The Green Goblin That Might Have Been
Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man gets a lot of love. It stays pretty faithful to the origin story of the character, and does a good job of showing Spider-Man in action as he swings around the city (and even though James ‘Terminator/Avatar” Cameron did a story scriptment in the nineties for his aborted Spider-Man, which you can read here, it wasn’t until the naughties that special effects really developed where this was feasible). Tobey Maguire was a left-field choice for Peter Parker, as the studio were probably rooting for James Van Der Beek or whichever meathead jock was currently in vogue with the tweenies at the time: I know that Raimi had to fight to get him cast.
But the villain… the villain was a misfire. The Green Goblin has never been the most well thought-through character in the comics (is the goblin alter-ego a costume he wears? Is the goblin get-up some sort of symbiotic technology? Or, is he fully a monster? The comics have never seemed very clear.) Still, anything was better than the much-derided Power Rangers costume that we got.
Or so the story goes. Personally, I think the film has more problems than the villain: it’s over-earnest; has Peter Parker bubbling all the way through it, and even though Maguire was well cast, he keeps saying ‘oh boy’; it has rasping, over-long speeches from Uncle Ben, Dead Uncle Ben, and (I wish she was dead) Aunt May. These problems are even worse in the second Spider-Man film — even though the villain was better — and when combined with the ‘too many cooks’ lop-sided plotting of the third one (and excessive studio interference), it adds up to a series of movies best consigned to nostalgic memory. Hey, at the time I was glad they didn’t totally fuck up Spider-Man as well.
And now that I’ve finished knifing Raimi’s Spider-Man (yet again), here’s the recently released test footage of the Green Goblin done as as an animatronic mask instead of a robot suit. It’s pretty cool, although I’m not entirely sure how the eyes would have worked:
Here’s some great concept art for the Green Goblin that might have been, including some concepts that seem more than enamoured with Giger’s Alien design:
These aren’t the only alternative designs for the Green Goblin. Famed photo-realistic comicbook painter Alex Ross was asked to paint some concepts up for the first Spider-Man movie:
An awesome sculptor by the name of Tony Spangler made a sculpt of this suit: