Doc Ock should be the MCU’s next big bad

Doctor Octopus, not Green Goblin, is Spider-Man’s greatest enemy

Doctor Octopus by Steve Ditko

Spider-Man has finally joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as have his villains, arguably the best collection of enemies any Marvel superhero has. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) introduces a few, particularly Michael Keaton as the Vulture.

Given the existence of five other Spider-Man films and the wealth of villains he has, producers have indicated they are unlikely to reboot previous antagonists, which is understandable given how the Green Goblin proved to be the true villain of both Sam Raimi’s 2002–2007 trilogy and the 2012–2014 Amazing Spider-Man films. That said, it would be a tremendous shame if Otto Octavius / Doctor Octopus, who was so memorably played by Alfred Molina in 2004’s Spider-Man 2, were excluded from the MCU.

Sony was developing a Sinister Six movie when TASM series was still a thing, and thank goodness it didn’t happen, who’d want Doc Ock playing second fiddle to Harry Osborn? Bringing together the Sinister Six is Octavius’s legacy just as Norman Osborn’s legacy are the many Goblins bothering the Marvel Universe, or the many Symbiotes are those of Venom. Sony probably still wants the Sinister Six to still happen, and undoubtedly multiple villains — who have the benefit of having been established in a different film — would be thrilling. At some point, Doc Ock would have to be revealed as the Master Planner bringing together six villains (instead of six Infinity Stones).

Which is to say nothing of what a great character Otto Octavius is. He is the ultimate angry nerd, raging at the world to appreciate his brilliance. Similar to Peter Parker, he suffered a great loss that he blames himself for, namely his mother’s fatal heart attack induced by an argument over the woman he chose to marry. But Otto had no Uncle Ben to teach him that great power comes with great responsibility — in fact, his father was abusive — and his guilt and self-loathing would consume him in a way Parker’s hasn’t. He is the dark mirror image of Peter, as well as his swaggering mentor, Tony Stark, whose genius is beloved worldwide.

The Avengers vs. the Sinister Six in ‘Ends of the Earth’ (by Dan Slott and Stefano Caselli)

The MCU can go many ways after Avengers 4, but we still haven’t seen the Avengers taking on a genuine supervillain team-up akin to their own formation. Spider-Man: Ends of the Earth (2012) was a fun storyline, a rare globetrotting adventure for Spider-Man in contrast to his solo cinematic outings. It’s not a classic like other potential Avengers film storylines like Kree-Skrull War or Assault on Avengers Mansion, but with Spider-Man in the MCU it would be a logical direction for the series. How exciting would it be to see the Hulk vs the Sandman, Falcon vs Vulture or Black Panther against Kraven? They could easily just as well do Avengers vs. Thunderbolts, but as much potential as Helmut Zemo has, I know what I’d prefer.