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The Best Character From Every Movie So Far (That Isn’t Peter Parker)

Since his appearance in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man in 2002, the web-slinger has been one of cinema’s most popular superheroes, with several iterations of the character being brought to life over the years since, each with their own merit.

RELATED: 10 Marvel Comics Characters Who Could Join Sony’s Marvel Universe

Most of these Spider-Man movies feature Peter Parker in the lead role, and as the protagonist, he can easily steal the show. But the films are often rounded out with other characters who’ve proved themselves to be just as magnetic as Spidey himself.

Updated on April 18th, 2022 by Stacie Rook: Spider-Man: No Way Home gave fans the chance to see some of the very best characters from past Spidey movies on-screen once more, brought together by the chaos of the multiverse. Heroes and villains alike returned for a story with the magnitude of a comic book event, showing that the success of Spider-Man films is often found in their wider cast.

Spider-Man (2002) – Norman Osborn

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Willem Dafoe as Norman Osborn/the Green Goblin lectures Tobey Maguire as Spider-Man / Peter Parker on the New York rooftop Sam Raimi 2002 Marvel

For the first Spider-Man movie, Sony knew they needed a brilliant villain, so they chose an antagonist often considered Spider-Man’s ultimate nemesis, the Green Goblin. While this version has a costume different from the comic book character, with less purple and a more metallic look, he’s just as evil as in the source material.

Willem Dafoe gives a magnificent performance as the Goblin, making life difficult for Peter and the citizens of New York City alike. He clocks up quite the body count, murdering board members of Oscorp and coming precariously close to killing both Aunt May and Mary Jane Watson.

Spider-Man 2 (2004) – Otto Octavius

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Alfred Molina as Otto Octavius in Spider-Man 2

Arguably the best villain in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, Doc Ock faced off against Peter Parker in Spider-Man 2 . Even in a day and age where superhero movies release with increasing regularity, Spider-Man 2 ranks up there with the best the genre has to offer, thanks in no small part to the performance of Alfred Molina as Otto Octavius, who turns bad following a science experiment goes wrong.

Octavius is a formidable opponent for Peter, matching him not only in brawn but in brains too. Spider-Man only ends up triumphant when Octavius sees the error of his ways and eventually decides to abandon his experiment to destroy New York.

Spider-Man 3 (2007) – Harry Osborn

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Harry Osborn in Spider-Man 3

Although Flint Marko is a strong bad guy in Spider-Man 3, James Franco’s performance as Harry Osborn pulls the spotlight. Peter’s best friend is full of conflicting emotions as he hunts down Spidey on the orders of his late father ⁠— who had revealed the truth about his Green Goblin past at the end of the previous film.

RELATED: 10 Best Spider-Man Costumes From Marvel Comics

His costume may not have been the best, but Harry is a source of the movie’s more emotional moments. He proves this when he fights Peter in his house, initially refuses to help save Mary Jane from other villains, and ultimately when he dies after trying to and save the day.

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) – Gwen Stacy

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Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy

A common complaint with regards to the Raimi trilogy centers around Mary Jane Watson. While Kirsten Dunst’s performance as MJ is great, the script often portrays her only as a damsel in distress who relies on Spider-Man to save her in all three movies.

This was remedied when Sony rebooted Spidey with The Amazing Spider-Man, Emma Stone was cast as Gwen Stacy, and unlike Mary Jane, she has a more active role in the story. Gwen works with Peter to stop Doctor Curt Connors from turning the people of New York into giant lizards and has far more of her own ambitions. Unfortunately, these steps forward were undermined given Gwen’s fate in the movie’s sequel.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014) – Electro

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Electro in The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Max Dillon is a quiet, law-abiding citizen in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 ⁠— until there’s an accident at Oscorp. He then becomes electrically charged and when Spider-Man makes a mockery of him during an epic showdown in Times Square, he decides to get his revenge on everybody who’d previously wronged him.

Jamie Foxx’s character is a difficult villain for Peter to beat, paying homage to Electro’s most powerful variants in Marvel Comics, and he plays a key role in Harry Osborn becoming the Green Goblin, a moment which has devastating consequences later in the movie.

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) – Ned

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Ned Leeds in Spider-Man Homecoming

Spider-Man is able to save the day in Spider-Man: Homecoming, preventing Vulture from stealing a significant amount of Tony Stark’s tech and winning the faith of his mentor in the process. However, Peter’s victory wouldn’t have been possible without some help from Ned Leeds, who acts as a perfect partner in crime.

RELATED: Every Spider-Man Appearance In The MCU, Ranked

Ned is a confidant, keeping Peter’s secret when he finds out about his heroic alter ego, and approaching his task of being the “guy in the chair” with excitement and enthusiasm. He works well with Spider-Man over the course of the movie and is even able to stop Shocker during their battle on prom night.

Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse (2018) – Miles Morales

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Miles Morales in Into The Spider-Verse.

Peter Parker isn’t the main protagonist of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, though versions of the character do appear. In this movie, it’s Miles Morales who takes center stage. Spider-Verse sees the first-ever portrayal of Miles on the big screen, and it spectacularly brings the character to life.

Audiences feel genuine sympathy towards Miles, who struggles with his new powers and the responsibility they bring as he also tries to win over his police officer father. Therefore, when Miles downs villain Wilson Fisk at the end of the movie, it’s beyond satisfying to behold. Fortunately, Miles will appear again in a 2022 Sony Pictures release to look forward to, a two-part sequel kicking off with Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Part One), set for release on October 7.

Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) – Mysterio

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Mysterio in Spider-Man Far From Home

When Quentin Beck first appears in Spider-Man: Far From Home he’s a fantastically believable good guy, appearing serious when he talks about the existence of the multiverse and the plight of his home planet.

After the reveal comes that he’s actually eager to exploit Peter by acquiring E.D.I.T.H, one of Tony Stark’s super-powerful A.I. with access to many of his weapons, the story takes a new turn, ultimately leading to an epic final battle between the two, which is full of Beck’s incredibly advanced illusions.

Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021) – Aunt May

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Aunt May being questioned by police in Spider-Man No Way Home.

Though there are three versions of Peter Parker in Spider-Man: No Way Homenot to mention a plethora of past Spidey villains, Aunt May arguably has the most vital role in the movie.

Although Spider-Man’s origin story in the MCU hasn’t been explored, Aunt May’s death in No Way Home acts as a propellant in a similar way that Uncle Ben’s story does in many past adaptations of Peter’s story. The MCU’s May gives Peter much of his moral framework, as she shares the iconic line about power and responsibility with him.

NEXT: 10 Best Spider-Man Comics Characters Not In The MCU


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