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Throwback to best "Spider-Man" movie villains

Writer: Casey Chong


Who is the biggest Spidey baddie of them all?

At long last, the sinister Vulture has been introduced as the villain for "Spider-Man: Homecoming"!

Played by none other than Michael Keaton, the former "Batman" star is a great addition to movie's already-stellar cast that also includes Tom Holland, Robert Downey Jr. and Marisa Tomei.

Given Keaton's recent career resurgence these days (see "Birdman", "Spotlight" and "The Founder"), it was only natural to see Keaton's hot streak continuing with this one!

Keaton plays Adrian Toomes, a supposedly regular guy with criminal tendencies who runs a salvaging company in New York. But he has a suit with mechanical wings and that makes him belligerent enough to do villainous things, eventually making him a cross between Tony Soprano and a dark Tony Stark whom Peter Parker has to stop.


Keaton in his full Vulture gear.

In conjunction with the fresh release of "Spider-Man: Homecoming" this week, we take a look back at all the movie villains who have previously appeared in the five "Spider-Man" movies from Sam Raimi's 2002-2007 trilogy and Marc Webb's two movies (2012 and 2014) of the rebooted franchise.

For the record, a total of nine "Spider-Man" movie villains (excluding Chris Cooper's minor role as Norman Osborn, who only appeared in one scene in "The Amazing Spider-Man 2") have been featured so far. Out of the nine, only five "Spider-Man" movie villains made it to our Top 5 list.

5. Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan, "The Amazing Spider-Man 2")


Dane DeHaan as Harry Osborn/Green Goblin in "The Amazing Spider-Man 2".

Marc Webb's follow-up to his 2012's Spider-Man reboot via "The Amazing Spider-Man" was met with mixed responses. Many complained the sequel's shortcomings such as the overstuffed plot that got caught with too many characters. But beneath all the divisive results that plagued "The Amazing Spider-Man 2", the sequel still has its moments. Among them, of course, is Dane DeHaan's impressive portrayal as Harry Osborn. In fact, it would have been better if Webb shifted his focus by placing him as Spidey's (Andrew Garfield) main rival rather than Jamie Foxx's sometimes cheesy, yet forgettable role as Electro. DeHaan's transformation into the Green Goblin towards the climactic finale is appropriately hideous that stays true to the comic-book character, while his final fight against Spider-Man in the clock tower is one of the biggest highlights of the sequel.

4. Harry Osborn (James Franco, "Spider-Man" trilogy)


James Franco as the Harry Osborn a.k.a. New Goblin in "Spider-Man 3".

Over the course of the first two "Spider-Man" movies directed by Sam Raimi, James Franco's role as Harry Osborn was given enough room to develop his personal arc as well as his memorable friendship and subsequent conflict with Tobey Maguire's Peter Parker. It's just that Raimi got overwhelmed with "Spider-Man 3" since he has to focus on all three villains at once, including Sandman (Thomas Haden Church), Venom (Topher Grace) and yes... Harry Osborn, who eventually becomes the New Goblin. James Franco definitely deserves better treatment in "Spider-Man 3" but then again, it's all forgivable. Putting the shortcoming aside, Franco's otherwise compelling performance as Harry Osborn remains as one of the best assets in Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man" trilogy.

3. Sandman (Thomas Haden Church, "Spider-Man 3")


Thomas Haden Church as Flint Marko/Sandman in "Spider-Man 3".

Sure, "Spider-Man 3" got a bad rep due to the overcrowded introduction of three villains (Sandman, Venom and New Goblin). The inclusion of Topher Grace's Venom is especially forced and criminally underdeveloped, while James Franco's transformation into a full-fledged supervillain as the New Goblin is equally lacklustre. Still, "Spider-Man 3" does get one thing right when it comes to the villain sector and that person in question is Sandman. Played by Thomas Haden Church (best known from 2004's "Sideways"), he successfully imbued his Flint Marko/Sandman role that is worth sympathising for, such as the poignant scene where he pays a little visit to his ill-stricken daughter (Perla Haney-Jardine) at home. As a villain, Raimi and his special effects team did a great job turning Sandman into a realistic-looking CGI character who is able to shape shift with sand particles. The result also allows Raimi to stage some of the best effects-heavy fight scenes involving Sandman and Spider-Man.

2. Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe, "Spider-Man")


Willem Dafoe as Norman Osborn/Green Goblin in "Spider-Man".

No doubt the first "Spider-Man" movie is one of the best pre-MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) blockbusters credited for reviving the superhero/comic book genre during the early 2000s (the other one is Bryan Singer's "X-Men"). This is, of course, largely thanks to Sam Raimi's impressive direction that effectively combines a big-budget Hollywood spectacle with affecting human drama. Whereas Tobey Maguire's performance as Peter Parker/Spider-Man deserves most of the kudos, the movie wouldn't have worked so well if it lacks a memorable antagonist. Thankfully, "Spider-Man" is also notable for Willem Dafoe's unforgettable turn as Norman Osborn and his alter ego, Green Goblin. Dafoe definitely has the right look of sneaky charm and a psychotic gaze that made him ideal enough for the role. Best of all, Raimi also ensured his transformation from Norman Osborn to Green Goblin was given ample room for genuine development that made us feel invested with his character.

1. Doctor Octopus (Alfred Molina, "Spider-Man 2")


Alfred Molina as Doctor Octopus in "Spider-Man 2".

Of all the "Spider-Man" movies that have been released until now, there's no denying that Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man 2" is still ranked as the best "Spider-Man" movie ever made. Also reputed as one of the best superhero movie sequels of all time, "Spider-Man 2" has everything: solid characters, memorable action scenes and a well-written storyline that is able to satisfy both comic-book fans and general viewers. Then, there is the great performance by Alfred Molina as Doctor Otto Octavius a.k.a. Doctor Octopus. Once again, Raimi has done a tremendous job introducing another memorable villain following Willem Dafoe's Norman Osborn/Green Goblin performance in the 2002 original. But he manages to make Alfred Molina's Doctor Octopus a better villain in this sequel. Molina's character transformation from an ambitious scientist to a supervillain is also equally heartfelt. Finally, who could forget Doctor Octopus' impressive battle scene with Spider-Man on a speeding train?

Cinema Online, 08 July 2017


Related Movies:
Spider-Man: Homecoming (06 Jul 2017)
Marvel's Captain America: Civil War (28 Apr 2016)
Avengers: Infinity War (25 Apr 2018)
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (01 May 2014)
The Amazing Spider-Man (29 Jun 2012)
SPIDER-MAN 3 (01 May 2007)

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