‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2′: Set Pics Reveal Paul Giamatti as a Rampaging Rhino

Bryan Enk
Movie Talk

Paul Giamatti as the Rhino ... it makes us giggle every time.

One of Spider-Man's most famous villains (or at least, according to writer Mike Conroy, one of his dimmest) is making his live-action feature debut in "The Amazing Spider-Man 2," and some new set photos offer the first look at the "Sideways" star as Aleksei Mikhailovich Sytsevich, aka the Rhino.

Sytsevich, a Silver Age character created by writer Stan Lee and artist John Romita, Sr., made his comics debut in "The Amazing Spider-Man" #41 (Oct. 1966). A thug-for-hire for an Eastern Bloc country, Sytsevich volunteered to be the test subject in an experiment (you see where this is going, right?) that bonded a super-strong polymer to his skin, which also increased his strength and speed ... and subsequently inspired him to ram his head through walls. The Rhino was killed off in "Hulk" Vol. 2, #104 (June 1968), though his popularity earned him a resurrection, from which he went on to be a frequently-appearing character in the adventures of both Hulk and Spider-Man.

Gamers will also remember the Rhino as a particularly difficult (and extremely loud) foe to defeat in Activision's "Ultimate Spider-Man" (2005), one of the villain's many video game appearances.

The set pics feature Paul Giamatti without his, uh, Rhino-skin, sporting instead a black and white Adidas sweat jacket, plenty of gold bling around his neck and lots of tattoos on his forehead, chest and forearms, which probably denote some sort of gang affiliation (or were acquired while doing some hard time). As he faces off with the wall-crawler, Giamatti's Sytsevich is also behind the wheel of a semi truck -- certainly an effective tool to implement in crashing through walls if one doesn't have his Rhino-head yet.

Plot details of "The Amazing-Spider-Man 2" have been kept under wraps, so it's unknown as to how the Rhino fits into this new adventure. We do know, however, that he's just one of several villains in the sequel, as Jamie Foxx is headlining the show as Max Dillon/Electro and Chris Cooper will be following in Willem Dafoe's footsteps as Norman Osborn, who's destined to become the Green Goblin at some point. Dane DeHaan is also appearing as Harry Osborn, though we assume that he'll be in "friend" mode to Peter Parker for at least the majority of the film's running time.

"The Amazing Spider-Man 2" opens May 2, 2014.