Regardless of their quality, comic book movies always struggle with how much of the original source material should be pulled and adapted into the films. This leads to some characters in these movies being pretty darn close to their original creations. unfortunately, other times it shows completely different versions of them. A good exercise to show this would be the villains in the Spider-Man films.
With over a dozen villains now being shown in Spidey flicks, this is a good time to analyze which of them were accurate to their original comic book counterparts, and which of them were way off. Remember, this isn't a statement on their actual quality as characters, just a fun list for you, dear reader, to enjoy. Let's dig in!
10 Accurate: Green Goblin (Spider-Man)
Costume aside, Sam Raimi's first Spider-Man movie nailed the character of Norman Osborn, particularly in his early Stan Lee/Steve Ditko/John Romita Sr. days. While he definitely was a ruthless businessman and scientist even before the Goblin formula pushed him further into madness, his powers and weapons gave him the ability to truly lash out at his enemies.
Just as it was in the comics, his relationship to both Peter Parker and Spider-Man is a complicated and personal one. He respects Peter's intellect and even would prefer him as a son to Harry, who he considers a failure, but Peter is just too good a soul for this villain. Not to mention his death is ripped directly from the source material.
9 Not: Green Goblin (The Amazing Spider-Man 2)
While Sam Raimi nailed the original Green Goblin, the much-maligned Amazing Spider-Man 2 did a horrible disservice to the son of Norman Osborn, Harry.
In the original comics, Harry is a sensitive man who desperately craves his father's approval and constantly finds excuses for how his father failed him. He is a kind-hearted person crushed by the toxic short-sightedness of his father. However, Dane Dehaan's version is more of an idiotic, unnerving creep who somehow thinks that Spider-Man's blood will cure him of the degenerative disease which took his father's life. Luckily, we didn't see more of this abomination.
8 Accurate: Rhino (The Amazing Spider-Man 2)
Not all Spider-Man villains are destined to be the stars of the show. That's because many of them are just simple thugs or brutes who commit crimes for money—and brutes don't get any bigger in Spidey's rogues' gallery than The Rhino.
Played by Paul Giamatti, he doesn't get much to do in this movie, but, when he is there, he is quite faithful to his stupid comic counterpart. Simple-minded, dull, and somehow who loves to destroy, he is a perfect foil to those who like their Spider-Man as a wise-cracking smartass.
7 Not: Doc Ock (Spider-Man 2)
This is a perfect example of how movie versions of comic book villains don't necessarily have to be comic accurate to be great. Indeed, Alfred Molina's Dr. Otto Octavius is far from accurate to the source material but beloved nonetheless.
In the comic, Otto is like a Peter Parker who had terrible parents instead of an Uncle Ben and Aunt May. Angry at the world for picking on him and not recognizing his genius, he uses his vast intelligence in many attempts to kill millions or enslave them. In the movie Spider-Man 2 however, he's a smooth-talking, wise mentor figure to Peter Parker who is also happily married. Even when he goes full villain, Molina plays a more subdued character, a far cry from the megalomaniac Doc Ock is in the comics.
6 Accurate: Harry Osborn (Spider-Man 3)
Whereas the Marc Webb version of Harry Osborn was an insult to Peter Parker's best friend, the Sam Raimi version of the character is much closer to the mark.
Throughout the Sam Raimi trilogy, Harry's turn to villainy is coherent and faithful to the source. He starts out as Peter Parker's roommate and friend, but the loss of his father, which he believes Spider-Man to be responsible for, and Peter being kind of an absent friend due to his masked life is all the fuel he needs to want to avenge his father. Even better, the third film ends with Harry dying while saving his best friend's life, just as he did in Spectacular Spider-Man #200.
5 Not: Electro (Amazing Spider-Man 2)
Electro might not be the most popular Spider-Man villain, but, if handled properly, he could be the villain of a film. However, Jamie Foxx's interpretation in Amazing Spider-Man 2 leaves quite a bit to be desired.
Played with a corniness not seen since Batman Forever, Maxwell Dillon in this movie is a mistreated OsCorp employee who is accidentally granted superpowers after he falls into a pool of genetically altered electric eels. He is also practically in love with Spider-Man throughout the movie and, while he has some decent fight scenes, this loser is far from the hardened criminal Electro is in the source material.
4 Accurate: Kingpin (Into The Spider-Verse)
While not given much time to develop his backstory as this movie is jam-packed with Spider-people, the brief time Wilson Fisk is given captures the essential aspects of the character.
Physically imposing, manipulative, and longing for his lost love Vanessa, Kingpin uses his vast criminal empire to pull all the strings possible to bring back his family from any dimension he can. While the far-out science is a little bit outside Fisk's wheelhouse in the comics, we don't doubt that it's out Fisk's character to try this if he had to.
3 Not: The Lizard (The Amazing Spider-Man)
Likely the most sympathetic of all Spider-Man's "villains," The Lizard is, in reality, one of Peter Parker's most respected peers in the scientific community: Dr. Curt Connors. While he might be a villain in some stories, he is actually a good family man who attempted to regrow his arm that he lost serving as a doctor in the U.S army.
The Amazing Spider-Man, however, threw much of this out the window. Instead, they made Connors a partner of Peter's father and no mention of his family is ever brought up. A poor performance from Sony.
2 Accurate: Mysterio (Spider-Man: Far From Home)
The marketing of this movie tried to trick us into believing that Mysterio was an honest-to-god hero, but the MCU thankfully pulled a trick that Quentin Beck himself would approve of and revealed him to be a true villain.
Just as he did in his first appearance, Mysterio convinced the world that Spider-Man was a villain and that he was a good guy trying to stop his evil. Not only that, but we thankfully got the fishbowl! Yes, that is a big deal to any true Spider-Man fan, thank you very much. He also was shown to be a highly manipulative and backstabbing rogue. A true master of illusion if ever there was one.
1 Not: Vulture (Spider-Man: Homecoming)
While Michael Keaton is no spring chicken, the MCU's version of the Vulture is not quite the old coot that the original comics version was. Like Doc Ock, though, this version of Vulture is an improvement over the original.
While the comic version of Vulture struggles with being a true threat to Spider-Man, this version works, as Keaton plays him with a credible backstory for being a villain as he leads a criminal gang who were all screwed by the giant corporation of Stark Industries. The car scene between him and Peter Parker is something you'd never see in the comics, but is a sign that this version of Vulture is great on his own merit.