Spider-Man has one of the deepest benches of adversaries, but out of five movies thus far, three of them have featured Norman or Harry Osborn as the antagonist. Spidey is so much better than that. Who else could we see if Marvel and Sony really delves deeper into the line-up of Spidey’s rogues? Here’s my picks for the ten greatest Spider-Man foes that we haven’t yet seen in live action.
Dmitri Smerdyakov first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #1, making him the FIRST costumed villain Spider-Man ever faced. An expert spy and master of disguise, Chameleon is a terrifying villain. He can be anyone, anywhere, at any time. In a recent issue (actually a Deadpool annual), he used that to his advantage, attacking Spider-Man in multiple faces and running the webslinger ragged. There’s a lot of different ways he could be used, but all of them could make for a great movie.
This guy, right? Fred Myers is a washed-up former pitcher who wound up as boomerang throwing supervillain because he’s A) Australian, and B) throws real good. Honestly NO ONE would have put this guy on any sort of top ten list that wasn’t extremely specific (top ten Aussie villains? Maybe?) until the series Superior Foes of Spider-Man debuted in July 2013. Fred was the star of the series, a greedy, conniving backstabber, with a scheme in one pocket and a lie in the other at all times. He pulled off multiple heists, schemes and double crosses over the course of 18 brilliant issues that frankly elevated him to at least the B-list. He’s a crook that’s in it strictly for the money, something that would be damn refreshing in today’s “always have to save the world!” superhero movie world. And, bonus, he’s extremely funny!
Vincent D’Onofrio has stated that he would love to play the Kingpin in a Spider-Man movie. I say let’s go for it, and to go with it, let’s introduce one of the coolest superpowered gangsters in Marvel canon. Joseph was a young boy that fled the Soviet Union, and restyled himself as an Italian gangster stereotype. For that, he was frequently beaten by his father with a hammer. When he got old enough to retaliate, he beat his father to death with a much bigger hammer, and left home to join the mob.
After a fight left him with a caved-in skull, a mad doctor named Jonas Harrow saved his life, and gave him a new skull, this one of metal. When he awoke, he claimed to not remember his past life, and fully took on the persona of a prohibition-era gangster. Just for his personality, and his visual, he’s worth adapting, but he’s also extremely ambitious, setting up one of the many potential gang war storylines that Spider-Man so often finds himself wrapped up in.
Herman Shultz was another lead character in Superior Foes, but he’s also one of Spidey’s long-term enemies. A skilled inventor/engineer, Herman developed his virbo-shock gauntlets (which actually create extremely strong vibrations, NOT electricity) while in prison. He’s gone on to become a successful thief, robber, and enforcer.
Although he doesn’t have the motivation to carry a movie on his own, his powers are visually interesting, and his cowardly personality would be fun to see on the big screen. Team him with another villain, or make him the enforcer of a gang war player (Silvermane or Tombstone perhaps), and you’ve got a movie.
6: Hobgoblin (Roderick Kingsley)
Let’s face it, we’re not going to get new Spider-Man movies without a Goblin as a bad guy eventually. But it’s time to do something different with the Goblins. Going with my theme in the last couple entries of a gang war, why not the Hobgoblin? Roderick Kingsley was a business owner/fashion designer who stole Norman Osborn’s equipment and the Goblin Serum, and became a player in the New York underworld. The mystery of the Hobgoblin’s identity went on for YEARS, with multiple false leads, and false reveals. Kingsley is an interesting villain, a man who simply wants power, and would give us a new Goblin without retreading the Osborn/Parker fued once again.
This one came so close to happening, it’s ridiculous. John Malkovich was actually cast as the Vulture in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 4 before the film was abandoned in favor of the Amazing Spider-Man reboot. Then again, when the Sinister Six film was in heavy development, Vulture was strongly hinted as one of the film’s stars.
Adrian Toomes was a genius electrical engineer and inventor, developing a flight harness that allowed its wearer to fly like a bird. When he discovered his partner had embezzled from their company to the point that he was broke, he took the harness both to regain his fortune and get revenge on his partner. After his success, he continued his career, coming in conflict with Spider-Man multiple times. Another villain thirsting for power, he’s got an interesting visual, and his ability to fly would give fans the high-flying fight scene that we deserve!
Quentin Beck was a special effects wizard, who dreamed of being the biggest name in the industry. However, he didn’t have the looks to act, or the patience to direct, so he was “stuck” in the dead-end special effects field until a joking suggestion from a friend led him to supervillany. Beck attacked Spider-Man using complicated robotics, illusions, and hallucinogenic drugs, and eventually became one of Peter’s greatest foes. Mysterio is worth putting on screen for the insanity of the movie alone. Ever wanted to see Spidey fight dinosaurs, demons, evil version of himself, and more? That could all happen at once. Hell, in one Christmas time story, Mysterio caused Spidey to hallucinate Santa the Barbarian with his demonic reindeer attacking the city. Maybe set him up as a first rate assassin and send him after Spider-Man. No matter how you cut it, he’s worth putting in a movie.
Mac Gargan was a PI that J. Jonah Jameson hired to figure out how Peter Parker would continuously get amazing photos of Spider-Man. After that went nowhere, Jonah still desired to defeat Spidey and paid Mac $10,000 to participate in an experiment with animal DNA, which gave him insect abilities, a powered suit, but caused him to lose his sanity. He blamed Jonah for his condition, and also quickly grew to hate Spider-Man for stopping him. That’s the plot of a movie right there. Plus, it has the added benefit of a strong J. Jonah Jameson connection, something we definitely need with the new Spidey movies.
This entry comes with a massive caveat- Venom needs to be a well established player in the MCU before Carnage should be even hinted at. The Carnage symbiote is Venom’s even more insane and bloodthirsty son. It bonded with serial killer Cletus Kassidy, forming a terrifying murderous team. Carnage is simply Spider-Man’s most frightening enemy, who has no qualms about murder, manipulation, and just plain watching the world burn. Any movie with Carnage would simply push Peter to his breaking point... and beyond.
Sergei Kravinoff is Spider-Man’s greatest foe that we haven’t seen in live action, period. The world’s greatest big game hunter, he turned his attention to Spider-Man after the wilds of Africa began to bore him. Kraven was just a typical supervillain until the infamous “Kraven’s Last Hunt.” In that story, Sergei snapped, hunted down Spider-Man, and “killed” him. After burying Peter alive, Kraven went on to replace him, proving to world, at least in his shattered psyche, that he was his foe’s better. Peter fought back, broke free of his grave, and defeated Kraven. Ashamed of his failure, Kraven took his own life. Kraven is a complex character, driven by honor, greed, and simply the need to be the greatest. His death only makes his story more tragic, one of a man who could have done so much more, if it wasn’t for his own ego.