Now we know Tom Holland’s first solo (well, kind of solo) outing as Spider-Man will be titled Spider-Man: Homecoming. The question now is what villain from Spidey’s expansive rogues gallery should give him trouble in the reboot, which will be directed by Jon Watts (Cop Car) and debuts on July 7, 2017?
After five movies featuring the webslinger, there’s still many baddies who fans are eager to see clobber Peter Parker, and Birth.Movies.Death reports Vulture is more than likely to appear, but as a “non-main villain.” So, who could the main monster be?
Superheroes are nothing without compelling villains to challenge them and, on bad days, even defeat them. No superhero has better enemies than Batman, whose gothic opponents include icons like Catwoman, Penguin, The Riddler, Two-Face, Scarecrow, and of course, the Joker. But Spider-Man has a sinister set of his own, whose bad guys can arguably one-up the Dark Knight’s because of how close they often get to not just Spider-Man, but Peter himself. Doc Ock almost married Aunt May once!
With over 50 years worth of stories, here are a few key Spidey villains that would be perfect for the web-head’s return to the big screen. (we’re picking ones that haven’t been in a movie yet, so relax: no Goblins here. Or Venom.)
Although creator Marv Wolfman never intended Black Cat to be Spider-Man’s Catwoman, you can pretty much think of Felicia Hardy as the webslinger’s version of Selina Kyle. Boasting equal amounts of thievery, a taste for onyx, and an affinity for impersonating felines, the anti-hero and occasional Spidey love interest Black Cat has yet to step foot into a Spider-Man movie. During Peter’s youth in Homecoming, an equally young Black Cat would suffice. For a solid example, check out Camren Bicondova’s teenage Catwoman on Fox’s Gotham.
Not to be confused with the equally electric Elektro (last played by Jamie Foxx in Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2), Shocker was a brilliant inventor and engineer who, seemingly out of the blue, turned to a life of crime. Shocker is armed with air gauntlets that blast high frequency waves, which prevents even someone like Spider-Man from swinging too close.
Shocker is as classic a super-villain as you can get, and Spider-Man: Homecoming is just screaming classical comic whimsy. You could keep Shocker’s costume intact and put it in Homecoming and he’d be perfect for the new film, which will lean just a little younger in its setting than previous Marvel films.
Several men have donned the domed head of Mysterio in the fictional Spidey universe, but the first was Hollywood stunt man and special effects genius Quentin Beck. Failing to make it as an actor, naturally leads him to become a super criminal — when he realizes his master illusions assist in bank robbing.
Though out of place for a Queens teenager, Mysterio would just be a lot of fun to see on screen. But I assume SFX artists who are currently fighting for stable working conditions would take umbrage to Spider-Man beating up one of their own, which they would have to animate and design. Yikes.
No Spider-Man villain has come closer to Shakespearean artistry than Kraven, an aristocratic big game hunter who seeks Spidey as his biggest prize. In the celebrated comic Kraven’s Last Hunt written by J. M. DeMatteis, Kraven captures Spider-Man and impersonates him — to prove he can be better at being Spider-Man than the real thing. Kraven proves it by apprehending the super criminal Vermin unarmed (whereas Spider-Man needed help from Captain America).
Like Alexander, who wept when he saw no more to conquer, Kraven saw all he set out to accomplish and acted accordingly. (Spoilers for a thirty year old comic: He commits suicide.)
While Kraven may be too dark for a teenage Peter Parker, and Homecoming is appearing as anything but grim, an appearance by Kraven (for future use) would be just fine for Homecoming.
If Spider-Man: Homecoming is in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, then there’s a perfect bad guy already waiting for him when he arrives: Wilson Fisk, portrayed excellently by Vincent D’Onofrio in Marvel’s Daredevil on Netflix.
Fisk isn’t exclusively a Daredevil antagonist. He’s also squared off against Spider-Man many, many times, and once crushed the poor kid’s web-shooters with his bare hands in an issue of Ultimate Spider-Man. While Marvel loves to flaunt its shared universe, it also behaves like a cranky old exec who doesn’t want to mix movies and TV. Kingpin would make Marvel’s boardroom a bit of a mixed mess, but knowing how well D’Onofrio crushes his take on Fisk, it’s too rich an opportunity to miss a pairing with Holland’s Spidey.
Adrian Toomes, a brilliant electrical engineer of advanced age, was the half-owner of a major enterprise until he was swindled by his partner. Enraged, Toomes builds a high-tech harness that grants him super strength to become a super criminal.
There’s something great about an elderly villain for a really young Peter Parker. In fact, one storyline from the comics revolves around youth and age when Toomes invents a device to steal Peter’s vitality to become young again. No one can exploit younger Spider-Man more than a super-villain who begrudges his own stage in life. Find the right actor — I’m thinking Robert Englund, who voiced him in the TV show Spectacular Spider-Man, or Patrick Malahide who played Balon Greyjoy in Game of Thrones — and Vulture could be the next icon of comic book villainy.