SPIDER-MAN Movie Villains; From Worst to Best

Since the year 2002, we have seen a total of six Spider-Man villains on the big screen. Hit the jump to hear which ones I think are the worst, and the best.

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By GuardianDevil - 12/21/2013
Ever since the year 2002, there has been a total of four Spider-Man movies. Some have been considered good, others maybe not as much. But one thing is for sure, all of them had good to great villains playing the antagonist for our titular hero. Before I go on I must say that I like all four of the Spider-Man movies and feel that all six of the villains are good in their own way. But with that out of the way, I rank the Spider-Man movie villains from worst to best. 


Well yeah, sadly at the bottom of the list is everyone's favorite...Venom. Everyone's favorite in the comics that is, the movie version gets a whole crapload of hate. Some of it IS warranted because he is barely given any screen time, story or character development. To be honest, I think Avi and Marvel shouldn't have forced Sam Raimi to use Venom in this film. They should've told him to use him in Spider-Man 4, and instead focus on Harry's revenge story and Peter finding out his uncle's REAL killer. In fact, without the Venom symbiote story line being shoehorned in. Spider-Man 3 would've been amazing, think about it. Everything people hate about it would go away. The weird love/hate relationship with Mary Jane, the emo Peter Parker and the lack of Venom character development would all have been taken care of. Leaving an epic character search about revenge and forgiveness on both accounts. Telling Peter's story of learning to forgive Sandman, with Harry's story of learning to forgive Peter. So sad when you think about what could've been....With all of that out of the way, I  don't think Venom is actually as terrible as people say. He's not great, but it's not that there is really anything wrong with the depiction of the character. What we really hate is the lack of him. For the fifteen minutes or so when he is actually on the screen, he completely steals the show. He had some really great lines, I actually feel he played the part very well. Not to mention the visuals were badass, and I love the climax Spider-Man vs Venom fight. To be truthful, there is really nothing wrong with Topher Grace's depiction of the character. What's really wrong is the fact that there just isn't enough of him. He is at the bottom of this list because he has the least amount of pathos, story and character development. Even then, he IS quite the badass for the short time he is on screen. Venom is the only Spider-Man movie villain that is anything less than great and is the only reason Spider-Man 3 is not great. Which is why I can't help but harbor a few bad feelings towards this iteration of the character.

New Goblin

Yup, fifth place on the list is James Franco's iteration of Harry Osborn who would later become known as the New Green Goblin. In this section, I'm not talking only about the villain that appeared in Spider-Man 3. I am talking about Harry Osborn as the character from the entire trilogy. So with that said, he is not nearly as bad as a lot of people think. If you view the character as Harry Osborn through out the whole trilogy not just New Goblin he is actually a good villain. Just not an excellent villain. His character arc is good for what it is. It begins with him growing up as Peter Parker's best friend, but Peter becomes the object of Norman's (Harry's father) love. Then when Norman becomes Green Goblin, and his death is blamed on Spider-Man. Harry begins to hate Spider-Man and with a deep passion. After the events of Spider-Man 2, Harry finds out that Peter Parker is Spider-Man and then it all makes sense. All the troubles in his life were caused by one person: Peter Parker/Spider-Man. His character arc is him going from Peter's best friend to worst enemy. Which is really quite good if you ask me. Perhaps it is a bit unfair for Harry because he had three whole movies to develop while the rest of these only had one/part of one. But that doesn't change the fact that his character development is quite excellent. I actually loved James Franco in the role, and even though he was nowhere near the comic book version he was still a great character in my opinion. His acting was nothing less than great in the first two films, of course he gets really hammy in the third, but gloriously so. I actually liked New Goblin in Spider-Man 3, he was one of best parts of the film. The acting was really cheesy, but it found what it wanted to be and owned it. For that alone I give him props, but also I thought his story was very well written overall and his action scenes (particularly the chase scene) were excellent. Overall, New Goblin is a very good villain in my opinion. 

The Lizard

Fourth place on my list goes to Rhys Ifans as Dr. Conners who who would become known as The Lizard. The Lizard is one of my favorite villains in general from the comics. I felt that the iteration of the character seen in The Amazing Spider-Man is good, but not as good as it could have been. Which is actually saying a lot because I used to hate it. I remember I was very overly critical of this version of The Lizard and found myself hating it quite a bit. But then I was looking at a discussion about him over on ComicVine, and I heard one guy say "If it was Toby fighting him, everyone would love it." That just got me thinking and I pictured a Toby Maguire/Sam Raimi Spider-Man movie where he fights this version of Lizard with the exact same story and I have to be honest I would have loved it. That made me realize that I was being overly critical of the character and that he was really nowhere near as bad as I had previously thought. I gave him a chance, and to be honest I like him quite a bit. I think there were quite a few things that were lacking but he is a good villain overall. I personally would've liked it if they showed the family element of the character more. Like the way they did with Dr. Octopus in Spider-Man 2. In my opinion, it would have made the film much more interesting as well added a lot more pathos and depth to the character. It's not like he had none, he just could've had a lot more making him a much better villain. Of course he's still an interesting character, although his final plot has one giant unmissable hole in it. A few hours after he covers the city in Lizard serum they will revert back to humans. Which leads to the one big problem with The Amazing Spider-Man movie, which is poor writing. That aside, I still thought he was really good. The CGI and action were top notch, the character development actually did make sense. Rhys Ifans gives a great performance. Overall I think The Lizard is one of the better parts of The Amazing Spider-Man film.


Next up on the list is Thomas Haden Church's portrayal of Flint Marko also known as Sandman in Spider-Man 3. I actually feel that this version of Sandman is really the best part of Spider-Man 3. Spider-Man 3 devotes time to three villains, but none of them are as heartfelt or meaningful as the story of the Sandman. Flint is a criminal but not because he's bad, he's done some bad things and made some bad choices but overall he's not a bad person. His very own line sums up his entire life "I'm not a bad person, I just have bad luck." Sandman's life is summed up by that statement as well as the fact that he always tends to "fall down the wrong path" sometimes even literally, which is what leads to the birth of Sandman. I love this version of Sandman. I feel that he is arguably the Spider-Man movie villain with the most pathos and emotion behind him. Yes even more so than Dr. Octopus (who IS a much better villain overall) for that reason alone I loved Sandman because of all the heart and passion stored up inside him. Arguably one of the most heartfelt comic book movie characters of all time. Hands down! A great performance from Thomas Haden Church combined with a great tragic story with a boatload of pathos and emotion spawning from his daughter. Finally combined with mind blowing special effects and action scenes. Sandman is truly one of the best Marvel movie villains and the third greatest Spider-Mam movie villain of all time. He is one of the things that makes Spider-Man 3 watchable and even somewhat good.

Dr. Octopus

At second place, I have Otto Octavius also known as Doctor Octopus. Dr. Octopus is commonly considered to be the greatest Spider-Man movie villain of all time. While I most certainly agree that he is am amazing villain I feel that honor belongs to another. However with that being said, Dr. Octopus IS one of the best CBM villains of all time. Because of everything, his story, plot and motives are all very well explained and well written to boot. Not to mention his excellent character arc about how he learns from Peter that sometimes in order to do what is right we must give up what we want the most. His character brings up interesting topics such as the notion that intelligence is a privilege and a gift to be used for the good of those around you. His plot was most excellent, most excellent indeed. It was all about how he had spent his whole life dreaming about creating the machine that could sustain energy...a "miniature sun in the palm of his hand." His arms begin speaking to him in his mind, slowly changing who he is after his wife was killed by his experiment. But in time, Ock learns just as Peter does that many times we must give up what we want most to do what is right. He overcomes himself and his arms, then sacrifices himself to save the city. Proving Aunt May's speech about there being a hero inside everyone who in the end will finally allow us to die with pride. Ock was the perfect example of these words of wisdom. All of that, AND a fantastic performance by Alfred Molina AND spectacular action sequences. Dr. Octopus as a Spidey villain is almost as good as it gets.

Green Goblin

Yes, right up at first place. I have Willem Dafoe's astounding performance as Spider-Man's greatest villain of all time: The Green Goblin. In the comics Green Goblin is one of my favorite villains, he is easily the greatest Spider-Man villain of all time. (sorry Venom fans) His film adaptation is just as good, if not a tiny bit better. Personally, I thought it was among the greatest CBM villains of all time. It is in the top 3 along with both film iterations of The Joker. Although the exact order of those is hard for me to say. But the reason I find it so great is firstly in the outstanding performance by Willem Dafoe. Dafoe is an amazing actor, one of the best of our time. He brought a lot of class and style to this character the same way Jack Nicholson did with The Joker back in 1989. I loved the acting, not to mention his plot and story were both excellent on all accounts. His legendary tragic arc was told with grace and beauty, a real honor to the comic book character in my opinion. You can say what you'd like about the suit. But in my opinion it was badass. I've said this before, and I don't mind saying it again. He was essentially The Joker in a green, monster themed Iron Man suit. How is that NOT badass? Hmm? The character is pretty much the exact same character as the comics, down to the nose almost. That's not even mentioning the final fight between him and Spider-Man which is one of the most brutal fight scenes and still one of my favorite. People can argue that he was hammy, but he was the exact same character we know from the comics. There is nothing NOT to love about this character in my opinion.

Well, thanks for reading folks! Be sure to sound off in the usual place.
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MightyZeus - 12/21/2013, 1:53 AM
Good list but I think Doc Ock should have been number one.
Doc Oct is the best live action Spider-Man villain yet. I thought the Lizard was good but I do wish his family was in it. Green Goblin was to campy for my taste, it was like Nicholas Cage was in the goblin suit. I think give Venom shit because Eddy Brock/Vemon was a bit skinny. I don't think no one would have complained if Vemon/Brock were muscle bound freaks. The film makers should had Venom be the villian in Spider-Man 4, with the introduction in Spider-Man 3 but no fight scene. Sandman was not really a villian, but the action was great. New Goblin sucked ass, and I can't wait for Dean Dehan to erase the of that crap.
* I think people give Venom
* Dean Dehan to erase that crap.
@SotoJuiceMan, I'm not saying everyone hates Brock/Venom for the reason I gave, buy a lot of fanboys only hate it because of his size. I did say that the film makers should left Venom for Spider-Man 4. The only shot of Venom, in Spider-Man 3, should have been when Brock and Venom combine for the first time and that's it. I thought Tropher Grace did a decent job as Eddy Brock.
Tainted87 - 12/21/2013, 7:09 AM
I actually agree completely with this list... well, the ordering, but some of the reasons I have for putting them where they are are different. Oh wait, I'd have changed ONE, but otherwise, yeah.

*Venom was a rush - got it.

*Sandman was boring. We're supposed to feel sorry for him because his daughter's sick - well, he's still a criminal who doesn't know how to articulate his words. It was a mistake to try and provide his backstory - it slowed everything down. Should have just been an escaped prisoner.

**New Goblin was also rushed, which is weird considering how much development he had over the trilogy. By the time he acts upon it all, his motivation comes across as tired to the audience. We don't see his conflict like we should have. James Franco was the best thing about Spider-man 3, however.

*Lizard is a bit of a failure. I'm not talking about the look of the character, but everything he does. He has an extremely flawed goal to make everyone perfect, which feels like it was lifted from the first X-Men movie. Connors isn't approachable like he ought to be either.

*Doc Ock doesn't get a lot of complaints from me. I only dislike that they chose to make him a slave to his tentacles' programming, and how he ended up taking orders from Harry of all people.

*Green Goblin is my favorite. Willem Dafoe gives a truly satisfying performance, plays the ham up when it matters, and throws the right punches into Peter's life.
marvel72 - 12/21/2013, 7:31 AM
1st doc ock
2nd green goblin
3rd sandman
4th the lizard
5th venom
cipher - 12/21/2013, 8:32 AM
For me, it's Goblin. One of my favourite scenes in the original Spider-Man, was the graduation. Norman's just so.. cold to Harry, y'know? He just basically gives him a "not too bad, son". But, when he sees Peter he's just so.. proud. His entire demeanour changes. He sees in Peter what he wanted to see in his own son, and he's just so warm, and kind to him. And Harry's just watching the whole thing, and you can tell it hurts.

I just loved Dafoe's performance, I really did.
cipher - 12/21/2013, 8:36 AM
Plus, he said- "YOU KNOW HOW MUCH I SACRIFICED???!!!". Heh, I quote that shit all the time.
cipher - 12/21/2013, 8:52 AM
Hahahahahaha, Willem's got one expressive face. Cracks me up every time.
SnapperCarr - 12/21/2013, 8:57 AM
Ock should be number 1.
JoeMomma29 - 12/21/2013, 9:14 AM
DocOck needs to be number one.
Nick56 - 12/21/2013, 10:39 AM
1. Doc Ock
2. GG
3. Sandman
4. New Goblin
5. Venom
6. Lizard
Prime - 12/21/2013, 11:16 AM
Well...most of them where shit villains.
pesmerga44 - 12/21/2013, 11:19 AM
The one thing that is not really talked about is that Sam Raimi really dislikes Venom to maybe so far as hates him he wanted nothing to do with Venom in Spider-man 3. You can really see he wanted the villains to be New Goblin and Sandman but got forced by Sony to include Venom hence why he felt so rushed.
GliderMan - 12/21/2013, 1:35 PM
GuardianDevil - 12/21/2013, 1:49 PM
IMHO, Norman Osborn was by far the closest to the comics, after that believe it or not it's probably Venom. His story was 99% the same as the comics but it's just cramme into a 15 minute space of screen time. Sandman was also relatively close to the source material.

Ock, Lizard and Harry were all far from the comics. But Ock was written and portrayed so magnificently it doesn't really matter. Harry and Lizard were decently written overall just not excellent.
staypuffed - 12/21/2013, 3:17 PM
I find Willem Dafoe's Goblin SUPER hammy. I did always like Sandman, though.
breakneckbeck - 12/21/2013, 4:28 PM
Always thought Goblin was a waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay better villain than dock ock. In the movies and the comics. Never understood the craze over spiderman 2 to be honest. I mean its good but it doesnt have a thing on the first one in my book
dellamorte1872 - 12/21/2013, 4:45 PM
Good call but I'd switch 1 + 2 I won't get into it but I don't agree
Pending - 12/21/2013, 9:24 PM
I really hated the Goblin 1.0 version of the lizard TASM went with. They should've gone the animalistic lizard route.
Lhornbk - 12/21/2013, 9:29 PM
I don't really like this version of Doc Ock. I'm getting really tired of filmmakers trying to make villains sympathetic, of trying to somehow make them at least somewhat innocent of their crimes. Rami does it twice. First by having those AI chips in the arms take over Doc Ock's brain. I would much rather have a truly evil Doc Ock. I don't care that much about how it's done in the comics, I just want villains who are really villains. That's part of what made Ledger's Joker great.

Rami kinda did it with Sandman too, and while that storyline kinda makes sense, I would still prefer a truly evil Sandman.

Oh, and on my list, Sandman would be at the bottom. Not sure about Doc Ock.
NovaCorpsFan - 12/22/2013, 6:19 AM
The only one I didn't care for was Venom. Regardless of faith to source material (which I hate, because it means there's a lack of creative storywriting). He was so poorly handled.
RobGrizzly - 12/22/2013, 12:40 PM
Lol. Virtually EVERYONE is telling you Doctor Octopus should be #1.
And they're right.
GliderMan - 12/22/2013, 10:02 PM
I just Doc Ock was lame as [frick]. How you people find him the most entertaining is beyond me, but to each his own.
JorEllinator - 12/24/2013, 1:27 AM

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