The problem lies in the fact that the studio has not announced exactly which villain the veteran comedy actor will be playing. To the fans, this is the equivalent of thumbscrews or the cruciatus curse. Using every scrap of information available, masses of the devoted will be cross-referencing the star’s lanky frame with myriad villains and characters in order to decipher the riddle; out of Spider-Man’s vast gallery of rogues, which one will Ifans embody? We run you through some of our top picks.
The Vulture, traditionally, is an old, bald and frankly uninteresting man who crafts a flight suit for himself to commit crimes, complete with razor-sharp wings. Ifans obviously is not going to be queuing for his pension anytime soon, but a combination of a shaven head and his angular features means the vulture is still a possibility.
Ifans’ role has been described as a mixture of “warmth and rage”. If so, then you couldn’t go far wrong with Dr Curt Conners, a mentor to Peter Parker who tries to regrow his missing arm with lizard DNA. The experiment goes wrong, and Conners transforms into the monstrous Lizard, a rabid reptile with an insatiable appetite. Ifans has the look of a tortured, brilliant man down pat, but his largely comedic background would not play well here.
A legendary special effects artist turned crooked pseudo-sorcerer, Mysterio manages to convince the whole of New York he has magical powers. Holograms, smoke machines, animatronic dinosaurs – you name it, Mysterio tries to fake it. Spider-Man rumbles him of course, giving Mysterio a seething hatred for the wall-crawler that lasts right up until his untimely suicide. Ifans has the right look and attitude for the rogue, and this would be an excellent excuse for some spectacular fight sequences and inspired special effects. On the other hand, he looks ridiculous.
The Green Goblin?
Willem Dafoe owned the role back in 2002, but his fantastic portrayal of Spider-Man’s greatest foe does not have to be the definitive one. Norman Osborn plays the role of a father figure to Peter before ingesting a fistful of chemicals, which would account for the “warmth and rage” that apparently got him the part. The Goblin is also the one to (spoiler) kill Gwen Stacy, in a scene that was altered in the first film to allow Mary Jane to live. If Sony are intending to go darker with the reboot, they could do a lot worse than casting Ifans as the cackling maniac that forever alters Peter’s destiny.