The release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is almost upon us and the anticipation is palpable for many.
One of the highlights for some, and concern for others, are Spidey’s rogue gallery of villains on full cinematic display. Electro, The Green Goblin and The Rhino are all showcased on the big screen in versions both spectacular, familiar and questionable to fans of the comics and the webhead in general. Let’s take a closer look at each of the villains promised to us on May 2nd, and how they differ from the film’s interpretation of these long-standing comic book creations.
Recently, Geek published an article on the villains of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, in which the filmmakers took a grittier and more grounded interpretation to each of Cap’s foes. Where Winter Soldier succeeded in the inclusion of such a myriad of villains, Marc Webb and his team have come up against criticism of what has come to be to known as ‘villain fatigue‘. We all remember Sam Raimi‘s Spider-Man 3 and it’s “Saturday morning cartoon” approach to Spider-Man’s adversaries.
Has Webb succeeded where Raimi, Schumacher and others have failed? You’ll have to see the film for yourself in order to catch all the hints of villains to come – and there are many – but you won’t catch such spoilers here.
With Jamie’s Foxx’s Electro, gone are the green and yellow spandex with the overbearing lighting bolt face-mask. The Electro of TASM2 is reminiscent of the “Ultimate” character design in which he was clad in leather and given a little less flash and more durability (with a little S&M thrown in for good measure).
Watching the film, viewers will be reminded of another comic-to-screen character, Dr. Manhattan from Watchmen. The blue florescent skin, and the ability to defy gravity and dissipate into pure electricity and materialize at will. This is an Electro based purely on visual effects and resembles the MTV version of Electro from the short-lived Spider-Man The New Animated Series as much as Dr. Manhattan.
Foxx brings great, if a little hammy, acting prowess to his early scenes as Max Dillion. Able to pinpoint what circuit breaker blows out in his apartment, the character is treated as a sympathetic schmo who just wants people to take an interest in him. The Electro of this film versus the comics bring all the destructive force needed for such a character and the leather clad, growling blue flare of Foxx will either win fans over immediately or have him tossed to the side with the likes of Thomas Hayden Church’s Sandman.
When seeing any promotional material – whether it be a theatrical trailer, stills, TV spot or web video - of Dane DeHaan’s Harry Osborn A.K.A. Green Goblin, flashes of James Franco decked out in burn make-up from Spider-Man 3 aren’t far off. Neither film series decided to take on the more organic rubber mask look of the Goblin from the comics. In the case of both Harry Osborn incarnations, the filmmakers went with an exo-suit more in line with a military bodyguard than a Halloween costume, complete with green skin and purple vest.
The film takes its time with the Harry character before suiting him up, but unfortunately this transition still feels a little forced and shabbily unmotivated. Though Harry takes on the role of the Goblin solo this time, an interesting turn of events with his father, Norman will entice any fan in the way it addresses the Goblin-like appearance of the comics.
Without saying too much, there’s a nice subtle nod to the green-skinned Goblin of the comics when Chris Cooper’s Norman Osborn is on screen. Afflicted with an incurable disease, his skin is ripe with a greenish hue leaving him looking sickly and his finger nails are unkempt resembling the likes of Howard Hughes via Goblin-like form. It was an intersting take on the comic book character coming to life on the big screen.
One side-note, keep an ear out for DeHaan’s cackling laugh as the Goblin. It left this fan impressed.
Marc Webb has gone on record stating that the Rhino would not occupy much screen time and I won’t say whether he does or not. In fact I’m going to sideline this whole discussion and say that Paul Giamatti outside of his Rhino Mech-suit is one of the most ridiculously hammy comic book performances you’re likely to see in a long time.
Giamatti set out to do the most over-the-top Russian accent he could while playing Aleksei Sytsevich (The Rhino) and he succeeded in doing exactly that. The clear difference between the film’s Rhino and the comics is in the suit. The Mech-suit keeps this film series in line with using militarized weapons obtained from Oscorp and not the more organic-looking animal costumes of the comics. The Rhino’s alter-ego, Aleksei Sytsevich as well as his background is in-line with the “Amazing” universe but instead of gaining superpowers or wearing a normal suit, he pilots a Rhino-themed exo-suit.
What’s to come for Spider-Man is yet to be determined, but we’re already privy to a Sinister Six film. Could any of these villains show up in the forthcoming The Amazing Spider-Man 3? Check out the film for yourselves, which releases on May 2nd.
Images: Sony Entertainment, Marvel Comics