‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2′: Get To Know The Rhino

After a look at Paul Giamatti's villain, fans wonder how faithful the Spider-Man sequel is to its Marvel Comics origin.

As “The Amazing Spider-Man 2″ speeds through its shooting schedule, a lot of focus has been placed on Jamie Foxx and his villain character, Electro. But another foe has emerged to give Spider-Man a hard time.

This past weekend, Paul Giamatti stepped behind the wheel of an 18-wheeler on the set of “Amazing Spider-Man 2″ as Aleksei Sytsevich, the man also known as the Rhino. While we’ve yet to see Giamatti don Rhino’s signature horned helmet, the first set photos of the character prove that Marc Webb is remaining relatively faithful to the villain’s Marvel Comics roots.

The Rhino first appeared in “Amazing Spider-Man” #41 in 1966. The villain is only the second big-screen Spider-Man villain not co-created by legendary artist Steve Ditko (the first being Venom in “Spider-Man 3″). The Rhino was created by writer Stan Lee and Ditko’s successor as “Amazing Spider-Man” artist, John Romita. Here’s how the character created by Stan Lee and John Romita stacks up against Marc Webb and Paul Giamatti’s creation.

He Lives A Thug Life
The only thing we know for sure about Giamatti’s Rhino is that he’s a thug for the Russian mafia. This is right in line with the character’s comic book origin. Sure, members of the Russian mafia in the mid-’60s most likely favored fedoras over forehead tattoos, and the suit Aleksei is wearing is actually a tracksuit, but the profession remains the same.

He’s Gone Toe-To-Toe With The Hulk
Two years after his debut, Marvel put the super strong Rhino up against their behemoth, the Hulk. The Rhino was hired to kidnap Bruce Banner, not knowing that a rampaging giant lurked within Banner’s genetic code. After transforming into the Hulk, Rhino didn’t stand a chance. The villain actually died at the Hulk’s hands, before fan demand brought the character back to life a few years later. This clash of the titans can’t happen on the big screen, though, since each character is owned by different movie studios.

There’s A Softer Side To The Rhino
It was eventually revealed that Aleksei joined the Russian mafia to provide for his family, often sending money back to Russia after earning it in America. The Rhino even retired recently, turning himself over to the authorities and serving jail time before being given early parole for good behavior. He met and married a woman named Oksana and lived a quiet life in Yonkers, before a new, more violent Rhino showed up and forced him back into his past lifestyle.

The Suit Makes The Man
While gamma radiation provided Aleksei with the super strength, speed and durability one would need in order to be un-ironically called “the Rhino,” it’s his suit that makes the villain even more formidable. The suit is made of a thick polymer that recreates the texture of a rhinoceros hide and enhances his already superhuman abilities. The suit also gives the Rhino his trademark horn, which he often uses to deadly effect. We’re still waiting to see what the film’s version of the suit will look like. It could be as comic-accurate as Spider-Man’s new suit, or it could be as radical a departure as Electro’s new blue look.

He’s One Of The Sinister Six
Spider-Man has the best villains this side of Batman, and they often team up to form a deadly group called the Sinister Six. The Rhino first appeared as a member in the ’90s “Spider-Man” cartoon series and has appeared with the team in Spidey’s other long-running cartoons (“Spectacular Spider-Man” and “Ultimate Spider-Man). He didn’t join the comic book version of the team until recently during the Big Time era of “Amazing Spider-Man.” Electro was also a member of the Six during this time, which makes us wonder if Marc Webb is trying to set up his own Sinister Six in time for “The Amazing Spider-Man 3.” After all, “Amazing Spider-Man 2″ includes potential villains Norman and Harry Osborn (Chris Cooper and Dane DeHaan). Add them to Jamie Foxx and Paul Giamatti’s bad guys and we’re just two shy of a big screen Sinister Six.

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