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Face Off: Green Goblin vs. Doctor Octopus

05.01.2014by: Dave Davis
Last week's Face-Off column had a pair of Gary Oldman villains duking it out, and most of you agreed that his unhinged corrupt DEA agent from LEON: THE PROFESSIONAL was a better baddie than his ruthless and eccentric industrialist Jean-Baptiste Emanuel from THE FIFTH ELEMENT

This weekend brings back Marvel's friendly neighborhood wall-crawler in THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2, in which our webbed hero has to deal with a trio of super foes. Speaking of villains, lets take a look back to the original SPIDER-MAN trilogy by director Sam Raimi, and see what happens when the best of those bad guys face off.

(Please note: Face Off is an opinion column. We're not using any actual science to prove or disprove anything. It's just for fun.)
ALTER EGO
Norman Osborn, brilliant industrialist and head of weapons developer Oscorp, contracted by the military to create a new super-soldier
Otto Octavius, brilliant scientist dedicated to creating a safe, self-sustaining fusion-based energy source
equipment
-a high-tech glider armed with missiles and machineguns

-green armor (cybernetically linked to the glider) armed with knockout gas

-pumpkin bombs that can split into flying razors or completely atomize people

-trident
a harness (accidentally fused to his spine) with four artificially intelligent mechanical arms that are impervious to magnetism and heat, and can be used to scale buildings, snap necks and throw heavy objects
appearance
Goblin's shiny green suit and helmet are neat and kind of spooky, but man... that original animatronic makeup would've been ten times cooler
Doctor Octopus may keep his eyes behind groovy Deal With It shades, but those clacking, lightning fast tentacles are incredibly powerful and all kinds of terrifying (Doc Ock's exposed moobs are a different sort of scary...)
peter parker relationship
Osborn seems to like ambitious science whiz Peter more than his own son Harry
Octavius develops a mentor-student bond with Peter, who idolizes him
desires
- revenge on his corporate competition and the Oscorp board who forced him out of his own company

- trying to recruit Spider-Man into some weird super-powered partnership
- precious tritium

- completing his fusion experiment at any cost
nefarious deeds
Murdering military contractors, vaporizing Oscorp's leadership, crashing J. Jonah Jameson's office, disrupting the Unity Day fair, setting an apartment building on fire, sabotaging a suspended trolley car full of passengers, kidnapping Mary Jane
Brutally killing a team of surgeons, robbing a bank, scaling a building with Aunt May in the clutches of a tentacle, agreeing to trade Spider-Man's life for precious tritium, chucking a car at Peter and Mary Jane in a coffee shop, sabotaging an elevated train full of passengers, insisting on completing his fusion reactor despite potential world-ending instability, kidnapping Mary Jane
level of crazy
Exposing himself to his unstable super-soldier formula transforms Osborn into a full-on split-personality arguing-with-his-own-reflection loon
With the tentacles inhibitor chip destroyed, Octavius has to struggle for control of his own mind against the will of the devious sentient appendages
demise
Impaled through the gut by his own glider after missing Spider-Man
Sacrifices himself by drowning to prevent the fusion experiment from destroying the city
actor
Willem Dafoe, probably best known (at the time) for PLATOON, THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST, TO LIVE AND DIE IN LA, BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY, WILD AT HEART, CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER, AMERICAN PSYCHO and SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE
Alfred Molina, probably best known (at the time) for BOOGIE NIGHTS, MAGNOLIA, FRIDA, CHOCOLAT, SPECIES, and trading an idol for a whip in RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK
DOCTOR OCTOPUS
Outside of perhaps Batman, Spider-Man has the greatest gallery of rogues in all of comicdom, and Sam Raimi's first two SPIDER-MAN movies gave us a pair of the most iconic baddies. If we got more Dafoe than mask as the movie version of Green Goblin, this Face Off might have turned out differently. But as an adversary he's more of a faceless destructive force as opposed to Doctor Octopus, who is helplessly obsessed with completing a project he believes will change the world for the better. Granted, Doc Ock did had the benefit of being in the better movie, but his screen version also ended up the more interesting and layered of the villains, with Molina giving a compelling portrayal of the driven but conflicted scientist.

Agree? Disagree? Which do you prefer?
POST YOUR CHOICE BELOW!

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1:47AM on 05/02/2014

Yep

Doc Ock by a long shot.
Doc Ock by a long shot.
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+0
4:05PM on 05/01/2014

Green Goblin

And here's why: The shortcoming of giving Molina a "multilayered" role is that his bad guy wasn't really a bad guy at all. Doc Ock from SM2 falls right into the trope of villains who are only villains because of an external controlling force. Otto Octavius was a perfectly pleasant man until those robot arms took control of him and made him bad. It's somewhat laughable that after all the evil he does throughout the film, he can just suddenly snap out of it at the end and become a good guy
And here's why: The shortcoming of giving Molina a "multilayered" role is that his bad guy wasn't really a bad guy at all. Doc Ock from SM2 falls right into the trope of villains who are only villains because of an external controlling force. Otto Octavius was a perfectly pleasant man until those robot arms took control of him and made him bad. It's somewhat laughable that after all the evil he does throughout the film, he can just suddenly snap out of it at the end and become a good guy again. The Goblin was better because he was more evil for evil's sake. A true villain.
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3:44PM on 05/01/2014
Doc Oc. Both were great, but Doc Oc.
Doc Oc. Both were great, but Doc Oc.
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-2
3:24PM on 05/01/2014

Green Goblin

doc ock is just a guy with robot arms, if spiderman punched him his skull would shatter and cave in, hes not a real threat.
doc ock is just a guy with robot arms, if spiderman punched him his skull would shatter and cave in, hes not a real threat.
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3:01PM on 05/01/2014

You're right that DOC OCK was more interesting.

And that's why I choose GREEN GLOBIN: Because he constantly seemed as a victim being controlled, while G.G. was just evil. And you could tell he was even before the lab accident.

However, I probably would've chosen DOC OCK if we were talking about the comics because he looked cooler. G.G.'s metallic look made him more menacing.
And that's why I choose GREEN GLOBIN: Because he constantly seemed as a victim being controlled, while G.G. was just evil. And you could tell he was even before the lab accident.

However, I probably would've chosen DOC OCK if we were talking about the comics because he looked cooler. G.G.'s metallic look made him more menacing.
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12:49PM on 05/01/2014
Doc Ock was better for me. Gobbie was a bit too cartoonish and his motivations were just craziness. Doc Ock was human to me and had a good side of him that i liked.
Doc Ock was better for me. Gobbie was a bit too cartoonish and his motivations were just craziness. Doc Ock was human to me and had a good side of him that i liked.
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12:10PM on 05/01/2014

Doc Ock for me

I like Alfred Molina more as an actor, and I thought they really gave him a stronger character to work with in SPIDER-MAN 2. I also loved how they made the arms their own character.
I like Alfred Molina more as an actor, and I thought they really gave him a stronger character to work with in SPIDER-MAN 2. I also loved how they made the arms their own character.
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11:08AM on 05/01/2014
Wonderful performances...it comes down to the costume. Green Goblin looked like a power ranger and ended up being more cartoonish than the comic version. Doc Ock was very understated with a trenchcoat and sunglasses and a stylish hat. Doc wins in that regard.
Wonderful performances...it comes down to the costume. Green Goblin looked like a power ranger and ended up being more cartoonish than the comic version. Doc Ock was very understated with a trenchcoat and sunglasses and a stylish hat. Doc wins in that regard.
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10:25AM on 05/01/2014
Got to go Doc Oc. I love Green Goblin, but that suit just didn't do his character justice.

How about a Face Off between Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire's spider-mans?
Got to go Doc Oc. I love Green Goblin, but that suit just didn't do his character justice.

How about a Face Off between Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire's spider-mans?
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+1
9:46AM on 05/01/2014
Doctor Octopus for me....Good face off this week!
Doctor Octopus for me....Good face off this week!
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9:24AM on 05/01/2014
They were both good and played their roles just right....how's that for sitting on the fence. Dafoe going nutso, killing left, right and centre, chatting to himself in the mirror with a funny walk and ogling MJ were fun scenes...while Molina being a victim of circumstances... losing his loving wife...and going comic book nutso before gathering some self control to make the ultimate sacrifice was great to watch. I don't hold Spider-Man 2 in the high regard that seems to be common on this site
They were both good and played their roles just right....how's that for sitting on the fence. Dafoe going nutso, killing left, right and centre, chatting to himself in the mirror with a funny walk and ogling MJ were fun scenes...while Molina being a victim of circumstances... losing his loving wife...and going comic book nutso before gathering some self control to make the ultimate sacrifice was great to watch. I don't hold Spider-Man 2 in the high regard that seems to be common on this site - but there's no doubt that the performances of the villains was done well.
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9:09AM on 05/01/2014

If we're just talking about the movies...

Molina OWNED Octavius' role and did a brilliant job with it.
Molina OWNED Octavius' role and did a brilliant job with it.
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7:47AM on 05/01/2014
Alfred Molina's portrayal of Doctor Octopus is one of the best comic book movie villains, not quite on the level of Heath Ledger's Joker but then again, Octavius is a different animal. He was a truly tragic figure and his motivation for turning evil made sense. I think I liked Rhys Ifans' portrayal of The Lizard (terrible CGI aside) because it really reminded me of Doc Ock. Willem Dafoe was enormous amounts of fun and gorged himself on the scenery like there was no tomorrow. I do wish he got to
Alfred Molina's portrayal of Doctor Octopus is one of the best comic book movie villains, not quite on the level of Heath Ledger's Joker but then again, Octavius is a different animal. He was a truly tragic figure and his motivation for turning evil made sense. I think I liked Rhys Ifans' portrayal of The Lizard (terrible CGI aside) because it really reminded me of Doc Ock. Willem Dafoe was enormous amounts of fun and gorged himself on the scenery like there was no tomorrow. I do wish he got to play the Joker at some point though.
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4:07AM on 05/01/2014
Nope. Green Goblin for me. Doctor Octopus maybe smarter but Green Goblin is way more ruthless, cunning and diabolical.
Nope. Green Goblin for me. Doctor Octopus maybe smarter but Green Goblin is way more ruthless, cunning and diabolical.
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3:43AM on 05/01/2014

Green Goblin

I'm the only person I know that doesn't think Spider-Man 2 is the best in the franchise, in fact I was pretty disappointed by it. But to each his own. As far as villains go, I really didn't care about Molina's Doc Ock much. That is not Molina's fault. In the cartoons he's so menacing and evil, but in the movie he's a really nice guy who happens to do a few bad things. But Goblin was just pure evil and Dafoe obviously had a blast spewing out his villainous dialogue. Talking Spider-Man in general
I'm the only person I know that doesn't think Spider-Man 2 is the best in the franchise, in fact I was pretty disappointed by it. But to each his own. As far as villains go, I really didn't care about Molina's Doc Ock much. That is not Molina's fault. In the cartoons he's so menacing and evil, but in the movie he's a really nice guy who happens to do a few bad things. But Goblin was just pure evil and Dafoe obviously had a blast spewing out his villainous dialogue. Talking Spider-Man in general Doc would win my vote any day of the week, but if we're strictly talking the movies I have to go with Green Goblin.
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1:46AM on 05/01/2014

Green Goblin

This is basically a tie for me and both of them did a perfect job in my opinion playing their respected characters and villains, but I have to give this one to Green Goblin. I'm more of a fan of the character and of DaFoe.
This is basically a tie for me and both of them did a perfect job in my opinion playing their respected characters and villains, but I have to give this one to Green Goblin. I'm more of a fan of the character and of DaFoe.
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4:43AM on 05/01/2014
Earlier you stated that Doc Ock was the better villain and thats part of what made Spiderman 2 a superior film and "the greatest comic book movie" (an honor bestowed to at least 10 movies by you)
Earlier you stated that Doc Ock was the better villain and thats part of what made Spiderman 2 a superior film and "the greatest comic book movie" (an honor bestowed to at least 10 movies by you)
1:41AM on 05/01/2014
Ock all the way
Ock all the way
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