SPIDER-MAN: Ranking Every Major Villain In The Wall-Crawler's Live-Action Movies From Worst To Best
Spider-Man has faced multiple bad guys across the course of his three live-action movie franchises, and we're now ranking all those lead villains from worst to best (and you won't believe who's at #1).
This December, Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios will release Spider-Man: No Way Home, a movie that looks set to bring back a number of villains from the franchise's past. Of course, we're not just talking about the web-slinger's MCU adventures; thanks to the Multiverse, Tom Holland's Peter Parker will soon clash with the likes of the Green Goblin and Doctor Octopus.
With that in mind, we thought now would be a good time to revisit the seven live-action movies to rank each of their lead villains (sorry, Shocker fans) from worst to best.
Almost all of Spidey's greatest foes have now appeared on screen in some form or another, and a lot of them...well, they've been far from spectacular. However, some have definitely achieved "amazing" status, and it's definitely interesting to look back at how they all compare to one another.
So, to take a look through this ranking, all you guys need to do is click on the "Next" button below!
11. Green Goblin (The Amazing Spider-Man 2)
This is a villain with almost no redeeming qualities. The rushed origin story and transformation didn't help matters, and we're still not sure what Marc Webb was thinking by having Harry Osborn undergo such a bizarre physical transformation (either give him a mask or follow Ultimate Spider-Man and go full-blown monster).
Dane DeHaan went from exuding actual menace as Harry to being an over-the-top pantomime baddie with a silly cackle and a performance hindered by the fake teeth in his mouth.
Everything that could go wrong with this interpretation of the Green Goblin did, and the fact he was responsible for killing Gwen Stacy became meaningless when he was thrown in at the last minute. As curious as we are about those original Sinister Six and The Amazing Spider-Man 3 plans, it's definitely for the best that this iteration of Harry was put permanently on the shelf.
10. Rhino (The Amazing Spider-Man 2)
A completely pointless addition to The Amazing Spider-Man 2, wasting Paul Giamatti like this should be a crime in Hollywood. While we'll give the sequel some credit for introducing Aleksei Sytsevich in that opening action sequence (backstory for these baddies is never a bad thing), his rushed transformation fell flat on a number of levels.
For starters, we never got to see him fight Spider-Man. Secondly, just sticking Alexei in an Oscorp-created robotic suit completely misses the point that this villain actually ended up trapped inside the suit that grants him those incredible powers.
It was a dumb design, and not what we hoped to see from Rhino. There have been rumblings about him returning in Spider-Man: No Way Home, but we sure as hell hope this guy isn't the mystery sixth member of the Sinister Six. Rhino can work on the big screen; just not this Variant of him.
9. Green Goblin II (Spider-Man 3)
In some respects, Harry Osborn is a better Green Goblin than his father. He may not have killed Gwen Stacy, but he did fool Peter Parker into thinking his parents were alive, only to cruelly reveal they were LMDs. That was from beyond the grave too, while we recently learned that Harry even orchestrated the whole Gabriel and Sarah Stacy fiasco.
Of course, all of that happened on the page; in Spider-Man 3, we got the first disappointing version of the second Green Goblin. For whatever reason, the threequel gave him a flying snowboard, a boring costume, and did everything within its power to make him a generic baddie rather than his father's son.
We did appreciate the way Harry later managed to steal Mary Jane from Peter (that wink!), while his redemption arc mirrored the source material in a satisfying way. Ultimately, this Green Goblin disappointed in a big way and was a major disappointment after the first and second Spider-Man movies teased Harry's villainous transformation.
8. Venom (Spider-Man 3)
Visually, we can't really fault this take on Venom. The screeching was a bit much, but as he battled Spider-Man, this did look like the bad guy we all know and love from the comics (even if he was a little small in stature). Eddie Brock's origin story also wasn't terrible, with the scene in the church a highlight in a movie that didn't have very many of them.
Unfortunately, this was all too rushed and shoehorned in to make much of an impact. Venom is one of Spider-Man's greatest foes, but Sam Raimi didn't want to include him, so the passion wasn't there.
This was by no means the definitive version of the character, and even though we can't fault Raimi's attempts to revisit his horror routes, we'd have liked to see a take on Venom who was as cold and calculating as his comic book counterpart. Instead, we got a few minutes of Peter dancing his way down the street. This movie just didn't get the symbiote.
7. Electro (The Amazing Spider-Man 2)
The Amazing Spider-Man 2's lead villain often gets a hard time from fans, and understandably so. There were countless mistakes made with this iteration of Max Dillon, including that bizarre transformation scene when the oddball engineer gains his powers from...eels? It was hard to watch, but there were at least some things we appreciated from Jamie Foxx's performance.
The Oscar-winner did his best to make us believe in this down on his luck weirdo lashing out at the world once he'd gained powers, and that side of things actually worked pretty well.
Everything else? Not so much. The goofy blue design and rubber suit looked like it had been pulled from the 90s, and things got too silly too soon. Despite all of that, we are looking forward to Foxx getting another chance to play Electro as what little we've seen from that Variant already looks like a major improvement over 2014's effort.
6. Sandman (Spider-Man 3)
Considering the fact Spider-Man 3 was released in 2007, there's simply no faulting the jaw-dropping special effects that were used to bring Sandman to life. In action, the villain looked terrific and very much like he'd stepped straight out of the comic books. Alas, he wasn't really interesting enough to build an entire movie around, hence why we got that silliness with Uncle Ben.
Simply put, we can't really forgive making Flint Marko the killer of Ben Parker. Wholly unnecessary and a subplot that didn't help this movie in any way, shape, or form, we'd rather just forget it.
However, in action, Sandman looked amazing. That was evident from the final battle, and we're undeniably excited and intrigued to see what Marvel Studios will do with the character when he returns in Spider-Man: No Way Home. One can only imagine what he'll look like with today's VFX, and more Thomas Haden Church is never a bad thing.
5. The Lizard (The Amazing Spider-Man)
If this ranking was based on appearance alone, The Lizard would be right in last place with Dane DeHaan's Green Goblin. There's no denying that this is a character difficult to adapt for live-action, especially when his trademark appearance doesn't lend itself to him speaking or showing any sort of emotion through facial expression.
Worrying about that sort of thing proves that The Amazing Spider-Man completely missed the point with Curt Connors. He's supposed to be a monster, and we're hoping that's the case in Spider-Man: No Way Home.
Putting that aside for a moment, though, and Rhys Ifans actually did a solid job of playing Curt and The Lizard. We believed in his desire to regrow his arm, while those battles with the web-slinger were freakin' awesome. The school fight actually remains one of the entire Spider-Man franchise's biggest highlights.
4. The Vulture (Spider-Man: Homecoming)
It's a real shame that there appear to be no plans for The Vulture in Spider-Man: No Way Home because he truly is one of the web-slinger's most sinister villains. Not only did he deduce the hero's secret identity, but he took Peter Parker to the edge and came this close to ending his superhero career.
The design was drastically different to the comic books in some ways, but it was the best possible direction to take the villain in for his live-action debut. We just hope Morbius doesn't ruin him!
It's a shame there wasn't time to do more with The Vulture before Mysterio outed Spider-Man's secret identity to the world, but we certainly hope they cross paths again down the line. If their battle was a one-off, though, then we definitely can't fault the way things played out on screen. The way his supervillain origin story was tied to 2012's The Avengers was also pretty clever.
3. Mysterio (Spider-Man: Far From Home)
In some respects, it feels like Marvel Studios wasted a lot of time portraying Mysterio as a superhero before his villainous nature was revealed. We all knew it was coming, but in fairness, the narrative of Quentin Beck being a superhero will factor heavily into Spider-Man: No Way Home seeing as Peter Parker has been framed for his murder.
While he doesn't sit atop this list, Mysterio did something no one else here was able to: he beat Spider-Man. By revealing his secret identity and making him a wanted man, Beck left a lasting impression on the wall-crawler that will have an impact on perhaps every single one of his future adventures.
We remain convinced that Mysterio is still alive and that he's responsible for bringing those Variants into the MCU. After all, his comic book counterpart had a habit of jumping between realities, so it makes sense and there is a precedent for it in the source material. We need more of Jake Gyllenhaal's Mysterio in the MCU, especially if it leads to more epic illusion sequences.
2. Doctor Octopus (Spider-Man 2)
Spider-Man 2 remains arguably the great live-action movie featuring the character, and much of the credit for that definitely deserves to go to Doctor Octopus. Sure, things got a little convoluted with the arms controlling him and whatnot, but he was a dastardly baddie, and one who pushed Peter Parker to his limits.
For 2004, the special effects were damn near flawless, and if you think that train battle was anything less than perfect, then we really don't know what to say to you. Well, other than "You're wrong."
What makes Doc Ock particularly special, though, is the fact he was so human. While his actions at the end of the movie by no means redeemed him, it was fascinating to see the villain make that sacrifice, and Otto's relationship with Peter helped make his battle with Spider-Man that little bit more personal.
1. Green Goblin (Spider-Man)
Talking of getting personal, it was Norman Osborn who really set the benchmark for that in 2002's Spider-Man. The Power Rangers-style costume aside, this Green Goblin was pure evil and left Spidey a bloody mess by the time their climactic battle reached its end.
Along the way, he figured out who was beneath the mask, attacked Aunt May, and attempted to kill Mary Jane Watson. He was truly Spider-Man's greatest big screen foe, and Willem Dafoe definitely did the villain justice. Now, some of you will argue that Doc Ock deserves this spot, but we'd argue that the original Green Goblin just manages to pip him to the post.
With any luck, he won't be sidelined in Spider-Man: No Way Home, because we can't wait to see Norman target the MCU's Peter. Unfortunately, we don't see that ending well for the hero...