Rhino & Electro: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 villains in-depth

Feature James Hunt 30 Jan 2013 - 06:10
The Amazing Spider-Man

What will Rhino and Electro bring to The Amazing Spider-Man? James explores the history of the characters to find out...

Spoiler note: we've spoilers from the comics for Rhino, Electro and Gwen Stacy in this feature. Whether they all make it to the films remains to be seen!

The announcement of Paul Giamatti as The Rhino this week heavily suggests that Marc Webb's The Amazing Spider-Man 2 will be going the Batman Returns route, pitting its hero against two villains – Jamie Foxx having already been cast as Electro. But who are these characters? How do they fit into Spidey's life? And more importantly, how might they figure into the film?

The Rhino, aka Aleksei Sytsevich, was a small-time thug who took on the appearance of a Rhino when a synthetic, experimental costume was bonded to his skin. With his strength, speed and endurance enhanced by the suit, The Rhino is more than a match for Spider-Man physically, but his dim wits often leave him vulnerable to defeat. Nonetheless, he's powerful and dangerous, and often employed by other villains eager for someone with superpowers to do their dirty work.

Electro, aka Max Dillon, gained his powers when he was struck by lightning while working on a power line. Turned into a living conduit for electricity, he has numerous electricity-based powers and frequently clashes with Spider-Man in the course of his criminal schemes.

Notably, neither of these guys is exactly a criminal mastermind. They're both simple crooks – the Rhino is often literally a thug for hire. Dillon is simply a money-grabbing thief who lacks the imagination to do more than rob banks and hold cities to ransom with his powers. This suggests that their activities will be curated by someone who knows what they're doing. You don't have to go far to guess who, given the fleeting appearance of Norman Osborn during the credits of the first film.
Whether or not Osborn will appear in any larger capacity than the first film remains to be seen, but the presence of his son, Harry (set to be played by Chronicle's Dane DeHaan), means we can be fairly sure he'll be an influence on events, even if he doesn't appear directly.

Chances are, then, that both the Rhino and Electro will be born out of Oscorp's Evil Science division. The Rhino may even turn out to be a product of the same cross-species DNA experiments as Spidey was, given the 'easter egg'" visual of a Rhino on an Oscorp computer graphic in The Amazing Spider-Man. It makes sense that Oscorp, knowing that it created Spider-Man, would attempt to create similar individuals.

The best part about this is that it might even mean we do away with the oh-so-tedious need for Spider-Man and his villains to have a personal connection. That sort of thinking led us to a somewhat crowbarred-in component of the Sandman's story in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 3 where we were supposed to think he killed Uncle Ben. It doesn't need to happen. Spider-Man's a superhero. He fights super-villains. They don't all have to be a replacement father-figure or mentor for us to care whether he wins or loses.

It's also worth noting that both crooks are a members of the Sinister Six, alongside other Lee/Ditko creations such as Vulture, Mysterio, Kraven and Sandman. With Marvel's Avengers movie having given audiences (and studios) a taste for cinematic world-building, could this be the first step in realising that team of villains in a future movie? We're inclined to say that's unlikely (after all, the Sinister Six were largely a collection of Lee/Ditko villains, who have the advantage of being Spidey's most familiar) but it's still a theory worth keeping an eye on in the long-term.

Of course, this also tells us something about what won't be in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. With Norman 'Green Goblin' Osborn apparently waiting in the wings for another instalment, Gwen Stacy is likely to be safe for another movie. Few characters come with a death sentence so readily stamped on their forehead, but on the other hand, her death is too iconic to waste on the Rhino or Electro.

So, if we had to guess, we'd say that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 will be a story about Norman Osborn trying to track down Spider-Man using newly-created villains Electro and The Rhino to draw him out. Gwen and Peter's relationship will be nudged along its fateful path, but don't expect her to die until Osborn finally suits up, probably in the third instalment.

Whether or not the sequel will deal with The Amazing Spider-Man's numerous dangling threads remains to be seen. It's been widely speculated that the first film was quickly recut before release to remove a number of elements, and 'The Untold Story' viral marketing campaign certainly suggested something more surprising than we got. Will The Amazing Spider-Man 2 further explore the mystery behind the disappearance of Peter's parents? Or will that material be dropped in favour of something more conventional? And for that matter, what did happen to the guy who killed Uncle Ben? The loss of Gwen's father means there's an entry point for their shared grief to be delved into, but it's safe to say that with at least two super-powered villains to fight, there's not going to be a lot of time left for poking around in filing cabinets.

Meanwhile, if you want to read up on the villains of Amazing Spider-Man 2, allow us to recommend these stories:


The Horns of the Rhino! (1966) – A three issue arc by the legendary team of Stan Lee and John Romita Sr. appearing in Amazing Spider-Man #41-#43 marks the first appearance of the Rhino - and perhaps, more famously, Mary Jane Watson! Essential reading for the character.

Rage of the Rhino/Endangered Species (2010) – Appearing in two parts across Amazing Spider-Man #617 and Amazing Spider-Man #625 (both by Joe Kelly and Max Fiumara) the recently-married and newly-reformed Sytsevich aids Spider-Man against a new Rhino, who has been tasked with killing the original. Will he succeed? Or will Sytsevich be forced to re-assume his old identity?

Flowers for Rhino (2001) – A two-part story by Peter Milligan and Duncan Fregrodo which appeared in Spider-Man's Tangled Web #5 & #6 sees the character imbued with great intelligence. Anyone who recognises the Flowers for Algernon reference can guess where this leads, but it's a fun story that shows the Rhino in a different light.


The Man Called Electro! (1964) – Amazing Spider-Man #9 features Electro's first appearance, as written and drawn by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, the co-creators of Spider-Man! Although a fairly straightforward supervillain encounter, this is a classic story that will doubtlessly have some influence on Electro's film appearance, and worth reading for that reason alone.

Rebirth of Electro (1997) – Appearing in Amazing Spider-Man #422-#425, Electro is re-powered after a long stint away from crime and makes it his business to get revenge on Spider-Man. The 90s weren't remembered as a bastion of quality for the Spidey-books, but writer Tom Defalco gets as much mileage as possible out of the return of a classic foe. Certainly worth a look.

Power to the People (2009) – A three-part arc appearing in Amazing Spider-Man #612 -#614, written by fan-favourite Mark Waid, Electro returns, having lost control of his powers. With his money invested in the stock market, he's gone broke as a result of the world financial crisis – and he needs money to pay for his powers to be repaired. Cue him holding Manhattan to ransom, with Spider-Man the only man who can stop him.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is set for release in the UK in April 2014.

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The Rhino doesnt even slightly interest me he has always been a one note bad guy, they may be able to improve him for the movie but there are so many other bigger and better villains they could have gone for, Kraven, the Vulture, the Scorpion or even Mysterio.
Also im not sure this Spiderman can handle 2 villains every time he had a fight in the first film he ended up with massive wounds that clearly needed a doctors attention.

I've got one word about this film...meh!

This story sounds good enough to me. Honestly I don't get people not looking forward to this film. The first was miles better than Spiderman 1,2 and 3.

I want to see the wrongs by Sam Raimi, righted in regards to Venom. Venom is worthy of a movie alone, let alone being introduced three quarters of the way through a movie as an irrelevant villain in another film. A strong case could be made to explore some sort of symbiote storyline including the introduction of Carnage. My interest is already half way lost for the sequel.

Um... Rhino was not in the original sinister six although he was in the sinister syndicate in the 80s

Agreed. It was a combination of 1 & 2 but better than either.

My hope is that it isn't just another "supervillains plan is to kill hero" story. It always feels pointless to me when that's the case - like Iron Man 2 or Spider-mans 1 and 3. Hopefully there will be some other threat to overcome.

All I wanted for this film was for them to HAVE ONLY ONE VILLAIN. How bloody hard can that be??? Everybody has seen by now that SINGLE VILLAIN super hero movies work better. I'm dumbfounded by the choice to have two villains. Just dumbfounded. This will almost certainly suck.

Yes, and Vulture would have been an AWESOME stand-alone villain to see on screen.!!!

Helpful article, but we'd be very surprised if Electro is just a simple thief this time. Jamie Foxx has already gone on record as saying that the character that he's playing is more of a wronged genius.

I'm still surprised they are using Rhino since he was in the video game tie-in of the first film. A little redundant but whatever. I'm fully expecting to find Osborne pulling the strings on these guys. I really hope they learned from the mistakes of Spider-Man 3 and this doesn't get over-crowded.

Batman Begins had Ra's al'Ghul and the Scarecrow (also Carmine Falcone). The Dark Knight had The Joker and Two Face (also Sal Maroni). The Dark Knight Rises had Bane and Talia al'Ghul (Catwoman was also partly a villain). A lot of people seem to think that because Spider-Man 3 sucked, all superhero films with multiple villains must suck and they forget that the Batman trilogy proved that they can work if the script is good enough.

citing Nolan's Batman trilogy as irrefutable proof of something done right is shaky ground.

i think people are confused why paul giamatti is playing the rhino in amazing spiderman 2. In my opinion, they are trying to use the "ultimate spiderman" comics route, where the rhino is actually a mastermind. Hes a scientist, and created the all powerful rhino suit, pretty much like tony stark, but evil, so thats why giamatti is good for the role. Jamie foxx is also a good actor for the role, because in ultimate spiderman electro is african american and modernized. with positive reviews about the script from the actors, i think its gonna be better from the first one

I was also wondering how Peter Parker's parents role will affect the sequel. I'm not sure how I feel about this film. Rhino and Electro could end up being awesome but there are other stories I hope eventually make it into the film. I'd love to see Kraven's Last Hunt or the Six Arms Saga become films. There are so many great Spider-man stories and I found it annoying that all Sam Raimi's film where all pretty much the same. Spider-man doubts himself, there's sympathetic villain and Mary Jane Watson always gets kidnapped for the final. I hope Webb can do something new for the sequel and throw up some suprises.

Which ultimate spiderman have you been reading? the only time he has appeared he has been pretty soundly beaten in one story he was the punchline to the joke of Spiderman dashing across town to stop him and getting held up only to arrive and find Iron Man had beaten him to it. He never had a story where he was a mastermind.

i saw anathoer link that says : green goblin,rhino and electro will be in the movie.....hummm if i were 'Amazing Spider man movie maker,they should continue whit the comic book,and ya know the lesard after green goblin after ....cause they call the movie amazing spider man...they have to do like the original spider man too ya know.

still that a movie about Rhino will be interesting...only Rhino will be a lot good for us.

The vast majority of people agree that the trilogy is, if not great, then at least good. My point was simply that the trilogy shows that having multiple villains does not mean a film will be bad, contrary to what some people who are fixated on Spider-man 3 believe.

In the Ultimate Spider-Man video game. The story line is considered to be canon. In the comic there are callbacks to certain parts of the game every now and again, mostly with Venom or Electro.

For me that only works for the first film, which does well to weave apparently different villains together (look at me praising Nolan's Batman!) the second film however was so focused on Ledger's Joker that Two-Face just became a dead-end that didn't really get a chance to live. As for the third, the villains are not the thing you should be drawing the attention to in that movie if you want someone to see it positively!

I think the issue was that retread the origins, albeit with a slight difference. Does James Bond get an origin story with every new actor? NO.

They should just plunge straight into the story and ignore the changes in personnel and focus on the story and do a bit of Spidey worldbuilding rather than telling the same story every three movies.

But it would seem this time round that the origin story for Peter is also linked in with Lizard & Rhino, as well as the Osborns, and the death of the Parker's and Uncle Ben, etc - the origin story will be central to future films and so is also doing the worldbuilding....

If they stick with this origin, then fine. What would exasperate me is that when they get Josh Hutcherson (or whoever) to be the next spider-man, there will be a new origin story that we have to sit through rather than developing what has already been laid down and just getting on with telling other types of stories.

Even if the actor changed I don't think they could/would do another origin story.

It seems they have some planned themes and stories taking place over several films so we won't get a SM3 situation trying to shoe-horn Sandman into the origin for example.

All aboard the B-Villian Movie Train..chuuu chuuuu!

Dear Sony: Free Spider-Man, I cannot take the Twilight sad Peter Parker anymore dammit. This movie will make 100's of millions of dollars, but will be complete dog crap. Remember this post, dog crap, you can thank me later. If it's good than Ill say I was wrong. Dog crap.

I was kinda leaning towards the idea that this apparent 'trilogy' carries on to Goblin and Gwen's death and, if there's still demand, a fourth film perhaps deals with Spidey grieving and how that links into the black suit and then Venom.

I really could have sworn they were setting up the 2nd movie to have Norman Osborne, the Green Goblin. mostly cos the Dark Knight put the arch-villain Joker in Movie #2. I thought I was noticing a new trend. Green Lantern's arch-enemy Sinestro does not dominate the GL movie, but instead they made it clear he would in a sequel.

However, Electro and Rhino are better, cos we have never seen them on screen before. Both are villains I would love to see in film, and this movie should hopefully make both villains major in the public mainstream. Rhino does not need much story, he is basically just big muscle, but that's ok. First movie had subliminal clues setting up Venom as a bio suit engineered by Parker's parents. I'm guessing that's where it's going.

True except . . . Interesting villains are the backbone of a superhero movie sequel. We have seen the Lizard, we saw how much they did with that one villain, so now we need to see more villains, cause without me a hero would have nothing to do or work toward.

Without em

I guess how I meant to phrase it is, we saw Batman Begins and the Dark Knight, so why see another, unless it is ruled by an amazing villain character?

Okay most likely this is what's going to happen. The movie begins with spiderman trying to defeat the rhino. The rhino will be like the game since the game is in between the movies. Max Dillon will be watching this whole thing go down and somehow will help spidey defeat Rhino. According to Jamie Foxx spiderman says Max Dillon is his eyes on the street so maybe he says that after he helps defeat Rhino. Then We see Morbius Talking to Norman about the Rhino battle who's with his son Harry. Osborn then orders him to keep an eye on Spiderman. He then follows Max Dillon and offers him powers that can help him help spiderman. He then uses the powers for revenge on the people that made him a loner and spider-man is forced to defeat Electro. Then at the end of the movie we see norman Osborn as Green Goblin leading into a third film.

They should bring in the Kingpin. That would be really cool and down the line bring some justice to Venom ( the coolest villian ever.....also id like to see Carnage)

Damn right. I'm with you man. I want some venom and carnage!

There's no way rhino can be in the movie. He was a cross-species in the game and spidey (the player) destroyed him if you did all the missions where he appears. If he's in the movie it would confuse those who played the game and then see an actor playing a presumably dead rhino cross-species.

@BigDunc Have you actually read any Spider-man comics? Not meant to insult but part of the essential character of Spidey has always been getting completely mangled in a fight with villains, going home bloodied with trashed suit, sewing it up, rethinking his fight to better prepare for the same villain later and, getting back out there to face the next villain. What's more hilarious to me is the attachment people have to the Sam Raimi series and Tobey Macguire as if they created the greatest Spider-man films ever despite Tobey's getting out of shape, Sony using digital touch up to make Tobey look more defined during his discovery of his new body, the weak over use of MJ being a damsel in distress, the weak over use of having a villain be connected to Peter Parker in every film and Every single villain having some Nobel reason for doing what they do, the weak fight choreography, the horrible cheap costumes..... I could go on. Don't get me wrong I am a true Spidey fan have been for 22 years so I appreciate the films and own all them but, I will not say they are the best. ASM while having its flaws was a better film than the Raimi series. One way the sequel could really work with both Rhino and Electro is if Rhino is a minor filler villain at the beginning no origin just throw him in there as if Spidey took him on before between films to cleverly occupy screen time for Spidey fighting a villain basically for more action. He could be defeated early leaving villain development for Electro. It could be akin to TDK where Scarecrow is there at the beginning and is halted and captured. I'm looking forward to the film I loved The Amazing Spider-man

Lol I pity you

DC movies are done by WB that may be a WB trend not a Sony trend since this is a new trilogy and they didn't go with an arch nemesis in the first movie you can assume GGwill be in the third film because Sony has already expressed they're invested in at least a trilogy

I really, really, really like this idea. In fact it sounds so intuitive and forward thinking and I can't see why that wouldn't be the case of the story thanks to what has been said by certain chosen actors/actresses.

They can't use the Kingpin because they don't have the filming rights to Kingpin, I believe Fox has the rights to X-men, FF, and Daredevil including Kingpin

I'm sure they can put Rhino in the film and keep it from being confusing

Why do people keep thinking it was Osborn in the credits when it was clearly one of Osborn's underlings??

I agree about an amazing villain being the centrepiece of a sequel, where it reveals something about the hero. However, having multiple villains portrayed by a bunch of stars who are unlikely to want to play second fiddle to another star (only a handful of directors can get that kind of humility from actors) means that they will all want to have their share of the limelight to show off their skills and get an origin which usually detracts from the pace of the movie.

I just reckon they haven't learned from Spidey 3, but I'm happy to be proved wrong should Webb think he has found a way to juggle it.

Actually I believe DD went back to Marvel. Not sure if all baddies did as well though.

Because they haven't been paying attention or reading up on the movie because Marc Webb clearly said it wasn't Osborn but one of his associates

Vulture would have been weak. He's basically an old man with flight capabilities. Stand alone villain no but a side villain to a bigger threat yes

Actually I don't think they have the rights back

They lost the rights for DD to marvel, at one point they were willing to trade Silver Surfer and Galactus to keep him. But in the end Marvel declined the extension.

Am I the only one who just doesn't like rhino? I mean I know he's marginally popular amongst the tweens, but as an old school comic book reader, he's amongst some of the worst realised villains ever.

Also can we please move away from teenage angst Spiderman? Jeezus... seriously.

OK here is my thoughts on ALL of it THIS IS MY OPINON! ok.. Rhino is just to weak as a character to carry a movie on his own. So the bring in Electro which will prob enter the movie half way threw cause Rhino isnt getting the job done and Osborn is pissed about it so he creates Electro!! now on the subject of bringing in Carnage There is no way NO WAY I would pay money to see a Pg13 carnage movie. Venom when redone I hope and pray to the heavens They do it correctly! he is one of the BIG characters in the entire being of spiderman! Who I would love to see rather than Rhino and electro. Kraven I think Kraven Hunting spiderman in the concrete jungle WOULD be amazing. Also after the Kraven ordeal go into the Green Goblin and half through that movie HOB GOBLIN! now that would be epic!!!

Wasn't their talk of a stand alone Venom movie? I may have made that up.

If they do go down the venom route, it'd be nice if they kept the black suit on Peter Parker to a minimum and just pushed the Eddie Brock story. No-one wants the emo awfulness of Spiderman 3 again.
And yes, definately need some Carnage action!

I also agree. While I didn't get the same buzz I got when I watched Raimi's first Spiderman, it just got so many things right.

Looking forward to this

yes. a lot of the bond movies would do this. starting the flick with bond wrapping up a mission, then on to the main story. that's exactly how i'd like to see this one handled. opening with a spider-man and rhino chase and battle... spidey wins... or rhino wins and gets away... whatever. then enter the electro story. hell... you wouldn't even have to see rhino again in the movie. i'm a huge raimi fan... but i thought the amazing spider-man topped the raimi flicks. i'm excited about this. hope it's not just a trilogy, though.

I thought the latest spiderman was far a superior film to the previous three... let's hope they don't make the same mistakes as last time this time around!


because the story is a different comic one not read or written the same way.

Which is fine but half ass when displayed in a movie.

Spiderman of today is to much of a smart ass and the powers are off as well the manner of how people around him the primus is not real.

Lizard done well,

But here we go,

BLACK Elector, Nope failed the custom look he has is wrong FAILED again.

Rhino will have to wait and see.

Spiderman should be done the way the cartoon of the 60's and 70's did it.

Where spiderman voice was a man not a fag.

and the guys he fights look like the comic no exceptions.

So what if Electro is black? His skin becomes blue, but really, it doesn't matter. It's not the 1950's anymore, where 100% of the cast must be white or else they get death threats. Back in the 50's, the comic book Tales From the Crypt had to SERIOUSLY fight and struggle to publish a comic book with one black astronaut in one panel at the end - it was a difficult fight to get it published. These days, if one black guy is in a movie, like the gatekeeper in Thor, I would just laugh if it raised a big controversy of "OMG I can't believe he is black FIRE HIM RIGHT NOW" ahhhh ha ha. Grow up

I called someone a fag and was banned

That's Shocker, I'm pretty sure. I think they had Electro working for the Kingpin as a hired bodyguard. However, Ultimate Marvel skipped the Lizard completely! They only had him in UM Team-Up. So, these new movies are based partly on Ultimate Marvel, partly on 60's Marvel, so I am guessing they will go for the 60's approach of one-on-one against Electro, and one-on-one against the Rhino.

Tweens = twin tweens.

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