, but sorry, his Spider-Man 2099 just doesn’t compare to other crawlers.
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He may be the Fist of Khonshu in the Marvel Cinematic Universe proper, but we only saw him in the Spider-Verse post-credit scene, so we can’t justify placing him higher. Maybe it will rank after Across the Spider-Verse?
Chris Pine – Spider-Man
Like Isacc before him, Pine doesn’t get much screen time – although what we see is very impressive – so we can’t rate him too high. That said, we like the confidence Pine has given Peter Parker, who is normally a little neurotic, to say the least.
We should also give Pine credit for being the only Spider-Man to have had the good grace to die on screen. Maguire flirted with the idea of jumping his hooves in No Way Home but avoided the coward!
Kimiko Glenn – Peni Parker / SP//dr
Kimiko Glenn does a great job as the lovable Peni Parker/SP//dr, who is definitely one of the weirder variants of Spider-Man, but she’s probably the least developed of the core Spider-People.
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Her character’s role in the movie is mostly to be “kawaii,” which is a shame because that means she doesn’t have much to do other than be, well, an anime character. It seems like a waste of her talents, especially when looking at her acting resume. I mean, she was the voice of Baby Shark, and now it’s in your head.
John Mulaney – Spider-Ham
The main comic relief of Spider-Verse, we love Spider-Ham. This swinging pig is what you get by throwing bunny bugs, a pack of ham, and Peter Parker into Seth Brundle’s telepods.
Of course, as a concept, a comic book pig version of Spider-Man seems pretty absurd, but you’re reading an article about actors who have played different man/woman/animal versions that have spider powers . Sense left the building a while ago!
Mulaney also does a terrific job of bringing Peter Porker to life. As we mentioned, he mostly channels Mel Blanc and his various Looney Tune characters, but his natural talent as a stand-up and actor means his constant wisecracks never get irritating.
Nicolas Cage – Spider-Man Noir
Nic Cage plays Spider-Man. Need we say more? Oh, we have to? Well, what if we said he played Spider-Man while doing a Humphrey Bogart impersonation? Now you are impressed, aren’t you.
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Seriously, Cage may appear in some shitty movies, but you never accuse him of calling it. The iconic actor and occasional anthropomorphic meme brings everything he’s got to each role, including the rather thinly sketched Spider-Man Noir who basically has a gag (he’s from days gone by).
It’s a testament to Cage’s skill and passion that it’s never tiring, now can we please bring this man into the MCU? Thank you.
Hailee Steinfeld – Spider Gwen
Ever since her debut in the Spider-Verse comic book event, Spider-Gwen has been a fan favorite, so there was a lot of pressure on Hailee Steinfeld to get it right. Thankfully, she pulls it off with the grace you’d expect from someone playing a character with spider-like agility.
Her performance as a dimensionally dislocated teenager is spot on. Steinfeld makes Gwen warm, kind, and sometimes irritated. Basically, she brings this character to life in literally two dimensions in a way that would make even the most curious comic book fan admit that she did a great job.
Jake Johnson – Peter B. Parker
Jake Johnson’s slacker take on Peter Parker might not be everyone’s favorite take on the Web-Head, but not everyone makes this list, I am, and I love this performance. Like Steinfeld’s portrayal of Gwen, it works because it’s so layered. This slightly older, world-weary version of Spider-Man is grumpy, lazy, and a bit of a dick to Miles, who just wants help with his powers.
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But despite his antisocial qualities, Johnson keeps him sympathetic. You never feel his version of Spidey has lost his heroic side. He just lacks a bit of practice, and of course Miles helps him take that leap of faith to get back on the superhero horse.
Andrew Garfield – Stone #3
We know putting Andrew Garfield last of the live-action Spider-Men is going to be controversial, but don’t get your pitchforks out yet; we can justify it. Listen, we love Garfield and his movies. Tick, Tick… Boom!, The Social Network, 99 Homes, they’re all great, but let’s be honest, the poor writing of the Amazing Spider-Man movies held it back.
We’re not saying his performance is bad – he’s arguably the best of all Spidey’s schtick – he just doesn’t reach the heights he is capable of. He’s an Oscar-nominated actor; he should top this list, but even the greatest of Garfield stans would admit it’s a stretch to call him the best Spider-Man actor.
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It doesn’t help that for some reason they made his Peter Parker inexplicably cool. I never for a minute understood why anyone was bullying this version of Peter Parker. Looks like he could walk the catwalk in Milan, not slum at Midtown High.
Not everything is bad. He’s mastered the character’s physicality and, as we mentioned, can deliver a nerdy one-liner with the best of them. Overall, he’s probably the best actor to play Spider-Man, but he’s not the best Spider-Man actor.
Tobey Maguire – Stone #2
Proof that first is not always the best, Tobey Maguire comes third. Why? Well, let’s start with the good. No one, and we mean no one, has ever embodied the goofiness of Peter Parker quite like Maguire.
You can tell Sam Raimi was a Silver Age Spider-Man fan when Peter was in his prime, and most hyped up because Maguire’s Parker can’t catch a break. But despite the fact that the world seems to have him, Maguire, he manages to capture Peter’s quiet dignity knowing he’s doing the right thing.
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Other versions of the character have said Uncle Ben’s iconic line “that with great power comes great responsibility”, but Maguire is the one who really sells it. It sounds like a promise when he says that line, not a slogan.
The biggest problem with Maguire is his stiffness. You never felt like he was entirely comfortable in his own skin, which worked great for Peter but not for Spider-Man. Spidey is supposed to be the identity of Peter free to swing in the streets, not the same nerds wearing blue and red jumpsuits.
Tom Holland – Spider-Man
If Garfield gets Spider-Man and Maguire gets Peter Parker, then Tom Holland is the perfect synthesis of the two and the best of the live-action Spider-Men. He’s good at being both youthful and rambunctious at the same time, a difficult tightrope for an actor to walk, but necessary to play Peter Parker.
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It probably helps that of all the big screens, Spidey’s Holland is the one we’ve seen the most. He had six movies to perfect his Spidey performance which triples what Garfield initially got. Sure, there’s a lot of criticism leveled at this version of Spidey, but those arguments tend to be directed at the writing, not Holland’s acting.
Unfortunately, as good as Holland is, he can’t even match Spider-Man’s best acting on the big screen.
Shameik Moore – Miles Morales
I mean, was there really any other choice? Shameik Moore doesn’t just play Miles. He embodies it with just one voice. Moore captures Miles’ insecurities, doubts, and fears while keeping the character safe without sounding like a contradiction.
We’ve only seen this version of Miles on the big screen once, but he left an indelible impression on the minds of Spider-Man fans everywhere. Ride on Spider-Verse 2!