“A true friend of Peter without annoying love triangle”: No, James Franco is Not the Best Harry Osborn We Have Seen Yet

James Franco’s great performance was followed by Dane DeHaan’s underwhelming Harry Osborn, but another portrayal has impressed fans.

James Franco as Harry Osborn

James Franco portrayed Harry Osborn in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films and became the most popular screen adaptation of the character. The son of the notorious Norman Osborn was present in several screen adaptations of the web-slinger. However, one portrayal may have found its way to the fan-favorite list after Franco’s Harry. Fans praised Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 for the way it developed Harry.

James Franco as Harry Osborn in a still from Spider-Man 2 | Columbia Pictures

Graham Phillips voiced the character for the game from Insomniac Games. Harry Osborn also appeared in Andrew Garfield’s The Amazing Spider-Man and the animated projects, including Spider-Man: The Animated SeriesThe Spectacular Spider-Man, and Ultimate Spider-Man.

Fans May Have Found A More Likable Harry Osborn Than James Franco

Harry Osborn in Marvel's Spider-Man 2 | Insomniac Games

Tobey Maguire‘s Spider-Man films introduced James Franco as Peter Parker’s best friend and Norman Osborn’s son Harry Osborn. The first film establishes him in these roles and even shows him briefly dating Mary Jane. However, he is oblivious to his father’s life of crime and when his father finally dies in the first film, Harry blames Spider-Man for that death.

The second and third films saw the transformation of the character into a villain, the New Goblin. Franco’s character gets sufficient screen time over the three films to build the character of Harry. The time taken for Harry’s characterization makes Franco one of the best Harry Osborn portrayals on screen.

When a Reddit discussion was started on the topic of the best Harry Osborn portrayal, many fans had the same answer as Little Goblin Jr. (via u/Magnifnik0 | Reddit). However, there was another popular choice for the best Harry Osborn among Redditors. Fans believed that Graham Phillips’ portrayal of the character from Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 gameplay gave tough competition to Franco.

According to u/SarcasticKenobi, Insomniac Games’s characterization of Harry stood out since the character was a rich guy, but not a jerk. He had a better-established friendship with Peter Parker and there was no love triangle putting their friendship in jeopardy. The Reddit comment read: Insomniac. Rich, but not a jerk about it. A true friend of Peter without an annoying love triangle.

In the game, Harry turns into the Venom after a fallout with his best friend Peter Parker. The story gives importance to Harry’s relationship with his mother, which plays into his Venom storyline and adds a refreshing angle to his story.

Insomniac’s Harry Osborn Is Similar To Dane DeHaan’s TASM Character But Better

Dane DeHaan as Harry Osborn in a still from The Amazing Spider-Man 2 | Columbia Pictures

Andrew Garfield‘s The Amazing Spider-Man dropped the ball with its characterization of Harry Osborn. Dane DeHaan was cast as Harry in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. The film bluntly introduces a best friend into the story who asks for blood from Peter Parker to cure his disease.

According to one Redditor, Harry in the film didn’t work because it took the viewers for granted and assumed that they were aware of the Spider-Man lore behind the character and his father. Another Redditor suggested that he took away screen time from Jamie Foxx‘s Electro, who could’ve otherwise become one of the greatest Spidey movie villains.

Fans on X suggested that Graham Phillips’ Harry also had a similar story but the friendship between the characters was made better and believable. One fan shared that it felt almost like The Amazing Spider-Man 2 found its lost script where the character Harry was actually established. Some of the fan comments read:

While it is arguable that Harry in the 2023 game was a rushed portrayal, fans loved the development of the character throughout the gameplay.

Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 is now available for purchase from the website of Insomniac Games.

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