Now that the long awaited Spider-Man: No Way Home has been released, I have decided to rank each of the villains that came from the Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield Spider-Man movies and appeared in this film. Some get more attention than others but all of them deliver on the promise of seeing them go up against Tom Holland’s Peter Parker.
5. Curt Connors/The Lizard: While most of the villains in this movie get a decent amount of screen time, the Lizard has surprisingly very little to do. We get a little bit of banter between him and the other villains as well as some exposition on what he did in The Amazing Spider-Man, but he otherwise has the smallest role of the antagonists in this movie. I’m not sure as to why. He wasn’t a perfect villain but he was fascinating to watch as Curt Connors. Rhys Ifans was very sympathetic compared to the other villains in the other Garfield Spider-Man movies. His redemption at the end of The Amazing Spider-Man felt so rewarding. I feel that way too many people overlook the Lizard as a villain. His design could have been way better but the story that surrounded him was fantastic in my opinion. He gets little to no characterization in No Way Home. We see his capture off screen, he has a much goofier design and he barely interacts with Holland’s Peter. The other characters have a fun dynamic with him but Lizard just seems kind of there. I’m also not sure why Rhys Ifans couldn’t actually physically appear in the movie. Once he turns human, it’s just archive footage of him. The character isn’t awful in this but they could have given us way more.
4. Flint Marko/The Sandman: I’m very split on the Sandman in this movie. While this character is given much more to do than the Lizard, something feels off about him. He starts the movie as a brief ally to Peter, helping him stop Electro. We are given nice callbacks to Spider-Man 3 with him mentioning his daughter and how he was turned into a sand monster. Thomas Haden Church also gives a good performance despite it being over a decade since we last saw him. However, it feels like a lot of the sympathetic qualities that he had in Spider-Man 3 have been removed or just forgotten about. He seems a lot less reasonable and more willing to cause harm. When he attacked people in Spider-Man 3, it was really only because they were in his way. In here, he just attacks people out of impatience or just because something weird happens. As soon as he saw who Peter really was in Spider-Man 3, he stopped fighting him and explained what really happened to his uncle. He even cried tears of joy when Peter forgave him. In the climax, he just tries to kill him without any reservations. It’s only when he’s cured that he stops fighting. Also like the Lizard, it’s obvious that Thomas Haden Church wasn’t actually able to physically appear. He’s only a sand creature for most of the movie and appears through archive footage that is even more obvious when he is cured. While Sandman isn’t as weak as the Lizard in this, he still could have been written a little better.
3. Max Dillon/Electro: Up until this movie, Electro was probably the worst villain to appear in any Spider-Man movie. Yes, even worse than Venom in Spider-Man 3. His story was horrible, as were his motivations and design. Rarely has the plot point of where a character becomes the villain after they used to be a fan of the hero ever worked. It didn’t work with Batman Forever, Iron Man 3 or Wonder Woman 1984, and it certainly didn’t work in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Jamie Foxx also seemed to be very miscast. Foxx is a great actor, but I did not believe for one second that he was a nerd turned into a supervillain. His design did not help him either. He looked like a far less impressive Doctor Manhattan from Watchmen. On top of that, he wasn’t actually the main villain. Harry Osborn served as more of a personal threat to Peter and was the one to kill Gwen Stacy. Electro seemed like more of an inconvenience than an actual threat. No Way Home greatly rectified that by giving the character a better design and allowing Foxx to be more like himself than some lonely nerd. The character is far more cocky and charming than he was in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 but still very threatening. I believed this version of Electro far more than when we saw him previously. I also really like his resolution. After he is cured, he reconciles with Garfield’s Peter. It is a touching moment and a nice conclusion to the character. While this Electro is definitely not the same one that we saw in Amazing Spider-Man 2 despite what the movie says, it is a vast improvement.
2. Otto Octavius/Doctor Octopus: I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Marvel villain as likable and charming as Alfred Molina’s Doc Ock. We’ve had Loki and Magneto but they were honestly more anti-heroes than they were villains. Doctor Octopus was beautifully written in Spider-Man 2. His origin story was tragic as you liked him as a civilian before his accident but he also proves to be so intimidating when he becomes a villain. His fights against Peter feel so grand even if they are as basic as the two fighting in a bank. Octavius’ redemption at the end of Spider-Man 2 felt so rewarding. Once he sacrifices himself to stop his machine, it’s easy to feel the same amount of relief and sympathy that Peter has towards him. I was admittedly nervous to see Molina’s Doc Ock in No Way Home. His first appearance in the film did not do him any favors. He was more angry and loud compared to his cool and reserved personality in Spider-Man 2. On top of that, the de-aging effects on Molina were very unconvincing at first. His hair color was wrong as were his clothes compared to how he actually looked in Spider-Man 2. However, once Peter cures him, we get to see Octavius in a similar way to how he was actually portrayed in his first appearance. He was charming, honorable and friendly but still extremely clever at the same time. He even comes through in the end when he is the one to de-power Electro. His reunion with Tobey’s Peter was extremely heartwarming as the latter greatly looked up to him as his idol. When he is returned to his universe (hopefully to have a fresh start), you can clearly see a sense of peace within him, having done the right thing and finally being free from the AI of his robotic arms. Molina was absolutely terrific in No Way Home. It took a couple of scenes, but he felt just like the character when he appeared in Spider-Man 2. If the characters from the Raimi and Webb films return to the MCU down the line, I actually hope Doc Ock doesn’t return. I absolutely loved him in this, but his character’s ending in the film was honestly perfect.
1. Norman Osborn/The Green Goblin: Willem Dafoe was made for the Green Goblin. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen an actor have so much fun as a comic book movie villain like him. In the 2002 Spider-Man movie, Dafoe was so entertaining. He just chewed the scenery as he got lost in the role of Norman Osborn. His story with Peter was fascinating as the dynamic between the two showcased a close bond which caused a great deal of tension due to their alter-egos as well as Norman’s son Harry. When Norman is killed at the end after accidentally impaling himself with his own glider, his defeat feels more tragic than it does triumphant. Even after his death, Norman still haunts Peter in the sequels. His death only causes Harry to spiral out of control and become a villain in Spider-Man 3. I’d say that of all the villains from the Spider-Man movies including the Garfield and Holland films, Dafoe’s Green Goblin made the biggest impact. It’s fitting that he serves as the main antagonist of Spider-Man: No Way Home. When he is transferred to the MCU, Norman is shown to be more unstable than ever, with his Green Goblin persona only becoming more sadistic and bloodthirsty. You honestly feel sorry for Norman in this film even more than you did in the original Spider-Man movie. While he reluctantly went along with his darker half’s plans in the 2002 film, he tries as hard as possible to get away from his Goblin persona. He even breaks his mask as a show of defiance to his evil alternate personality. On a side note, I am so glad that the film got rid of the 2002 costume. Dafoe was incredible, but the only thing holding him back was that horribly designed Green Goblin suit. Getting rid of it was a terrific decision. On top of that, the de-aging effects on him were outstanding. Unlike Molina, where it’s very obvious to tell that cgi has been added to his face to make him look younger, Dafoe looks just like how he did in 2002. It was honestly hard to tell if CGI was used for de-aging effects. Osborn’s relationship with Peter in this is incredible. The two start out with something almost akin to a friendship as the former is the villain who is willing to cooperate with Peter the most and almost treats him like a son, just like the Peter Parker from his universe. However, once the Green Goblin persona resurfaces, the two become fierce enemies. When Osborn kills Aunt May, Peter is devastated and develops a strong hatred for him. None of the previous antagonists that Peter faced ever made him as rage filled as Osborn did. He was even going to kill the villain before Maguire’s Peter stopped him in the nick of time. When he is cured of his Goblin persona, Norman can only sit in shame as he realizes what he did while he receives no sympathy from Holland’s Peter, who simply glares at him with a look of hatred. Dafoe was just as phenomenal as the character in this, if not more so than he was in the original Spider-Man movie. He hasn’t truly played the role since 2002 and he effortlessly makes it look like it hasn’t even been a day since he filmed his last scene in the original Spider-Man film. Green Goblin is not just the bets main villain from the Holland Spider-Man movies. He is one of the best villains to appear in any comic book movie.