12:52pm PT by Graeme McMillan
'Spider-Man: Homecoming': The Mystery of the Movie's Other Bad Guy
Tom Holland's Spider-Man isn't going to have an easy time of it in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
After mixing it up with fellow superheroes in Captain America: Civil War, the teen superhero will have to deal with not one, but two, supervillains in his first solo outing now that it's been revealed that Logan Marshall-Green is in talks to join Michael Keaton as the troublemakers in the 2017 release.
Keaton will play the primary wrongdoer in the second big screen reboot for Marvel's friendly neighborhood wall-crawler — long rumored to be the Vulture, although neither Marvel nor Sony has commented publicly on the subject — while Marshall-Green's character remains a mystery for now.
Given the likelihood that Homecoming is likely going to want to stay away from the previous incarnations of Spider-Man's cinematic career, it's safe to say that the villains who've appeared in earlier movies will remain on the shelf this time around — goodbye, then, to Marshall-Green playing the Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, Sandman, Venom, the Lizard, Rhino or Electro.
That doesn't exactly limit the possibilities of Marshall-Green's role, however; Spider-Man as a comic book property is renowned for the depth of its rogues gallery, rivaled only by DC's Batman franchise; in the first 25 issues of the original Amazing Spider-Man comic book series, 14 new villains were created, with a further nine following by the time the series reached its 50th issue, and new threats consistently appearing in the issues and years after. With that in mind, who could Marshall-Green be playing? Here are some possibilities.
Phineas Mason has the distinction of making his first appearance in the same issue as the Vulture — Amazing Spider-Man No. 2, back in 1963 — although the two debuted in different stories within the same issue. A technical genius with the aptitude to repair and improve almost any electrical device, he's ideally suited to be the villain behind the villain: He can create or fix the super-suits that give the more active bad guys their gimmick.
Pros: He's got the technical know-how that makes him an ideal henchman.
Cons: Could the behind-the-scenes aspect be too low-key for Marshall-Green?
The very first supervillain that Spider-Man fought way back in 1963's The Amazing Spider-Man No. 1, the Chameleon was originally "just" a Soviet spy and master of disguise, but he later became a literal man without a face after swallowing a serum that made his face permanently malleable, allowing him to assume any identity (within reason, obviously). A sociopath obsessed with ruining the life of Spider-Man, he makes for a great comic book villain, but perhaps too intense for a secondary threat in a movie?
Pros: A master of disguise sowing seeds of distrust and discontent could make for a great, manipulative threat.
Cons: A master of disguise pretty much means that Marshall-Green would have to spend the movie in disguise in order to be effective.
Kraven the Hunter
A former Russian aristocrat who hunts the world's deadliest game — Spider-Man — Kraven is a wonderfully cartoonish concept who has gone from a fun, if violent, threat who debuted in 1964's The Amazing Spider-Man No. 15 to something altogether more grim and disturbing in recent years. The turning point was the 1987 storyline "Kraven's Last Hunt," in which the villain believed that he had killed Spider-Man, taking his place as a violent defender of New York City before committing suicide because his life's work was over. Surprisingly, that wasn't the end of his story; he was later resurrected by his family using magic, only to then kill them for failing to live up to his legacy.
Pros: His gimmick is easily understandable and appealingly physical for a movie villain.
Cons: A villain like this really shouldn't be wasted in second position behind any other bad guy.
A fan-favorite villain often rumored to show up in the movies, Mysterio — real name Quentin Beck — has a Hollywood connection: he's a former stuntman and special effects wizard who decided to use his talents for personal gain, creating massive illusions for the purposes of getting rich and messing with Spider-Man's mind wherever possible. He first showed up in 1964's The Amazing Spider-Man No. 13 before going on to plague the web-slinging hero and many others — including Daredevil, in a storyline written by Kevin Smith — for years. Others have tried to take his place across the decades, but there's really only one master of illusion.
Pros: Just think of the onscreen pyrotechnics Mysterio would allow director Jon Watts to use!
Cons: Like Kraven, he runs the risk of overshadowing Michael Keaton's character.
Someone all new
It is, of course, possible that Marshall-Green will be playing a character who is original to the movie — something that might disappoint comic book purists, but remains true to the spirit of those first Stan Lee/Steve Ditko issues. While fans might worry that any new villain might not match up to the iconic comic book threats, it should be remembered that not all of those early bad guys were ideal themselves: Very few people are clamoring for the return of the Living Brain, the Looter or the Big Man and his Enforcers these days.