12 Julio 2017 09:29
Had they stuck with the first design, the Green Goblin would have haunted your nightmares
Looking back, 2002's Spider-Man had its flaws. You could say it relied a little too heavily on caricature and slapstick. And that the special effects, particularly the CGI, are showing their age. Perhaps Tobey Maguire wasn't the best choice to play Peter Parker, either.
You can say all this and more, but you can't deny that it blew your mind when you first saw it in the cinema – just like it blew everyone's mind. Despite its flaws, Spider-Man was an important movie. Together with X-Men, it helped catapult the superhero genre into its current position as king of the box office.
Yes, in the summer of 2002 would have been a real party pooper to criticise Spider-Man. There was one thing however, that even the film's most ardent fans had trouble defending: the design of the Green Goblin, the villain of the piece, played by Willem Dafoe.
While Dafoe was seen as an inspired choice to play the unhinged Norman Osborn, the design of his costume was not so well-received. A lot of people thought that the Green Goblin's armour – plastic looking and with fixed features – made him look like a bad guy reject from Power Rangers.
An earlier version of the design looked a lot closer to the original comic-book Green Goblin. Created by Amalgamated Dynamics, the animatronic mask used for the first camera tests were more obviously based on the character designed by cartoonist Steve Dikto in 1964.
Capable of adopting a multitude of facial expressions, the animatronic mask created by Amalgamated Dynamics is truly terrifying. Had it been used, the tone of the film would have come closer to that of director Sam Raimi's early work, the low-budget horror films The Evil Dead and Army of Darkness.
The reasons why one design was chosen over is unknown: perhaps the animatronic head was too cumbersome for Dafoe to wear and would have hampered the fight scenes; maybe the producers thought it would be too scary for children…
Who knows, it might even have been a mix of both.
All we can do is speculate about the reasons that led to this early version of Spider-Man's arch-enemy being rejected. One thing we can say, however, is that this creepy mask would surely have haunted children's nightmares throughout 2002 and beyond.
The videos, posted above, and this one of Tobey Maguire's screen test, reveal that Spider-Man could have been a far darker and more disturbing film than it ended up being. Sam Raimi, who ended up being accused by some of having created a 'decaffeinated' product, had at first tried to approach Spider-Man as an auteur, making something more in keeping with his first flirtation with the genre, Darkman.