One of the biggest reasons to watch The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is for Jamie Foxx's vibrant reign of terror as Electro. It's a pretty big deal for the Academy Award-winning actor, as a once-in-a-lifetime role could shape into further Spider-Man sequels and spinoffs like [Sinister Six](movie:1274281). But it's also indicative of a larger pop culture phenomenon. Disney is releasing [Maleficent](movie:39352) on May 30, Fox is rumored to have a standalone title for X-Men's Mystique and Magneto in the works, and [Venom](movie:372411) is in the pipeline at Sony. Likewise, [Gotham](series:1127075) is bringing origin stories to fan favorite Batman villains like Catwoman. And who could forget the Internet's desire to make a [Loki Spinoff](movie:1110645) happen? Villains are almost as popular as the superheroes they fight.
When did this all happen? I spoke to Jamie Foxx this past weekend about it, and he argues it boils down to one of DC's best characters. "I think when Jack Nicholson made it fly," he says of the actor's portrayal of the Joker in Tim Burton's 1989 classic, Batman. In his mind, it goes all the way up to Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight. "When Heath Ledger made it cool and won an Oscar," he says. "I mean, people now want to play the villain."
Jamie Foxx also told me something that I was blissfully unaware of - John Singleton wanted him to play a villain in his long-lost [Luke Cage](movie:586393) project. "I was talking to John Singleton and he was going to do, I think it was Luke Cage, and he wanted me to be the villain in that," he says. "He said, 'You know, villains have more fun because they can sort of go, so I think that's sort of what it is."
He continued: "The appetite is set. You've seen great performances by villains, so now a villain movie just makes sense. A lot of times it's what the space and what the energy is out there. The way people respond to villains, it's like WWE. It's like watching wrestling. You love to boo the villain."
But Marvel, Sony, and Fox are most likely not going to make movies based on people that you can't support. One of the reasons why everyone from Magneto to Electro are so dynamic is that in addition to wanting to "boo" them, their stories are equally as tragic as Batman losing his parents or Peter Parker losing Uncle Ben and getting bit by a radioactive spider.
[The Amazing Spider-Man 2](movie:508593) opens on May 2.