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Live Action Spider-Man Villains, Ranked
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Live Action Spider-Man Villains, Ranked

For over 20 years, we’ve seen live action Spider-Man on the big screen across three different interpretations of the wall crawler in three wildly different universes. We see different takes on Peter Parker, his family, his friends, his powers, his skills, and above all else, the villains that he faces. While every iteration of your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man has their own strengths that makes each one of them unique and enjoyable in their own ways, the good and the bad Spider-Man films can truly be separated by the strength of their villains.

The top tier Spider-Man films are elevated by incredible villain performances, such as Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, and Spider-Man: Homecoming, while the worst of the bunch are overstuffed with bad villains that don’t have enough time to flesh the characters out, like Spider-Man 3 or The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Since there have been so many villains throughout Spider-Man’s film history going from good quality to bad quality, ranging from all different kinds of powers and motives for wanting to take out our favorite web slinger, it’s only right to rank all the villains that the different live action Spideys have faced. Here’s every main live action Spider-Man villain, ranked from worst to best.


10 Green Goblin (Amazing Spider-Man 2 Version)

Sony Pictures Releasing

Harry Osborn’s transformation into the maniacal Green Goblin could have been interesting, with The Amazing Spider-Man 2 taking time to explore Peter and Harry’s relationship. Unfortunately, with Harry being the second villain introduced in the film, there just wasn’t enough time to truly see his turn to madness, making his flip to the Green Goblin feel rushed.

Maybe if he was the only villain in the film, and we didn’t see Electro introduced first, Harry at least wouldn’t be dead last on this list. But, with multiple villains in his film, there already being an iconic Green Goblin before him, and not having a chance to redeem his character in Spider-Man: No Way Home like some other villains on this list, it’s hard to put him anywhere other than the bottom, strictly as a villain. He was responsible for the death of Gwen Stacy, however, which was a shock that many viewers didn’t see coming. Regardless though, this iteration of the Green Goblin is the worst live-action Spider-Man villain we’ve seen so far.

9 Venom

Venom ready to stab something off camera with a long jagged pole.
Sony Pictures

Not far behind Amazing Spider-Man’s Green Goblin however is Spider-Man 3’s Venom. Venom is another character that fell victim to its film trying to do too much at one time, with three main villains all vying for Peter Parker’s attention. However, even with the film having a lot going on, the character itself was definitely the weakest of the three villains. Topher Grace’s portrayal of Eddie Brock just doesn’t fit into the film, and doesn’t play the villain convincingly enough when the Venom symbiote eventually takes over. And now that we’ve seen Tom Hardy’s take on the character in the Venom films, Venom’s black suit in Spider-Man 3 looks even worse now, and so does Grace’s performance.

At least the symbiote gave us Peter Parker’s awesome black suit, despite the now infamous personality of Peter we see in the film. Otherwise, Venom could have been taken out of the film entirely, and it would not have suffered much at all.

Related: Who Has Been the Best Spider-Man in Film?

8 New Goblin

new goblin spider-man 3

Harry Osborn’s turn to evil in the Sam Raimi Spider-Man films could have really been something special. We’re with Harry for all three films, right there alongside his best friend Peter as his hatred for Spider-Man grows. Believing that Spider-Man murdered his father, Harry finding out that his best friend was the one behind the mask led him on a path of revenge that would have been awesome to see fully fleshed out, until they decided to give him amnesia after hitting his head. This was likely because there was already so much going on in Spider-Man 3 that they needed this to happen but the New Goblin/Spider-Man dynamic would have been much more interesting than the villain trio we ended up with.

Despite the character’s flaws, Harry was still able to redeem himself at the end of the movie, sacrificing his own life to save the life of Peter. While he wasn’t the best villain ever, they were able to give more meaning to his character, something that not all villains have.

7 Electro

Jamie Foxx
Marvel Studios

Max Dillon’s goofy appearance before turning into Electro was a little over-the-top from Jamie Foxx, but Max was still just someone who wanted to be noticed. He was stepped on, overlooked, and misunderstood, but goes a little mad with his newfound powers once he acquires them. Of course, the blue CGI face doesn’t help Electro’s case either, as he’s certainly one of the silliest looking Spider-Man villains that we’ve seen. While he’s definitely over-the-top and has strange motivations in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, more justice was done to his character in No Way Home.

Not only is he given a brand-new look that works so much better than his first appearance, his more fleshed out character makes Electro so much better to see on-screen. However, while his appearance in No Way Home definitely helps make him a better character, we still can’t look past his first big-screen appearance entirely.

6 Lizard

Lizard Is Found Guilty in Latest The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Daily Bugle Viral

Speaking of villains with strange motivations, Dr. Curtis Conners wanting to turn the rest of New York into lizards just like himself is definitely out there. But motivations aside, Conners’ transformation into the Lizard in The Amazing Spider-Man is still an enjoyable story as we see one of Peter Parker’s mentor figures accidentally turn himself into a monster, similar to Otto Octavius in Spider-Man 2.

While most fans will agree that the mentor-turned super villain storyline definitely wasn’t done as well in this story as it was in Spider-Man 2, it still made for great moral ambiguity as we see Peter Parker take on the creature that Conners has become. We see the Lizard return in No Way Home as well, but he has a much smaller role as the focus is shifted to other villains, so that isn’t enough to greatly affect someone’s opinion on the character.

5 Sandman

Spider-Man 3
Sony Pictures Releasing

Definitely the best of the villains that we see in Spider-Man 3, the reveal that Flint Marko was the man who actually killed Uncle Ben was a strange retcon, but it was all so that his character would have more meaning to Peter Parker. Sandman’s character is also made better by the fact he’s not inherently being evil to be evil, he just needed money in order to help his sick daughter, and became the Sandman as a byproduct of his criminal deeds.

Sandman exists more as a character for Peter Parker to face his demons and come to terms with why he really is Spider-Man, which really helps to elevate Peter’s character, which in turn makes Sandman better too. It also helps that his powers are awesome to see on screen, along with the fact that he also returns for No Way Home, albeit in a smaller role similar to the Lizard.

4 Mysterio

Gyllenhaal as Mysterio
Sony Pictures Releasing

While a lot of these villains were turned into monsters unintentionally with the powers they acquired, Mysterio knew what he was doing the entire time. Creating the guise of a global threat while pumping himself up to seem like the greatest superhero in the world in order to manipulate Peter is truly malicious and uses his illusions to trick the entire world as well. He’s definitely one of the most intentionally evil characters that we have seen any Spider-Man face up against, and it makes Mysterio all the better for it. Mysterio also helps Tom Holland’s Peter Parker come to terms with the man that he needs to be if he truly wants to be an Avenger. Plus, Mysterio’s actions put into motion the events of No Way Home, which ended up having some of the greatest Spider-Man moments we’ve ever seen.

Related: MCU: Why Peter Parker is the Most Tragic Hero to Date

3 Vulture

vulture mcu villain
Marvel Studios

The MCU is known for its massive stakes and universe ending implications with things such as alien invasions, quantum realms, ancient gods, and mad titans. Vulture’s biggest strength is that he brings a smaller scale to the MCU that we really don’t get to see anymore, especially with time-bending characters like Kang the Conqueror being introduced now.

Spider-Man: Homecoming shows that he’s just a man trying to support his family, and he would do whatever it takes to make sure they’re secure. Plus, he’s the father of Peter’s high school crush, making the matchup feel a little more personal than any old villain. He’s a perfect first villain for Tom Holland’s Spider-Man to go up against, and puts Peter on the path to becoming the man and the hero that he was always meant to be.

2 Doctor Octopus

Doc Ock
Sony Pictures Releasing

The top two characters on this list could be easily interchangeable, as they really are in a league of their own when it comes to the best Spider-Man villains. But in the number two spot, we have Doctor Otto Octavius, or Doctor Octopus. Spider-Man 2 is arguably the best Spider-Man film that we have ever seen, and that is largely in part to Alfred Molina’s portrayal of Doc Ock. On one hand, Doc Ock is menacing with his giant metal tentacles that allow him to maneuver just about anywhere and do whatever he wants.

On the other hand, viewers can’t help but sympathize with the character is it’s the tentacles themselves that have taken over Otto’s body and are manipulating him to do the terrible things he does. Plus, his relationship to Peter made it even harder for Peter to face off against him. And along with that, Otto realizing his errors at the end of the film and sacrificing himself to save everyone else gave him a full and satisfying character arc. Plus, his appearance in No Way Home only elevated his status as a character that fans can sympathize with, showing that he is a brilliant mind that was tainted by his own experiments.

1 Green Goblin

Green Goblin (1)
Columbia Pictures

Finally, we have the original Spider-Man villain, Norman Osborn as the Green Goblin. Green Goblin is a perfect storm to create an iconic villain, with an incredible performance from Willem Dafoe, his descent into insanity, his awesome glider and pumpkin bombs, and even his suit has a charm to it that you can’t help but love. Plus, his haunting cackle as he terrorizes New York City is enough to strike fear into the hearts of anyone.

He’s chaotic almost strictly to be chaotic, and is one of the most purely evil forces that truly gives Spider-Man a run for his money. We get to see that pure insanity return in No Way Home as well, making Tom Holland’s Spider-Man wonder if he can even be saved. Green Goblin is the definitive Spider-Man villain, and we wouldn’t want it any other way.