Behind every great superhero, there is a great villain. Or, at least, there should be.
Luckily for us, the Spider-Man movies have them in abundance. Fans of the original comics, live-action films and numerous animated spin-offs will be aware there's no end of potential bad guys for the web-slinger to do battle with. And arguably the most infamous of these nemeses is Venom. When an alien symbiote binds itself to journalist Eddie Brock, the ensuing monster Venom emerges as the very antithesis of Spider-Man, and an anti-hero so popular, it was decided he would be the central attraction in Sony's first Spidey spin-off film.
Released this October, Venom marks the inauguration of a brand new Sony-owned movie universe, one separate from the Disney-owned Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) that's been building for a decade, and which now features Tom Holland as Spidey. Of course, this isn't the first time we've seen Venom doing his thing on the big screen: the third instalment of Sam Raimi's Spider-Man series, released in 2007, gave us an insight into the enigmatic super-villain, as played by Topher Grace.
However, 2018's Venom, starring Tom Hardy, will almost certainly dig a little deeper and give us the titular antagonist in all his grinning glory, pitting him against insane industrialist Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed), who transforms into the feared Riot.
While we wait eagerly for Venom to be unleashed onto cinema screens on 5th October, here are five other Spider-Man villains we'd love to see get the silver screen treatment...
A long-time adversary of our adolescent web-slinger Peter Parker, MacDonald "Mac" Gargan - a.k.a Scorpion – began life in the comics as a private investigator.
He's hired by Daily Bugle Editor-in-Chief J. Jonah Jameson to find out just how Parker is able to obtain such impressive photos of Spider-Man. However, as a result of unregulated molecular testing, Gargan is endowed with the characteristics of the predatory Arthropod and fitted with a suit and mechanical tail.
Gargan's fleeting cameo appearance in Spider-Man: Homecoming – he's spotted aboard the Staten Island Ferry and bearing a very distinctive neck tattoo in a post-credit scene with Michael Keaton's Vulture – may well hint at plans to include Scorpion in later franchise instalments. He also plays a critical role in the acclaimed new PS4 Spider-Man game, which you can check out below.
Born a Soviet citizen named Dmitri Smerdyakov, before later taking up his villainous alias upon emigrating to the US, the Chameleon is one of the oldest characters in the Spider-Man comics (making his first appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man's very first issue way back in 1963).
Known for his brilliant shapeshifting abilities, the Chameleon offers up rather interesting parallels between himself and Peter Parker, which would certainly cook up intriguing narrative avenues and some inventive visual set-pieces should he ever get the chance to grace the cinema screen.
3. Adriana Soria
A.k.a the Spider Queen – a former WWII US marine who was subject to harmful radiation from nuclear weapons testing – Adriana Soria has woven webs of havoc aplenty for both Spider-Man and Captain America in her time.
Graced with the ability to take control of anyone with the 'insect gene', Spider Queen also utilises acrobatic agility, super-strength and telekinesis to overpower and crush her foes. However, she is perhaps most fearsome in her ability to transform into a monstrous spider-like creature. (Sorry, arachnophobes!)
Given the lack of female villains on the big screen in Marvel outings so far – we count Hela Ayesha, and Nebula, thus far (although there have been numerous in the various Marvel television series) – perhaps Sony's movie universe can finally pave the way for such portrayals.
4. Morbius, the Living Vampire
If rumour is anything to go by, then Morbius – an award-winning biochemist imbued with vampiric superhuman abilities – has already been pencilled in as a future addition to Sony's universe, to be played by Jared Leto.
Much like Venom, Morbius occupies the space between super-villain and tragically flawed antihero. And, much like another Marvel favourite, who happens to be green and have the most elastic trousers known to man, he embodies the conflicted personas of classic Gothic literature – namely, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.
As a man caught in the crossfire of an inner-war between the scientist who desperately wishes to cure his condition, and the twilight monster with a serious lust for human blood, Morbius makes for a fascinating character study. Given Leto's track record of impressive method acting, especially with his portrayal of the Joker in DC's Suicide Squad, we can't wait to see his performance.
And appearing very soon...
It had been rumoured that long-time Raimi collaborator, evil dead slayer and all-round great guy Bruce Campbell was set to play Quentin Blake – the special effects wizard and expert illusionist who becomes master criminal Mysterio. Campbell was due to take on the role in the fourth instalment of Raimi's Spider-Man series, although that sadly never came to fruition.
Nevertheless, news has emerged that Mysterio will make his big screen debut in next year's Spider-Man: Homecoming sequel, Far From Home – played by a certain Oscar nominee named Jake Gyllenhaal. We'll see him face down Tom Holland's Spider-Man when the film is released in July 2019.
Intriguingly, in the comics, Mysterio is a member of the Sinister Six super-villain's collective who pose a serious headache for Spider-Man. There was an attempt to kick-start this mythology in 2014's The Amazing Spider-Man 2, with a closing cameo from Paul Giamatti's Rhino that ultimately went nowhere thanks to the movie's poor box office performance.
Can we expect the Six to finally make their big screen debut in the not-too-distant future?
George Nash is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.