Spider-Man: What Went Wrong With His Worst Movie Villains?


Spider-Man has starred in seven solo live-action films over the past 17 years, and he's tangled with many of his iconic foes straight out of the original comic book source material. However, while some supervillains like Alfred Molina's tortured Doctor Octopus in Spider-Man 2 and Michael Keaton's menacing Vulture in Spider-Man: Homecoming have been well-received by fans and critics alike, other villains have not translated quite as effectively to the big screen for a variety of reasons.

Now, we're taking a look back at some of the live-action Spider-Man movie villains who are fenerally regarded as poorly received and where their jump from page to screen went terribly wrong.

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Jamie Foxx's casting as Electro in 2014's Amazing Spider-Man 2 seemed like an inspired choice. A charismatic, Academy Award-winning actor portraying a popular Spider-Man villain that had not yet been adapted all seemed like a perfectly sound decision. However, as more details about the character became unveiled, fans appeared increasingly divided about the villain's portrayal.

While the pulsating electric effects throughout the character's body was impressive, fans were less thrilled about the constantly whispering paranoid thoughts in Electro's warped mind. In terms of the character's role in the film's overall story, most audiences felt that Max Dillon's portrayal before his villainous transformation mirrored that of Jim Carrey's performance as Edward Nigma in Batman Forever while the end of Amazing Spider-Man 2 saw Electro become little more than electric-powered muscle for Harry Osborn.



The biggest fan-favorite villain created within the last 30 years of the Spider-Man mythos is Venom, a symbiote-empowered antagonist and antihero bonded to Eddie Brock, a former co-worker of Peter Parker's who had an ax to grind for both of the web-slinger's dual identities. Fresh off That 70s Show, Topher Grace was cast as Brock for Spider-Man 3, serving as a dark, opportunistic mirror to Peter whose life changed forever when he came into the contact with the symbiote.

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The biggest issue with Spider-Man 3 is that filmmaker Sam Raimi never wanted to include Venom in the film at all, with only Sandman and Harry Osborn's incarnation of the Green Goblin in the original version of the script. As such, Venom's inclusion in the film comes off as rushed and uninspired; a mandate from producer Avi Arad to Raimi's expressed chagrin looking back on the 2007 film. Years later, Arad himself would take responsibility for shoehorning Venom into the film rather than making him a more organic part of the story.


The first and last supervillain that Spidey fights in Amazing Spider-Man 2 -- indeed, the last villain that Andrew Garfield's incarnation of the web-slinger fights at all -- is the Rhino, portrayed by Golden Globe-winning actor Paul Giamatti. He's seen in the film's prologue in his civilian form as a Russian mobster before taking on a powerful exo-suit to battle Spidey in the streets of Manhattan in the film's closing scene. Ultimately, Rhino set the tone for Garfield's final outing as the superhero.

However, Giamatti's depiction of Rhino left more fans scratching their heads in his brief appearances rather than cheering excitedly. With a laughably bad Russian accent and supremely over-the-top, cartoonish performance, Giamatti seemed to be at least having a good time while undercutting the emotional drama of Peter Parker finally returning to the role of Spider-Man after taking a year sabbatical following the death of Gwen Stacy. Also, the CGI-heavy exo-suit that Rhino employs came off as more of a cheap Iron Man knockoff rather than the classic Spider-Man villain.

Green Goblin

The Amazing Spider-Man Green Goblin

Just as with the comics and as James Franco's portrayal of the character in Spider-Man 3 had done seven years earlier, Dane DeHaan's Harry Osborn becomes a version of the Green Goblin in the final act to Amazing Spider-Man 2. While this incarnation of Harry was similarly a childhood friend of Peter's, he resented his old friend for not sharing his blood despite Harry suffering from a rare, genetic disease that was rapidly progressing.

Just as Spider-Man 3 had shoehorned in Venom, this incarnation of Harry and his rapid transformation in the Green Goblin was criticized. The rare disease trope was criticized, with the filmmakers perhaps taking the Goblin moniker too literally, with Harry developing green, leathery skin with his villainous descent really just coming off as an excuse to set up Gwen Stacy's death and the Sinister Six in a sequel that ultimately never materialized.

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