Before I go any further, I would like to point out that I thoroughly enjoyed The Amazing Spider-Man 2 when I saw it in theaters in early May. Now that I’ve had an opportunity to let things settle in, I found that I had more problems with the movie than I originally thought. Unfortunately, a majority of them revolve around the treatment of one character: Harry Osborn/Green Goblin. Green Goblin is to Spider-Man what the Joker is to Batman, and he deserves better treatment than he received in this movie. There are certain villains that warrant the hero’s attention for an entire film, and GG is in this select group. For some reason, the filmmakers felt the need to demote this iconic villain to a glorified cameo. And that just isn't right.
I have no issues with many of the changes that Marc Webb used in his interpretation of GG. I thought it was kind of cool that he decided against using Norman Osborn for GG in this film. But I really feel as if the character of Harry was shoehorned into this movie to advance the whole concept of the Sinister Six and to kill Gwen. That’s it. I liked introducing Harry and the fact that he and Peter reignited their friendship, but it all happened too quickly. I think that their friendship should have evolved over the course of the movie. I am a fan of the Ultimate comics, but Goblin shouldn’t be playing second fiddle to Electro or any other villain in Spider-Man’s Rogue’s Gallery. I didn’t do an exact count, but I would guess that GG’s total screen time was around five minutes; just enough to figure out Spidey’s identity and kill Gwen. The Green Goblin deserves better than this. I had no problem with Rhino’s screen time and I like the whole cliffhanger ending, but (at least to me), Rhino is a second tier villain. He can’t carry an entire movie.
I really think that a key opportunity was missed with the way GG was handled. Harry has a deeply personal connection to Peter. His descent should have had an enormous impact on Peter, much larger than what we saw, besides Gwen's death. Peter should have been more emotionally invested in Harry’s fall because they were best friends. While not perfect, I like how Sam Raimi treated the Peter/Harry relationship, showing us how close they were and how far the friendship fell. I’m not saying to stretch it out over three movies, but begin the arc in ASM2 and complete that story in ASM3 with the same result: the death of Gwen. I really liked how Gwen’s death looked onscreen and I wouldn’t change that at all. But if that happened at the end of the next movie instead of this one, I think that the audience would have been more invested in her death and it would have been more impactful. There was too much foreshadowing in this movie as they beat you over the head with clues that Gwen was dying. In fact, my wife told me while watching the movie that she knew Gwen was going to die and she had no familiarity with the comic stories.
While I am not a professional writer, I would have liked to see something pretty close to this scenario play out: Spidey defeats Electro and everyone is happy. Gwen moves to England as planned and Peter goes into a depression as he can’t leave Aunt May. So he sulks and stops being Spider-Man until the Rhino emerges and threatens the city. I’d keep the cliffhanger, but I would make the ending slightly different: I would move Harry’s transformation to the end of the movie and that’s your real cliffhanger. I know it’s similar to SM2, but I liked the way Raimi handled Harry’s downfall. The difference would be that GG attacks Spider-Man, not Peter, and eventually learns his identity in ASM3, which makes Gwen a target when she returns home for Spring Break or Christmas or whatever.
That’s just my two cents on how I would have handled the Green Goblin in [The Amazing Spider-Man 2](movie:508593) . I feel that a huge opportunity was lost during this movie. Again, I enjoyed the movie, but I just wish the Green Goblin would have amounted to more than just a glorified cameo.