In 2012, Sony Pictures launched a series of live-action Spider-Man movies under the title The Amazing Spider-Man. The short-lived series – which ran between 2012 and 2014 – covered two films, The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014).
Across the course of the two films, the series introduced a number of villains. Some became a key focus of the story, while others were merely background players, introduced for inclusion in future movies (which never materialised).
But who are the villains of The Amazing Spider-Man films?
The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
Dr. Curt Connors/The Lizard – Rhys Ifans
“Poor Peter Parker. No father. No mother. No uncle. You’re all alone.”
The primary villain of The Amazing Spider-Man is Dr. Curtis Connors – a scientist at Oscorp who is working on research involving cross-species genetics. Connors’ research has the potential to help amputees regrow lost limbs – something that he himself would benefit from, having previously lost his right arm.
Upon piecing together a potentially successful formula – with the help of Peter Parker – Connors experiments on himself. But while the experiment gives Connors a new arm, it also transforms him into The Lizard – a deranged, humanoid reptile.
Convenience store thief – Leif Gantvoort
The second core villain, yet perhaps the most important one on this list, is an unnamed thief who appears in the first half of The Amazing Spider-Man. This thief is arguably the most important villain on this list as he leads Peter Parker down a path towards being a hero.
The unnamed man robs a convenience store in front of Peter Parker. Parker has the opportunity to stop him, but chooses not to – even though he is powerful enough to do so.
Due to Peter’s inactions, the thief runs away from the store and straight into the path of Peter’s uncle, Ben Parker. The thief shoots and kills Uncle Ben, turning Peter’s world upside down in the process.
Gustav Fiers/The Gentleman – Michael Massee
A third villain appears in The Amazing Spider-Man in the shape of a mysterious figure who pops up during a post-credit scene. Although he is credited as ‘Man in the Shadows’, this figure is Gustav Fiers, aka The Gentleman.
The Gentleman only appears briefly in the movie, in order to establish his presence as a background player in The Amazing Spider-Man movie series.
In addition to the above, Norman Osborn (known in the comics as Spidey’s arch enemy the Green Goblin) is mentioned in The Amazing Spider-Man. However, the character does not have a physical presence in this movie.
And now onto The Amazing Spider-Man 2…
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)
Max Dillon/Electro – Jamie Foxx
“Don’t you know? I’m Electro!”
Max Dillon is an Oscorp employee, with a very low opinion of himself. Max thinks he is a nobody, until Spider-Man saves his life and he suddenly sees value in his existence.
This act leads Dillon to believe he and Spider-Man are best friends, and he obsesses over the wall-crawler. But this obsession takes a sinister turn when Dillon acquires electric-based abilities in an accident, and he takes a path towards becoming a supervillain.
Norman Osborn – Chris Cooper
“This is not how I imagined I would die. Looking at my son and seeing a stranger.”
Norman Osborn appears briefly in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, as the bed ridden owner of Oscorp. Osborn is dying from a degenerative disease called retroviral hypodysplasia – which has caused him to mutate and eventually leads to his death.
Harry Osborn/Green Goblin – Dane DeHaan
Harry Osborn is a childhood friend of Peter Parker, but the pair drift apart when Harry is sent away to boarding school. When his father becomes ill, Harry returns to New York to take over Oscorp.
Suffering from retroviral hypodysplasia – the same condition that kills his father – Harry searches for a cure, which he believes can be found in Spider-Man’s blood. But when Spider-Man refuses to help him, Harry injects himself with an experimental formula, which transforms him into a goblin-like creature.
Gustav Fiers/The Gentleman – Michael Massee
The shadowy figure known as The Gentleman reappears in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. He is once again depicted as a background player, only this time it is clear he is working for Harry Osborn.
The Gentleman – namechecked as Mr. Fiers in the movie – is building a team of supervillains, which will potentially include the Vulture and Doctor Octopus. His first recruit/test subject, is The Rhino.
Aleksei Sytsevich/Rhino – Paul Giamatti
Aleksei Sytsevich is a Russian mobster, who is introduced towards the beginning of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, during a dramatic police chase. Sytsevich has stolen a truck filled with plutonium and Spider-Man and a squad of police cars are on his trail.
Spider-Man catches Sytsevich – humiliating him in the process – and this leads to the character’s incarceration in the prison known as The Vault. But Sytsevich breaks out of the prison, with help from The Gentleman, and is given a battle suit which turns him into The Rhino.
Alistair Smythe – B.J. Novak
Alistair Smythe appears as an employee of Oscorp. He bosses Max Dillon around and views him as nothing more than an underling.
Fans of the comics will know Smythe for his connection to the Spidey-hunting robots called the Spider Slayers. However, this is not something which is mentioned in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Smythe merely appears in the movie as a background character.
Additional Spider-Man villains
In addition to the above villains, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 teases a couple of classic Spider-Man adversaries. These villains include Doctor Octopus and the Vulture, who are part of Oscorp’s secretive ‘Special Projects’ department.
There are only two entries in The Amazing Spider-Man series, yet across the two films a significant number of villains are introduced into the Spider-Man movie mythology. Some of these villains are used as primary characters, while others are being lined up for an appearance in the aborted The Amazing Spider-Man 3.
The Amazing Spider-Man 3 never came to pass, but should you wish to know more about the proposed project then take a look through my post: ‘What happened to The Amazing Spider-Man 3?’ This post will tell you what was planned for the film and why it was cancelled.
As for the villains of The Amazing Spider-Man, who is your favourite? Is The Lizard the best villain of the series, or do you think Electro is the highlight of the films? Perhaps you wanted to see more from The Gentleman? Whatever your thoughts, please sound off in the comments section.