17) The Superspider (Spider-Man/The Amazing Spider-Man)

Does this little bugger count? Of course. Maybe Peter doesn’t get bitten and misses out on sticky fingers – and all the included “responsibilities.” So much of the pain and turmoil that follows Peter is infinitely more than any high schooler should deal with (dead relatives, dead friends, dead everything). Generic teenage awkwardness doesn’t sound so bad, eh?

16) Ring Announcer (Spider-Man)

In Raimi’s Spider-Man movies, it’s not Peter Parker who chooses the name “Spider-Man.” Not even close. Before entering Bone Saw’s ring, Peter asks to be called “The Human Spider.” A gold-jacket-wearing, showy ring announcer mocks his choice and instead introduces “Spider-Man” (much to Peter’s dismay). Why so sad, web head? If anyone knows cool, it’s Bruce Campbell.

15) Flash Thompson (Spider-Man)

Wait, you DON’T remember Joe Manganiello’s face in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man? Go back. That past-his-expiration Abercrombie caveman is none other than True Blood/Magic Mike heartthrob Joe Manganiello. He trips Peter in a school bus, causes trouble on a class trip and then gets his ass handed to him once Peter discovers his true bully-bashing potential.

14) Dr. Curt Conners/The Lizard (The Amazing Spider-Man)

Raimi never unleashed “The Lizard” despite casting Dylan Baker as Dr. Curt Conners, but Webb wasted no time. Rhys Ifans plays an Oscorp scientist version of Conners who is missing an arm. His joint-research with Dr. Parker explores the possibility of cross-species genetics, which leads to their superspider discovery. He’s so close to solving the equation, but it’s Peter who fills in the blanks. Animal testing works (Fred!) – but human trials are a different story. Conners becomes “The Lizard” (think The Rock with CG scales), whose vision of utopia is a planet filled with “perfect” lizard-people like him. He tries to lizardize New York City, fails, and then saves Peter after regaining his sanity – but not before Captain Stacy is clawed to death.

13) Flint Marko/Sandman (Spider-Man 3)

Raimi loved picking villains who grasped both the dark and the light. Thomas Haden Church’s escaped convict may have killed Uncle Ben, but not on purpose. He just needed a few extra bucks for his sick daughter Penny. Now he’s a demolecularized Squand sculpture. Church is able to balance Sandman’s criminal ways with his moral conflicts – two sides to the man. He comes clean to Peter after Venom is dealt with because that’s the man Marko is. A father with no options and a beating heart.

12) Aleksei Sytsevich/Rhino (The Amazing Spider-Man 2)

We first meet Aleksei (played by Paul Giamatti) mid-plutonium robbery. It’s all metal music and thick Eastern European accents. Then he gets pantsed and rots away in jail – until Mr. Fiers makes him the “Rhino.” Aleksei jumps inside a mechanized rhinoceros rig and starts playing Titanfall in real life. The first of Harry’s Sinister Six (we can assume as much). Of course, we’ll never know, because that closing image of Spidey swinging a sewer grate at Rhino’s “head” is the last shot Webb ever posted.

11) Theater Usher (Spider-Man 2)

Remember those carjackers who derailed Peter’s broadway plans? Well, they only made him late. It’s an uppity usher played by Bruce Campbell who refuses to let Peter in after the show begins, to preserve theatrical illusions. “Shoelaces! Adjust tie!” he instructs. Followed by, “Oh, no one will be seated after the doors are closed.” Rude (ALTHOUGH YOU SHOULD ALWAYS BE ON TIME OR EARLY FOR SHOWS, MOVIES, ETC).

10) J. Jonah Jameson (Spider-Man 1, 2, 3)

First off, J.K. Simmons’ take on J. Jonah Jameson is the greatest comic book character ever adapted to screen. Hands down. Secondly, he’s a villain to Spider-Man. Over and over again he short-changes Peter for pictures of New York’s favorite hero, only to run headlines that promote Spidey as a villain. A “menace to society” who “coincidentally” happens to be at the scene of very crime. Jameson isn’t buying it, and abuses his media credentials. The same guy who’s one print away from running a front-page feature on food poisoning in NYC because the best picture he’s got is a piece of chicken. Then he’s swindled by a child in Spider-Man 3 after purchasing her camera. Karma, my good man.

9) Captain Stacy (The Amazing Spider-Man)

Denis Leary plays a stern, vigilante-hating Mr. Stacy in Webb’s series. He’s the reason police are hunting Spider-Man. He’s the one slandering a hero’s name (not Jameson like in Raimi’s films). Peter has a heated dinner conversation with Gwen’s father about how Spider-Man is just trying to help, but there’s no persuading – yet. Once “The Lizard” reaches peak beastmode, Captain Stacy lets Spider-Man save the day after realizing it’s Peter. Then he dies. Like most characters in Webb’s dark Spider-Man universe.

8) Emo Peter/Spider-Man (Spider-Man 3)

Before becoming Venom, Raimi’s symbiote latches onto Peter. He’s tougher, more confident (so many finger guns) and a total tool – but he feels gooooood while rocking that Pete Wentz combover. Too bad Peter becomes an “evil” version of himself who offends women, leaves Harry disfigured and smacks MJ. The jazz club scene is something that can only exist in Raimi’s world, which we should be grateful for – but is it too weird? Peter gliding across a dance floor on a wooden chair? Air-thrusting his way into franchise infamy?

7) Harry Osborn (Spider-Man 1, 2, 3)

James Franco’s lil’ Osborn benefits from processing his emotional instability over three films. At first he’s a friend, then an unknowing enemy to Peter. Harry copes with alcohol, as obsessions with Spider-Man eventually drive a wedge between himself and Peter. This leads to “New Goblin,” aka “Ninja Green Goblin,” who jets a hoverboard and hunts Spider-Man down – until helping him defeat the tandem of Sandman and Venom, ultimately giving his life to let Peter and MJ live happily ever after. Behind all the James Dean glances and squinty evil-eyes is a developed performance from Franco that navigates twisted, conflicted feelings. Substance evoked and fulfillment delivered.

6) Carjacker Who Killed Uncle Ben (Spider-Man)

Peter’s toxic ignorance and petty beefing leads to tragedy, since it’s the same robber he lets go who kills Uncle Ben (or so we assume, in Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2). Michael Papajohn’s thug flees the wrestling promoter’s office, leading cops on a New York City car chase. Peter catches up, and corners his devil. He begs Peter for sympathy, but trips and ultimately falls to his death. Peter is forever changed, haunted by selfish actions and unintended consequences. All because of a few thousand dollars.

5) Dr. Otto Octavius/Doc Ock (Spider-Man 2)

Alfred Molina’s esteemed scientist/Oscorp devotee features some of the best Spider-Man character work in any franchise. Maybe that’s because of Molina’s talents, or because Raimi ranges a full arc for his second film’s antagonist. Humanitarian intellectual, grieving widower, psychotic doomsdayer who wants to destroy, redemptive anti-hero – Doc Ock slings goofy zingers but is tormented at the same time. Such is one of the better supervillains in any cinematic universe. If only Webb took notice to how Raimi builds up to Doc Ock’s death and the power achieved, not just the death itself.

4) Bone Saw McGraw (Spider-Man)

In the annals of Spider-Man cinema history, there will always be a chapter dedicated to Bone Saw McGraw, played by the late WWF/WCW superstar Randy “Macho Man” Savage, who brought vein-popping intensity to even the smallest sentence. No mercy, as proven by the paralyzed contender wheeled out right before Peter is trapped in a cage with Bone Saw. From here it’s killer ring-banter like “HEY FREAK SHOW, YOU’RE GOING NOWHERE,” while his Bone-ettes (yes, his four verbally abusive cheerleaders are called Bone-ettes) toss weapons his way. He’s made a fool and Peter wins the match, but Bone Saw will always be remembered. Snap a Slim Jim in his honor tonight.

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

Willem Dafoe’s stranglehold on Norman Osborn and the Green Goblin will prove near-impossible to dethrone. He risks his life for a government contract, but instead of dying, invites a maniac voice into his head. It’s all psychobabble, pushing Norman closer and closer to the edge. That cackle, the lunatic grin, the “work is MURDER!” punnery. His haunting presence lingering as Harry battles with his own depression and sanity. Never to be forgotten. Always ceremoniously unhinged.

2) Studio Interference

Marc Webb’s Amazing Spider Man films weren’t for everyone, but axing the franchise at two films was more than a creative death-spike. So many arcs depended on a third and fourth film, which accounts for the minimal usage of someone like Norman Osborn or Rhino. Even crazier, reports confirmed that we’d not only be getting MJ’s introduction in Amazing Spider-Man 3 (Shailene Woodley). It’s a shame we’ll never get to realize Webb’s full vision, because Amazing Spider-Man and Amazing Spider-Man 2 are now just an incomplete reminders of what could have been – and one hell of a production trainwreck.

Spider-Man 2 Train

1) Spider-Man (All)

In any Spider-Man film, there’s no greater antagonistic force than Spider-Man himself. Every tear Peter sheds. Every relationship broken. It’s all because of Spider-Man. Without the hero antics, Peter would live a normal life. But with the burden of superhuman powers? Enemies flock to defeat NYC’s guardian arachnid.

Take a look at Raimi’s series. Peter not only instigates the death of Uncle Ben (inadvertently), but his on-and-off interactions with MJ cause both parties to break each other’s heart on repeat. Peter neglects, MJ gets jealous, Spider-Man kisses Gwen – there’s zero stability. Peter can’t fight his own feelings and keep MJ out of harm’s way, or avoid a complicated falling out-and-in with Harry. So much effort just to grasp the smallest modicum of normalcy. Forever cursed by protective fortitude.

Webb’s series is a much nastier beast, as Spider-Man’s notoriety gets multiple people killed. Uncle Ben. Captain Stacy. Gwen Stacy. Max Dillon. All the same tension exists between Peter and Gwen that Raimi established between Peter and MJ, but Andrew-Man is much worse at fighting it. It’s the second movie when they commit to one another, thus dooming Gwen to death by Goblin. Who knows what the suit would have done to Peter if Webb had another movie – one can only assume Aunt May was on the chopping block given previous trends.

With great power comes great responsibility…but was Peter ever better off?

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