One Scene From Sam Raimi's Spider-Man Proves Just How Well-Written the Villain Was
Green Goblin's motivation can be explained from a psychological point of view.
We all love Sam Raimi ’s Spider-Man trilogy for so many reasons, and the villains are definitely one of the big ones. The baddies in his movies are complex characters, and most of the time, you can totally get why they do what they do.
One scene from the first Spider-Man movie truly proves the brilliance of the villain writing in this film. We're focusing on Norman Osborn, also known as the Green Goblin, portrayed by the fantastic Willem Dafoe.
In the movie, there's a scene where Norman is told that he's being ousted from his own company, Oscorp. This might seem like just another plot point, but if you look closely, you'll see that it's so much more than that.
This scene is a masterclass in character writing, as it subtly shows Norman going through all five stages of grief. The five stages of grief, introduced by Swiss-American psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
First, we see Norman in denial. He's shocked, unable to believe what's happening. He exclaims, "You can't do this to me!" It's a raw, human reaction that immediately makes us empathize with him, despite his villainous role.
Next, we see his anger. He shouts, "You know how much I sacrificed?" This line has become a meme but it also reveals how committed he was to Oscorp and how painful this betrayal is.
Then comes the bargaining stage. Norman pleads, "Oh, Max, please..." It's a desperate attempt to regain control, to change the course of events. It's heartbreaking to see this powerful character brought to his knees. But it doesn’t last long.
Following this, we see Norman's depression. We see how crushed Norman is as he keeps silent for some time, trying to understand what just happened. It's a quiet, subdued moment that contrasts sharply with his previous outbursts.
Finally, we see acceptance. Norman doesn't say anything at this stage, but his smile speaks volumes. The smile on his face signifies not only that he accepts the rules of the game, but also that he has already come up with a game plan. Eventually, The Green Goblin kills all of the members of the board.