When superhero franchises announce sequels years in advance, fanboys and fangirls will often rush to the myriad of fan forums across the web to extoll the virtues of their favourite or preferred villain (or villains), trying in a vain hope that their choices will somehow make it into the collective consciousness of the film-makers.
When that franchise is Spider-Man, with his extensive rogues gallery, then the debate over which of the vast list of foes should be the next to face off against the webbed one on the silver screen become as wide and varied as ever. It’s often the case that because of popularity in the comics, many fans believe that a particular villain should make the transition to the big screen, citing reasons for why their choices should be the next big threat.
This list, however, illustrates a number of Spidey foes who, whilst they may indeed have a modicum of gravitas in print, they’d just become unworkable, or laughable on celluloid.
Within the pages of Spider-Man comic books, Cletus Kasady with an alien symbiote costume works. Carnage is free to commit…..well, carnage! There are no limits. His name says it all. In theory, he would definitely be a draw as a villain for a Spider-Man film.
You’d think he has the gravitas to bring people through the door and be a credible threat for Spider-Man, but I draw your attention to Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3, specifically Venom. The character was dealt with hideously in Spider-Man 3, pretty much forced onto Raimi by Avi Arad’s insistence that he be included because “It’s what the fans want to see.” What people got in that film was a lukewarm, tame representation of Venom, completely devoid of the threat that fans had seen the character rise to since his creation by Todd McFarlane. Movie-goers need to feel that the antagonist in a movie is a serious threat to the hero…and be honest who’s ever felt threatened by Topher Grace?
By contrast, within the comics, Carnage is a grade A psychopath, a stone cold murderer, and what’s more he really enjoys his work.
Even before bonding with the symbiote, Cletus Kasady was an incarcerated serial-killer. The creation of David Michelinie as a darker version of Venom. It’s hard to see how any director could make Carnage work. Not after studio interference contributed towards Spider-Man 3 getting Venom so badly wrong, and after Andrew Garfield has recently been on record inferring that the same studio interference was evident in the final cut of Amazing Spider-Man 2. Could you really see Sony not altering the essence of Carnage?
Not to mention you’d never get the film classification board to sign off any film as a PG-13, with Carnage done to justice.
Much like Venom I see no point in having a character on screen if you’re not at least going to adequately represent his comic book counter-part. Any Spider-Man movie with Carnage would be a pale watered down version and what’s the point of that?
Although……does anyone know what Topher Grace is doing now?
Back in December 1978 readers got their first look at a new Spider-Villain within the pages of Peter Parker The Spectacular Spider-Man #25…….Carrion.
The creation of writing team Bill Mantlo and Jim Shooter, Carrion was a zombie looking creature hell bent on destroying Spider-Man. He also seemed to have knowledge of who Spider-Man was beneath the mask.
The original Carrion was revealed to be a decaying clone of Professor Miles Warren who blamed Peter Parker for the deaths of both Gwen Stacy and the original Miles Warren. During the cloning process, the ‘Warren’ clone endured accelerated aging which rendered him resembling a living corpse with the abilities to cause any organic matter he touched with his bare flesh to wither rot and die.
Now, written on the page he seems a credible option for a future Spider-Man film, albeit a slightly darker and edgier movie than was seen in Amazing Spider-Man 2. In fact, in terms of narrative and moving the story forward, Carrion would seem ideal for say, Amazing Spider-Man 4. The main issue, however, would be how to introduce a villain that was essentially born out of the original Clone Saga from Amazing Spider-Man #139 – #150.
Even adapting his origin would be too convienient, as at no point has any reference been made to Professor Warren within the film franchise, and to do so now would make the character feel contrived. They’d also have to give Carrion a credible reason for wanting to destroy Spider-Man outside of revenge, not to mention explain how Warren knows Spider-Man’s identity.
I feel there’s just too much confusion to the casual movie-goer as to the motivations of such as character as Carrion. Additionally, is the general audience going to buy into a clone of a middle aged university professor being that wracked with grief over the death of one of his students? Even if the character was adapted so that Miles Warren became Carrion as result of a failed experiment or accident, then die-hard fanboys will be up in arms over the fact that Warren begins his decent into villainy as “The Jackal” and he’s another who should never be portrayed on film. Not unless Sony want their films to resemble a bad comic-book plot.
No, Carrion just doesn’t seem to be a viable or credible villain based on lack of audience knowledge, hokey revenge reasons and corny costume. Carrion should just carry on in the pages of comics and fan-fics.
During research for this article, I have come across some wild and wacky suggestions by fanboys as to which of Spider-Man’s villains would make a suitable antagonist to the hero on the silver screen. Not many have been wackier than the inclusion of Morris Bench to the Spider-Man Cinematic Universe.
Hydro-Man just about works in the comic book. Although hardly an iconic villain, he does pose an interesting threat to Spider-Man. After all how do you beat a character with telekinetic control over water? Or even the ability to transform his entire molecular structure to a watery liquid? But I can’t see how Hydro-Man could carry a film as the main villain, not just carrying a threat in a film. I don’t think he’d capture the audience attention. Even in his appearances in the 90s animated series Hydro-Man was a C-list character with a passable story arc. Yet the fact he’s a character on the Universal Studios Spider-Man ride, appeared in the Spectacular Spider-Man cartoon and the aforementioned 90s animated series, would suggest that there is some gravitas to the character.
Additionally, to see that there has been discussion on some forums around the Internet, even going as far to suggest actors such as Chris Carmack could make an accurate portrayal of Morris Bench, would suggest that some fans at least have given the idea some serious thought
Chris Carmack Morris Bench
The fact is, Hydro-Man just doesn’t fit or work as a realistic option in my view to ever appear to the silver screen. Yes, the character would make a visually stunning spectacle, but is that really any reason to place him in a movie? Not in my view. If only for the reasons that he lacks the heavyweight appeal, and is too similar to ‘Sandman’ (and look how that turned out). One of Spider-Man’s most deadly foes reduced to a maudlin mopey miserable character who Spider-Man forgave and let get away. Because he wasn’t a bad person, he’d just done bad things.
The universe that Sony are attempting to build has no room for characters such as Hydro-Man not if they’re in any way remotely serious about the Spider-Man franchise
Another fan favourite, and we’re not just talking about size here. Lonnie ‘Tombstone’ Lincoln is another name that has been touted in some forums across the web as a man who deserves to have representation on screen. Pointing to the threat and problems he’s caused Spider-Man in the comics. This again is really not justification to include what essentially is a C-list, or even D-list, character into the Spider-Man Cinematic Universe.
The reasons cited for inclusion are…..well, he’s insane. Yep I’ll give you that. Lonnie Lincoln, after all, is a man who specifically filed his teeth into sharp points to appear more intimidating, as if being a 6.6’ft African American albino wasn’t intimidating enough. So he’s insane. So’s Cletus Kasady, and he shouldn’t be in a movie either.
Other arguments I’ve seen around refer to Sony’s viral campaign, in which they hinted at a wider world. Some fans stating that references to New York’s underworld include organised crime rings, that there’s been subtle hints towards characters like Tombstone and Hammerhead, so why not include them.
The way I see these virals is they’re there to pay lip service to the fans to make subtle nods. They’re trying to give the impression of a wider cinematic universe. Just because “The Looter” gets a mention doesn’t mean he’s gonna be in a movie.
The main problem is, a lot of Tombstone’s back story revolves around Joe ‘Robbie’ Robertson, and as of yet the Amazing Spider-Man franchise hasn’t introduced any Bugle characters.
Secondly, I have an issue with how Tombstone gets his powers. It’s a little too ‘cartoony’, with the absorbing of mutagenic gasses into his blood stream, causing his skin to become hard as granite and enabling Tombstone to have super-strength.
Thirdly, Tombstone is a henchman. An enforcer for either The Kingpin or Silvermane. He’s not really seen in the books as a mob-boss in his own right, though he has previously made plays against bosses.
Gravitas-wise, he also suffers the fate of Hydro-Man. Whilst well-known by readers and fans of the comics, I fail to see where Tombstone is going to grab the general audience attention. I mean a two hour plus movie of Spidey meets ‘Goodfellas’ isn’t going to be a box office draw, is it?
A second entry on the list for Professor Miles Warren (AKA) ‘The Jackal’. Although this time it’s the original Miles Warren, a professor at Empire State University, who was driven mad with grief over the death of Gwen Stacy, whom he was infatuated with. He in turn held Spider-Man responsible for allowing the Green Goblin to murder her.
Regarded as one of the more deadly Spider-Villains, The Jackal’s prowess stems from being one of the few Spider-villains who prefer to fight Spider-Man on an intellectual battleground rather than in the physical sense. His brilliance as a biologist, and preference to use it for evil makes him a considerable threat, evidenced within the comics as the master-mind behind both Clone sagas. He is also a master at manipulation.
It’s argued and claimed that the Jackal would be a welcome addition to the cinematic universe that Sony are building from Spider-Man’s world. The problem is how to fit the Jackal into the story narrative that Marc Webb’s Amazing Spider-Man franchise is trying to tell.
From this point of view, he doesn’t seem to have a place in the current franchise. There’s been no mention of Warren in the previous films and his motivations as a consequence, lack gravitas or weight.
Even if they went down the clone route, it’s a storyline that is the cause of division among some Spider-Fans, and really, how confusing would any clone arc played out on the movie screen, be for the general and casual audience?
Then there’s the Jackal’s costume. It’s laughable. If you had problems with the Green ‘Power-Ranger’ Goblin from the Raimi trilogy, or the bad CGI for the Lizard, or the Transformer Rhino-bot in Amazing Spider-Man 1 & 2 respectively, then how do you really think a middle aged university professor is going to look?
No, for me it’s a case of The Jackal works in print really well, but on film he’s just be a bad joke. There’s just no room for Miles Warren’s story in the narrative. I mean, even if they had Warren as a biologist at Oscorp. How long until the audience gets bored with every villain in this franchise being connected to a corporation that should’ve been closed down after Amazing Spider-Man, if not Amazing Spider-Man 2.
Well, until next-time, kids. Let me know if you agree or disagree with those villains or reasons why not, sound off in the comments below and tell me why I’m wrong
Or you could always check out my blog The Man Who Collects Spider-Man or follow me on twitter @telfirth.
Stick a fork in me…..I’m done.
S#!T Talking Central