Spider-Man: Far From Home hits theatres next month and expectations are, understandably, high. Nowadays, the MCU can do precious little wrong and the latest blockbuster has added intrigue thanks to the character of Mysterio. Jake Gyllenhaal will be portraying Quintin Beck who, despite being a villain in the comics, appears to be on the side of Peter Parker and Nick Fury during the film’s trailer. What is going on?
Spider-Man films have had some big villains over the years and Mysterio could be another one, should the MCU have a twist in store for us. We now look at the bad guys from previous web-slinger outings and rank them from worst to best.
11 The Rhino - The Amazing Spider-Man 2
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was a disaster and the final straw for Sony, who saw the web-slinger jump ship to the MCU shortly afterward. While Andrew Garfield did a fine job of portraying Peter Parker, the movie garnered criticism for its decision to throw too many villains into the mix. Electro, Green Goblin, and the Rhino are all involved.
But, while the first two bad guys had their redeeming features, the Rhino did not. Paul Giamatti’s character was the source of much mockery, with the character struggling to do anything memorable. He gets busted by Spider-Man early on and, at the end of the movie, charges towards the hero. By this point, however, we’ve lost interest entirely. A forgettable villain.
10 The Shockers - Spider-Man: Homecoming
Spider-Man: Homecoming decided to use the Shocker via two characters. Logan Marshall-Green plays Jackson Brice, who works for Adrian Toomes AKA the Vulture. Bokeem Woodbine then takes over for the second half of the movie as Herman Schultz but, while Toomes’ character leaves a lasting impression, the other two do not.
Brice bites the dust early on, quite literally, with the Vulture disintegrating him after Spider-Man nearly busts him for an arms deal. His successor fares a little better, but Schultz ends up being taken down by Peter Parker’s best friend, Ned. To get disintegrated by your boss is bad; however, to get taken down by a person with no superpowers or abilities whatsoever? The two Shockers were definitely not A-list.
9 The Lizard - The Amazing Spider-Man
When Sony made the decision to reboot Spider-Man, despite the success of Sam Raimi’s trilogy, they opted to bring in a villain who nobody had seen before. Spider-Man 4 had initially planned to have Kurt Connors, seen during the latter two Raimi movies, transform into the Lizard and the studio bigwigs decided to keep to that plan and cast Rhys Ifans in the role.
However, the Lizard failed to get people excited. His plan to turn everybody in New York City into giant reptiles was a flawed one, not least because it made no sense whatsoever. It was hinted in the movie’s post-credits scene that he would return for the sequel but, ultimately, Ifans’ character did not make a comeback. Given how poor his outing was, that was probably for the best.
8 Venom - Spider-Man 3
If Spider-Man 3 hadn’t messed up, who knows how many more movies starring Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker would have been released? Given how the previous two movies in the franchise had been huge box office and critical success, expectations were high ahead of its 2007 release. Sadly, the third outing failed to scale the same heights and the decision to throw Venom into the blockbuster backfired spectacularly.
Not content with Sandman and the New Goblin being in the piece, the studios pressed for Venom too. However, the Symbiote fell flat with his inclusion feeling rushed and pointless to the plot of the movie. Eddie Brock kills Harry Osborn but then dies himself after deciding to jump into the Symbiote at the same time Peter throws a pumpkin bomb. Overall, it felt a pointless decision to have Eddie transform. It should have been saved for the sequel.
7 Sandman - Spider-Man 3
While Venom was a disappointment, Sandman wasn’t much better. Because, again, Sony messed up by choosing to complicate the plot and change things that fans were already accustomed to in the previous two Spider-Man movies.
Prior to its release, Uncle Ben had been killed by Dennis Carradine. That was established. But no, the decision was made that Flint Marko, who wasn’t ever mentioned or seen during the first Spider-Man, was the killer instead. The change was needless and Marko was drab. The CGI used on the character was questionable too and, when he floated off at the end, very few fans were pining for him to return. In hindsight, Sony should have just stuck to Carradine being Uncle Ben's killer instead.
6 Electro - The Amazing Spider-Man 2
After the dire disappointment that was the Lizard, Sony again drafted in an A-lister to play a villain never seen before on screen. Despite his character looking drastically different from its comic book counterpart, Jamie Foxx’s Electro (Max Dillon) was a huge success and kept audiences on the edge of their seats throughout the movie.
Electro is a rare case of a sympathetic villain. We are introduced to his character being ignored by pretty much everybody around him, with people also mistreating the hapless guy on a day to day basis. After an experiment transforms him into Electro, Max seeks the ultimate revenge and does some pretty evil things, including shocking Donald Mencken and threatening to destroy the whole city. His fate is somewhat ambiguous and, had the Amazing Spider-Man series been granted a third movie, he would likely have returned.
5 The Green Goblin - The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Dane Dehann had big shoes to fill when it was revealed he would be playing the Green Goblin in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. James Franco had made the role of Norman Osborn’s son his own during Sam Raimi’s trilogy, whereas William Dafoe had impressed as the Goblin too. However, despite the movie itself being so-so, Dehann’s take on the character was a refreshing change from Franco's interpretation.
Harry is petulant and abrasive, infuriated at those questioning his father’s decision to give him control of Oscorp. He becomes the Goblin as a means to curing himself of the same disease that had dumped off his father and the movie’s strongest scenes are the ones involving him. He also plays a key role in the death of Gwen Stacey which, arguably, remains the most emotional from any Spider-Man blockbuster.
4 New Goblin - Spider-Man 3
James Franco’s take on Harry Osborn gets the nod over Dane Dehann’s because, unlike his fellow actor, the This is The End and 127 Hours star was given three movies to flesh the character out. He starts off as a teenager feeling snubbed by his father but, by the time the credits roll on Spider-Man 3, he has undergone quite the transformation.
Franco has exceptional chemistry with Tobey Maguire - almost making you believe they can be best friends in real life. He spends the whole of Spider-Man 2 seething about the death of his father, before becoming the New Goblin in the final part of the trilogy. Scenes with himself and Maguire in that specific movie are the highlight, adding emotional depth to the piece and when he dies at the conclusion of the movie audiences are left to mourn. It was a moment to get the tissues out.
3 Vulture - Spider-Man: Homecoming
The Vulture was brought to life in 2017 with the release of Spider-Man: Homecoming. Fans were initially furious at the MCU’s design for the villain, giving him metallic wings and armor rather than feathers like his comic book counterpart. With Michael Keaton starring as the bad guy, those fears were put to bed when the movie hit screens two years ago.
Adrian Toomes is a likable enough villain and audiences understand his decision to seek revenge on Stark Industries when they rob him of the chance to make a small fortune. Keaton offers the perfect blend of comedy and menace and, when it’s revealed that Peter Parker is dating his daughter, the movie only gets better. Given how the MCU love bringing people back, nobody would be against the decision to recall the Homecoming villain further down the line.
2 Green Goblin - Spider-Man
The Green Goblin is Spider-Man’s most-famous enemy and, when the first-ever live-action movie starring the web-slinger hit screens in 2002, William Dafoe was cast as the Oscorp chief. Ultimately, this casting decision paid off.
The Goblin is nothing short of pure evil, slaughtering Oscorp board members, scaring the living daylights out of Aunt May, and forcing Peter to choose between saving Mary Jane or a cable car full of young children. He stays nasty right to the very end, dying via his own glider after trying to catch Spider-Man off guard. Dafoe represses his role for brief cameos in Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man 3; however, one actor has been able to play a better villain so far…
1 Doctor Otto Octavius - Spider-Man 2
When it comes to the bad guys of Spider-Man movies, Doctor Otto Octavius takes pole position. Along with arguably being the main antagonist in the best Spidey-themed blockbuster in history, his character has everything required to make him one of the most memorable villains in superhero movie history.
Octavius has the lot and Alfred Molina brings the character to live on the silver screen with the best performance of his career. We see him show every emotion possible: mourning at the death of his wife, rage at Spider-Man for his involvement and then, in the closing stages, regret and remorse at his actions. It’s a well and truly special performance - and something Gyllenhaal must try and produce himself when Far From Home releases in July.