Count me in on hating it when every villain a hero faces has to have a personal connection to him. I don't necessarily have a problem with it in origin tales, but it gets really annoying when it is continued in the sequels. The chief example of this would be Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy. The Green Goblin is his best friend's father. I have no problem with that. It is supposed to be that way. Even making Doctor Octavius his idol was tolerable because it was done in an interesting way. Retconning Sandman as the person who killed Uncle Ben took it too far though. That and making every villain a victim of a science experiment gone bad. One can only imagine the same thing would have happened with The Vulture in the unmade fourth film and it obviously would have been done for The Lizard if Raimi actually ever got around to using the character. On a side note, I do find it a bit hilarious that Raimi's Spidey flicks line up so well with the Superman films...........................and to a fault, considering the similarities between Supes OOO and Spidey 3. One can only hope that if he had made Spider-Man IV, that it would not have fit Superman IV.
One series I haven't taken issue with in terms of "personal connection" yet is Iron Man. Again, it made sense to use Stane as the villain in the first one, as it makes it a whole lot easier to introduce a villain that the hero already knows when dealing with an origin tale. As for the second one, while the botched it in the writing, I did like the whole "living in the shadow of your parent's successes & mistakes" motif they had going on Stark and Vanko. It was a good idea that ended up being half-baked by shoving too much else into the flick. As much as I liked Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer, his inclusion and the constant bombardment of Avengers set-ups (Widow, the new element, random references, etc.) really ate up a lot of the running time. Stark's only conflicts should have been with a Ten Rings-backed Whiplash and his legal issues with the US Government.....................paving the way for a more epic Armor Wars-themed third installment. As stoked as I am that The Avengers hits screens next year, they really should have made three Iron Man movies before doing the team-up film. Oh well......
Another superhero pet peeve? Bad third installments. If you can craft a decent (or even good) second film, is it REALLY that hard to make a solid third one? Superman III, Blade: Trinity, X-Men: The Last Stand, and Spider-Man III are all disappointments. Hell, Superman IV: The Quest For Peace and X-Men Origins: Wolverine are even worse. Is it really that hard to take the time to craft a good story? I really hope that The Dark Knight Rises and Iron Man III can break the curse.
Another one? Shooting your wad all it once by jam-packing villains into a film. It can work if you do it like Batman Begins by having a big baddie (Ra's Al Ghul) and a lesser one (Scarecrow) that acts more as a henchman. Or you can have the heavy (Kingpin) hire a freelancer to take the hero down (Bullseye). Hell, even having a new villain alongside a return one in a supporting role works (ala General Zod & Lex Luthor). Using popular villains as third act fodder is a BIG no-no (Bane, Venom, Deadpool, Phoenix, etc.). The only instance in which the latter has actually worked was The Dark Knight and that is only because Harvey Dent's fall from grace was a main plot point. If they had managed to pull off something similar with Eddie Brock in Spider-Man III (minus the death), there would be a whole lot less complaints from the fans. Shortchanging popular characters is a sure-fire way to piss off fans and you are also shooting yourself in the foot when it comes to figuring out a villain for the next film. Want to toss in a few extra villains for third act fodder? No problem. Just make sure you pick second and third tier villains. The main audience might not recognize them, but if you choose wisely you can end up with a few that look great on film..........................in which case they won't care because they are watching something cool.
Bringing us back to Spider-Man III, an easy thing to do would have been to have two prisoners escape and get mixed up in the experiment. One becomes Sandman.............the other Scorpion or Rhino or someone else. They wreck havoc together and end up being hired by Harry to help him take out Spidey. In the end, Harry changes his mind and there is a huge battle between the four at the construction site. You still get multiple villains for toys and fans get to see a couple of rogues that they thought they might never see in action because they weren't popular enough. Meanwhile, you can slowly weave Eddie Brock into the plot so that he is already introduced before you make him the villain in the next film. Or whatever.
Pet Peeve #4 - Making up villains because you are too lazy to comb through back issues to find one that already exists. I absolutely LOVE the fact that Nolan used mobsters from the comics in his Batman films, instead of just making up his own. Hell, this really applies to any characters. Why make up a love interest, reporter, politician, cop, friends, etc. when there are likely countless examples to chose from within the source material. Chances are you are adapting something that has been in constant print for decades, so there is bound to be any type of character that you can think of just waiting to be used. It's lazy and insulting to not only the fans, but to the creators. Hell, you don't even have to read through the issues yourself! Just call up DC or Marvel. I'm sure you can find someone on the staff who would be more than willing to help you find a character in the material that fits your needs.