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The Death Of All Villains In Sam Raimi's Spider-Man Trilogy Had This One Thing In Common

Between Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, and Tom Holland, there have been a lot of Spider-Man movies in the past two decades. Even not counting the films in which those actors don the iconic suit, animated films like Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and spin-offs like Venom expand on the web-slinger's cinematic mythos. The Marvel Cinematic Universe's third Spider-Man installment is up next as of December 2020, and only time will tell what comes after that.

With so many movies to keep track of, it can be easy to forget the finer details of each individual entry, from which enemies of Spider-Man's expansive rogues gallery make an appearance, to which ladies from his almost equally-as-expansive romantic history play a role. In that vein, Film Facts posted an interesting discovery on Twitter concerning Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy — or, to be more specific, the trilogy's main villains: Willem Dafoe's Green Goblin, Alfred Molina's Doctor Octopus, and Topher Grace's Venom (all of whom, to be clear, duke it out with Maguire's rendition of the titular superhero). 

That discovery is this: They all die "by their own hand."

Spoilers for Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, and Spider-Man 3 ahead!

"Don't tell Harry."

As first villains go, Green Goblin is quite a test for the young, inexperienced Peter Parker. His powers and gadgets are far removed from the common crooks the hero has contended with previously, but his greatest weapon is his identity: Norman Osborn, father of Peter's best friend Harry (James Franco). Norman uses the shock of this revelation to his advantage in their final battle, but little does he know Peter has an advantage of his own.

The melee takes place in an abandoned warehouse near Manhattan's Queensboro Bridge, and it does not go well for an already beat-up Spider-Man — at first. Green Goblin relentlessly backs the hero into a corner, threatening to take his time killing Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst) once he's done slaughtering Spidey. Enraged, Peter pushes back until Norman's the cornered one — the perfect time for the Goblin to reveal his identity, and make Peter feel guilty. It works, if only for a minute, but that's all the time Norman needs to set up his glider to stab Peter from behind. Luckily, the hero's Spider-Sense — his precognitive inner alarm — warns him of the danger. He dodges, and the blades pierce a confused Norman instead. Dying, he makes one last request of Peter: "Don't tell Harry." One can only imagine what must've been going through Peter's head after all that, but what's done is done.

Four arms, one life

Before he was Doctor Octopus, Otto Octavius was a brilliant scientist attempting to bring clean fusion energy to the world. A mentor and friend to the scientifically-inclined Peter, it's all the more a tragedy when a public demonstration of the energy goes awry and Otto loses control of the four robotic arms strapped to his back. Now, they control him as much as he controls them, and together they decide to try their hand (tentacle?) at the experiment once again. In order to do so, he needs fast money — bank robbery money, that is, which Spider-Man won't stand for. There's no going back for either party after that.

Later on, after Doc Ock captures Mary Jane and sets up the second fusion reactor, Spider-Man goes after him and their last confrontation begins. This time, Peter turns the tables with his identity, removing his mask before a defeated-looking Otto. The reactor has become self-sustaining by this point, and Peter presses his old mentor for a way to stop it, of which there's only one: drowning the whole apparatus in the river below. Brave as ever, Peter immediately turns to do so, but Otto insists that the captain should go down with the ship. 

The two men share a final, meaningful look, and go their separate ways. As Otto does what must be done, he declares, "I will not die a monster." And he doesn't. He dies a hero.

A selfish man who can't let go

In Spider-Man 3, the titular hero faces his greatest challenge yet: himself. Overtaken by an alien symbiote, his worst qualities shine for all the world to see, both as Peter and as Spider-Man. He becomes a shadow of his former self, only realizing it after he accidentally hits Mary Jane when she tries to stop him from escalating a bar fight. Slinking to a bell tower in shame, Peter decides to remove the suit, discovering its weakness to be loud noises when he bumps into the bell. The discovery allows him to successfully remove the suit, but the symbiote always needs a host. Luckily for it, Eddie Brock — Peter's rival photographer — is just below, and the two fuse to become Venom.

Though it's far from an original stunt the third time around, Venom kidnaps Mary Jane to lure Peter in, and the trap is as effective as ever. Together with Sandman (Thomas Haden Church), they're more than a match for Spider-Man, but Harry — who has embraced his father's legacy as Green Goblin — comes back to lend a hand to his best friend. He sacrifices himself to save Peter, but when Venom throws the body into a stack of metal pipes, the symbiote reacts poorly to the clanging noise. Peter quickly takes advantage, making a racket and webbing Eddie out of the symbiote. But Eddie can't bear to give up the power of the suit, and jumps towards it just after Peter throws one of Harry's bombs at it. His insatiable desire begets his demise, and both man and symbiote go up in flames.