Who are the best Spider-Man villains we’ve seen on the screen?
Through the Raimi trilogy, the Amazing Spider-Man films, the MCU movies, and Into The Spider-Verse, we’ve been introduced to many a spider-foe. We’ve had a few versions of the same villains, and some exciting one-offs. With five villains returning in Spider-Man: No Way Home, we took a look at the best Spider-Man villains in film.
A note on who is not included: Anyone with a brief one-off appearance, like Rhino in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Also, people who never transitioned fully into their villainous selves aren’t included, like Felicia Hardy in the same movie or Dr. Curt Conners in Spider-Man 2 & 3.
14. Venom – Spider-Man 3
We are so lucky that we’ve had another attempt at Venom with Tom Hardy’s solo projects. The Topher Grace version from Spider-Man 3 had a lot of hype that failed to live up to expectations. Eddie Brock as a villain would’ve been strong enough to carry a whole movie, but he was part of a convoluted mess and wasn’t the beast we all expected.
13. Green Goblin – The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Dane DeHaan had big shoes to fill trying to be a third iteration of the Green Goblin. After not appearing in the first movie, we had to put the friendship, development of the Goblin persona, and fall all in one movie. It was a bit too much for one go. Goblin still gets bonus points for being responsible for the death of the best Gwen Stacy, Emma Stone.
12. Doc Ock – Into The Spider-Verse
The reimagining of Doc Ock in Into The Spider-Verse was effective. Kathryn Hahn brought her own spin to Olivia Octavious, and the reveal of her being this dimension’s Doc Ock was well done. The only issue is that she didn’t get enough time to shine. Give us more Olivia Octavious in the sequel!
11. Harry Osborn’s Green Goblin – Spider-Man 3
A villain with some decent motivation, James Franco took up his father’s mantle in Spider-Man 3. Harry promised to finish what his dad started but never actually came close to ending Peter Parker. In the end, he redeemed himself and died while helping Parker. If he stuck to his villainous guns, Harry’s Goblin would be higher on this list. I guess it’s nice that they reconciled though?
10. Electro – The Amazing Spider-Man 2
One of the best decisions they’ve made in No Way Home is the change in how Electro looks. Jamie Foxx was a Dr. Manhattan cosplay in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, but that was the only big flaw with his character. The other small issue was that he should’ve been even more powerful than he was portrayed. He’ll get another shot in No Way Home, and Foxx should be able to do wonders with the character.
9. Prowler – Into The Spider-Verse
Miles’ uncle Aaron being revealed as The Prowler was a huge surprise. He was a mentor to Miles and ultimately was redeemed by sparing him and getting killed himself by Kingpin. That redemption arc gives him a bump in the rankings, though he’ll be missed in the Spider-Verse sequel.
8. Kingpin – Into The Spider-Verse
Spider-Man needs more interactions with Kingpin. He’s a great villain in the Spider-Man video game and does well in Into The Spider-Verse. I mean, he kills Peter Parker in Miles’ universe. His motivation of trying to get to other universes to get back his dead wife and son is solid motivation. He also has a hilarious character model, but it works to show how imposing he is. Here’s hoping we see Vincent D’Onofrio’s version of Kingpin in the MCU sometime soon.
7. Lizard – The Amazing Spider-Man
Dr. Curt Connors could have been a great mentor to Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man. Rhys Ifans’ Lizard had a great look after being turned by experimental cross-species genetics. He was presented as a big threat and worked as a very good counterbalance to Garfield. Lizard has some of the most underrated fight scenes in the Spider-Man movies. I’m excited for his return in Spider-Man No Way Home.
6. Sandman – Spider-Man 3
We love a villain with genuine motivations, and Sandman fits the bill. Flint Marko just wanted to get enough money for his daughter’s surgery. How was he supposed to know he fell in a particle accelerator that would have him turn into sand? Spider-Man 3 did a good job showcasing Marko’s powers in interesting ways, and he made for a memorable villain. Shoehorning him into Uncle Ben’s passing was unneeded, but we can give it a pass.
5. Mysterio – Spider-Man: Far From Home
One of Spider-Man’s most notorious villains, the MCU gave us a great spin on Quentin Beck. The former special effects artist was reimagined as a Stark scientist who felt spurned by his former employer and wanted to become an Avengers-level hero. Jake Gyllenhaal walks the line between charming and unstable in the role and manages to get the last laugh by exposing Peter Parker’s identity.
4. Norman Osborn’s Green Goblin – Spider-Man
Willem Dafoe may be one of the most naturally terrifying actors in the world. His turn as Green Goblin was pure evil. He attacked Aunt May while she was saying her prayers and bombed her house! From the grave, he turns his own son on his best friend. The first Spider-Man movie needed a solid foe for Parker to go against. Goblin pushed him to the limit and truly made Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man.
3. J. Jonah Jameson – Spider-Man Trilogy
Before you say it – yes, Triple J is a villain in Spider-Man. The original trilogy has Jameson consistently trying to bring down Spider-Man because he’s a menace. In the MCU, Jameson pulled the ultimate bad guy move by helping to reveal Peter Parker’s identity. J.K. Simmons has played the character in both the original trilogy and the MCU and will return in Spider-Man: No Way Home. Get him pictures of Spider-Man!
2. Vulture – Spider-Man: Homecoming
The revamp of The Vulture in Spider-Man: Homecoming was one of the most effective reimaginings of a villain in movies. Michael Keaton’s Vulture is a product of The Avengers. He just wants to provide for his family, and if scavenging alien technology is the way to do it, so be it. He’s a villain with purpose and the scene of Tom Holland’s Spidey learning that Vulture is his homecoming date’s dad? An amazing reveal.
1. Doc Ock – Spider-Man 2
One of the greatest villain performances of all time, Doctor Otto Octavious starts as a friend to Peter Parker. After an accident kills his wife and fuses him to a set of tentacles, the Doc Ock persona is born and is out for revenge. Alfred Molina’s portrayal is so nuanced as he bounces between a diabolical villain and a man who knows what he’s doing is wrong. He’s Shakespearean at times and downright brutal at others. Doc Ock was the best Spider-Man villain performance to date, and we get more of him in No Way Home.