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Spider-Man: The Return of the Green Goblin
Rating: unrated, but could be G
Release Date: October 29, 2002
Running Time: approximately 79 minutes
Ten-second Rundown: Spider-Man must rescue Mary Jane and clear Robbie Robertson before Tombstone can take him down in prison…oh, and yeah, the Green Goblin and the Hobgoblin argue over who has the better mask.


  • Episode from the 1967 series: "The Terrible Triumph of Doctor Octopus - Magic Malice"
  • unrelated episode: "The Return of the Green Goblin"
  • The Rogues' Challenge
  • Stan Lee's Soapbox
  • Chapter introductions from Stan Lee

    Choice Scene: From 1967: The Green Goblin parks his Goblin Glider outside a jewelry store, and puts a coin in the meter. He does later rob the same meter, but still…

    Tech Specs: English and Spanish Dolby Digital sound, English subtitles

    Though it may seem odd for Disney to have control over Spider-Man, or at least some of his adventures, it's turning out to be a pretty good thing. Timed for release just before the Sam Raimi adaptation hit DVD, their second outing, The Return of the Green Goblin, serves as a pretty good supplementary disc.

    Featuring four episodes from the mid-nineties series, The Return of the Green Goblin focuses on a plotline that begins with Spider-Man taking on The Spot but ends with him rescuing Robbie Robertson from his own past. Like a lot of this particular animated series, it borrows from what was then current and hot in the wallcrawler's own book. If you can get past the strangely mangled continuity, it's pretty enjoyable.

    For example, I still don't understand how The Hobgoblin appeared before The Green Goblin in this series, but it does allow for a great confrontation between the two. In the comics (at the time), that wasn't possible. Rethinking for television also makes The Spot a little less lame than he has always seemed to be in print, and now also makes clear why ToyBiz had a 10-inch figure of him.

    The only rethinking that looks dated now is the strangely stuck in the 80's Punisher. Come to think of it, though, you've never seen Frank Castle and Jennifer Beals in the same place at the same time.

    Though this release only takes a few episodes out of a larger seasonal plotline, they're still fun and reach enough of a closure not to leave you hanging. As a bonus in the special features section, Disney has also included (waaay out of sequence) the episode in which Harry Osborn takes on the mantle of The Green Goblin. Consider it a possible preview of the third Spider-Man film.

    Once again, Disney includes extras that make this disc a must-have for fans. Continuing from the previous DVD (Ultimate Villain Showdown), the disc features several short interviews with Stan Lee. From an historical perspective alone they're important, and this time he goes a little more in-depth to the writing process. Whatever you think of his recent work, the theories he offers here remain sound advice.

    Stan also offers help on the de rigeur Disney DVD trivia game. Unlike their major releases, the trivia here actually comes straight out of the comics. Though all Spider-Man related, some of it is pretty obscure, and you might need Stan's help. Activating the question mark onscreen brings up The Man, who drops an oblique clue either eliminating one of three possibilities or pointing you dead on the mark.

    After combining my true fanboy knowledge with Stan's cleverness, I happily report that Mary Jane survived my efforts.

    The real gem on this disc, however, comes in the form of a classic 1967 episode. A couple of weeks ago, Buena Vista (Disney's distribution arm) announced that they would begin re-mastering the original series, and the episode here proves why that effort is sorely needed.

    Pitting Spidey against Doctor Octopus and The Green Goblin (of course), what's here comes off of a very washed out and scratched up print. Sadly, there's also no doubt that this was the best available source. The original series varied wildly in quality of art direction, which gets proven between the two segments here. If you've ever watched Rob Smigel's Ambiguously Gay Duo cartoons, you can now know from where he takes most of his inspiration. No, there are no overtly phallic symbols, but the voice-work and occasionally static character poses will look familiar to fans of SNL.

    Interestingly enough, in the first segment Dr. Octopus steals a missile defense system, here called "The Nullifier." It only took the United States Government thirty-five years to make it work in actuality. Once again, life imitates comic books and cartoons.

    The Green Goblin in this episode gets treated more like the 1950's Joker than the evil genius we know him to be. Jealous of a famed stage magician, the villain breaks into his magical mansion and steals some of his tricks in order to "magically" commit crimes. It's silly, but every now and then, it's good to wallow in a time when we could be that naïve.

    Spider-Man - The Return of the Green Goblin

    Derek McCaw


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