Every Spider-Man Movie Villain, Ranked (2022)

Can I say something that's only, like, half-true? Spider-Man is nothing without his villains. Again: only half-true. In the last 20 years, we've gotten three different live action versions of Spider-Man (Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, and Tom Holland) who have all been varying levels of excellent, and an animated assortment of Spider-Mans (in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse) that was just as good if not somehow better. If Spider-Man was truly nothing without his villains, all 10 of those Spider-Man films would be, well, excellent. And while most of them are entertaining, not all of them are excellent. And part of that is because villains are just so, so important to the very fabric of what makes a Spider-Man movie great.

Perhaps you've heard that a new Spider-Man movie, titled Spider-Man: No Way Home is coming. Perhaps you've also heard that some familiar faces—faces that aren't so friendly—will be returning for that movie. Perhaps you've also heard the rumors that we'll be seeing the faces of some Spider-Mans of past, too. Despite all the chatter out there about any of the Spideys, we can't confirm or deny. But based on the trailers for the film, we can confirm that we'll be seeing quite a few of those villains again. And, so, when could be a better time to talk about the best and the worst of the baddies we've seen on screen?

Below, we get into many of the faces who've terrorized our various versions of Peter Parker (and Miles Morales) from both near (his enemies tend to be people he once thought of as friends) and far (there are also some randos in the mix; with great power, comes great random aggression). These villains span from utter classics to complete snoozes; but that's OK, because we've always got a wise-cracking webslinger on the other end.

Without further ado, here's a complete ranking of every Spider-Man movie villain we've seen.

21. Flint Marko/Sandman (Thomas Haden Church, Spider-Man 3)

Every Spider-Man Movie Villain, Ranked (1)

They can't all be winners. Thomas Haden Church is a good actor, but there's just nothing compelling about his Flint Marko; he's a criminal on the run who winds up being genetically changed into, you guessed it, a man made of sand. This villain has a sympathetic arc, is "only doing it for his daughter," and is a complete and utter snooze. Not to mention his being the subject of easily the worst retcon in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man series: that he was the one who really killed Uncle Ben and not the mugger who Peter let go. The story has always gone that Raimi didn't want to include Eddie Brock/Venom in his movie and was forced by the studio; that's fine, but it's Sandman's boring narrative that ultimately sinks the movie.

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20. Donald Menken (Colm Feore, The Amazing Spider-Man 2)

Every Spider-Man Movie Villain, Ranked (2)

Remember this guy? No? OK, that's cool, I don't blame you. He's a nothing Oscorp suit who basically exists to push Harry Osborn further toward evil. He frames Harry for covering up Max Dillon's incident, and then is just generally an asshole.

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19. Max Dillon/Electro (Jamie Foxx, The Amazing Spider-Man 2)

Every Spider-Man Movie Villain, Ranked (3)

Max Dillon has an interesting arc to start in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. At first, he's just a sort of sad, lonely, anti-social Oscorp employee who's taken advantage of by his boss (played inexplicably by BJ Novak!) and just wants a friend; you understand why he sort of clings to his overwhelmingly positive experience with Spider-Man. Unfortunately, after a totally avoidable and utterlly neglectful accident at work leaves him, alive as some sort of blue electric monster, he loses any bit of character he has, naming himself "Electro" for no reason (I get that it's his comic nickname, but people in real life don't just give themselves these sorts of names randomly, and when it happens like this it seems utterly ridiculous), and doesn't really have any sort of humanity left until he literally explodes. Why does he want to kill Spider-Man? It doesn't even make any sense, really.

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18. Cash Register Thief (Leif Gantvoort, The Amazing Spider-Man)

Every Spider-Man Movie Villain, Ranked (4)

The guy who kills Uncle Ben (a perfect Martin Sheen, by the way) in The Amazing Spider-Man is the same classic principle (a bad guy who Peter doesn't stop out of spite) but just not quite as memorable as previous iterations. Kind of a Lebowski vibe? Either way, yeah, there's this guy.

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17. Mac Gargan (Michael Mando, Spider-Man: Homecoming)

Every Spider-Man Movie Villain, Ranked (5)

Mac Gargan, in the Marvel Comics and Spider-Man animated series, is the first Scorpion and, eventually, a version of Venom. In the MCU, though, he's just a broad bad guy/criminal who eventually ends up in prison. Maybe he's got more of a future, but so far there's not a ton here.

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16. Herman Schultz/Shocker #2 (Bokeem Woodbine, Spider-Man: Homecoming)

Every Spider-Man Movie Villain, Ranked (6)

There are two "Shockers" in Spider-Man homecoming, and neither of them are particularly compelling (and they're not entirely meant to be; they're henchmen to Michael Keaton's Vulture). That said, Shocker #2 falls a bit behind Shocker #1, just because this shocker is played by Bokeem Woodbine, a great actor (particularly in Season 2 of Fargo), who doesn't really get much to do here.

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15. Jackson Brice/Shocker #1 (Logan Marshall-Green, Spider-Man: Homecoming)

Every Spider-Man Movie Villain, Ranked (7)

Shocker #1 is played by Logan Marshall-Green, a good actor who also happens to look like Tom Hardy. He's very animated and does make a bit of an impression, but doesn't last super long before Vulture accidentally turns him into a pile of ash.

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14. Phineas Mason/The Tinkerer (Michael Chernus, Spider-Man: Homecoming)

Every Spider-Man Movie Villain, Ranked (8)

Tinkerer lasts the entirety of Spider-Man: Homecoming as yet another key member of Vulture's post-New York attack black market arms dealer operation. He doesn't get a ton to do outside of being eccentric and, well, tinkering.

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13. Brad Davis (Remy Hii, Spider-Man: Far From Home)

Every Spider-Man Movie Villain, Ranked (9)

Fucking Brad. While Peter was lucky enough that his close friends (and others in his circle) all seemed to blip and stay the same age despite the five-year gap, Brad went from a little kid to a big teen. And in turn, he started competing for MJ's attention with Peter, including taking photos of him in a state of undress and threatening to rat him out. Peter almost had a Stark missile shot at Brad, and honestly maybe he should have!

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12. Eddie Brock/Venom (Topher Grace, Spider-Man 3)

Every Spider-Man Movie Villain, Ranked (10)

Let's break this whole deal down into a couple pieces. The Topher Grace casting as Eddie Brock/Venom has always been a point of contention; he's not the hulking, big-bodied Eddie of the Marvel Comics or cartoon (Tom Hardy's Eddie in the Venom movies is closer to this depiction, however). But Grace's Eddie is quite entertaining to watch in Spider-Man 3 as purely a foil for Tobey Maguire's Peter. He has a false confidence that comes across often in antagonists, and it's fun to watch. Unfortunately, he's not super well written; he jumps to wanting to kill Peter Parker very quickly, and his Venom is kind of a major cringe. The Eddie—good. The Venom—bad.

Stream Spider-Man 3

11. Carjacker (Michael Papajohn, Spider-Man)

This asshole doesn't have much to do, but if it wasn't for him we wouldn't have Spider-Man (and we'd still have Uncle Ben). Makes this spot for impact alone.

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10. Dr. Curt Connors/The Lizard (Rhys Ifans, The Amazing Spider-Man)

Every Spider-Man Movie Villain, Ranked (12)

Ifans is a wildly underrated actor who does a good job with this complex character (and its easy to feel bad for Dylan Baker, who played Connors in two of Sam Raimi's Spider-Man movies but never got to complete the transformation into The Lizard). The movie isn't great, and this storyline is basically the same as Doc Ock's in Spider-Man 2 (except that one is done better). But it's a decent character with a good performance.

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9. Harry Osborn/Green Goblin (Dane Dehaan, The Amazing Spider-Man 2)

Every Spider-Man Movie Villain, Ranked (13)

Another tale of two performances. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 kind of changes up the Norman/Harry/Peter dynamic; Norman Osborn (played this time by Chris Cooper) is on his deathbed, with a genetic sickness that makes him literally turn into a goblin (unlike the Power Ranger suit that Willem Dafoe's Norman wears). Dehaan does a good job as the grieving Harry who reunites with Peter Parker, and plays the character in a different, significantly weirder way than James Franco did. Unfortunately when he transforms into the Green Goblin at the end of the movie, he looks like like an Elf from The Santa Clause and it almost ruins the whole performance. Clearly the plans were for this Harry to be some sort of Lex Luthor-level orchestrator, but that never came to pass.

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8. Harry Osborn/New Goblin (James Franco, Spider-Man 3)

Every Spider-Man Movie Villain, Ranked (14)

Harry's time as the Green Goblin (or, New Goblin) in Spider-Man 3 is limited, but he falls into a decent spot on the list because the build-up (which came throughout Spider-Man 2) makes it feel worth it. Much of the movie finds Franco playing Harry with amnesia, totally hamming it up in a major way. It's a fun performance but not totally sinister (Dehaan's Goblin Harry is actually more believable as far as villainy goes).

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7. Doc Ock (Kathryn Hahn, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse)

Every Spider-Man Movie Villain, Ranked (15)

Spider-Verse has a number of villains, but how could you not love Kathryn Hahn—Kathryn Hahn!as Doc Ock. She's classic and its a great turn. What more is there to say?

Stream Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

6. Kingpin (Liev Schreiber, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse)

Every Spider-Man Movie Villain, Ranked (16)

There's been a lot of talk recently about Kingpin and how he may or may not fit into Hawkeye and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but don't forget that we just recently got Liev Schreiber's fantastic take on the character as the main villain in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Perhaps what's always so interesting about Kingpin is that while he's both powerful and strong, what always motivates him is his family—which he tends to keep hidden. This version of the character, too, is just utterly massive in a way that can only really be conveyed in animation. It's a wonderful take on a classic character.

Stream Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

5. Quentin Beck/Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal, Spider-Man: Far From Home)

Spider-Man: Far From Home lets Jake Gyllenhaal EAT. Jake G is one of the most versatile and unique actors around (just look at how he plays different roles in movies like Zodiac, Nightcrawler, Enemy, and Prisoners for reference). In Spider-Man: Far From Home, he gets to play a guy who has a number of tricks up his sleeve at basically every turn; the scene where he takes Peter Parker through his series of illusions is mystifying in the best ways. Mysterio—a character many assumed would be difficult to adapt for the big screen—had no business working this well.

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4. Aaron Miles/Prowler (Mahershala Ali, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse)

Every Spider-Man Movie Villain, Ranked (18)

Part of the "thing" with Spider-Man villains is that they always (or, at least, the best ones) turn out to be someone closer to our hero than they ever expected. Perhaps no villain is closer to the hero than Prowler, who in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is both the Kingpin's top (and very lethal) enforcer, and also the uncle of our hero, Miles Morales. Maherahala Ali is one of the best actors working today (and of course we can't wait to see his Blade), but he gives a voice performance that has complex layers; he's the cool, laid back uncle, but there's just more there. Great actor, great role, and one that really works.

Stream Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

3. Adrian Toomes/Vulture (Michael Keaton, Spider-Man: Homecoming)

Every Spider-Man Movie Villain, Ranked (19)

Since 2013's Birdman, Michael Keaton has been on a career renaissance. And while he's had plenty of great roles, it never seems like he's having more fun than when he's playing Adrian Toomes/Vulture. Keaton brings his everyman energy to the sinister side, and bounces well off of just about every character he shares the screen with, from either Shocker to, of course, Tom Holland's Peter. And maybe what makes him all the more compelling (one of the best villains in the MCU, for that matter)? He has a point. Tony Stark really screwed him over—let the man pick up his trash. He's got a contract! I do not really care about Morbius, but I will watch it to see Michael Keaton chew some scenery.

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2. Dr. Otto Octavius/Doc Ock (Alfred Molina, Spider-Man 2)

Every Spider-Man Movie Villain, Ranked (20)

I don't know how to start this other than simply saying that Doc Ock, as played by the great Alfred Molina, rules. He rules! I don't often go for the villain with the sympathetic redemption arc (see: Sandman, The), but Molina plays pre-Doc Ock Otto Octavius with a warmness that makes you care and feel for him, but also an edge that makes his turn to villainy (following the death of a loved one and a bad accident) feel legitimate. "Brilliant but lazy," he says about Peter Parker; we never really know how much is an Otto Octavius heel turn and how much is the tentacles calling the shots. No matter the case, he's a great, great, villain.

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1. Norman Osborn/Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe, Spider-Man 1, Spider-Man 2, Spider-Man 3)

Every Spider-Man Movie Villain, Ranked (21)

Had to go with the king at the top of the list. Willem Dafoe is probably the premiere actor in the entire film and television industry when it comes to portraying weird, eccentric, bizarre characters—which is why his turn as Norman Osborn is so inspired. Because at first, he's not weird, or eccentric, or bizarre. He's an ambitious businessman who's tough on his son—but with a twinge of eagerness to make progress (seemingly even more than money). Obviously, Norman becomes the Green Goblin and descends into madness , but who else could be so convincing (and electric to watch) both in a pinstriped suit and under a Power Rangers mask flying around on a glider? And that laugh! Best evil laugh ever? Maybe? I'm willing to say it.

There's a reason Raimi brought him back for cameos in both Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man 3; it's truly an electrifying performance and character, and there aren't many other performers who could have done it this way.

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Every Spider-Man Movie Villain, Ranked (22)

Evan is the culture editor for Men’s Health, with bylines in The New York Times, MTV News, Brooklyn Magazine, and VICE. He loves weird movies, watches too much TV, and listens to music more often than he doesn’t.

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