Our Friendly Neighbourhood Spider-Man probably has the most colourful rogues gallery in superhero comics. Spidey’s antagonists are often father figures or friends gone wrong, more often than not with a very personal connection to the Wall-Crawler and/or his alter-ego.
The Spider-Man franchise has gone through more reboots than any other comic book character since Sam Raimi first brought him to the big screen in 2002. Over that time, whoever currently fills out the spandex has faced a variety of crazed scientists, criminals and rivals brought up to Spider-Man’s level by advanced technology, superpower-bestowing industrial accidents and cunning exploitation of the hero’s secret identity.
4 iterations of Spider-Man, 10 movies, many bad guys to fight, but which were the biggest threat to him and his nearest and dearest? A web of spoilers lies ahead in this edition of Ranked from The Film Magazine: Feature Film Spider-Man Villains Ranked.
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16. Aleksei Sytsevich / Rhino – The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)
“I am the Rhino! I told you I’d be back!”
A Russian mobster embarrassingly foiled by Spider-Man during a heist involving an armoured truck and a lot of plutonium, Aleksei is only too happy to don a rhinoceros-shaped mech suit (like you do) gifted by Oscorp’s Special Projects division to get his own back.
Aleksei is small-time, a wannabe tough gangster shown to be humiliatingly inept in his two fights against Spidey that bookend The Amazing Spider-Man 2. The usually-excellent Paul Giamatti is outshone by his forehead tattoo and is reduced to shouting in an outrageous accent straight out of a terrible Cold War action movie as he is webbed up and pantsed in his civilian clothes and then defeated in freeze-frame in his stupid robot rhino form.
15. Harry Osborn / Green Goblin – The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)
“You don’t give people hope, you take it away. I’m gonna take away yours.”
Peter Parker’s childhood friend returns to New York to say goodbye to his terminally ill father and discovers he carries the same genetic blood disease that makes you grow talons and turn green. Harry discovers that Spider-Man’s altered blood may somehow offer a cure but, when the hero refuses him, he takes an untested spider venom formula that warps his body and mind, leading him to take vengeance against the Wall-Crawler.
We’re told rather than shown that Peter and Harry have a history here and expected to buy Dane DeHaan’s twitchy take on the character’s rapid physical, mental and moral decline simply because we know a Green Goblin has got to show up in this Spider-Man universe some time, somehow.
In the race to set up a Sinister Six spin-off movie that never happened, all of Harry’s characterisation seems to have been excised so we’re left with a petty arch-nemesis who meets the Webslinger precisely twice and decides to kill his girlfriend on a whim because it took him a ridiculously long time to remember his company had made a battle suit with a bodily repair function and only used it after he’d already taken the uglifying spider-formula.
14. Eddie Brock / Venom – Spider-Man 3 (2007)
“Oh! My spider-sense is tingling… if you know what I’m talking about!”
A shady and arrogant photographer and rival to Peter Parker at the Daily Bugle who gets taken over by an alien symbiote and plans to take revenge on Parker for the part he played in Brock losing his job.
Before Tom Hardy took the role down the schizophrenic antihero route, Topher Grace brought a very different version of Eddie Brock to life. First he’s just a jerk competing with Peter for a staff photographer job before his faked photos get him blacklisted. Then, coincidence of coincidences, he goes to pray at the same cathedral where Peter is trying to separate himself from the personality-altering symbiote in the bell tower above. The symbiote jumps to Eddie and he immediately goes all the way bad and hatches a plan to make Peter/Spider-Man suffer.
Very obviously a late addition to Spider-Man 3’s plot by a reluctant Sam Raimi, Venom is only really in the film for the final action scene and is a very simplistic, weirdly camp take on the character who fails to leave any real impression.
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