Study Guide

Spider-Man Good vs. Evil

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Good vs. Evil

PETER: I read all your research on nanotechnology. Really brilliant.

NORMAN: You understood it?

PETER: Yes, I wrote a paper on it.

NORMAN: Impressive. Your parents must be very proud.

PETER: I live with my aunt and uncle, and they are proud.

TEACHER: Hey, you two! Let's move!

PETER: Nice to meet you.

NORMAN: Hope to see you again.

Oh, they'll see each other again. They'll see each other, punch each other, and roundhouse kick each other in the face. This is the moment where good first meets evil and, oddly enough, these two nerds for nanotech have a lot in common.

HARRY: What was that thing?

PETER: I don't know. Whatever it is, somebody has to stop it.

Yup, that somebody is Peter in the guise of Spider-Man. He's the only one who can stop the Green Goblin, whose capacity for evil is enormous—and aided by fancy military tech.

GREEN GOBLIN: You're an amazing creature, Spider-Man. You and I are not so different.

SPIDER-MAN: I'm not like you. You're a murderer.

GREEN GOBLIN: Well, to each his own. I chose my path; you chose the way of the hero. And they found you amusing for a while, the people of this city. But the one thing they love more than a hero is to see a hero fail, fall, die trying. In spite of everything you've done for them, eventually, they will hate you. Why bother?

SPIDER-MAN: Because it's right.

The Green Goblin and Spider-Man lay out their mission statements here. The Goblin's is lengthy, but it boils down to this: "people are the worst. You can work your butt off for them, but, ultimately, they're going to turn on you because that's what happened to me at my job."

Spider-Man's statement, on the other hand, is short and to the point: "helping people is the right thing to do." It's not as verbose or flashy as Gobby's, but it gets his point across. Spider-Man's goodness is fueled by a desire to do the right thing. The Green Goblin is evil because he believes he was horribly wronged.

SPIDER-MAN: It's okay. Your baby's fine.

MOTHER (at fire): Oh, my baby! God bless you, Spider-Man. Bless you.

COP (at fire): There he is! Don't let him get away! Hold it! Hold it right there! You're under arrest. I'm taking you in.

Spider-Man literally just saved a baby's life in front of this cop, and still he thinks that Spider-Man is a criminal. Sheesh. Maybe the Green Goblin has a point.

AUNT MAY: Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us—

The Green Goblin blows up Aunt May's bedroom wall. She falls to the floor, screaming.

AUNT MAY: Deliver us!

GREEN GOBLIN: Finish it! Finish it!

AUNT MAY: From evil!

We're not going to lie: this scene is a little on the nose. If you had somehow missed that the Green Goblin is seriously evil—maybe you decided to go mow the lawn for most of the movie's second act?—now you know.

MARY JANE: But do you think it's true, all the terrible things they say?

PETER: No, no. Not Spider-Man. Not a chance in the world. I know him a little bit. I'm sort of his unofficial photographer.

With his trusty camera in tow, Peter is on a one-man mission to improve Spidey's public image.

GREEN GOBLIN: This is why only fools are heroes. Because you never know when some lunatic will come along with a sadistic choice: let die the woman you love, or suffer the little children.

Well, at least he's acknowledging he's a sadistic lunatic. He may be evil, but at least he's self-aware. Maybe there's hope for him—yeah, probably not.

GREEN GOBLIN: Make your choice, Spider-Man, and see how a hero is rewarded.

This statement suggests that the Green Goblin once viewed himself as a hero, perhaps of science, business, or maybe both. Everybody is the hero of their own story, we guess.

NEW YORKER #1: Leave Spider-Man alone! You're gonna pick on a guy trying to save a bunch of kids?

NEW YORKER #2: Come on up here, tough guy! I got a little something for ya! You mess with Spidey, you mess with New York!

NEW YORKER #1: You mess with one of us, you mess with all of us!

Finally, the public is #TeamSpidey. All it took was the Green Goblin threatening to murder a bunch of kids and some redheaded woman, and destroying the historic Roosevelt Island Tramway.

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