Spider-Man has been rebooted (yet again) and we will see our favorite wall crawler for the first time in Captain America: Civil War, and apparently Sony, now sharing the character with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, will be exploring the idea of Peter Parker during his high school years and I think that's a good way to start fresh.
That gave me an idea: what if his villains are also part of this environment?
For example, characters portrayed as the same age as Spider-Man (apparently he will be around 15 years old of age) and explore, not only the rivalry with the super hero, but also the interaction with his Peter Parker persona and the conflict between teenagers.
This new Spider-Man can set itself apart from other iterations by exploring the character as a coming-of-age high school tale à la The Breakfast Club. It can explore themes like the constant struggle of teenagers to be understood, by adults and by themselves. It could explore the pressure put on teenagers to fit into their own realms of high school social constructs, as well as the grand expectations of their parents, teachers, and other authority figures and this could give a little more depth to Spider-Man's classic villains.
With that said, I want to put my own two cents in and fan cast some of our webslinger's villains that could work in the high-school setting.
7. The Chameleon & Kraven the Hunter
The Chameleon (Dmitri Smerdyakov) and Kraven the Hunter (Sergei Kravinoff) are half-brothers. Although they were friends, Sergei was often abusive to Dmitri, leading to a combination of admiration and resentment towards Sergei. Eventually, Dmitri emigrated to the United States of America. As he had made a talent for himself during his youth, impressing his brother by impersonating friends and neighbors, Dmitri assumed an even more impressive disguise: the identity of the Chameleon.
The Chameleon then asked Sergei for help so both could defeat Spider-Man and here's where Kraven's obsession with Spider-Man started. A self proclaimed big game hunter, Kraven seeks to defeat Spider-Man to prove that he is the greatest hunter in the world.
This dynamic of the big brother / little brother in a high school setting could be really appealing, plus, having Sergei (Kraven) as a popular guy that underestimates Peter Parker as a person but admiring his alter ego could be a possibility.
Dmitri (The Chameleon) could represent the quiet type that is not comfortable with his own skin but feels unstoppable wearing a different face every time, giving a natural feeling to a high school student with insecurity issues.
Fan Cast Choices: Anton Yelchin (Star Trek Beyond) as The Chameleon & Douglas Booth (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) as Kraven the Hunter
Update: Unfortunately, actor Alton Yelchin passed away after being involved in a freak accident.
Scorpion (MacDonald "Mac" Gargan) is a private investigator who was hired by J. Jonah Jameson to find out how Peter Parker was able to obtain the photos of Spider-Man. His defining characteristic is that he is as skilled as he is greedy and unscrupulous and will do anything to get what he wants. He has an explosive temper and is emotionally disturbed.
Scorpion could be portrayed as our obsession with social media and our pursuit of relevance. His desire to achieve social greatness could be his motivation of trying to confront and unmask Spider-Man.
Fan Cast Choices: O'Shea Jackson Jr. (Straight Outta Compton) or Frank Dillane (Fear the Walking Dead)
Shocker (Herman Schultz) is a high school dropout who had brilliant talents as both an inventor and an engineer. Instead of using such talents to gain legitimate employment, he became a successful burglar and the world's best safe-cracker (according to him in later stories). After finally being caught and incarcerated for his crimes, he developed a pair of gauntlets designed to shoot air blasts, vibrating at high frequency.
Shocker is interesting because he basically doesn't have anything against Spider-Man, he is more concerned largely with making a living and protecting his reputation. As such, the character is usually portrayed as behaving in a more professional manner than the majority of his maniacal peers.
Shocker has a notably rational personality among Spider-Man's enemies. He has often been shown to recognize his own limitations among a universe of super-powered individuals. Having that self awareness has its advantages since the topic of dropping out of high school will always be relevant and it doesn't mean that a person has given up.
Fan Cast Choices: Taron Egerton (Eddie the Eagle) or Emory Cohen (Brooklyn)
Mysterio (Quentin Beck) is one of the visually coolest looking villains that Spider-Man has and it would be a blast seeing him on the big screen. Mysterio is portrayed as someone really talented but himself feeling that what he is doing is not enough. Mysterio is an interesting choice to be explored in a high school setting where social pressure is at its highest and the desire to stand out is always present. He could be portrayed as someone that tries to match impossible expectations imposed by himself or his family and reaching the point of trying to make a name for himself no matter what.
Fan Cast Choices: Dev Patel (Chappie), Shameik Moore (Dope) or Jack O'Connell (Unbroken)
3. Black Cat
Having a female antagonist would be intriguing and Black Cat (Felicia Hardy) has always been one of the most complex, puzzling and bad-ass characters in Spider-Man's history. She could be explored as a college student and Peter's infatuation with an older woman would be very relatable and normal for a high school kid. Peter Parker's attraction to Felicia Hardy and Black Cat's attraction to Spider-Man could be a fun dynamic. Besides, between these two characters, morality could be the main cause of their fallout.
Fan Cast Choices: Olivia Thirbly (Dredd) or Sofia Boutella (Kingsman: The Secret Service)
2. Venom & Carnage
Venom (Eddie Brock / Flash Thompson) and Carnage (Cletus Kasady) would be a very risky choice since both characters are extremely violent and combining it with a high school setting might be a little controversial. Violence in schools is a very touchy subject in America but bringing awareness to the issue is also worth the risk (if explored with sensitivity and respect).
Eddie Brock / Flash Thompson (I mentioned both because either could work) could represent the ever present threat of bullying and the complete opposite of what Spider-Man represents. Cletus Kasady could represent the exterior violence that unfortunately reaches places like schools or any other institution that is supposed to be an untouchable and neutral ground. Carnage is the representation of the unknown and the merciless world that sooner or later this kid will face. He could be portrayed as the reality check to both Spider-Man and Peter Parker.
Fan Cast Choices: Zac Efron (Neighbors) or Jeremy Irvine (War Horse) as Venom & Cameron Monaghan (Gotham) or Will Poulter (The Revenant) as Carnage
1. The Green Goblin
The Green Goblin (Harry Osborne) is the perfect villain and as someone that already knows and has a relationship with Spider-Man, their conflict cannot be more palpable; a friendship tested to its breaking point and the ultimate battle between good and evil. Throughout our high school years, we develop friendships that could end up sour and haunt us on an emotional level years after. The Green Goblin is one of those comic book characters that has so much depth that can be explored numerous times and from different angles. No matter how many times this character is rebooted, it always has to be part of any Spider-Man iteration.
Fan Cast Choices: Asa Butterfield (Hugo) or Freddie Highmore (Bates Motel)
So, there they are! Spider-Man popularity is somehow based on the fact that he is a very relatable, fictional character that has very human problems. Add to that the fact that he is still in high school, all of a sudden the possibilities for storytelling become limitless.
There you have it. Thank you for your time and I hope you enjoyed the read.
source: Marvel Database - Wikia, Category: Characters, accessed 1 March 2016, http://marvel.wikia.com/wiki/Marvel_Database