Another Spider-Man film looms on the horizon. Principal players like director Sam Raimi, Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst have already signed on, but the question on every fan’s mind is “Who’s Spidey gonna fight?” A hero is only as good as his villain and after the lackluster performance of Spider-Man 3, the bad guy in the next film has to be able to knock it out of the park. With a nearly 50-year history behind him, there’s no shortage of Spider-baddies to choose from. We’ve narrowed the list down to the top four and cast them as well.
It’s no secret that Sam Raimi favors the old school Spider-Man villains and Mysterio dates all the way back to Amazing Spider-Man #13, so he’d be a perfect choice. Realizing that a career in special effects was a dead-end job, Quentin Beck decided to use his expertise in illusion as a super-villain. He’s a master hypnotist and illusionist armed with holographic projectors and hallucinogenic gas.
Why It Would Work- With all the advances in CGI over the past few years, the idea of a down-on-his-luck practical special effects artist turning to a life of crime is a timely one. Can you imagine Tom Savini turning super villain? And those same advances would make Mysterio an excellent villain to see on the big screen. Super-trippy mind altering effects, illusions and holograms would make for some amazing fight scenes. But they’d probably have to lose the big fishbowl head.
Who Should Play Him- Bruce Campbell, of course. He’s got a horde of dedicated fans who have been clamoring to see him get a meaty role like this. He’s also got a history as a B-movie actor that could be inserted into the characters backstory, giving the movie a bit of a self-referential edge to it. And to top it all off, Campbell has already had cameos in the other three Spidey films. Perhaps all three roles were actually Mysterio all along?
Speaking of old school villains, it doesn’t get any more old school than The Vulture. When this elderly electronics engineer discovered his business partner was embezzling funds and he had no legal recourse, Adrian Toombs used the flying harness he created and embarked on a crime spree to ensure that he’d have a healthy nest egg to retire with.
Why It Would Work- Much like the Green Goblin before him, the visual appeal of Spidey fighting a flying villain can’t be denied. It also works from a story perspective: Peter Parker has a genius intellect but is perpetually broke. Perhaps Adrian Toombs could be used as something of a cautionary tale? This could be you in 50 years, Parker! It would also give the villain a sympathetic side.
Who Should Play Him- Ben Kingsley. For one thing, the man is an amazing actor – one of the few to have won Oscar, BAFTA, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards during his career. He would bring a lot of clout to the role as well as an air of dignity, which is exactly what The Vulture needs. And for another thing, he’s older than dirt but still looks like he could kick some butt, another necessity for The Vulture.
After losing his arm in an overseas conflict, Dr. Curt Connors became obsessed with the regenerative abilities of reptiles. He developed an experimental serum using lizard DNA and, as so many comic book characters do, tested it on himself. The serum made his arm grow back, but it also turned him into a mindless, rampaging six-foot lizard.
Why It Would Work- Raimi has been teasing the Lizard since the very first film when Connors was mentioned as Peter Parker’s lab supervisor who fired him for being late. He appeared in Spider-Man 2 and 3, and was depicted as missing his right arm and shown to have an interest in lizards.
Sam Raimi seems to like using villains that present sort of a darkened mirror-image of our hero. Where Peter Parker is portrayed as a selfish bookworm who had great power and responsibility thrust upon him, Curt Connors could be the man who turns to science to help him only to be seduced by its dark side. Sort of like a cross between Dr. Octopus in the second film and the Incredible Hulk.
Who Should Play Him- While the Lizard would likely be a computer-generated character, Dylan Baker has played Dr. Curt Connors in the second and third installment of the franchise and it would be a shame to recast for the next one. Baker might not pack the star powered punch of someone like Thomas Haden Church but the beauty of the Lizard is that he can play second fiddle to a bigger and more powerful villain.
Perhaps a one-two punch is in order featuring the Lizard and our next pick?
The greatest big-game hunter in the world, Sergei Kravinoff grew tired of capturing and killing rhinos and lions and decided to hunt the biggest game in the world: Spider-Man!
Why It Would Work- Let’s say that Kraven doesn’t come to New York to hunt Spider-Man but instead comes to hunt The Lizard, who has recently been seen tearing through the city, lurking in the sewers and just being a general menace. Naturally, Spider-Man gets in his way because Spidey is friends with the Lizard’s alter-ego Curt Connors. This infuriates Kraven, who decides to focus his anger on the wallcrawler.
Who Should Play Him- Our vote goes to Gerard Butler. For one thing, he looks an awful lot like Kraven and for another: he’s sufficiently badass enough to portray a man who wears leopardskin pants and a lion’s mane around his neck while parading around on New York City rooftops. Kraven shuns the use of weaponry and prefers to take down wild animals with his bare hands. After seeing Gerard Butler play Leonidas in 300, we’re pretty sure he could do the same.
Alright Raimi – you’ve got the information. Now use it! Spider-Man 3 was a brutal disappointment but we’re willing to place the blame on studio interference. Your point has been proven and this is your opportunity to give fans the Spider-Man 4 we’ve been waiting for. We’ve done all the hard work choosing villains and casting them: all you’ve got to do is deliver the goods.