Spider-Man: Homecoming is almost here. The highly-anticipated film not only marks Spidey's first solo film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe but will also introduce the first live-action portrayals of The Vulture and Shocker. While Shocker's appearance in the film had been a rumor so far, a recently-leaked cast sheet has apparently confirmed that the villain is indeed in the film and that he will be played by Bokeem Woodbine.
Given how he is not as well-known a character as other Spider-Man adversaries like the Green Goblin, Dr. Octopus, or Venom, here's a breakdown of who the character is that will hopefully enhance your experience while watching Homecoming and help you impress everyone around you with your Spidey knowledge.
Who Is The Shocker?
Herman Schultz was born in New York City. His parents died when his little brother, Marty, was just a boy. Despite never finishing high school, Schultz is a competent inventor, engineer, and self-proclaimed "world's best safe-cracker" who decided to use his talents to get easy money through extortion and theft.
After becoming a recognized burglar, he was finally caught and incarcerated. In prison, he built a pair of gauntlets primarily intended for safe-cracking that shot air waves vibrating at high frequencies.
He also built his iconic suit to allow him to absorb the gauntlet's shocks and used the new gadgets to escape, taking the name of "The Shocker." During his first encounter with Spider-Man, Schultz easily defeats the young webslinger. Later however, while trying to rob the Federal Reserve, he was confronted again by the superhero. Shocker put up a good fight but was ultimately defeated when the wall-crawler webbed up his thumbs and knocked him out.
His Many Adventures And Defeats
After this, Schultz became a recurring threat for Spider-Man. One of his most notorious escapades was when he held New York for ransom by blacking out specific parts of the city and threatening to black out the entirety of it if he wasn't given a million dollars. This, as you can imagine, didn't go so well for Shocker. We have to give the villain points for persistency, though, as he later frightened a stockbroker into manipulating the market and giving him a million dollars.
Shocker briefly joined Egg Head's Masters of Evil (as with most of Spidey's foes, awesome team name, bad individual villain name). Egg Head had forced Dr. Hank Pym (at that time Yellowjacket) to steal adamantium from a government facility and then used the Masters of Evil (which included Shocker) to kidnap the superhero. Fortunately, Pym defeats them all with a machine he built and escapes.
Later, Shocker attempts to rob the celebrity fundraiser for the New York City Library but was thwarted by Spider-Man and sent to prison (though he later broke out). Because of these events, Shocker developed serious confidence issues and became increasingly paranoid about being hunted by Scourge and Punisher, despite this not being the case, though he later regains his former confidence.
The Shocker also has a sort of moral code. When teaming up with Doctor Octopus and a new iteration of the Masters of Evil to conquer Avengers Mansion while The Avengers were dealing with the events of Infinity War, they encountered and battled the Guardians of the Galaxy. However, when duplicate alien clones (yeah, that happened) start attacking, both heroes and villains work together to defeat them.
After the clones are defeated, Doc Ock tries to get the Masters of Evil to take down the Guardians but Shocker and the others are unwilling to turn on those who saved their lives. He is also unwilling to kill Spider-Man while the hero is having a problem with vertigo at the top of a tall building, as the villain considered this an unworthy end.
During the Spider Island event, Shocker was infected with the spider-virus and was turned into a six-armed creature. Despite robbing banks to pay for a cure, his mutation finalized and he turned into a giant spider. Fortunately, he, as well as the entirety of New York citizens, were restored to normal by Spider-Man.
Shocker has been part of teams like the Sinister Six, The Sinister Seven (when a clone of Spider-Man was hunting down his Rogues Gallery to kill them), the Sinister Twelve, Thunderbolts, Villains for Hire, briefly worked for Killgrave, was part of Black Cat's criminal army and, as previously mentioned, the Masters of Evil.
He also took part in the Secret Wars, where he - alongside other villains - was recruited by Lucia von Bardas to attack Nick Fury and the heroes who were involved in the Secret War in Latveria. During the events of Civil War, he and his Sinister Six team were defeated by Captain America. During this event, Shocker somehow survived a brutal attack by The Punisher when the antihero caught several villains together in a bar.
Herman Schultz also has an Ultimate version. In the Ultimate universe, he attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.). After this, he went on to work for the Roxxon Corporation (prominently featured in 2013's Iron Man 3), where he built his very first weapons. However, he was fired from the corporation and became The Shocker.
Differing from his Earth-616 counterpart, this Shocker is a running joke among the criminal community and a villain almost no one takes seriously, having been defeated by Spider-Man five times and sent to prison.
Because of the constant humiliation from Spider-Man, Shocker kidnaps the young hero and chains him to the ceiling of a warehouse. After taking off his mask Schultz proceeds to torture Peter with his gauntlets.
Fortunately, because of a mistake the villain makes, Peter is able to break free of his chains but, thanks to Mary Jane's intervention, decides to leave Shocker to the authorities. However, when the police arrive, they call him a joke. This version of the villain also highlights his many insecurities that have floated to the surface in his canonical counterpart.
What Are Shocker's Powers And Abilities?
Shocker once possessed natural superhuman vibration powers. However, these abilities slowly killed him and were eventually taken away with the help of Spider-Man. Afterward, as Schultz is a talented engineer, his powers come entirely from his own inventions.
With his gauntlets, which contain vibro-shock units known as "vibro-smashers," he can create a series of rapid-succession, high-pressure air blasts. These can cause extensive damage to various materials, from concrete to the human body and its organs. They can also throw shockwaves that severely weaken solid structures. With these amazing gadgets, Shocker is also able to literally leap tall buildings in a single bound by pointing his shockwaves towards the ground — think Daisy/Quake in the very last scene of the Season 3 finale of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. except with manmade gauntlets instead of Inhuman abilities - like so:
Shocker's high-tech suit not only protects his body from the enormous power of the shockwaves he fires but, due to its foam-lined fabric that absorbs all vibrations (like Captain America's shield), he can also absorb blows. This ability allows him to easily slip from anyone's grasp.
An important thing to note is that, out of Spider-Man's many villains, Shocker is the most rational and his criminal behavior is not fueled by a burning hatred for the wall-crawler. Instead, he tries to focus on earning money and maintaining a good reputation among the criminal world. According to Shocker, he engages in psychotherapy.
Conclusion: Shocker Is An Awesome Addition To The MCU And Spider-Man: Homecoming
Shocker may not be the most imposing or threatening villain out there but his powers and his many psychological facets can bring a freshness needed when it comes to villains' roles in superhero films.
With Shocker, filmmakers can easily avoid the usual supervillain clichés and give us a fun, layered villain that isn't necessarily the baddest of bad guys but can be a ruthless, strong adversary for Spider-Man. Will Spider-Man: Homecoming do him justice? We'll have to wait until July 7, 2017 to find out.