Amazing Spider-Man 2: Meet Max Dillon / Electro

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Set against this love story, of course, is Spider-Man’s vow to protect New York. As the hero’s greatest battle begins in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, it was important to the filmmakers to put in his way the toughest obstacle the hero has yet faced. At the same time, they wanted a villain deeply rooted in Spider-Man lore: a tragic figure, even sympathetic in some ways, but one who makes the wrong choices that lead him into evil and opposition against Spider-Man.

“Marvel villains are also victims of circumstance. They deal with their issues and pain by doing the wrong things, hence, becoming villains,” says Arad. “Although they have their everyday problems like everybody else, unlike Spider-Man, they cannot tell right from wrong. Electro is a prime example. Max Dillon is an underdog, not a villain – you want to feel badly for him. He’s a man who has been ignored his whole life. But when he becomes Electro, he wants recognition, at all costs. Electro, the villain, is taking out his frustration and anger on humanity, specifically targeting Spider-Man. No good deed goes unpunished.”

“Spider-Man is the most visible person in New York – you pit that against Max Dillon, who is quite literally almost invisible,” Kurtzman explains. “He says, ‘I wish everybody could see me the way they see Spider-Man.’ He fantasizes about Spider-Man – even thinking that they’re best friends, based on one interaction. All he wants is to be recognized for what he does well – which is what we all want.”

Max was once Spider-Man’s greatest fan, but, as Electro, becomes his greatest foe. “No one remembers his name, no one cares if he comes to work, he has no family, no one to care about or to care about him,” Arad continues. “He has one role model, one friend in his mind, and it’s Spider-Man. But when he misinterprets one of Spider-Man’s actions, he feels betrayed. It hardens him. Things fall apart. And he becomes Electro. Max was living in the dark, unnoticed; as Electro, he’ll take away everyone’s power, and they will know what it was like to live that way. That’s a great villain.”

“Max is a very, very smart guy, a guy who should be celebrated for building big things for Oscorp,” explains Jamie Foxx, who takes on the role. “Max should be getting a company car and an expense account – and instead, he gets nothing. He resents it, but he doesn’t know how to react. He’s ready to lash out, but he doesn’t know how.”

Max finds a way to lash out – against the very person who was once his idol. “Spider-Man was the one person who did seem to notice Max, who said his name,” Foxx points out. “As Max, he feels that Spider-Man was his friend. Actually, because of that, he becomes obsessed – pictures on his wall, that kind of thing. He takes it very seriously. But later, after Max gets his powers and comes to Times Square, Spider-Man tries to stop Max from hurting himself and innocent New Yorkers. Max feels betrayed by his hero. He tragically misinterprets what Spider-Man is trying to do. He sees Spider-Man getting all the glory, at his expense – even though it’s not what Spider-Man intended. But it doesn’t matter – to Max, that’s a betrayal.”

Tolmach explains why Jamie Foxx was the actor that was ideal for the role. “The character called for someone who could break your heart – a guy who could be genuinely sympathetic and quiet, a guy you’d bump into on the street and pay no attention to – the guy who has so much inside but is overlooked by everybody,” Tolmach explains. “But the character also called for someone who could embody this powerful force when everything goes terribly wrong – the alter ego of that quiet, sympathetic man – an extrovert, loud and bombastic. Jamie Foxx was perfect for that.”

Continuing, Tolmach recalls Foxx’s performance in the 2001 film Ali as part of the reason he was so sure that Foxx was the man for the job. “He played Bundini Brown, a beautifully soft-spoken, sympathetic, and vulnerable man,” he says. “I always remembered that magical performance. We’ve all seen Jamie filled with bravado and his voice is so powerful, and he’s unbelievably charismatic and funny, but that performance showed the other side. It’s an incredibly rare combination of qualities.”

Still, before taking the role, Foxx was counseled by one of his closest advisors about what would be in store for him as Electro. “When I told my daughter that I was going to be in a Spider-Man movie, she said, ‘Who are you gonna play?’ I said, ‘Electro.’ She said, ‘Oh, Dad, you know you’re gonna get beat up. You know that, right?’”

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