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Green Goblin

Spider-Man: No Way Home
by yo go re

In 2022's Weird: the Al Yankovic Story, your hero and mine expanded his repetoire beyond music by producing a note-perfect parody of Steven Spielberg's movie, The Fablemans - a feat made even more impressive by the fact that Weird was released one week before Fabelmans. But 2021's No Way Home had already proved Al's precognitive powers to anyone who remembered what the lyrics to 2003's "Ode to a Superhero" had to say about Norman Osborn:

"Yes, he's wearin' that dumb Power Rangers mask/
But he's scarier without it on."

During a brutal battle with his greatest foe Spider-Man, Norman Osborn's clothes are torn away revealing the original Goblin armor with a few lethal upgrades; glider and all.

Green Goblin first shows up wearing his original armor, but at some point between Uncle Benning Aunt May and proving he's really just a tourist in this world by visiting the Statue of Liberty, he's made some modifications. There were never blades on his forearms before, and he's now accessorizing both with the tattered remnants of the purple hoodie Norman was wearing previously, and a nice belt and sash with a satchel on the hip. It's amazing how much better this costume looks with just a few scraps of cloth on it. Rather than a fully green exterior, there's a thin golden frame running over large sections of it, with the implication being that he's cannibalizing the suit for parts as he makes his upgrades. With a little work, you can work the purple hood off the body, but you can't do the same with the belt, so there's not much point.

Although it's in no way accurate, Green Goblin comes with his vintage Raimi mask. It's fully green, lacking the fade to purple the real thing had, but it's still fun to get such an iconic piece in a set where we didn't need to. Though we do love to make fun of this design, it's classically creepy and definitely a better choice than the "Spirit Halloween"-lookin' "realistic" mask they also considered back in the day. It's basically a caricature of Willem Dafoe's face, visible most strongly in those wild cheeks and the shape of its mouth. The eyes are painted gold and the teeth are silver, to stand out against the black interior of the mouth.

But hey, that's the alternate head. The normal head is a Norman head, because he's long smashed his helmet with a chunk of concrete by this point. The Willem Dafoe heads we got on figures back in 2002 were way above average for the time, but technology is far superior today, so no shock this is better. He's smiling sinisterly, with the gap in his teeth making it clear this is the Green Goblin and not Norman Osborn. He includes a removable pair of goggles, and of course there's the hood he can wear in this mode that wouldn't fit over the older mask.

Articulation is decent, but is missing something important. He moves with a barbell head, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, double-hinged elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, a balljointed chest, balljoint hips, swivel thighs, double knees, and swivel/hinge ankles. The thighs are nice, with the armor on the legs coming up high enough to effectively hide the joints. But even more than the Spider-Men released for this movie, Green Goblin needs shin swivels. You can do a lot to pose him, but he's incomplete without being able to turn his feet at all.

The figure includes a single pumpkin bomb, though this time it's not an unannounced secret that will take years for anyone to know about - it's packaged separately in the tray, and fits spectacularly into his shaped right hand. Like, you can physically feel it click into place when the toy is holding it right. I was worried about it dropping out of the hand and getting lost, but not any more! That thing isn't going anywhere!

Green Goblin went through several concepts for his final look, including one that would have seen him wearing repurposed Iron Man armor pieces painted purple, and riding on one of Mysterio's drones. Weird! Obviously the final product stuck with his vintage Goblin Glider, though it's been given the same kind of overhaul his suit has.

This is the same basic design as before, a pair of articulated wings mounted above a central engine section. There are small rockets mounted underneath, sharp blades sticking out the front, and ports where his pumpkin bombs would theoretically be stored. The arms taht support the wings have two hinges apiece: one next to the win, the other next to the body. The body hinges are so stiff you might not even realize they're there unless you get curious about why there's a shiny silver pin running through them. The set includes one of those nifty "three height" hover stands, though you'll certainly only want to use the tallest one (due to how low the wings can come down), meaning the remaining parts touching the ground are a little too narrow to really provide a sturdy base; be careful how you pose it.

The bindings that allow Goblin to stand on his glider are separate pieces that plug into place on the top, and they move with both a swivel and a hinge to allow for the widest range of poses. Unfortunately, this is where the figure's lack of shins at last comes back to become a problem. Without the ability to turn the feet in any way, the actual, achievable range of motion for the legs is far, far less than it looks like it would be. You can't get as many cool poses out of this $50 2023 action figure as you could out of the $7 2002 version, and it's directly attributable to Hasbro cutting minor corners to cheat extra money out of your wallet.

Honestly, Green Goblin could have been (read: should have been) a Build-A-Figure for this two-years-late series of figures. There are six normal figures (five from No Way Home and one from Amazing Spider-Man 2 because Hasbro will cheat money from anybody) which is enough for a BAF already, but if they wanted, they could have made Norman a standalone figure and upped the number to seven. Or maybe stop refusing to pay any money to Jamie Foxx and give us an Electro, and go all the way up to a full case of eight. Then you release Doc Ock alone because of his arms, and redo the existing Lizard BAF with a new head and a "smoking, bitten-open cure canister" to put in his mouth, and suddenly you've actually done the entire Sinister Sub-Six! They probably still would have half-assed Goblin's legs, so it's not like this idea would have made the toy better, but at least we wouldn't be left wondering if Hasbro will ever complete the line.

-- 01/24/24

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