Kingpin, or Wilson Fisk, is a villain you wouldn’t assume is an imposing villain from the offset. He has no superpowers and is portrayed as heavyset, usually using a cane to walk. If it wasn’t for his signature white suit and cigar you might not be able to tell he’s a villain. Yet he’s become a terrifying foe for Spiderman, Daredevil’s archenemy, and one of my favorite supervillains of all time.
Wilson Fisk, AKA Kingpin, was a villain first introduced in 1967 in The Amazing Spider-man #50. His appearance was based off of heavyset actors like Sydney Greenstreet and Robert Middleton. Kingpin is a crime lord who uses his wealth and influence to oppress New York City. Oftentimes he’s shown as having a philanthropic side, and has donated to several charities.
Canonically, Kingpin started off as poor, living in New York City and being bullied due to his weight. He ended up becoming the bully and grew to be the bodyguard and eventual right hand man to crime boss Don Rigoletto. Kingpin’s influence grew over time, and he became one of the most powerful crime leaders of New York City.
Like Doc Ock, Kingpin’s comic history is long, but unlike Doc Ock, while the character has changed over time, the general trend of the character has remained consistent. He has a large amount of power and influence, but then for some reason, usually something regarding his wife and greatest weakness Vanessa, or some other love interest, he loses his influence. He leaves the criminal life for a while, which could either mean having to relocate to Japan or going to prison. For one reason or another he always becomes a criminal again.
Like The Joker, Kingpin’s portrayal has shifted despite his character remaining the same. In his initial portrayal, he was a crime lord who was more hands on then most other bosses. Then he became more of a traditional supervillain with wacky devices to help aid his criminal actions. Then the ‘80s hit, which is when the Bronze Age occurred in DC comics, and Kingpin went through a similar transformation to DC villains. He became a scheming, cold-blooded crime leader who uses his intelligence and influence to commit crime. This portrayal remains.
Film and Television
Kingpin has been portrayed in a number of films and TV shows in a similar light to how he’s treated in the comics. His first appearance was in 1968 in the Spiderman animated series, and has been included in a number of animated series’ since then. His first live action appearance was in a TV movie called The Trial of the Incredible Hulk. He was also portrayed by Michael Clarke Duncan in the movie Daredevil, who had to gain 40 pounds for the role. His most recent movie appearance was in 2018’s Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse where he was voiced by Liev Shrieber.
None of these compare to Vincent D’Onofrio’s incredible and highly underrated performance in Netflix’s Daredevil. D’Onofrio beforehand was mainly known for character roles. His biggest role was Gomer Pyle in Fullmetal Jacket. Yet he was able to deliver in Daredevil one of the best TV acting performances of all time. Here Wilson Fisk has a composed anger that’s evident in each of his lines. He speaks with an intonation that’s both terrifying and gripping to watch.
Despite how meager he seems based off of description, Kingpin proves to be an incredible villain and one of Marvel’s best in my opinion. I think Kingpin is so intriguing as an antagonist because he’s one of the most realistic characters in the Marvel canon. There are a million Kingpins out there, from Jeff Bezos to Mark Zuckerberg. And while we can’t beat them up, we can watch Daredevil fight Kingpin.
User Review( votes)