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Spider-Man: 5 Ways Mysterio Is His Best MCU Villain (& 5 Ways It's The Vulture)

Although recent antagonists like Thanos, Killmonger, and Agatha Harkness have offset these criticisms, the MCU has traditionally been accused of having a “villain problem.” While its heroes are all complex three-dimensional characters, Marvel's movie villains tend to be one-note and conventional with generic personalities and predictable story arcs.

RELATED: Why Tom Holland Is A Great Spider-Man (& Why Tobey Maguire Is Still Better)

However, this problem has yet to affect the Jon Watts-directed Spider-Man solo series, as both Homecoming and Far From Home had strong villains. With both Michael Keaton’s Vulture and Jake Gyllenhaal’s Mysterio as memorable baddies, fans debate who is actually the better villain in the Spider-Man franchise.

10 Mysterio: He Tricked Peter Into Thinking He Was An Ally

When Far From Home’s trailers presented Quentin Beck as an interdimensional hero, no Marvel fan was convinced that he wouldn’t turn out to be the sequel’s villain. But Peter Parker himself bought into Beck’s lies and became friends with him.

Peter even develops a sort of father-son dynamic with Beck as he encourages him not to hide his genius-level intellect, which makes it all the more heartbreaking when it all turns out to be a deception.

9 The Vulture: His Motivations Are Understandable

Adrian Toomes’ motivations are understandable because he wants to provide for his family. He tried to spearhead a legitimate business, but he got shut down by Damage Control, so he turned to a life of crime.

It’s clear that after a few years in the alien arms trade, he can more than provide for his family and could give it up, so he just stuck around out of greed. But the motivation that drove him to become an alien arms dealer in the first place is justified.

8 Mysterio: He’s The MCU’s Most Self-Aware Villain

In the context of the MCU, Mysterio is bitter about all the love and attention that superheroes receive. Obsession with superheroes has become prominent in the real world as a direct result of the MCU itself, and a lot of Mysterio’s ramblings about superhero worship can be read as a meta-commentary on the genre itself.

Since Mysterio came along, the MCU has featured a bunch of other self-aware antagonists. In WandaVision, Agatha hilariously spells out the twist in a fourth-wall-breaking song, "Agatha All Along." In Loki, He Who Remains says, “We’re all villains here.” Mysterio broke the ground for Marvel villains to know that they are in on the joke with a sly wink to the audience.

7 The Vulture: Michael Keaton Brought Plenty Of Humor To The Role

After Batman and Birdman, the Vulture was the third winged superhuman that Michael Keaton played on the big screen. Keaton initially got his start appearing in comedies like Mr. Mom and Beetlejuice, and as a result, he always brings plenty of humor to the table.

RELATED: Spider-Man: Homecoming — 5 Things It Got Right (& 5 It Got Wrong)

As a grown man hellbent on murdering a teenager, Adrian Toomes would’ve been a truly reprehensible character if Keaton didn’t play the part with his usual dry humor.

6 Mysterio: Jake Gyllenhaal Had A Lot Of Fun Hamming It Up

The first half of Far From Home creates the pretense that Quentin Beck is a superhero from an alternate dimension, but the second half reveals him to be a disgruntled ex-Stark Industries employee who wants to steal the Avengers’ glory with some made-up superheroics.

In that second half, when Beck’s true nature is revealed and he essentially becomes a theater director coordinating actors and special effects, Jake Gyllenhaal has a lot of fun hamming it up as an uncontrollable diva.

5 The Vulture: The Plot Twist That Brought The House Down

After having his Spidey suit confiscated by Tony Stark, Peter decides to focus less on fighting crime and more on his schoolwork and his interpersonal relationships. He forgets about his investigation into the Vulture’s arms dealing operation and gets ready to go to the homecoming dance with Liz.

And then, when he arrives to pick up Liz for the dance, the front door swings open and reveals the Vulture himself to be her father. This twist reveal brought the house down, and leads to one of the MCU’s tensest and darkest scenes as he begins to suspect that Peter is Spider-Man.

4 Mysterio: He Forced Peter To Harness His Spider-Sense

Since it’s difficult to visualize a sixth sense in live-action form, the Spider-Man movies tend to put Spidey’s Spider-Sense in the backseat so they can focus on crawling up walls and swinging around the streets of New York.

But Spider-Sense is one of Spidey’s most interesting powers. Mysterio’s illusions in Far From Home forced Peter to harness his ability to sense danger in order to defeat the villain (although the movie hilariously calls it his “Peter tingle”).

3 The Vulture: He’s Just A Regular Guy

Whereas a lot of the MCU’s villains are all-powerful aliens or evil geniuses, Adrian Toomes is just a regular blue-collar guy. This fit in nicely thematically with Peter Parker being a regular kid who acquired superpowers by chance.

RELATED: MCU: Ranking All The Villains In Phase Three

As a businessman getting rich off of selling weapons to criminals, Toomes is a lot like the MCU’s original hero, Tony Stark, but without the money and desire to do the right thing.

2 Mysterio: He Managed To Destroy Peter’s Life From Beyond The Grave

Although Spidey managed to thwart Mysterio’s evil plan in London, the mid-credits scene reveals him to have a diabolical backup plan to destroy Peter’s life from beyond the grave.

Just when Peter is beginning his relationship with MJ and Mysterio’s reign of terror seems to be over, J. Jonah Jameson broadcasts doctored footage of the battle in London that pins the whole thing on Spidey and reveals his secret identity to be Peter Parker. Thanks to Mysterio, Peter faces the worst predicament of his life going into the next movie, Spider-Man: No Way Home.

1 The Vulture: He Has A Lot In Common With Peter

Throughout Spider-Man: Homecoming, Adrian Toomes makes a lot of good points about Peter’s friendship with Tony Stark. Toomes is a working-class guy who had to struggle to make a living, while Stark is an entitled billionaire who never had to work for anything.

Peter has a lot more in common with Toomes than Stark. For all intents and purposes, he should’ve made a more suitable father figure. Unfortunately, he’s also a supervillain, so he’s at odds with Peter’s central philosophy.

NEXT: 8 Ways Sony Can Continue Spidey's MCU Arc

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