"Venom" finally hits theaters this week, and this Spider-Man spinoff will answer one important question: Are superhero fans willing to turn out for movies that focus on the villains of the Marvel Universe for a change?
We hope so, because there are plenty of Marvel villains who deserve the spotlight after Eddie Brock. Here are our top candidates.
Doctor Doom is widely revered as one of the greatest villains in all of superhero comics, yet he's never really been given his due on the big screen. That's putting it politely.
Rather than waste time with another Fantastic Four origin movie, we want to see the proud ruler of Latveria succeed on his own term for a change. "Fargo" showrunner Noah Hawley is reportedly developing a Doom solo movie, but with Disney buying Fox, we're afraid that project may be falling through the cracks.
The Thor movies have done a pretty respectable job of cycling through the god of thunder’s rogues gallery, even if that means some of them don’t quite get the attention they deserve (*cough* Surtur *cough*). At this point, the biggest villain yet to be given her due is The Enchantress, a powerful sorceress with an unhealthy obsession with Thor.
We think that unrequited love would make for a great starting point as the movie explores what it’s like to be an Asgardian outcast. And if the movie serves as an excuse to bring back Karl Urban’s Skurge, so much the better.
Kang the Conqueror
Few villains have tormented the Avengers as regularly or as viciously as Kang. This futuristic tyrant has mastered the art of time travel and used it to make himself master of the world in various timelines.
The time travel element could result in a really entertaining, mind-bending storyline. And there’s no need to really bring the Avengers into the picture. Because Kang has taken many forms and many identities in his unnaturally long life, he can serve as his own worst enemy. Pit idealistic teen hero Iron Lad against the tyrannical Kang and you’ve got yourself a Marvel movie.
For as many X-Men movies as Fox has churned out over the last two decades, they haven't made much use of the franchise's key villains outside of Magneto and a handful of others. Sabretooth is an especially painful case, as Fox completely squandered the opportunity to flesh out Wolverine's #1 rival in "X-Men Origins: Wolverine." This time, we want to see a solo Sabretooth movie that really gets into the back-story of how Victor Creed turned into such a remorseless killer.
Sure, Wilson Fisk has been getting plenty of screen time on "Marvel's Daredevil," with the villain set to play another major role in the upcoming third season. But even with all that exposure, we still want to see more of old Willy.
A feature film would allow Marvel to shine a spotlight on the struggles of establishing a criminal empire in the Marvel Universe. We say keep Vincent D'Onofrio in the lead role, but this time pit him against Tom Holland's Spider-Man instead of Charlie Cox's Daredevil for a change.
As far as Spider-Man movie villains go, none can rival Alfred Molina’s Doctor Octopus in “Spider-Man 2.” That’s a tough act to follow, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty more that can be accomplished with the character.
As “Spider-Man 2” showed us, he’s a compelling and sympathetic character regardless of his connection to Spider-Man. There’s even potential in an adaptation of the series “Superior Spider-Man,” wherein a dying Otto Octavius hijacks Peter Parker’s body and tries to prove himself a more capable hero. If Sony wants to do a Doc Ock movie set outside the MCU, that might be the direction to go.
Marvel has clearly given up on trying to do solo Hulk movies. We don’t necessarily blame them, but it would be a shame if Hulk was doomed to forever be a supporting player in other character’s movies. Why not shake things up and make a movie about Maestro instead?
Maestro is an evil version of Hulk from an alternate future, one who’s much stronger and much smarter than his heroic counterpart. We’d love a good post-apocalyptic movie where a bearded Hulk lords over the ruins of a once shining Marvel Universe. Bring some "Mad Max" into the MCU.
We know what you’re thinking. Isn’t Magneto the one X-Men villain who’s been treated right by Fox’s movies? Yes, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve more time in the spotlight. At one point, Fox was planning a Magneto origin movie (before “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” swiftly killed that series).
As it is, X-Men: First Class” is at its best early on, when the focus is on the relationship between Magneto and Charles Xavier and the former’s slow evolution from tortured Holocaust survivor to supervillain. Make that the focal point of a movie and use it to introduce a brand-new Magneto into the MCU.
The Marvel Universe is crammed full of elite, super-powered assassins, but none are deadlier or more entertaining than Taskmaster. This flamboyantly dressed villain has the power of photographic reflexes. He can mimic the fighting style of any person he watches, allowing him to throw a shield like Captain America or slice up ninja goons like Wolverine. The drawback to that is that his memories are constantly fading to make room for all that new data.
That dilemma is the perfect launching point for a Taskmaster movie. Tasky would be great as the antagonist in a "Deadpool" sequel, but we’d just as soon see him as the protagonist instead.
To date, the X-Men franchise has given us two wildly different takes on Emma Frost, one abysmal and one kinda okay. Maybe the third time will be the charm? There’s a huge amount of untapped potential with this character. In the comics, she’s hard to pin down as either hero or villain, as she’s both opposed the X-Men as a member of the Hellfire Club and joined the X-Men for extended periods.
On the surface, she likes to project an aura of calm, detached authority, but there are real flaws beneath her diamond exterior. Flaws that would make for a very compelling X-Men spinoff.
Kraven the Hunter
Kraven is pretty low on the totem pole when it comes to powerful Spider-Man villains, yet he’s come closer than almost any of them to actually killing the wallcrawler. One of the most accomplished hunters in the world, Sergei Kravinoff devoted himself to taking down the ultimate superhuman prey.
We’d love to see a movie that adapts “Kraven’s Last Hunt,” a seminal story where a dying Kraven buries Spidey alive and becomes Spider-Man himself. That’s one way to justify a Spider-Man spinoff without having Spidey in it.
The good news is that a Kraven movie is one of several in the pipeline at Sony, so it could happen in the next few years.