When Kingpin debuted in The Amazing Spider-Man Flight. 1 #50, he became a mainstay of New York’s criminal element. While his stature and physical build are certainly a terrifying first impression for criminals and heroes alike, the Kingpin’s real asset has always been his incredible intelligence.
The Kingpin’s combination of raw strength and surprising cunning is why he’s been such a thorn in New York’s side. Not to mention, his animosity with Spider-Man and Daredevil made him the perfect villain for any adaptation.
9 Spider Woman (1979)
Despite only appearing in one episode, Kingpin is making waves in the Spider-Woman series by outright revealing her secret identity on national television. In classic Kingpin fashion, he makes full use of the information he has about the heroes to blackmail and bully them into submission.
However, this version of the Kingpin acts a little too rough and simple than the Kingpin should be. Not to mention he’s disappointingly small, standing only shoulder height from Jessica Drew’s Spider-Woman. Honestly, he also looks a little chunky. While it’s always possible to make Kingpin intimidating without physics, it definitely wasn’t the right way to do it.
8 The Trial of the Incredible Hulk (1989)
In The trial of the Incredible Hulk, Matt Murdock must save the Hulk in court from Kingpin’s machinations. Unfortunately, Wilson Fisk’s very first live appearance was a bit of a dud. In an era of movies where shady evil businessmen with high-tech gadgetry were a common archetype for villains, this depiction of the Kingpin doesn’t do much to be different from that mold.
While John Rys-Davies certainly had the acting chops and chewed something fierce into the landscape, there was no sign of the Kingpin’s physically intimidating aura. He was less of a stoic figure of quiet rage and more of a crazed egomaniac, who while entertaining, didn’t feel very Kingpin at all. Plus he’s not bald, he’s a massive dealbreaker. At the very least, John-Rhys Davies looked like he had a lot of fun.
7 Spiderman (1967)
Kingpin’s very first screen appearance was straightforward, but also a great introduction to the character. Due to the nature of being a ’60s kids’ show, it’s not exactly a deep dive into Wilson Fisk as a human being. Instead, he focuses on being a scary businessman with incredible strength.
Kingpin makes his criminal debut by effortlessly slamming the wooden door to J. Jonah’s office with a single swing of his cane and kidnapping him to spin a story that paints a bad picture of his business. Audiences are already seeing the roots of what Kingpin should be. A cunning and ruthless businessman, but also incredibly tough and strong. worthy of a man of his size.
6 Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends (1981)
This version also draws a lot of inspiration from the 60s portrayal of the Kingpin. Stanley Jones lends a deep, authoritative voice to this version of the Kingpin. It doesn’t do anything particularly new with the character, but it goes a long way to explaining the traits audiences saw in the ’60s show.
In his spare time, Wilson Fisk is shown taking on three martial arts masters at once and wiping the floor with them, even asking to fight eight more next time. At the same time, he conducts meetings and business plans while lifting huge dumbbells which he bends after use, simply because he is strong enough to do so and rich enough to replace them. It’s a great, classic portrayal of the Kingpin and would be a touchstone of the character moving forward.
5 Spider-Man: The New Animated Series (2003)
Michael Clarke Duncan lends his charming baritone voice in this very Daredevil (2003) version inspired by the Kingpin. This depiction of the Kingpin retains both the chic and refined aura of Michael Clarke Duncan’s Kingpin and the inhumanly violent rage that is unleashed when its buttons have been pushed all the way.
A unique quirk given to Kingpin in the series is his monster appetite. Despite his air of class, his taste for food can be summed up as “yes please”. His introduction has him devouring a hamburger, and during a meeting, he drinks an entire pitcher of coffee which he has topped with an absurdly tall mountain of whipped cream. A daunting yet surprisingly hilarious portrayal of the character.
4 Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
It’s the the biggest Pivot from afar, and In the spider verse fully exploits this fact. He speaks with a strong New York accent, provided by Liev Schreiber, and is surprisingly flippant in his conversations. However, one trait this version of the Kingpin focuses on is his anger. This Kingpin is defined by his anger, towards Spider-Man and his failures as a father.
His tragic story here, indirectly causing the death of his wife and son, feeds into the crime lord’s whole plan. Fisk funnels a presumably large sum of money for an interdimensional machine just to get rid of the guilt. This is a version of the Kingpin who apparently already has everything, but is willing to drop everything to be with his family again, and that’s why this Kingpin is one of the best characters in the movie.
3 Daredevil (2003)
The second live performance of the Kingpin and considered by many to be one of the two good reasons why 2003 daredevil wasn’t as bad as people thought, Michael Clarke Duncan brings a physique and class to the role that wouldn’t be replicated until Vincent D’Onofrio took the role more than a decade later.
Unlike D’Onofrio’s Fisk, however, this Kingpin was far less emotional. Instead, he was a Kingpin who was on top of the world and never questioned himself. It’s all business for this Kingpin, but don’t get me wrong, it’s all very personal. His physique is also the most intimidating of any live performance, rippling with muscle and sinew once the handsome costume comes off. It’s a menacing portrayal that deserved a much better movie.
2 Netflix’s Daredevil (2015)
Vincent D’Onofrio’s debut as the Kingpin took the world by storm. Not only was his appearance perfect for the comics, but his portrayal of the Kingpin was also unparalleled. Unlike the confident swagger of Michael Clarke Duncan, this Fisk is much more calculating and cautious.
Despite all of this, he also retains the Kingpin’s emotional restlessness, and his weakness for Vanessa is central to his character. Over the course of three seasons, Wilson Fisk is built not just as an intimidating crime lord, but as an all-too-real human being. The dichotomy between soft-spoken and surprisingly cultured Fisk with the violent outbursts of the Kingpin makes D’Onofrio’s performance a masterpiece.
1 Spider-Man: The Animated Series (1994)
Roscoe Lee Brown’s portrayal of the Kingpin is the best animated portrayal of the Kingpin. Combining the more over-the-top physical aspects of his comic book counterpart with a surprisingly grounded backstory and personality. In a way, it combines the best aspects of D’Onofrio’s Kingpin’s emotional family ties and Duncan’s criminal businessman’s confident aura.
Since this Kingpin has the benefit of being in an anime series, he can also show off his absurd physical strength, without the aid of superpowers. Unlike any other depiction, this Kingpin spends most of his time winning against Spider-Man and guarantees that every conflict will end with some benefit to him. When it comes to the Kingpin, the 1994 animated series is the quintessential representation.
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