Frame By Frame Review: Spider-Man TAS Enter the Green Goblin
Before we start I should apologise for taking so long doing another one of these reviews. These things take a lot of time and effort to do, coupled with the fact that every review seems to get longer, and recently I haven’t had the time needed to put the effort in. I will be trying to do more since this was especially fun to do once I got going. If I don’t, then enjoy this Christmas treat!
These reviews look at a single episode of a show, usually an incredibly silly one, and go through it bit by bit looking at each moment in turn. As well as poking fun, adding sarcastic comments to the mix, and over thinking ever minor detail. This time we’re going back to the (not so) classic review favourite, the 1994 Spider-Man TAS with the first appearance of the Green Goblin!
Some background: As mentioned way back in the Hobgoblin review the Hobgoblin was done just because they’d already made the toys of him so they had to use him instead of the Green Goblin; despite showrunner John Semper strongly objecting to it. The problem with that is more complicated than just “Green came first in the comics” that it usually gets summed up as. The Green Goblin is one of Spider-Man’s long standing foes and considered his archvillain, but at the beginning he was just a crazy guy in a mask and flying broomstick trying to kill Spidey, and just kept getting away at the end. We only got to see a mysterious man under the mask and never his face as he tried to control the criminal underworld, mainly by killing Spidey since it was 60s storytelling. Eventually the Goblin found out Peter was Spider-Man and kidnapped him, revealing his own identity as Norman Osborn in the process. Amnesia happened to keep Norman from going to jail and stopped him revealing Peter’s identity, again because 60s logic. That eventually led to the death of Peter’s girlfriend Gwen Stacy and the death of Norman, impaled by his own glider.
After all that they wanted another Green Goblin and Roger Stern, deciding not to bring back Norman or wanting to use any of the others, made the Hobgoblin. A man who found a cache of Goblin weapons and journals by Norman and improved the formula that gave the Goblin his strength but he made sure it wouldn’t turn him insane. And a ten year long mystery over his identity was born, but that’s a story for another time. Essentially the Hobgoblin is the Green Goblin but sane, and that’s what made him a formidable and scary foe; he needs to have this Goblin legacy in order for that to exist. There are ways around this, and having Norman come up with the Hobgoblin weapons is a nice idea. But then comes the rub, it turns the Green Goblin into a derivative of the Hobgoblin. Even more so because they said they said it wasn’t Norman that came up with the Hobgoblin identity. They tried really hard to fix that, which probably made things worse.
Enough about all that as I ask you all to forget it and pretend this is your first time hearing the name Green Goblin as I look at:
Before starting proper I should point out we’re in season 3 and from season 2 they started putting arc titles above the episode title. This started because they had a season long arc and it got used every time afterwards, even without a specific arc running through a season. So we get things like “Sins of the Fathers” which isn’t an arc but a general theme for the episodes, which doesn’t really fit several episodes and possibly only half of them depending on how you define “fathers.” And let’s not forget that the quote that comes from is, “punishing the children for the sin of the fathers” which fits even less episodes. But this episode isn’t the most erroneous example of this supposed theme so let’s crack on.
Getting started we open on Oscorp with Norman and his assistant, whom we’ve never seen before or since, Wardell Stromm. Named after Mendel Stromm from the comics who helped create the Goblin Formula before he screwed Osborn over and tried to kill Norman with robots. I have no idea why they renamed him “Wardell” instead of his actual name. It can’t be because it sounds better or more natural than Mendel.
Osborn and Stromm are mixing chemicals in some giant green vat as Stromm says they’ve been working eighteen hours straight. Which Osborn responds that they’ll keep working till they prefect the formula, and then he has a flashback. We see an Oscorp board of directors meeting as Anastasia Hardy, Felicia’s mother, is waving the latest Daily Bugle around, which is accusing Oscorp of making chemical weapons.
“A picture newspaper” you say? What next, “Daily Bugle, now in pop-up book form!”
I’ll get into the chemical weapons nonsense in a little bit as there’s some prime “saying something that sounds ‘cool’ and ‘modern’ without thinking about it” silliness there. The board consists of Norman, Anastasia, Wilson Fisk, J. Jonah Jameson, and some others that don’t get named, speak, aren’t important in any way, and are just there to fill space. Fisk says the news leak causes “grave problems for us all” which is a nice subtle nod to the Kingpin and his deal with Norman. Norman then shoves the blame on Jameson for printing the story. He doesn’t try to deny the allegations or claim ignorance of the whole thing; he does the petulant child thing of ‘it was fine when no one found out!’
Jameson points out he’s a journalist and has an obligation to inform the public. I like moments like this from Jonah; he has journalistic integrity and he cares about a story, when Spider-Man’s not involved that is. The flashback ends with Anastasia saying she’s going to try and get Norman replaced at the next meeting. Back in the present the Kingpin calls on Norman’s big screen video phone.
Ah cartoons and their wacky technology
They then have exposition for the audience. Seriously most of their conversation is reminding us that Norman is indebt to the Kingpin, why the Kingpin spoke out against the chemical weapons at the board meeting, and saying that if Norman doesn’t deliver the “gas” (that’s all they refer to it as, not even a generic name) then the Kingpin is going to “come after” them and their families.
Let’s quickly talk about the “chemical weapons” since this is a good a time as any. To start with they’re not really chemical weapons since, as we see later, it’s a super soldier formula which isn’t a chemical weapon but a performance enhancer and they could do the same plot points with calling it a more appropriate name. However chemical weapons sound more evil and illegal, even though there are a lot more legal complications than what this episode presents. It’s just a reason for a scandal against Osborn. I’m not quite sure why Oscorp now has a board of directors since supposedly Kingpin owned all of the company from way back in the first Spider Slayer review. But the board is a plot point so that has to stay, because doing something else would’ve taken more thought.
Back to the episode, Norman is angry and tries to rush their experiments while Stromm exposits that they might never get the gas to work and they have no idea how long the effects will last. Plot point! But Norman says ‘screw it’ and does it anyway and everything blows up because he didn’t “secure the airlock.” So the chemicals they were working with explode on contact with the air? Surely that should require a few more safety precautions than that.
So the entire place starts blowing up, I think the airlocks were the tip of a very large non-safety compliant iceberg as there’s clearly a lot of explosive material lying around not secured properly. Spidey sees Oscorp exploding and swings over, which cuts to Harry in his car as he hears about it on the radio in the middle of a traffic jam. Not quite sure how the radio got the news mere seconds after the explosion.
All that traffic and given how far away he is, it’s going to take him a good minute or so before he gets there
So we cut back to the towering inferno that is now Oscorp as Stromm and Osborn are running as things explode around them. They get separated by debris and Spidey swings in to grab Stromm and carry him outside. He tells Spidey that Norman’s still in there, no mention of anyone else or security guards. Seems Oscorp’s understaffed as well as lacking in safety protocols. So Spidey leaps back into the building and is nearly killed by some vats of green chemicals (ones that don’t explode on contact with the air) and a collapsing floor.
He gets out and says he barely survived that so it doesn’t look good for Norman, then he spots Harry in the building. As somehow Harry either managed to get there before or at the same time as Spidey did. That means Spidey web-swinging is as slow as a traffic jam or Harry is the Flash. Whatever sorts out the plot convenience. It doesn’t help that he refers to both of them as “Osborn” so it becomes rather silly when he’s thinking things like ‘I can’t find Osborn. Osborn? What’s he doing here?’ I don’t really get why they couldn’t have him call him ‘Harry’ since this was his thoughts and not saying anything out loud. Though given the amount of inner monologues they gave Spidey I imagine they couldn’t tell the difference between them and his actual dialogue after a while.
So Spidey grabs Osborn and hauls him outside as he’s screaming for his father as the fire department and police show up. He feels sorry about Harry since there’s no way Norman could’ve survived. Then he leaves because there’s nothing more he could do. Yes I can’t imagine what a hero with super strength, agility, and the ability to get to impossible to reach places, could possibly help out the fire department. It’s just funny to see Spidey just write off Norman so easily after helping out for all of five minutes.
We cut to Harry in the Oscorp board room as Fisk welcomes him in order to honour Norman’s memory. Since they’re voting in a successor he doesn’t have a role there other than to listen to people crap all over his dad. It’s just a bit cruel, but the real reason he’s there is to set him up as a red herring by saying the board betrayed his father, to establish that they didn’t find a body, and to show off three board members that don’t get any lines, names, or serve any importance other than to make the board not just three recurring characters.
I present filler character 1, 2, and 3. The most active extras in this show
So after Harry throws a tantrum Fisk says that since Norman’s death can’t be proven they shouldn’t decide on a successor just yet. It’s also funny hearing Harry say he’s, “Every bit the man [his] father was” since he’s just meant to be a whiney little child Norman can be disappointed in, in this show he really is ever bit the coward his father is. As Harry storms out Jameson wonders why he’d blame them for the death of his father. Well you see he doesn’t really have a good reason other than to set up what happens next.
We then cut to Stromm as he’s working on Norman’s computer/video phone when he gets a call from the Kingpin. This is the same computer that was right next to the exploding gas from the beginning, so how it survived the building exploding is anyone’s guess. Could’ve just used a regular phone, but it was the 90s. Anyway Kingpin orders Stromm to keep working on the gas because Oscorp blowing up has drawn people away from the chemical weapons investigation. I’m fairly sure that would be the top lead for why Oscorp blew up, since the authorities would have to investigate why it happened. It would also mean they’d have to be more cautious about the gas since they’d be inspectors coming in, making sure no hazardous chemicals got released, that sort of thing. Kingpin maybe should move Stromm and the experiments to another lab away from any prying investigation. But it doesn’t really matter past this scene; it could even be cut out as it’s that superfluous.
The next scene is unintentionally hilarious as one of the unnamed extras on the Oscorp board is having lunch outside in a café when an evil laugh makes him run away before getting grabbed by some unseen flying guy. There was no reason he would be so scared or think the laugh was targeted at him. He is also the only one running away from it.
Why is he the only one that can hear evil ominous laughs?
There is no reason for any of that to happen. Why was he more scared than anyone around him? How could he know it was targeted at him? Why am I thinking so much about an unnamed extra? Well if the show constructed its scenes better as to hold up against the barest of thought or scrutiny I wouldn’t be here.
Meanwhile Mary Jane tells Peter that Harry’s not returning her calls and she’s worried about him, so she wants Peter to check on him. She can’t go to his apartment herself because… reasons, I guess. It seems like a weird train of thought, ‘boyfriend’s dad died, boyfriend is unreachable by phone, so send best male friend to check on him.’ MJ is the worst girlfriend ever. (Oh, MJ and Harry started dating around the end of season 2, in case anyone’s confused as to why this is suddenly a thing.)
So instead of having Peter naturally wanting to check-up on his grieving best friend MJ has to ask him to do it, why? So they can have him inner monologue whine about him always finding himself “paying matchmaker” between the two. Also reminding us he loves her too, because the audience needs to be reminded of the blindingly obvious all the time, it seems. As Peter knocks on Harry’s door Harry yells at him to go away and slams the door, then opens the door to storm off while telling Peter he doesn’t want to talk to anyone. So was he already going out? If so why did he slam the door on Peter’s face the first time? Why not storm off dramatically the first time?
Why you so mad, Harry? I mean you’re dad just died, and your dog, and your mom is missing, and you’ve run out of that special hair dye you and your dead dad like to use, but other than that I can’t see why you’re so mad.
The kicker to all of this is Peter thinking “He doesn’t seem like himself.” That’s a big ‘no duh’ moment. His father just died; surely you should know what that’s like, Peter. You’ve lost three parents and somehow you’re absolutely no help to a grieving friend. Then, in the next scene, he’s swinging around as Spidey at night thinking that he “knows what it’s like to lose both parents” but also saying he “always had Aunt May” and doesn’t mention Uncle Ben at all. So did it take till nightfall for him to realise this or does he still think Harry is acting weird by being angry and wanting solitude for losing a father?
To take a break from Spidey’s terrible melodrama Jonah Jameson’s limo is attacked by the same laughing figure that nabbed that unnamed extra. Some very familiar gas bombs and flying toy glider are used as Jonah’s dragged behind the glider like he’s the catch of the day. Could this be the return of the Hobgoblin? Or maybe they spoiled this reveal in the title. We’ll find out soon enough.
Spidey spots this and swings after them concluding it could only be the Hobgoblin. No, didn’t you read the script? Well Jameson has because as soon as he stops the webslinger he’s already accusing him of being involved in his kidnapping. Every time he spots Spidey he has to blame him for whatever’s going wrong in his life. He doesn’t even care that the only thing keeping him from splatting on a New York sidewalk is a tow cable and whatever whims the kidnapper has.
So Spidey jumps onto the toy glider proclaiming he’ll stop the Hobgoblin, but it turns out it isn’t the Hobgoblin at all. He’s the Green Goblin! As he’s trying very hard to sound arrogant and tough he grabs Spidey’s wrists and squeezes them. Both displaying he has super strength and that he has the power of plot convenience because he’s accidently managed to crush Spidey’s webshooters too.
The Goblin has one thing going for him that Spidey doesn’t. He reads the script!
I do have to admit that this Goblin is being portrayed in a comic classic arrogant way, and also that he’s shown to be a tough foe for Spidey. But the voice fails, thus making everything he says fail too. Neil Ross does try but it’s a bit too high pitched so it borders on annoying. There’s also the laugh. It’s not great on it’s own but the problem is that they keep reusing it. Instead of having Ross record different laughs that fit in naturally with the scenes the sound editors just recycle the same laugh over and over again. So it just becomes stilted and grating. I’ll get back to the voice in a bit, because it does get worse.
So the Goblin detaches his glider away from the toy one, leaving Spidey to try and stop it crashing as the Goblin gets away with Jameson. He fails stupendously as the toy goes through an apartment building and meets up with the Goblin on the other side. Spidey’s now left inside the ruined building thinking about how there are two Goblins now and what he wants with Jameson.
The next day, after Spidey has fixed his webshooters, he goes to Oscorp reasoning that since Hobgoblin got his weapons there and Greenie’s are the same then that’s a good place to start looking. Oscorp’s security seems to be slacking off since Spidey can now just land on the main building and look through the giant windows without any problem. Maybe everything’s shut down since one of the buildings blew up, but surely someone would notice. The Hobgoblin, Spider Slayers, and even the Vulture attacks should have made Osborn triple security by now. Especially since he started out with robot tanks and robot helicopters.
But alas no as Spidey peaks in and spots Harry ripping through some blueprints
Don’t mind me! I’m just watching you rage quit
Spidey keenly observes that “he looks mad about something.” Because the audience need to be told that, apparently. You can’t let us figure stuff out on our own, can you show? So an apparently angry Harry storms out of the room as Spidey slips in through an air vent. A vent that connects straight from the outside window? That seems awfully secure.
He sees some of the blueprints are for goblin weapons and “Goblin muscle enhancing armour!” because superstrength from those performance enhancers Osborn was working on would’ve been unbelievable at this stage? Then the Goblin is seen flying away cementing the ‘Harry = red herring’ idea. It’s just the “muscle enhancing armour” that strikes me as unnecessary and only there to explain why “Harry” has superstrength, even though that’s not why the Goblin does.
But I just want to avoid our next establishing shot, the World Trade Center. Now that’s the cold uncomfortable reality of reviewing a show made in 1994. Thankfully nothing bad happens here, that we see at least. One of the other unnamed extra board members is there working late at night as the Green Goblin shows up outside his window. He starts talking to himself that his “collection is almost complete. Soon the final judgement can begin.” Then the scene cuts to later on where the CSI crew are taking pictures of a broken window. So we avoided any shots of the Goblin attacking the tower, though there’s an even more uncomfortable World Trade Center usage in another episode. Thankfully it’s one we won’t be covering for quite some time.
Detective Lieutenant Terri Lee, the regular recurring cop on this show that’s friends with Spider-Man (because there always needs to be one), comes in and shoos the CSI guys away. She’s just in time as Spidey shows up outside wanting to talk to her. She does the whole “why should I tell you anything?” routine that you’d think they’d be past after they stopped a vampire apocalypse with her vampire hunter boyfriend (it’s a VERY long story). But she tells him that the people being kidnapped are all on Oscorp board of directors. After that he swings away saying she better inform the other members as “this kidnapper moves like lightening.” Yes, lightening. That’s why on the second day of kidnappings he only has half the board. He’s not really lightening fast, more like speed of plot, since he surely could’ve taken them all by now.
Anyway Spidey’s going after Felicia’s mother reasoning she’ll be a target. But he might have t wait a few days for that lightening to strike. Also because of plot Felicia’s mom is staying with her instead of her mansion that’s a ways outside the city. Since rich people like spending money on buildings they don’t use, which is the most believable part of this. And the gods of plot convenience strike again because just as Spidey arrives the Goblin attacks.
He grabs Anastasia and Spidey jumps on his back, doesn’t do anything else mind you. He just grabs the Goblin and doesn’t seem to be trying anything to stop him. Anastasia’s doing more.
Do something! Anything! Threaten to bite his kneecaps off at least, since you’re about as useful as the Black Knight in a fight
Then after a choice comment about “leaving them both alone” Goblin decides to go back in for Felicia to do a “double jeopardy” moment where he has to save one or the other. But here’s a weird animation moment, how does he grab Felicia?
You’re not allowed to move till I set up my distraction; it’s in the player’s handbook, Spider-Man!
He just flies into the apartment carrying Anastasia with two hands and comes out a split second later carrying both of the Hardy’s in either hand. Spidey still on top, not moving or doing anything to stop this. Because it happens off-screen we’re meant to ignore it and not question why he hasn’t done anything to stop the Goblin.
Anyway the Green Goblin drops both of them, Spidey goes after Felicia even though he probably could’ve caught both, and the Goblin gets away with Anastasia. Spidey says he knew the Goblin wouldn’t have let Anastasia die and promises Felicia he’ll get her back.
We cut to the Kingpin in his private helicopter, having a cup of tea as served by a random manservant from the back. The Goblin starts attacking them, the pilot fires back with their laser cannons but they’re ineffective. Not like the Kingpin would beef up his weaponry to fight Goblins and other air opponents, no. That’d be actual continuity and showing that things don’t reset back to normal after an episode is done.
So the Goblin blows open the door and snags Kingpin on a cable. Sorry a “titanium reinforced cable” that he can’t break with his weight, because that needed explaining. They don’t bother to explain how the glider doesn’t break from the extra weight or even slow down. Redundant dialogue is redundant. Also writers’, titanium isn’t adamantium. It isn’t nearly as tough or unbreakable as TV and movies have made it out to be. I could also do without ever hearing the Green Goblin call Kingpin “big boy” ever again.
We then get a quick shot of a Daily Bugle reporting Kingpin’s kidnapping, which happened at night and probably the same night Anastasia was taken. So the question is, is this the same night and the Bugle got out an incredibly quick late edition or did another day pass? I’ll be generous and say it’s the same night and that it was a very long night. This’ll all be important later.
Oh hi, Peter. I’ve been waiting here for hours to drop some exposition on you
When Peter gets home Mary Jane is on his couch having some coffee, just waiting for him to inevitably get home. I’m just imagining her sitting there the whole night as he goes from one kidnap victim to the next. Just drinking her coffee. The reason why she’s there is because she’s still worried about Harry, maybe she’s actually talked to him once she ran out of friends to send.
She starts going on about thinking Harry might be the kidnapper because Harry has a dark side hidden deep deep down. Stuff about Harry growing up unloved and how he’s angry about it. You know, stuff they decided to tell us rather than show us. We do eventually get to see Harry’s “dark side” in the show and it’s even more pathetic than his regular self, believe it or not.
But the hilarious thing during MJ’s spiel about Harry is Peter’s inner monologging about how he also thinks it’s Harry and that if he told her then MJ might date him again. It’s quite clear he just stopped listening to her, even MJ notices. Maybe Peter if you did a lot less inner monologging and actually paid attention to her you could be going out with her. And the scene ends with him planting a Spider Tracer on her because he wants to stalk her thinking she’ll do something stupid or Harry might go after her for some reason. Who knows, it moves the plot forward and that’s what counts.
Next scene we’re at Oscorp, even later at night, as MJ sneaks into the cordoned off Oscorp building.
Nothing to see here, just sneaking into a building that blew up 4 days ago, but the lights are still on for some reason
So it turns out it was the main Oscorp building that blew up, or part of it did. Somehow it left the establishing shot untouched. To be fair, especially for this show since I know how hard it must’ve been for them to do this, in this establishing shot the back of the main Oscorp building looks ruined. So they did try. Even though it was the building off to the side of the main one that exploded, and there was no sign of it the previous time we went there. But they tired here.
But now MJ’s going around the ruined part of Oscorp, looking for something. Maybe a clue for the Scooby Gang! Maybe not because as soon as she enters a destroyed lab Harry walks in after her, giving her enough time to duck behind a lab table. She also decides to say “Harry” out loud and he somehow doesn’t hear her in the quiet burnt out building. Anyway he starts looking around, holding some blueprints, till he enters a secret door. MJ naturally follows him and falls through the only wooden part of this entire building. She ends up in some tunnels and Green Goblin finds her, giving us more of the stock laugh.
Now believe it or not this is where the really dumb stuff happens. Green Goblin flies with MJ outside, where Spidey sees them, and then goes to the river where a secret remote operated submarine picks them up in order to take them to a secret underwater base. There was literally no need for the Goblin to go to all that trouble to bring MJ to his base when that base was through the tunnels he was already in. It only happens so Spidey can follow them to this thing:
The Master Planner’s gonna sue a bitch!
Did Osborn go to the same people Kingpin did when making secret bases? Or maybe the Kingpin had this made when he got control of Oscorp, well till they got a board of directors that needed kidnapping that is. But I can accept underwater lairs because it’s a comic show and it’s a bit more secretive than one of the most famous buildings in the world.
So the Goblin flies out of his Submarine carrying MJ and takes her over to his other kidnap victims. All of which are shackled to a wall, and he puts her in an extra set of shackles that he just happened to have. Have these people just been shackled there for 2, going on 3, days? But that’s just a stupid implication and shows no one’s thinking things through, as usual on this show.
Remember Goblin’s comments on judgement and justice? Well that wasn’t just rhetoric. He literally puts on a judge’s robe while saying they’re guilty and charged with ruining Norman Osborn’s life. He goes around all of them saying what hypocrites they are for taking Norman to task. Well, I say all of them; he ignores the three unnamed extras because that’s more effort than the show’s willing to put in. He then just says Fisk is “the worst of them” without elaborating because that’d disrupt the status quo. Fisk’s shackles are also made of “indestructible titanium” so he can’t break free, remember his point.
Now we’ve reached the coup de gras, the ultimate level of crazy. As he flies up to a ledge right above them and unmasks a statute of Justice saying “AND JUSTICE IS BLIND NO LONGER!” revealing this:
Someone got paid to write “and he unmasked a goblin face on the statue of Justice” and it wasn’t for an 80s cartoon
I want to know who he’s unmasking it for ‘cause no one he’s captured can see the damn thing. Not to mention how he made it. Did he commission it or was the reason why he took so long with his lightening speed kidnappings was him trying to tape his mask onto a statue he’d stolen from outside a courthouse? Well now we’ve gotten the craziest moment out of the way, but it’s not the stupidest one, let’s get the last fight scene done.
Spidey jumps him and they start fighting, or what the show is allowed to call fighting. There’s jumping around, pumpkin bombs thrown around everywhere. The Green Goblin get’s in some court room related “banter” as he tosses a bomb to the glass ceiling of his underwater base. Well done, you colossal moron.
As you’d expect water comes rushing in, sweeps away the Goblin and is creeping up on the captives. So Spidey jumps in and rips off the shackles. Even the “indestructible titanium” ones.
Someone needs to tell the Goblin what “indestructible” and “titanium” actually mean
I get that he didn’t destroy the shackles but ripped them off the wall, but what was stopping the Kingpin from doing that? The greatest chain imaginable, the plot. So with the captives running for the remote controlled submarine Spidey puts Jameson in charge because he’s “an old navy man.” What? Since when? And why does that help with a high tech sub?
Whatever, we’re getting to the end point. Spidey goes back for the Goblin and they tussle while Fisk fires the sub’s laser canon to destroy the main tunnel. Yeah, that’s not suspicious at all. You might want to hide that evil side a little bit better/
The explosion knocks down some more bits of the lair onto the Goblin, trapping his legs, and letting Spidey take off his mask revealing, Norman Osborn! Who saw that coming… I mean what a shocking development. Now we’re getting into the stupider moments as Norman gives us his flashback for why he’s not dead. The “exploding gas” gave him super strength. Yes the gas that was exploding due to contact with the air somehow wasn’t exploding when he breathed it in? It get’s better, the Gas also changed the Hobgoblin’s costume, that was just in the other room conveniently, into the Green Goblin one. We actually see this “(non)exploding gas” literally change the Goblin’s costume. It explodes, except when it doesn’t, it gives people super strength, it makes their voice go higher, and it changes Goblin costumes. That’s one hell of a magic trick. Oh hey, I found out what the gas was originally called, “the plot maguffin!”
He’s also gone full split personality with him proclaiming not to be Norman and that Norman died in the explosion. He then demands his mask back, lifting the debris off dramatically. The debris had also shifted to his torso because that’s more dramatic for him to throw off, since that matters more than what the continuity editor says. Spidey holds up the mask saying some pop psychology nonsense that he pulled out of his arse. Stuff about how it “represents the evil, ugly, side of your life” and that he should let it go. Goblin considers this by throwing another bomb, leading to even more problems as he get’s stuck like this:
So maybe the statue was a bad idea, who knew
Now comes my favourite part, because it sounded good on paper but it just made things even dumber. So as the Goblin is trapped under the statute and is narrating about how his strength has left him. Queue flashback of Stromm telling him they don’t know how long the gas will last because we need to be told the bloody obvious. And the way they illustrated this is just a thing of beauty. The Goblin starts switching back and forth between his Norman voice and his high-pitched Goblin one, for every other word. So he’s alternating between deep and high and it’s so hilarious, and crazy, and dumb as a bag of straw hammers.
How could no one hear that in the recording session and say “yeah, that’s just dumb. Let’s do something else.” I’m glad they didn’t because that was the best part of the episode. Next comes Spidey stripping him down to his skivvies and tossing the Goblin costume into the water. Why, well he did a similar thing in issue 40 of the main comic when they did the reveal of the Green Goblin. It’s just that Spidey found out that Norman had amnesia before getting rid of the costume in that. So there was some actual logic instead of just doing it so a crazy madman could go free with no evidence he was the Green Goblin.
So Spidey swings away with half naked Osborn till he hits a destroyed part of the only tunnel out of there. Then Harry shows up from a random hatch in the roof. I’m going to say the exploding gas did this too, that crap can do anything so why not more plot convenience. Harry’s actually ended up doing the only competent thing this whole episode, that’s how bad things have gotten.
Turns out he had found plans for the underwater lair in Norman’s office, reasoning that Norman could’ve escaped there, and that’s what he’s been spending his time doing. He also the least heartfelt reunion with his dad as you’d expect when most of his dialogue is exposition about what he’s been doing for the past few days.
Then Norman wakes up, turns out he has amnesia. Three day amnesia. Spidey then covers for him and says they’re totally not the same person.
Cut to a press conference where Osborn says Oscorp is out of the chemical weapons business, with Fisk sliding up to him whispering that it’s a good thing as it’s now no longer profitable. Nice to see that plot point getting covered up even though he has no reason to do so. There was nothing in the Goblin matter that would’ve changed his mind; he was still hounding Stromm for the gas after all. Also no one’s questioning Norman’s sudden return from the dead right after the mysterious kidnapper of those board members that screwed him over is gone. I mean it’s not like the Goblin said he was trying to get revenge for Norman or anything like that.
Norman then says he’ll be giving Harry a more active role in the running of Oscorp, MJ tells Peter he’s a good friend for not believing her crazy talk of Harry being a Goblin, then Felicia passes him a note to give to Spidey.
He goes from “wait, you can’t” to embracing it in milliseconds, he really is hard up, romantically
And we end on Felicia kissing Spidey on her balcony, which leads into the next episode where the Big Wheel and the Rocket Racer show up. Yeah they followed up the episode introducing Spidey’s alchemises by doing two of his stupider enemies, and trying to be serious about it too.
But that is a review for another time.
This was an incredibly stupid way to introduce the Green Goblin. It’s actually one of the show’s better episodes, mind you, but still very dumb. The voice, the poor revenge scheme, the magical exploding gas, the “AND JUSTICE IS BLIND NO LONGER!” bit. All of it just came together to wipe out any good that could’ve come from this episode.
There’s the wasted opportunity to give Harry some character development, to let the Peter/MJ/Harry love triangle develop, maybe even have the Kingpin/Norman rivalry go somewhere. But at the end of it all the only thing of note is that the Green Goblin exists. Nothing else really developed or grew out of this episode.
Even the kiss between Felicia and Spider-Man goes nowhere. The next episode begins with him pushing her away saying it can’t work. There’s just a massive reset back to status quo.
The board of directors was a stupid plot point because they had to have the only wealthy characters in the show be a main part of that board. We don’t care about any new guys, as shown by the lack of effort put into the other board members. The board should’ve been scrapped in favour of a partnership with Hardy that falls through because Jameson printed the Chemical Weapons story. There we go, a simple reason why he’d go after Hardy and Jameson and the conflict with Fisk was already there. Again, applying some thought rather than going with easy lazy answers. Hmmm come to think of it the Oscorp board betraying Norman, leading to Norman making reckless decisions ultimately leading to him becoming the Goblin, was another thing they reused in the first Spider-Man movie. That’s probably a coincidence but there sure was a lot of this show that appeared in those movies.
On a positive note, and how many times do I get to say that, the animation wasn’t terrible here. There wasn’t much reused footage and it was mostly new stuff because of the new villain. Sure they reused footage of someone pushing a button for some reason, I honestly don’t get how bad that button push animation had to be for them to go “it looks like crap, get the stock button push from season 1!” Also I’ve been putting far too much effort into these if I can notice a freaking button push as recycled animation.
On that note, this has been fun. I hope you all liked it; and I need to try and get back into doing these. Have a happy holiday and stay safe.