Since Marvel and Sony announced their joint deal to share custody of our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, there has been much speculation about who will play the latest iteration of the wall-crawler. However, recent casting news has been dominated, not by the web-head himself, but by who will play his infamous nemesis, Norman Osborn a.k.a Green Goblin. There's been rampant speculation as of late that none other than Matthew McConaughey is being courted to play the villain and it got me thinking how Marvel could best re-introduce the iconic baddie:
1) Sympathy For The Devil
I think the best thing they can do with the character is paint him in a sympathetic and fatherly light when it comes to his relationship to Peter. Make him a good guy, someone you're rooting for. That will make his eventual fall into insanity and villainy all the more tragic. Why do I think this is the best route? Because it has been done before to wonderful effect.
Harvey Dent's arc in The Dark Knight is done so well that we almost forget that he is destined to descend into madness as Two-Face. It's inevitable and yet throughout the film, Harvey Dent is a character we come to love and support in his crusade for justice. When he eventually succumbs to his rage and heartbreak (no thanks to The Joker) it's absolutely heart-wrenching. The audience can relate to the feeling of lost love and we sympathize with a character we have become attached to. We may not agree with his actions but we can understand his motivation, and that audience empathy is key to creating a good villain.
2) Good Things Come to Those Who Wait
One of the biggest missteps, in my opinion, in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was the way in which Harry Osborn was handled. In an effort to give audiences what they wanted, Harry's introduction, development, and transformation are markedly rushed and as a result, our investment in his relationship with Peter and the believability of his character's motivations suffers.
Given the importance of the Green Goblin to the Spider-Man mythos, I think it would be prudent to develop Norman's character in the first film without introducing his villainous alter-ego just yet. Post-Infinity War, the MCU will likely be in need of a new "Big Bad" and if done right, Norman Osborn could possibly fill this role. It would be great to see him grow into that position instead of giving away the farm in the first (in reality sixth...but who's counting?) Spider-Man film.
3) Brains over Brawn
As the founder of OSCORP, Norman Osborn is a man of science. His origin stories, whether in films or comics, usually involves him experimenting with human enhancement and genetic engineering. As we're well aware, this doesn't go quite as planned and eventually our villain is born. But in regards to the film iterations of the character, that initial, vague glimpse is as far as we get in regards to his scientific prowess. One of the best things about the Iron Man films is that we are constantly seeing Tony use his intelligence and tinkering skills throughout the film to become a better hero. Why not apply this to Norman Osborn and watch him become a better villain?
This would be interesting because, not only do we get to see Norman develop and improve the Goblin's tech, but it also makes him a sort of dark mirror of Tony Stark. Tony's misguided attempts to utilize technology and his scientific knowledge to help save the world has resulted in near catastrophe, so imagine the havoc that a character without Tony's moral compass could wreak. This also ties into my previous point in that it could help push Norman along the path to become the Big Bad for Phase 4 and beyond.