Spider-Man: Homecoming does an excellent job of introducing a handful of villains without all of them needing a ton of screen time. It’s an excellent way to bring in potential villains for the future or even for something like a Sinister Six appearance. There are a total of five noteworthy villains in the film and today we’re breaking them down for you.
[Editor’s Note: This article contains spoilers for Spider-Man: Homecoming.]
There’s no doubt that the Vulture, aka Adrian Toomes, is the main villain of this film. He dates all the way back to May 1963, with a first appearance in The Amazon Spider-Man #2, so there’s plenty of history between him and Spider-Man. While we’ve seen Spider-Man’s origin repeatedly, the movie instead gives us the Vulture’s. Michael Keaton plays the villain extraordinarily well. He’s not the only one to take on the mantle as the Vulture in the comics, but he’s certainly one of Spider-Man’s most formidable enemies. After losing his job, he stumbles across technology that can make him stronger in both the film and the comics. Naturally, he decides to turn to crime. He doesn’t have superpowers, but he uses a harness with wings to do his damage. One major difference this film brings, though, is his role as the father of Liz Allan-Toomes, who was previously just known as Liz Allan.
Tinkerer debuted in the same issue as the Vulture, so it’s fitting that they included him in this film, as portrayed by Michael Chernus,. While he’s never really emphasized as the Tinkerer, Phineas Mason is the man behind the weapons. He’s brilliant and always working on something. In the comics, it’s the same. He could easily work for the good guys, but chooses not to. He’s the go-to guy for the criminal underworld, but in the film, he’s solely used by Vulture and his gang. In the comics, he uses a radio shop as the front for his real work. While it would have been great to see that in the film, it’s just nice to see him make his cinematic debut. He’s a character who can easily make appearances in future films without needing to be the main villain.
Technically we get two Shockers in this film, but since the Vulture swiftly gets rid of the first, we’ll focus on the second one, Herman Schultz (Bokeem Woodbine). He’s another character who made his cinematic debut with Spider-Man: Homecoming. This character didn’t appear quite as early in the comics, making his debut in The Amazing Spider-Man #46 in 1967. Courtesy of the Tinkerer in the film, he only wields one gauntlet, also known as a vibro-smasher. In the comics, Shocker has two, but for the purpose of the character in the film, one is enough. What the gauntlet does is sends a blast of compressed air, which vibrates at a high and intense frequency. He can do a ton of damage, as seen when he punches a school bus. Despite the gauntlet giving him an insane amount of power, it’s fairly controlled in the film so as to not steal the spotlight completely from the Vulture, whom he’s employed by (another difference from the comics).
Donald Glover plays Aaron Davis, who has a nephew in Queens (oh hi, Miles Morales, i.e., Ultimate Spider-Man). The Aaron Davis incarnation of Prowler first appears in “Ultimate Marvel,” which is an imprint of comics that Marvel did back in 2000. Here, we just see him as a common street thug. He’s more of a stick-up guy who just wants to be sure his nephew is kept safe. Hobie Brown was the original Prowler from back in the late 60s, but the Aaron Davis one fits the present day timeline a bit better. Simply put, he’s a great way to introduce Miles Morales at some point down the line. Will we see Aaron Davis fully become the Prowler? I’m betting if they pursue the Miles Morales story, we will end up seeing just that.
Mac Gargan (Michael Mando) is one of quite a few people known as Scorpion in the Marvel comics. This iteration of Scorpion first appears in The Amazing Spider-Man #20, with Mac Gargan showing up as himself the issue prior. In the comics, he’s a private eye hired by J. Jonah Jameson to find out how Peter Parker gets great shots of Spider-Man. An experiment is run on him that turns him into the Scorpion and leaves him with some ill-will towards Spider-Man. In the film, he’s associated with the Vulture and in the credits scene, the two meet again in jail. That scene gives an indication that Scorpion wants to go after Spider-Man, but it’s unclear how he plans to do so. In Marvel Knights: Spider-Man #10, Mac winds up becoming Venom, which gives them another option for what could come next with his character. At one point in the comics, he even becomes Spider-Man. However, with Miles Morales seemingly in play now, it’s more likely they keep him as a villain.
The easiest way to check out the comics mentioned would be to check out Marvel Unlimited. With most of these villains appearing so early in the comics, with the exception of the more recent Aaron Davis as Prowler, there’s a lot to dig into with them. It’s exciting to see Marvel and Sony fit this many villains into one film without it feeling overdone or completely overwhelming. Who else is looking forward to seeing what they do with these characters next?