Get Tickets MORBIUS opens April 1
In terms of on-screen foes, it is hard to come up with a superhero with a rogues gallery more iconic than Spider-Man’s Sinister Six. Over the course of 20 years and multiple film franchises, some of the biggest and baddest Spider-Man villains have either faced off against Peter Parker or have led their own solo films that didn’t necessarily see them get tangled up in any webs.
With MORBIUS finally coming to AMC Theatres on April 1, 2022, and KRAVEN THE HUNTER opening in theatres January 23, 2023, now seems like the perfect time to go back and look at some of the Spider-Man comic book foes that would give the most evil Disney villains a run for their money and break down what made them so great in the first place.
Green Goblin (Norman And Harry Osborn)
There are few villains that have made as much of an impact on a comic book superhero, and the superhero movie genre, than Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin in SPIDER-MAN who came to be after Harry Osborn was part of a super-soldier experiment gone awry. The cruel, menacing, and diabolical supervillain was a young Peter Parker’s first true test in his early days, forcing the awkward high school graduate to become a hero pretty much overnight with his combination of mental and physical terrorist acts.
Different version of Harry Osborn’s son, Harry, would take up the moniker in SPIDER-MAN 3 and THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2, but the original Green Goblin would return and become arguably the best comic book villain of all time in SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME when he was transported to a different universe and continued his reign of terror that left nothing but pain and suffering in his wake.
Like Norman Osborn before him, Dr. Otto Octavius was driven mad by a failed ambitious experiment with catastrophic results in SPIDER-MAN 2, in which he was portrayed by Alfred Molina. The once brilliant and well-respected nuclear scientist became trapped and under the control of the machine he created, which resulted in him earning the moniker Doc Ock.
The character would show up again in SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME, this time being freed from the shackles of his creation and assisting the various versions of Peter Parker in their crusade to cure the villains transported to the main universe and reform them before sending them back home.
Flint Marko, portrayed by Thomas Haden Church, was transformed into Sandman after the escaped convict falls into a particle accelerator in SPIDER-MAN 3. One of three villains to be featured in Sam Raimi’s final Spider-Man movie, it is discovered Marko was the man responsible for the murder of Ben Parker earlier in the franchise, and not the robber who Peter Parker hunted down upon becoming the Web-Slinger.
Probably the most sympathetic villain to be featured in a Spider-Man movie, Sandman was always in the wrong place at the wrong time and turned to a life of crime for a rather noble reason: to pay for his daughter’s life-saving medical treatment. Cured of his guilt in SPIDER-MAN 3, Marko would be fixed physically in SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME before being sent back to his universe.
Topher Grace became the first actor to play Venom when he showed up in SPIDER-MAN 3, but that version seemed more like an afterthought than a true representation of the comic book character. That all changed with the 2018 film VENOM which saw Tom Hardy portray both Eddie Brock and the alien organism who latched onto and formed a bond with the tenacious reporter.
Playing more into the anti-hero side of the character, the movie focused heavily on that contentious relationship shared by the two as they learned to live and work together. And with the post-credits scenes at the end of VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE and SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME leaving the door open for Venom and Spider-Man to cross paths in the future, there’s a good chance this isn’t the last we’ve seen of the pair.
Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker didn’t have any Green Goblins to worry about when he first transformed into a superhero in THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, but he did have an equally intelligent and dangerous foe as his first big test: Rhys Ifans’ The Lizard. This member of the Sinister Six was created when Dr. Curt Connors’ experimental regeneration serum regrew his missing arm but only before turning him into a 9-foot-tall reptilian monster.
Another villain with ties to Peter Parker’s past, The Lizard was effective at showing how the best of intentions can lead to complete and utter disaster in the blink of an eye. Connors would eventually go back to his former, non-reptile form in SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME after being cured.
On top of having to deal with the new Green Goblin in THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2, Peter Parker also had to find a way to take down Jamie Foxx’s Electro without being zapped with his deadly energy blasts. The former Oscorp employee named Max Dillon was turned into the comic book villain after falling into a tank of genetically engineered eels.
The character would show up looking better than ever in SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME and gave Tom Holland’s Web-Slinger quite a shock with a sneak attack on the outskirts of New York City. Motivated by his god-like power and new looks, Electro attempted to do everything he could to not go back to his normal self.
Despite being one the Web-Slinger’s most notable adversaries, Rhino didn’t receive the live-action treatment until THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2, the fifth overall theatrical release. In that movie, Paul Giamatti plays Aleksei Sytsevich, a Russian mobster who is caught and humiliated by Spider-Man in the film’s opening minutes.
Systevich does show up in the final moments when he is freed from Ravencroft and given an advanced suit of armor from Oscorp Industries before taking to the streets of New York City for a brief yet exciting encounter with Spider-Man. With that ending, it seemed like we would see the two meet again in THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 3, but that movie never came to be and the franchise moved on.
Adrian Toomes, portrayed by Michael Keaton, became the deadly and technologically advanced supervillain known as Vulture in SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING after his bid to salvage the wreckage from the Battle of New York was taken over by the Department of Damage Control, which led to him becoming an arms dealer who would eventually cross paths with Tom Holland’s Spider-Man.
More toned down than the villains that came before him, Toomes was still one of the more dangerous Spider-Man foes and gave the cinematic universe some of its best scenes, like the drive to the homecoming dance where he figured out Peter Parker was Spider-Man. And with Vulture set to appear in MORBIUS, it doesn’t look like we’ve seen the last of him just yet.
Jake Gyllenhaal’s manipulative and power-hungry Quentin Beck became Mysterio as part of his quest to get back at Stark Industries after the brilliant yet unstable scientist was fired from his position there. Over the course of SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME, Beck tricked Nick Fury and Peter Parker into believing he was a superhero from an alternate reality universe destroyed by large beasts known as the Elementals who have come to Earth. But this was all a ruse to gain control of the late Tony Stark’s E.D.I.T.H. artificial intelligence technology.
When you think about it, Mysterio is one of the most consequential villains Spider-Man has faced yet because his final trick of exposing the superhero’s identity and blaming for crimes he didn’t commit led to all the misfortune that followed for Peter in SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME.
How Does Morbius Fit Into The Sony Spider-Verse?
There have been a handful of hints featured in the MORBIUS trailers that lead us to believe the movie is set in Sony’s Spider-Man Universe, with the most glaring being the presence of Michael Keaton’s Adrian Toomes, aka Vulture. The Spider-Man villain, who appears to still be in captivity following his battle with Peter Parker in SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING, can be seen in several of the film’s trailers interacting with Jared Leto’s Dr. Michael Morbius.
And even though we don’t know exactly when in the Spider-Man timeline MORBIUS takes place, the events of the movie take place at some point after VENOM considering comments made by a detective regarding some event in San Francisco, where the Tom Hardy-led movie took place.
We will likely learn the answers to where the vampire anti-hero fits into Sony’s Spider-Man Universe when MORBIUS opens on April 1, 2022. And hopefully we’ll see even more Spider-Man villains when KRAVEN THE HUNTER opens January 23, 2023.
Get Tickets MORBIUS opens April 1