Usually, when you think of great comic villains, you tend to drift towards DC. Batman’s rogues gallery is probably the best in all of comics, and it’s definitely one I’ll be tackling one of these days. However, I wanted to take a look at Spider-man today. While there were of course live-action superhero movies before 2002’s Spider-Man, I feel like that is the true launching point of the Hollywood superhero movie craze. So let’s take a look at the Spider-Man movie villains. Where do they rank? Let’s dive in!
9. Electro – The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Here’s a thousand words worth of my opinion of The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
8. Venom – Spider-Man 3 (2007)
I struggled with who was worse between Sandman and Venom in Spider-Man 3. And truly, the other staff members at CheckpointXP changed my mind. Whereas Sandman has a few interesting points, Venom is just awful. Let me be clear. I don’t hate Topher Grace as an actor. Hell, I loved That 70’s Show as much as the next person. That said, Eric Foreman is not a good candidate for Venom. That’s what we all said when we heard the casting, and we were all right. He was terrible. Venom was terrible. And even the iconic church-tower sequence couldn’t save Spider-Man 3. Also this.
7. Green Goblin – The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)
Admit it. You forgot Green Goblin was in this movie. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is so god-awful that Green Goblin gets a better slot on my list by virtue of the fact that I forgot he was in it. Despite having the iconic death of Gwen Stacy scene, the Green Goblin was about as interesting as watching paint dry. It was better than Harry’s Green Goblin in Spider-Man 3 which I didn’t even think was worth including on this list.
6. Sandman – Spider-Man 3 (2007)
And now for the other villain of Spider-Man 3. I think the thing that irks me the most about Sandman in this movie is that Venom is perfectly capable of carrying a movie by himself. I mean, THAT incarnation of Venom wasn’t, but he should be. Overall, the portrayal of Sandman is pretty good. He’s somewhat sympathetic, the effects are okay for the time, and Thomas Haden Church does a good enough job playing him. The biggest issue is in a movie with Venom as a villain, you really need the story to be about him. The good news is this ends the really bad Spider-Man movie villains.
5. The Lizard – The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
As much as people trashed on it, I liked The Amazing Spider-Man. Andrew Garfield is a good Spider-Man, although not a great Peter Parker. Plus, the movie has Denis Leary in it, so what’s not to like? Anyway, Rhys Ifans plays Dr. Curt Connors, who of course becomes The Lizard. He does a good job, although the CG isn’t my favorite. I actually liked his motivation, but his plan is what forces me to put him so low on the list. I’m sorry, but turning the whole of humanity into a reptilian super-species… it was a bit much.
4. Mysterio – Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)
For the second MCU Spider-Man movie in a row, they announced the villain and I went “WHAT?! WHY?!” When Jake Gyllenhaal was cast as Mysterio, I was genuinely at a loss for words. Mysterio is a C tier villain at best, and yet…. wow, was he impressive. As Marvel has a way of doing, they took something that’s corny and stupid in the comics and made it pretty compelling on the big screen. Gyllenhaal does an admirable job in the role, even if you’re able to see the twist coming from a mile away. His final act of vengeance against Spider-Man should have major ramifications on the MCU moving forward, so I can’t wait to see what happens next.
3. Green Goblin – Spider-Man (2002)
If I were allowed to just follow my feelings and not have to justify anything I write, Green Goblin would take the number 1 slot. Willem DaFoe’s Norman Osborn is an absolute treat. Even for Spider-Man movie villains, he’s delightfully over the top, and still has some of my favorite lines today. For 2002, the effects were amazing and the goblin suit with the glider was awesome. While his story is basically the textbook super-villain storyline, it all comes back to DaFoe’s acting. If you haven’t seen Spider-Man (2002), what rock have you been living under? Go see it.
2. Doctor Octopus – Spider-Man 2 (2004)
I need it to be known that I really struggled with the top 2 slots on this list. I think there is a case to be made for both of these villains as the best. Doctor Otto Octavius slots in at number 2. He appears in Spider-Man 2, which is probably the strongest of the original trilogy and thanks in no small part to Doc Ock. Alfred Molina checks into the role and does a great job. His genuine belief that what he’s doing is for the best is interesting to watch. The final scene when he realizes the inhibitor chip is destroyed and that he’s being controlled is still awesome today. A great performance for a great villain.
1. Vulture – Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
And here we are at the end of our list. The top Spider-Man movie villains are officially ranked and the Vulture takes the number 1 slot. If you had told me a decade ago I would declare the Vulture at the top of this list, I would have laughed in your face. But Michael Keaton’s portrayal in Spider-Man: Homecoming is nothing short of spectacular. The sequence of him in the car with Peter is so damn good. Overall, I gave Vulture the nod over Doc Ock because Doctor Octopus had way more source material to work with. The Vulture is such a lame villain in the comics that I couldn’t believe they’d chosen him for the first MCU Spider-Man movie. I ate my words. Vulture absolutely knocked it out of the park and claims the number 1 slot.
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