Willem Dafoe is a comic book movie legend thanks to his portrayal of the Green Goblin in Sam Raimi’s 2002 blockbuster “Spider-Man,” but the character’s appearance did not go over well with everyone. The Green Goblin mask was panned, with Roger Ebert remarking in his review that Dafoe appeared to be “a high-tech action figure with a mouth that doesn’t move.” 

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These complaints are likely what prompted the “Spider-Man: No Way Home” team to rework the mask for his return as the Green Goblin in the next Marvel Cinematic Universe tentpole, Dafoe told The New York Times this week.

“I must be honest, I am aware that there was some criticism of that [Green Goblin] mask in the original [Sam Raimi “Spider-Man”],” Dafoe said. “We heard it enough that it was probably a consideration, to change it up a little bit. I don’t think about that because I don’t think about emoting with my face. My face follows my heart. It’s just an expression of what you’re feeling.”

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For his comeback as the Green Goblin, Dafoe has been praised. “When [producer] Amy Pascal and [director] Jon Watts called me up and said we’d like to pitch you this idea, I thought, ‘This is crazy. But let’s see what they have to say,’” recalled Dafoe.

“I really didn’t want to do a cameo. I wanted to make sure there was something substantial enough to do that wasn’t just a tip of the hat. And the other thing was, I said I really want there to be action — I want to take part in action scenes. Because that’s really fun for me. It’s the only way to root the character,” he added.

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Spider-Man: No Way Home is on its way to becoming one of the top five domestic films of all time in the United States, with Titanic expected to fall to #6. On December 17, 2021, No Way Home, the fourth film in Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, was released in theatres. 

The film has shattered all kinds of pandemic-era records during that time, competing with even the highest-grossing pre-pandemic films. Spider-Man: No Way Home has become one of the top ten highest-grossing domestic films of all time, in addition to being the first pandemic-era picture to exceed the $1 billion mark worldwide.