As the clock counts down until the MCU’s untitled Spider-Man 3, rumors have started to arise. There’s talk of Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire both donning the red and blue colors of the webslinger again alongside Tom Holland, which sounds pretty awesome. Both prior Peter Parkers came up against Harry Osborn during their respective franchises, with James Franco playing the character during Sam Raimi’s trilogy of movies and Dane DeHaan taking on the role in 2014’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
So, it’s only natural to compare the two. Let’s take a look at DeHaan and Franco’s takes on Harry and suss out what made them so good as Green Goblin Jr.
10 Dane DeHaan: He Looked Awesome In The Goblin Suit
Not everybody was a fan of the way DeHaan’s Harry looked as the Green Goblin in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Instead of donning green armor and a purple hat like in the comics, he instead literally turned into a goblin. This happened in Oscorp, with the millionaire forced into taking some dodgy serum cooked up in order to keep a life-threatening illness at bay.
However, it was kind of a brilliant and unique take on the character. DeHaan looked terrifying, and that’s definitely a good thing for a villain.
9 James Franco: He Was Sympathetic
Part of the tragedy of Harry is that he’s got everything. He’s got money, he’s got fast cars and he’s got a dating notebook as long as a Harry Potter novel. But that’s what makes him so sympathetic. All he pines for is love and a little bit of power, something his horrible father Norman Osborn never gives him. And, with Franco’s version of the character, he’s certainly a sympathetic individual.
Harry longs for his father’s affections during 2002’s Spider-Man blockbuster. When Norman dies, he’s then left feeling unsure of himself – uncertain whether he wants to take down Peter or leave things be. But, when daddy comes back from the dead, he immediately falls in line again. Mental torment, it seems, is enough to turn him to the dark side.
8 Dane DeHaan: He Oozed Villainy
Given that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 released just seven years after Spider-Man 3, fans wanted something fresh and different from DeHaan’s Harry. And he’s the exact opposite to what Goblin Jr. was during Raimi’s trilogy, oozing villainy even before undergoing a drastic transformation.
He wastes no time laying down the law to board members at Oscorp, with the exception of Felicia Hardy, who he appears to take a liking to. Harry is ruthless as he sets about making his mark and even attempts to throw a glass at Spider-Man when he refuses to give him his blood. Changing physically was just the last piece of the Goblin jigsaw in this version of Peter Parker’s story.
7 James Franco: His Arc Was Brilliantly Planned
DeHaan starts off TASM2 as Harry before changing into the villain everyone knows and loves. But Franco’s arc was handled really well in the Raimi trilogy, even if it wasn’t entirely perfect.
It was carefully planned and sure took it’s time. For the bulk of two movies, Franco’s version of the character gets increasingly angry and disillusioned with the world. But the minute he stumbles across his father’s old armor in Spider-Man 2 things change, with Osborn Jr. then becoming the New Goblin.
6 Dane DeHaan: He Had Good Chemistry With Other Bad Guys
Everyone loves a good villain team-up. And, fortunately, viewers get that in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Harry in that blockbuster works perfectly in tandem with Electro, with the pair linking up about halfway through the movie. They then hatch a plan to destroy Spider-Man once and for all, though this doesn’t succeed.
DeHaan also had good chemistry with Chris Cooper, who played Norman, and the mysterious Gustav Fiers.
5 James Franco: His Chemistry With Tobey Maguire Was Brilliant
While DeHaan had superb chemistry with villains such as Electro, Norman, and Gustav Fiers, Franco had a superb on-screen relationship with Maguire during the Raimi trilogy. They were believable as polarized best friends during the first movie, their hostility arising made sense in the second, and there was definitely an air of tragedy before Harry’s death in the third.
In fact, it would have been intriguing to see how the franchise would have evolved had Spider-Man 4 been made without Franco involved. Harry did return as Gaunt in one of the comics, but it’s difficult to imagine them going down this route.
4 Dane DeHaan: There Was More Story To Tell
Franco’s arc was definitely finished by the time of his murder at the hands of Venom in Spider-Man 3 (though that doesn’t change the fact it’s one of the saddest scenes in comic book movie history). Yet the same can’t be said for DeHaan’s.
With Harry being held back from The Amazing Spider-Man, his appearance in the sequel was meant to be the start of things to come. He’d already teamed up with Electro, but TASM2 ended with him instructing Gustav Fiers to enlist the Rhino, while hints were dropped that Vulture and Doctor Octopus would be appearing further down the line. It would have been awesome to see Spider-Man having to battle against an array of such formidable foes.
3 James Franco: He Had Awesome Gadgets
Norman Osborn had some pretty incredible gear when was the Green Goblin. And Harry inherits all of this in Spider-Man 2 before putting them to use in the following movie. He’s got pumpkin bombs, a snowboard-esque glider, and a sword that comes precariously close to cutting Peter in half when they face off.
The irony is, Harry actually dies because of his own equipment. Venom picks up his glider when he’s knocked off it and, as he aims to kill Peter, he drives it through the New Goblin instead. This echoes what happened with Norman, who accidentally stabs himself in the first installment of the Raimi trilogy.
2 Dane DeHaan: He Had A Killer Instinct
While Norman and Harry are both villainous in the Sam Raimi trilogy, Osborn Jr. is pure evil once he transforms into the Green Goblin in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. He doesn’t just go after Peter’s love interest, he actually succeeds in killing her.
While it’s Peter who is responsible for Gwen Stacy‘s passing, putting her down to safety only for her to plummet to her doom, it’s Harry who puts her in danger in the first place. He attacks her when he discovers Peter is Spider-Man, the same person who refused to save his life when they met earlier on in the movie – in a scene that still gives us goosebumps to this day.
1 James Franco: He Was Slicker And Cooler
As a son of a millionaire, Harry is meant to be rather arrogant and confident. And Franco nails this, especially in Spider-Man 2 when he’s head of Oscorp and relishing the chance to work with Doctor Octavius, who is poised to make him a significant amount of money.
Harry walks with a swagger, wearing nice suits and giving off a huge air of confidence. It’s the same in Spider-Man 3 when his memory returns, with the New Goblin loving the chance to meddle in Peter and Mary Jane’s relationship, forcing the pair to break up. He actually seems happier when his father dies, but that doesn’t stop him from following in his villainous footsteps further down the line.
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