Dating all the way back to the Green Goblin‘s debut in 1964, Spider-Man has always been in a conflict of some sort with the evil alter-ego of Norman Osborn. As often is the case with supervillains, Green Goblin is usually depicted as the delusional one concocting an egomaniacal scheme that only makes sense in his mind. However, one comic proves that there may be at least one moment in Sam Raimi’s first Spider-Man movie where the Green Goblin was making sense.
Viewers may recall the rooftop scene where Norman Osborn’s darker half tries to persuade Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man to form an alliance. The bulk of his pitch focuses on trying to convince Peter that no matter how much good he does for New York, the city won’t appreciate it and will eventually turn on him. “The one thing they love more than a hero is to see a hero fail. Fall. Die trying,” Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin whispers to the rookie hero. “In spite of everything you’ve done for them, eventually they will hate you.”
Goblin’s sentiments are echoed in Marvel Knights: Spider-Man #1 by Mark Millar and Terry Dodson. During a fight with Green Goblin, a person in the crowd tells Spidey to hit him with a mailbox. But when he does, the crowd person then scolds Spider-Man for hitting him with a mailbox and potentially giving the villain brain damage. Then, after Spider-Man specifically tells a nearby kid to not touch a bomb, the kid and the rest of the crowd chastise the Wall-Crawler for the bomb going off and for Spider-Man himself being too wounded to swing the kid to the hospital. The crowd threatens to call the police on him.
Spider-Man just saved the city from a Goblin attack, and instead of being thanked, he’s criticized. He even takes a suggestion from the crowd to deliver the winning blow, and yet he’s reprimanded by the same person who suggests it. It proves Goblin’s point that no matter how many times he saves people, many of those same people are going to be unappreciative of Spider-Man, which is a bittersweet irony for a hero like him.
Peter Parker has only ever been New York’s friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. It’s not like he is begging to be thanked or appreciated for what he does, as that’s not the reason why Spider-Man becomes a superhero to begin with. Even in that aforementioned Raimi rooftop scene, when questioned about why he bothers to fight for unappreciative citizens, Spider-Man responds that it’s simply the right thing to do. Spider-Man remains consistent in this approach to crimefighting in this comic, but it only goes to show that for once in his life, the Green Goblin was right.
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