Norman Osborn
Green Goblin
Alias(es) Green Goblin
Appeared in Spider-Man
Spider-Man 2
Spider-Man 3
Status Deceased
Actor Willem Dafoe
"You've spun your last web, Spider-Man. If you had not been so selfish, your little girlfriend's death would have been quick and painless, but now that you've really pissed me off, I'm gonna finish her nice and slow. MJ and I, we're gonna have a hell of a time!"
―Green Goblin[src]

Norman Osborn was the founder of Oscorp and later became one of Spider-Man's first supervillains, the Green Goblin.



Dr. Norman Osborn was a brilliant scientist and businessman/industrialist who was known for his contributions to nanotechnology. He had a somewhat distant and unhappy relationship with his son, Harry. When he met Harry's friend, Peter Parker, he took an immediate liking to the young science whiz, who was able to understand his work, and later admires Parker's desire to make his own way in the world, rather than accepting Osborn's help. Later at Peter and Harry's graduation, he offers condolences to Peter on the recent death of his uncle Ben. He was the head of Oscorp, a company contracted by the United States military to create a new super-soldier. Osborn's colleague, Dr. Mendel Stromm, feels it important to reveal to the military official overseeing the project that some of the test subjects have gone insane. Hearing this, Osborn was threatened with a tight deadline. Needing to prove his formula can succeed, Osborn experiments on himself and becomes the Green Goblin. The process drives him insane however, and he kills Stromm. The military decides to give the super-soldier contract to another company, Quest Aerospace, and in revenge, the Green Goblin kills several high-ranking military officers and Quest scientists who were present at the test. Although Quest Aerospace's prototype was destroyed, the company decides to expand and, in doing so, assumes control of Oscorp on the condition that Norman Osborn step down as CEO.

In retaliation, the Goblin kills the board of directors during a festival in Times Square, thus removing the last threat to his takeover of Oscorp, and inadvertently almost killing Mary Jane Watson. His appearance at the festival also marks the beginning of his animosity towards Spider-Man. Instead of hating his new enemy, however, Norman views Spider-Man as the son that he always wanted, strong and intelligent, and attempts to recruit him to his side.

The Goblin next leads an attack at the Daily Bugle to question J. Jonah Jameson for the identity of the photographer who takes pictures of Spider-Man. Peter was at the office during the attack and soon shows up as Spider-Man. The Goblin gasses him and takes him to a rooftop, where he offers Spider-Man a partnership and belittles his choice to become a hero, warning that eventually the city will turn against him. This starts to become true when the Bugle in response to the attack prints a story claiming the Goblin and Spider-Man are allies.

A few days later the Goblin baits Spider-Man into a burning building and asks him if he's decided to join him. When Spider-Man refuses, the Goblin attempts to kill him with razor bats and eventually slips away. Norman finds out Spider-Man's identity when he was visiting his son Harry (who is Peter's roommate) for Thanksgiving Day, he discovers that Peter has an identical wound to one he had inflicted on Spider-Man in the earlier fight. After deducing Spider-Man's identity, he decides to leave though Harry tries to stop him. Norman tells Harry to do what he wants with Mary Jane and then dump her fast, as he believes she is only interested in his money as his own wife was. After hallucinating that his other persona informs him to attack Spider-Man's heart, he attacks and seriously injures Aunt May, then kidnaps Mary Jane and tells Spider-Man that he must choose either to save her or to save a group of children in a cable car. Both are thrown off the Queensboro Bridge, yet Spider-Man manages to save both the children and Mary Jane.

After saving the children and Mary Jane, Spider-Man was lured into an abandoned building. Goblin then throws a pumpkin bomb and it explodes in Spider-Man's face, sending him through a brick wall.Goblin immediately hops off his glider he shows pity on Spider-Man for betraying his friendship, he slides his lenses up and immediately lunged at Spider-Man saying "you spat in my face". As the Goblin brutally beats on Spider-Man, he tells him how he will kill M.J. slowly, saying that "M.J. and I, we're going to have a hell of a time" while drawing a trident. In a rage, Spider-Man attacks him, and gains the upper hand. After being defeated in their final battle and with his own personality apparently resurfaced, Norman removes his Goblin helmet to reveal himself to Spider-Man, and asks Spidey to forgive him and protect him from the Goblin persona. At the same time however, Norman (with the Goblin still controlling him) secretly directs his glider to impale Spider-Man from behind. Norman states he was like a father to him and begs him to be a son to him, to which Peter retorts that he had a father: Benjamin Parker. The Goblin responds by launching his glider.

Spider-Man senses the attack with his Spider-Sense and dodges, and the machine kills the Green Goblin by impaling him. Just before dying, Norman pleads Spider-Man not to tell his son about his second identity. When Spider-Man takes Norman's corpse back to his mansion, Harry sees him placing his father’s dead body on a bed. Not knowing that his father was the Green Goblin, Harry holds Spider-Man responsible for his death. At the funeral, Harry swears revenge on Spider-Man.

Spider-Man 2

Norman's ghost (actually Harry's hallucination) appears to his son through a mirror, asking him to avenge his death. To Harry's refusal, Norman gets angry and shouts to him; his son, scared, throws a dagger to the mirror, shattering it and finding Green Goblin's hideout and weapons.

Spider-Man 3

Norman's ghost again appears to Harry, now the New Goblin, teaching him the art of war: a true warrior doesn't attack the mind nor the body, but the heart, thus suggesting Harry to hurt Peter through his relationship with MJ.

Character traits

As Norman Osborn, he was generally a good man who loved his son, Harry, and cared for Peter, who was like a brother to Harry. However, he was also a very career-focused man who may have cared for science, business and success above all else, and he may be a little disappointed in his son, who was meant to be Norman's heir, but lacked his father's ambition, strength and will to succeed and control.

The Green Goblin was Norman Osborn's second personality, born because of the exposure to the experimental performance enhancing gas. The Green Goblin may perhaps be the unrestrained manifestation of Norman Osborn's ambition for power, desire to succeed, and hatred for anyone who may be a hindrance to his control, such as greedy contractors and board members, and his destined enemy, the superhero Spider-Man. He was a violent psychopath and an over-ambitious maniac who believed that his power gave him endless possible potential and placed him above normal people. He even attempted to invite Spider-Man to join him, believing that as another powerful being above normal people, they both could accomplish many things together. He didn't give any value to human life and killed whoever stood in his way without hesitation. Although being completely mad, the Green Goblin was extremely intelligent and clever, making him even more dangerous.

Osborn was initially unaware of the Green Goblin's persona in his own mind, and nor was he aware of the Goblin's murderous actions. But after his discovery, in addition to the stress of running his company, being a father to his son, and fighting Spider-Man, he slowly gives in to the Goblin's temptations to destroy those who have become his enemies, specifically Spider-Man.

He possessed vast weaponry and a special glider which allowed him to fly. He had superhuman physical attributes, such as strength, speed, stamina and reflexes. He was a skilled and aggressive hand-to-hand combatant, as proven in his fights against Spider-Man, but usually prefered to fight using his weapons. During the final battle he uses brute strength and even able to break Spider-Man's web.

Powers and Abilities


  • Superhuman Physiology: Due to exposure to the Goblin formula, Green Goblin possessed superhuman physical attributes somewhat equivalent to that of Spider-Man's; such as superhuman strength, durability, speed, stamina, senses, intelligence, etc. It also caused him to develop a split personality, a high maintenance sociopath with unrestrained desire for power and influence.
    • Superhuman Strength: Green Goblin possessed far more strength then normal humans; for example, he was able to overpower several police men relatively easily. He was even able to brutally damage a weakened Spider-Man. A normal Spider-Man with relative ease. His greatest feat of strength, was when he held an entire train cart and Mary Jane, each with one hand. He was also able to use his strength to rip Spider-Man's web during the final battle.
    • Superhuman Durability: Green Goblin possessed far more durability then normal humans; for example, he managed to survive an entire wall falling on him with him only fazed and somewhat weakened from the attempt and compared to Spider-Man who went through a wall Goblin recovered faster.
    • Superhuman Speed: Green Goblin possessed far more speed then normal humans; for example, he could move and react at an incredible pace, as well catching Spider-Man's quick punch with his hand and countering. He was even able to throw his pumpkin bats with great speed.
    • Superhuman Stamina: Green Goblin possessed far more stamina then normal humans, allowing him to remain physically active for long periods of time; for example, he was able to exert himself and pursue Spider-Man without even appearing to be tiring.
    • Superhuman Senses:  Green Goblin possessed far more senses then normal humans; for example, he was able to hear a tiny drop of blood fall in Peter's room's floor with perfect clearance.
    • Superhuman Intelligence: Green Goblin possessed far more intelligence then normal humans; for example, after being exposed to the Goblin formula, he became a master of manipulation and tactics planning. He may also be intuitive in the fields of science as well, being able to develop advanced technologies that he would use in combat. Though the high intelligence may have also resulted in his restrained sociopathic tendencies to manifest themselves as a split personality.


  • Genius-Level Intellect: Norman was an incredibly intelligent individual; even before he was exposed to the Goblin formula.
  • Expert Hand-To-Hand Combatant: While fighting Spider-Man on three separate occasions, he has displayed remarkable prowess in fighting Spider-Man and even shows combat skill that is superior to the likes of Spider-Man. He is also an incredible acrobat, performing flips and kung fu kicks on Spider-Man with great damaging effort.
  • Resources: Norman had an almost inexhaustible amount of wealth at his disposal. He used this to acquire advanced technologies and other weaponry for his vendetta against those who stand in his path. He could even utilize his own limitless resources from Oscorp, such as his stolen Oscorp glider and Pumpkin Bombs.


  • Limited Strength: Although Green Goblin was incredibly strong, he did have his limits; for example, in his third/final confrontation against Spider-Man, he was unable to match the arachnid superhuman in "terms of raw strength", when the latter gave completely into his rage, which further greatly amplified Spider-Man's superhuman strength.
  • Limited Durability: Although Green Goblin was incredibly durable, he did have his limits; for example, a high speed stab from the glider was able to penetrate his incredibly durable skin and kill him.


In the film, Green Goblin pilots a high-tech Goblin Glider, armed with seeking missiles and machine guns. He also wears green armor that cybernetically connects him to his glider and weapons. He is seen using three varieties of his signature "Pumpkin Bombs": one which was a simple explosive; one that releases a bright, radioactive flash which reduces people to skeletons; and one that splits into flying, razor-bat blades. Rather than carrying a shoulder "bag of tricks", the weapons are contained in the glider and are ejected individually out of their storage compartment when desired. His suit is armed with knockout gas that is released from the wrists. His suit is also linked to the Goblin Glider, allowing him to control it remotely.



Behind the scenes

  • Nicolas Cage, Jim Carrey, John Malkovich, Bill Paxton, Mel Gibson, John Travolta, Robert De Niro and Billy Crudup were all considered for the role of Norman Osborn before Dafoe was cast.
  • Dafoe insisted on wearing the uncomfortable costume as he felt that a stuntman would not convey the character's necessary body language. The 580-piece suit took half an hour to put on.
  • The Green Goblin's costume was created after Willem Dafoe was cast, as Dafoe rejected the initially bulky designs created beforehand. The finished design focused on a more streamlined and athletic feel, and the mask in particular was created to be an extreme cartoon version of his face, focusing on his long cheekbones. Some of the early designs were heavily inspired by black ops.
  • One popular idea among the concept artists was to have the Goblin accompanied by adolescent women in costume and have their own gliders. Raimi hated the idea.


  • In the comics, Osborn's costume resembles a goblin from old folktales. The movie provides a more realistic armored look.
  • In Spider-Man, Green Goblin drops a carriage full of children off of a bridge, he also drops Mary Jane. Spider-Man saves both the children and Mary Jane. In the comics, "The Night Gwen Stacy Died" features a similar situation with Gwen Stacy in place of Mary Jane and Spider-Man was unable to save her.
  • In the film, The Green Goblin's mask seems to be an amalgamation of the masks of both the eponymous character and fellow Spider-Man villain, The Hobgoblin. The mask's design incorporates ridged brows and vampire-like fangs, aesthetic features that were originally introduced into The Hobgoblin's design.




See Also

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