5 Supervillains You Perhaps Didn't Know Were in the Movies

Hollywood's increasing output of superhero movies tends to generate the same kinds of discussions, consistently among them, "Who will be the villain?" Movie goers will recognize the names as well as the comic book fans - the Joker, the Green Goblin, the Red Skull, Bullseye... What many movie goers will not know however is that there are far more supervillains on the big screen than they think! These might be references "for the fans", or characters being groomed to show up later in the franchise, and might even escape the attention of actual comic book readers. Here then are five such characters and their shots at the big time...

The Lizard (Spider-Man 2 & 3)Following a mention in the first Spider-Man film, Peter Parker's one-armed teacher, Dr. Curt Connors, would make appearances in both sequels (played by Dylan Baker). In the comics, Dr. Connors created a regenerative agent that regrew his arm but turned him into the animalistic Lizard. This is his last chance to show up on this list because he's set to be the main antagonist in the Spider-Man reboot film in 2012, this time played by Welsh actor Rhys Ifans (Spike in Notting Hill). That's some pretty crazy casting...

Mr. Zsasz (Batman Begins)
The criminal being tried by Rachel Dawes and who later escapes during the Arkham break-out to threaten her (played by Tim Booth) is very much from the comics. In the film, he "butchers people for the mob". In the comics, Victor Zsasz is a serial killer than murders entire families and leaves them in lifelike poses. He marks each kill with a cut on his body. You'd think a non-costumed character like that would be a one-off, but he captured the readership's imagination and has made frequent appearances since.

The Floronic Man (Batman and Robin)
The scientist played by John Glover who gives Bane and Poison Ivy their powers in the terrible, terrible Batman&Robin, Jason Woodrue, started out life as a plant-inspired criminal in the pages of The Atom way back in 1962. In the 70s, he used a serum to mutate himself into a plant man during which time he faced the Flash and Green Lantern. He would later turn up in Alan Moore's Swamp Thing and even become a hero (as "Floro") as a member of the New Guardians. He fell off the wagon again in the 90s and has been a thorn in the side of various heroes, mostly Batman. It's amazing to me that in current continuity (well, for the next week anyway), Woodrue has been made responsible for Poison Ivy's creation. Because movies are more widely seen than comics, it's frequent that movie mythology is imposed on comics continuity. But Batman and Robin's? REALLY?!

Arnim Zola (Captain America: The First Avengers)
The most recent example of a comics villain hidden in plain sight is Arnim Zola, the Red Skull's scientific sidekick in the new Captain America movie (played by the Dream Lord himself, Toby Jones). This crazy-ass Jack Kirby creation from 1977 is a former Nazi with a synthetic body whose head is a camera and whose chest is a tv screen broadcasting his face. I doubt we'll ever see a "grown-up" version of Zola in the movies, but imagine if we did! (Arnim Zola also appears in the David Hasselhoff's Nick Fury Agent of SHIELD TV movie as a wheelchair-bound Dr. Strangelove wannabe.)

James Gordon Jr. (The Dark Knight)
A recent ark in Detective Comics has turned Commissioner Gordon's little boy, James Jr., seen in The Dark Knight being threatened by Two-Face, in the "Peter Pan Killer". Who knew that Two-Face would leave such a mark? In the comics, James is a heavily disturbed individual who has always had a lack of conscience and who may or may not have spiked Gotham's baby food to create natural born criminals in 20 years time. Nathan Gamble should return to the role when he's an adult in my imaginary Batgirl & Robin film.

Maybe you have other favorites? I'm also compiling a list of comics supervillains who showed up on tv. I'll let you know what I find.

9 comments:

labelreader said...

Your Twitter account's been hacked =( -- @labelreader

Siskoid said...

I believe I've fixed it. Sorry about that.

De said...

Check out the cameras in the HYDRA base in the Cap movie. They're a dead ringer for what will become Zola's new head.

As for other "undercover" villain types, the only one I can think of immediately is Harley Quinn. She showed up as psychiatrist Dr. Quinzell on the Birds of Prey TV (played by Mia Sara in the series, Lara Flynn Boyle in the unaired pilot).

Siskoid said...

I'll be sure to remember her when I do the TV version of this post!

Delta said...

I'd say the Leader in the Ed Norton Hulk movie. Or maybe too obvious.

SallyP said...

You know...John Glover playing the Floronic Man, is just so...so perfect somehow.

Pippy said...

I heard Galactus is in ff 2: rise of the silver surfer somewhere but I have never spotted him

Siskoid said...

Hahaha. I can't tell if you're joking or not.

benjamin sTone said...

Just as a quick aside, Crisis on Infinite Earths reset Poison Ivy as having been Jason Woodrue's assistant. He slowly poisoned her, which made her crazy and gave her powers. Great list, though!

Oh! I just went to double-check my facts and found that Neil Gaiman wrote that Poison Ivy retcon story! Neat.

 

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