Now, even the most ardent admirers of the original Lee/Ditko Spidey villains probably aren't jumping up and down at the prospect of seeing The Vulture on screen. After all, he's an old guy who flies - how exciting is that? I mean, after seeing The Green Goblin, Doc Ock, the Sandman, and Venom - all villains with pretty neat sets of powers - make their live-action debuts, The Vulture seems to be a big "so what?" But the more I think about it, the more I think that everyone - besides Raimi - is selling The Vulture's cinematic potential short. The possibilities for dizzying, vertiginous ariel battles would be ideal for Raimi to realize and instead of just an old coot flapping his wings, Raimi's Vulture could be a sleeker, swifter, more stealth presence - a villain that can strike with lightning speed, dive bombing his prey from great heights. And from a character standpoint, I think it'd be interesting to show someone who is feeble and nonthreatening on the ground that becomes lethal in the sky.
If Raimi has it in his head that The Vulture is his guy, then I have to think he's already got big plans for how he wants to use him. And the news that John Malkovich is cast sounds perfect. He's younger than the Vulture of the comics, but then again, if you cast the Vulture to look as old as he does in the books, he'd have to be one step away from a pile of dust. You'd have to cast Abe Vigoda, basically.
In the wake of bar-raising critical and commercial success of The Dark Knight, and given the general dissatisfaction with how Spider-Man 3 turned out, I have to imagine Raimi wants to come back to Spidey in a big way and restore some luster to the franchise. If Sony would only relent and let Raimi go with the high-flying Vulture, I have a feeling that the sky could be the limit.