SPIDER-MAN: Ranking Peter Parker's Villains In The Marvel Cinematic Universe From Worst To Best

The Marvel Cinematic Universe's Peter Parker has faced a lot of sinister foes over the past few years, but how do they all compare? In this feature, we're ranking all those villains from worst to best...

Over the course of three movies set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Tom Holland's Peter Parker has faced some truly spectacular - and sinister - villains. Until those Variants were brought into this shared world, Marvel Studios made it a priority to use bad guys we hadn't seen on screen before, and they've all challenged this iconic superhero in new and exciting ways.

Spider-Man: No Way Home upped the ante by pitting the teenager against a quintet of baddies, and between that and Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man: Far From Home, it's been a challenging few years for poor Peter. Luckily, he's overcome the odds, but not without being pushed to his limits.

In this feature, we rank the main villains Spider-Man has faced in the MCU from worst to best. As you might expect, spoilers for each of his movies follow, so you'll want to read on at your own risk, especially if you haven't seen the recently released final instalment of the Sony/Marvel Studios trilogy.

To see who comes out on top of this sinister ranking, simply click on the "Next" button down below. 
 

8. Mac Gargan

As of right now, we're still struggling to figure out why Marvel bothered to include Mac Gargan in Spider-Man: Homecoming. After a blink and you'll miss it cameo during the Staten Ferry sequence, he returns in the mid-credits scene scarred, broken and anxious to get revenge on Spidey.

Nothing has happened since then, though, and we're hoping there's a chance he'll now be the villain (or at least one of them) in Spider-Man 4. We just hope Marvel Studios can find a way to make up for the fact that the private eye who found himself trapped within the Scorpion suit after a deal with J. Jonah Jameson went awry has been transformed into a generic criminal.

It now seems most likely that we'll see Scorpion used the same way as Crossbones in Captain America: Civil War or as a secondary villain, but the opportunity to do something special with him has not been lost (especially if he's paired up with the Venom symbiote like in the comics). 
 

7. Lizard & Sandman

Yes, we're lumping these two Spider-Man: No Way Home villains in together because, honestly, they made about the same impact in the threequel. Both were brought to life solely with visual effects (footage from previous movies was used to show them in their human forms), and neither had much of a story arc beyond being there to give the Spider-Men something to punch.

They served a purpose, though, and it was fun to see the MCU's Peter Parker interact with them. The Lizard basically still wanted to turn everyone into a lizard, while Sandman just wanted to get home. We appreciate there was only so much screentime to go around, but more could have been done.

As it stands, we definitely enjoyed what they both brought to the table in terms of the fight scenes, though the giant Sandman idea definitely feels played out now. When it comes to The Lizard, we're not sure why Marvel Studios didn't take this opportunity to re-design the character, because he looked every bit as bad as in 2012's The Amazing Spider-Man
 

6. Shocker

Herman Schultz has never been one of Spider-Man's greatest villains, so we can't complain too much about him being "wasted" here. Despite that, it's hard to escape the feeling that more could and should have been done to ensure that he made a bigger impact beyond the one fight scene with Spidey which sees him stopped by Ned Leeds and beaten with relative ease.

Ultimately, it may just boil down to Marvel needing a C-list villain for Spider-Man: Homecoming to be part of Toomes' operation and Shocker fit the bill. It is a shame that we never got the version promised by promo art, though, as that could have redeemed this Shocker somewhat. More could have definitely been done with the immensely talented Bokeem Woodbine, too.

It would be no bad thing for Spider-Man 4 to open with a rematch between Spidey and this villain, reminding us he's still out there while showing how much more experienced Peter has become.
 

5. Electro

Unlike The Lizard, Max Dillon did get a new look in Spider-Man: No Way Home and was treated as less of a comedy character. He still delivered some of the movie's funniest lines, but they were legitimately funny, and not just painful to watch play out on screen (which they were in The Amazing Spider-Man 2).

With an overhauled appearance and attitude, Electro made a much bigger impact and proved himself a credible threat to Spider-Man. His quest to become more powerful - whether it be through the MCU's unique energy or one of Tony Stark's old Arc Reactors - was a solid subplot in the threequel, and one that culminated with that tense scene in Happy Hogan's apartment. 

By the time we reached the Statue of Liberty, Electro was rocking a comic book accurate appearance and pushed Peter Parker to his limits. With any luck, Foxx will be given the chance to reprise this role because, in many ways, it feels like he was only just scratching the surface of what he can do with this villain.
 

4. Doctor Octopus

We may not have seen anything quite as iconic as that battle on top of the train in Spider-Man 2, but Peter Parker's freeway fight with Doctor Octopus in No Way Home was by no means a disappointment. With the benefit of today's technology, Doc Ock was able to show just how formidable he truly is, laying waste to the cars there in an effort to put the wall-crawler down and find his machine. 

Ultimately, the villain got the upper hand, and if it wasn't for that Iron Spider nanotechnology, he may well have put Peter down once and for all. From there, Alfred Molina frequently stole the show with some superb lines of dialogue, but obviously ended up regaining his senses around the midway point.

As a result, you might be wondering why this "good guy" ranks so highly on a list of villains. Well, while he may have ultimately proven himself an ally to Peter Parker, Doc Ock remains one of the greatest threats the wall-crawler has faced and we can't help but hope for a rematch somewhere down the line.
 

3. Vulture

It's a real shame The Vulture didn't factor into Spider-Man: No Way Home because he truly is one of the web-slinger's best villains. Not only did he deduce the hero's secret identity, but he took Peter Parker to the edge and came this close to ending his superhero career.

The design was drastically different to the comic books in some ways, but it was the best possible direction to take the villain in for his live-action debut. We just hope Morbius doesn't ruin him!

It's a shame there wasn't time to do more with The Vulture before Mysterio outed Spider-Man's secret identity to the world, but we certainly hope they cross paths again down the line. If their battle was a one-off, though, then we definitely can't fault the way things played out on screen. The way his supervillain origin story was tied to 2012's The Avengers was also pretty clever. 
 

2. Mysterio

Some might argue that Marvel Studios wasted too much time portraying Mysterio as a superhero before his villainous nature was revealed in Spider-Man: Far From Home. We all knew it was coming, but in fairness, it was necessary to set the stage for that jaw-dropping mid-credits scene and everything that followed in Spider-Man: No Way Home.

While he doesn't sit atop this list, Mysterio did something no one else here was able to: he beat Spider-Man. By revealing his secret identity and making him a wanted man, Beck left a lasting impression on the wall-crawler that will have an impact on his adventures even now the genie has been put back in the bottle. 

We remain convinced that the character survived, as his comic book counterpart had a habit of jumping between realities. Whether a return is in the works remains to be seen, but we need more of Jake Gyllenhaal's Mysterio in the MCU, especially if it leads to more epic illusion sequences. That remains one of the franchise's greatest battles. 
 

1. Green Goblin

We're going to forgive Marvel Studios for not giving us at least another scene or two with Willem Dafoe in his classic Green Goblin costume because the villain truly established himself as Peter Parker's most sinister foe here. Just like he'd once pushed the Spider-Man of his world to his limits, Norman Osborn destroyed the hero's life in No Way Home and killed his beloved Aunt May. 

The entire time, he was trying to teach the web-slinger his own twisted lesson, meaning it wasn't just May's death that earns him this spot. The sight of the Goblin laughing manically as Spidey relentlessly hits him won't soon be forgotten, and this Norman was downright terrifying. In the final battle, he very nearly succeeded in breaking the hero's spirit, but was thankfully overcome by Peter - with a little help from his new friends, of course.

Heading into this movie, many fans hoped the MCU would get its own Norman. After this clash, we think it's fair to say there's no longer any need because no one would be able to top Dafoe's work or the impact this Goblin had on Spider-Man's life.
 

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