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18 Years Later, SPIDER-MAN Has The Most Brutal Finale Of Any Superhero Film | Come @ Me Bro!

Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man (2002) has the most brutal final fight scene between hero and villain than any superhero film.

The concept of my column, Come @ Me, Bro, is to present a strong, unpopular opinion that I actually believe. All the opinions are not made up just to incite angry discord. Unlike Twitter users who tweet an unpopular opinion only to say, “Don’t @ Me,” I actually want to hear from you! Whether you agree, or more likely, disagree with my statements. This week; why Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man still has the most brutal finale of any superhero film.

I know what you’re thinking. How can Sam Raimi’s 2002 Spider-Man film have the most brutal finale when we’ve watched “the snap” (or “the blip”), Iron Man die, Logan die, etc, etc, etc. Especially since (18-year-old Spoiler warning), Spider-Man (Tobey Maguire) and Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst) both survive the film, with only the death of Norman Osborn (Willem Dafoe), as the Green Goblin.

We’ve also seen Batman not save Ra’s Al Ghul, Deadpool get shot, the Hulk thrash Loki, Batman fight Superman, and Thanos turning to half our heroes to ash.

Still, Spider-Man’s final fight with the Green Goblin is more personal, realistic, and brutal than any other superhero film I can think of.

“Are You Sure You’re Not From The DC Universe?”

While the original Spider-Man film was obviously used as a template for the combination of humor and seriousness for Iron Man, which became the template for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the film is much darker than you remember. Not Dark Knight or Batman V Superman dark, but actually far darker than a film like Logan, Avengers: Infinity War, or Avengers: Endgame.

I’m talking about the specific scene following the bigger spectacle. After Spider-Man saves Mary Jane and a gondola full of Boy Scouts and is helped by the people of New York (the film did come out the May after 9/11), Norman Osborn/Green Goblin snatches Peter Parker/Spider-Man with a rope and drops him into some sort of abandoned building.

From here, things get brutal in a way not has seen since in a third act battle.

The battle starts with Spider-Man being throw through a window and a pumpkin bomb exploding in his face. Though he suffers little damage, his suit is torn to shreds, revealing half his face and both eyes. Not only does this allow Toby Maguire to emote better, it allows us to better related to the character. After a CGI Goblin jumps from his glider to attack, I’m pretty sure there is no more CGI in the scene.

“Misery, Misery, Misery, That’s What You’ve Chosen”

No CGI? That’s right, not after the explosion and Goblin’s jump. Now you know one of the reasons I really like the scene. All the hits are real. When a crumbling wall is brought down on the Goblin, it’s a combination of fake bricks and stunt work. The one web swing? Stunt work as well. For me, it is easy to spot the CGI vs the real costumes because Spider-Man is a product of 2002 special effects. Whenever the characters are replaced with CG, they look shiny and glassy.

So, of course, this Mission: Impossible-obsessed fan appreciates his fight scenes done with real stuntmen. It just makes it feel more grounded and real. The sound effects and lack of score add to the brutality of the scene.

Let’s talk about the lack of music here. The delightful score cuts out until the Goblin has Spidey on the ropes and taunts him, saying, “Had you not been so selfish, your little girlfriend’s death would have been quick and painless. But no that you’ve really pissed me off, I’m going to finish her, nice and slow.”

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This technique has been used in perhaps an even more brutal fight scene, Bane breaking the bat in The Dark Knight Rises. That’s right, I said it might be more brutal. But, I built a loophole into this column by saying “finale.” Checkmate.

The score becomes the sound of fists landing, walls crumbling, and our heroes screaming warcries. It’s very effective in The Dark Knight Rises and Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man.

Finally, the cinematography and look are classic Sam Raimi, adding more fluidity and a sense of location to the scene, as well as that literal darkness.

“Deliver Us From Evil”

Goblin is always particularly evil and personal. Spider-Man is the only film where Aunt May is a target, aside from Into The Spider-Verse where she holds her own, or Spider-Man 2 where Doc Ock grabs her randomly, unaware of her connection to Peter Parker/Spider-Man. In this film, Green Goblin pumpkin bombs Aunt May while she says the Lord’s Prayer. The aforementioned quote about killing MJ also makes things a lot more personal between hero and villain. Maybe I’m looking into this line too much, but I feel that “nice and slow” could even imply rape. But, of course, this film is PG-13.

When Spider-Man unleashes on Goblin after this threat, things get even more personal. After beating the shit out of him and his mask, Spidey is stopped by the reveal that his nemesis has been his father figure, Norman Osborn, all long. That’s when the manipulation starts, with Dr. Osborn blaming his actions on the Goblin. Which isn’t too crazy a notion, as he does talk to himself in the mirror. Which does make HIM crazy.

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Spider-Man doesn’t fall for it, takes his leap, and Goblin’s glider brutally impales Norman in a very Sam Raimi way.

As his final request, Norman Osborn tells Peter Parker, “Don’t tell Harry.” Then Green Goblin drops dead.

This personal connection makes Peter Parker realize that his alter-ego will lead to him hurting everyone he loves. So, he keeps the promise, though Harry Osborn sees Spider-Man drop his father’s corpse off in his apartment. This sets off a chain of events that will plague Peter Parker for the rest of the trilogy.

It also isn’t great that he has to attend the funeral. the man that tried to kill him, Mary Jane, and Aunt May. Simply brutal, all of it.


Now, the fun part. With all the superhero film finales we’ve had since 2002, an 18-year-old film can’t possibly have the most brutal final fight of all, can it? I’m sure you all have your picks and are ready to tell me how wrong I am.

You know what I think, so I want you to Come @ Me, Bro! Let’s do this in the comments below!

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