All Spider-Man Moments of Awesome are descended from the classic moment in Amazing #33, where, trapped under a giant machine with the waters of the Atlantic Ocean quickly flooding the room, a beaten and battered Spider-Man refuses to quit and lifts the machine off his back, all to save the rare isotope he needs to cure Aunt May's radiation poisoning. He goes on to escape from the flooding building, defeat an entire gang with his eyes closed while sporting an injured leg, make the life-saving serum, hustle J. Jonah Jameson into paying top dollar for his pictures, and ultimately save his Aunt May's life. The only thing that keeps this issue from being a full-on happy ending is that he scares Betty Brant, making her want to break up with him. Otherwise, the entire issue is a huge Crowning Moment of Awesome for your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.
When the Green Goblin comes Back from the Dead and threatens Peter Parker's entire supporting cast, Peter (and his clone "brother" Ben) save everyone, at the cost of Ben's life, during which we are treated to this:
Spider-Man: This has never been about Spider-Man and Green Goblin. It has always been about Peter Parker and Norman Osborn. Now Halloween's over, Norman. That means no more masks. No more pumpkins. No more bombs. It's time for us to face each other... as MEN! Green Goblin: No. No! I kill your true love, you fall in love with someone else. I destroy your life and you build another! Why won't you fall down and die?! Spider-Man: Because then, Norman, you would win. (punches out Goblin) And I will never give you the satisfaction.
Mary Jane gets her own Moment of Awesome when Spidey's foe The Chameleon uncovers his secret identity and imprisons him. To rub salt into the wound, Chameleon assumes the form of Peter Parker and goes to Peter and MJ's apartment, intending to have some "fun" with MJ. What could have been a horrible moment ends when Mary Jane, immediately realizing "Peter" is a fake, beats the Chameleon senseless with a baseball bat, leaving him battered and broken both physically and mentally.
In the "What If?" storyline of the Other, Peter dies and the symbiote takes over his body. Said symbiote is now much stronger than normal as it is in the body that it's wanted for so long, and proceeds to take out Wolverine and Power Man before going to Mary Jane as it has plans to replicate itself. To stop it from hurting anyone else, MJ offers to go with it, but here's the moment of awesome as she then goes on to say something along the lines of, "You may get my body, but my soul will always belong to Peter, and if I go with you, I'm going to make your life horrible." This is so awesome because it actually scares off the newly dubbed Poison and makes him rethink her as a host.
After confirming the "Peter" is actually the Chameleon with a few trick questions, Aunt May bakes him a batch of cookies with crushed sleeping pills and just a little bit of almond flavor to make him think he's been poisoned (cyanide tastes like almond). Best of all is the moment when she tells him all the mistakes he's made and holds up the sweater she's been knitting - with GOTCHA in big block letters across the front. With bonus Heartwarming Moment: "I suspected you weren't Peter on the elevator ride up. After all... what kind of mother wouldn't be able to tell her son from an impostor?"
Actually... Sure, there was the Chameleon beat down, taking down Swarm, and shooting the Green Goblin... but THIS◊ has always been MJ's very first Moment of Awesome. Seeing Mary Jane refuse to leave the grieving and emotionally broken Peter alone after Gwen's death, even after Peter attempts a "The Reason You Suck" Speech where he calls her selfish among several other things was nothing short of great.
As angsty as Back in Black was, his "Shut Up, Hannibal!" speech to Kingpin more than made up for it. The ensuing beat down he delivered as Peter Parker didn't hurt either.
Spidey's battle with The Juggernaut in Amazing 229-230. The fact that Spider-Man is completely outmatched might make the fight seem ridiculous, but it instead ends up being a testament to Spidey's willpower, ingenuity, and sense of justice, as he throws everything he can at the villain in an effort to stop him. The fight ends with Spidey jumping on Juggernaut's back and covering his helmet's eyeholes as the villain pounds at him, until Juggernaut accidentally wanders into a deep cement building foundation, leaving a battered and exhausted Spidey the victor. Proof that the "Parker Luck" isn't always bad, and that Spider-Man's refusal to submit is one of his greatest weapons.
For all the amazing action Spider-Man has been involved in over his entire history, the true, one-of-a-kind, ultimate Moment of Awesome for the character was in The Boy Who Collected Spider-Man. A kid, not even a teenager yet, has terminal cancer and wants to meet his hero, Spider-Man, before he dies. Spider-Man shows up at the kid's window one night, and 100% Pure Awesomeness ensues.
Granted it was with the Power Cosmic but he still punched the damn Hulk into orbit. Accidentally. And then he flies into space to retrieve him. Also a Crowning Moment of Funny.
In his first meetings with both the FF and X-Men he held his own and beat them about. In fact Xavier had to step in to stop him beating the 4 X-Men who were there at the time.
The end of the classic Amazing Spider-Man #18. Not only is it a crowning moment for Peter but one for Aunt May too. Up to that issue Peter never had it rougher. Due to running away from the Green Goblin after learning his Aunt had collapsed, the entire city, super hero, and villain communities were labeling Spider-Man as a coward. To make it worse Jonah was gloating about it all over the place, Aunt May was slowly recovering, and Peter was afraid to fight any villains for fear of leaving his Aunt unable to take care of herself. Not only that but money was getting so tight that Spidey was ready to sell his web fluid for money, course it being unstable didn't help so that option was out. Near the end Peter decides to let the world win and gives up being Spider-Man. Only to go downstairs to find his Aunt up and about. She refuses his help and explains that Parkers are tough and should never give up no matter what. After her stirring speech Peter returns to his room and re-dons his Spidey costume vowing to continue his fight. Despite being 46 years old it's one of the most dramatic moments this twenty three year old has ever read from a comic book. In fact it has a crowning moment of awesome for Flash Thompson as well. The one person who stuck by Spider-Man's side and even donned a costume to go out and fight crime. This resulted in getting his butt handed to him by three guys. Despite Spidey never coming to his aid he still believed in the guy. For containing not one but three moments of awesome this is why issue 18 is this Spider-fan's #1 issue, not the classic #33 that every other Spider-fan considers their favorite.
That glorious moment in #19 when JJJ, about to do another speech gloating how he proved Spider-Man is a phony, learns the shattering news that Spidey's back in action and his face falls to the floor.
The principal of Peter's high school gets a Moment of Awesome in an early issue of The Amazing Spider-Man. The Sandman, hiding out in the high school, accidentally walks into an occupied classroom that the principal is dropping in on. Sandman taunts his new hostages and mentions that so long as he's around, he'd like to have the diploma that he never got when he was in school. The principal balks, saying that a diploma must be earned, and refuses to back down on the issue. When the rather irate Sandman threatens the students, the principal throws himself in front of the class and orders the kids to run for it while he holds the Sandman off (luckily, Spider-Man arrives just in time to keep the poor guy from being clobbered by the Sandman). Corny? Yes. Awesome? Hell yes.
In the battle at the end of Civil War after Spidey defects to Captain America's side. In the space of two frames, Spider-Man takes down Bishop, Doc Samson, The Radioactive Man and Blizzard before kicking Reed Richards in the neck, all this while avoiding Reed's flailing arms.
Spider-Man's fight with Iron Man in Civil War. "What kind of techno geek do you think I am, that I wouldn't find your suit's lockdown code and program an override?" What makes it even better is that Peter's wearing his Stark Armor/Iron Spider costume, and Iron Man uses his override for the suit, and then admonishes Peter for never examining the tech he was wearing; only for Spidey to then reveal that he had not only found Stark's override and created his own override for that, but also that his also had the added bonus of disabling Stark's Iron Man armor long enough for him to escape, all the while Peter admonishes Stark for thinking he wasn't bright enough to find to his override, nevermind program an escape to it.
In Amazing Spider-Man 587, during the "Character Assassination" arc, Spidey gets himself out of a super-tough neck brace by using leverage. As he said once in Marvel Adventures, "Why do people keep forgetting that I'm really, really smart?"
In Spectacular Spider-Man #203, nearing the end of the "Maximum Carnage" arc, Spider-Man -while distracting the villains so his allies can get the Alpha Magni-Illuminator to stop them- lectures the villains while they try their very hardest to kill them, with only damage on his costume all they have done. This of course leaves him helpless and he is hit by a Psychic blast which turns his "shame, self-disgust, anger, and pain" onto himself which he also promptly survives, making two Moments of Awesome in the same two pages.
A Moment of Awesome for long-time Butt Monkey the Shocker. Herman Schultz is terrorizing the New York Stock Exchange when, in one of the more inspired moments of his criminal career, he points his vibro-smashers at a nearby broker. "Hey, you! The Shocker wants to be a millionaire... so hop to it!" The broker plays the market accordingly... and a few minutes later, the Shocker leaves the scene a million bucks richer.
Spider-Man versus Firelord. Yes, the former herald of Galactus. Spidey spends most of two issues using every trick he can think of to keep Firelord down, and none of it sticks. Finally, he attacks, relying on speed, spider-sense, and repeated punching and kicking. The only thing that stops the fight is Captain America pointing out that Firelord is unconscious...
Spidey gets at least two Crowning Moments during the Secret Wars. One memorable moment is when he kicks Titania's ass after she foolishly challenges him thinking he'd be a pushover, putting that arrogant bitch in her place and actually making her mildly phobic of him for quite a while. (Titania: "Impossible! Nobody can move that fast!" Spider-Man: "Nobody else.") But by far the best moment is when he eavesdrops on the X-Men plotting to leave the main hero group and join up with Magneto, they catch him in the act, and Spidey SINGLE-HANDEDLY beats the tobacco juice out of every single one of them and escapes to warn the others. Nightcrawler's quote says it all:
Nightcrawler: "His strength—! His speed—! Unbelievable! He is AWESOME!"
There is a crossover issue in the late 80s involving a mutant who could possess other people, which leads to Spider-Man fighting the Fantastic Four to a stalemate until someone else could knock out the mutant. That's four-on-one, where the one is your friendly neighborhood arachnid and the four are people who regularly fight Galactus.
The very first issue of Spider-Man where he breaks into the Fantastic Four's base to join the team and, when they won't let him and try to attack him, he fights all four of them until he decides its pointless and escapes. This was before he'd ever dealt with super villains and he still managed to impress the Thing with his strength and leave the Fantastic Four worrying about how powerful he would someday become. Spidey has a long history of fighting the Fantastic Four.
Spider-Man vs. Fusion. Spidey still went toe-to-toe with someone who appeared to be collecting superpowers like they were going out of style, sustained an illusionarybroken neck, and still managed to deliver a "The Reason You Suck" Speech and stand up for another round. (It has to be acknowledged that Fusion may have appeared to have every power in Marvel New York, but all he could actually do was a Compelling Voice. The fact that Spidey went head-to-head with him before he actually found this out qualifies). At the end came perhaps the actual crowning moment: Fusion says that even if Spidey knows about the true source of the powers he's being hit with, it won't stop them hurting, and delivers a Hulk Punch. Spidey doesn't even notice it.
Fusion: *Turns into the Hulk* Die. *punches*
Spidey: *unflinching* No.
Anti-Venom's (Eddie Brock) first fight with Venom (Mac Gargan) where he beats down Gargan and then tears apart the symbiote bit by bit until Gargan and the symbiote are on the ground halfway dead.
Amazing #656. After being shot in the stomach, and establishing Massacre as an emotionless killing machine with efficiency rivaling The Joker, Spidey shows up in an upgraded armoured Spider-Suit. Massacre tries to blow up his hostages with bombs strapped to their chests. Spidey uses magnetic webbing to cut off the signal to the trigger. Massacre blasts at them with his machine gun, Spidey blocks it with his suit. Massacre decides to blow up another bunch of hostages across town, Spidey webs the trigger. Massacre gets tired of this and pulls out a rocket launcher. Spidey blocks that too. After a good kick, Massacre is in range of multiple police snipers. Yes, Spidey blocks those as well. "Today nobody dies. Not even you."
His stint as Captain Universe. Basically, an extra-dimensional being (or something similar) called the Enigma Force detected that a great calamity would occur, and as such beings are wont to do, it selected a hero in order to stop it, choosing Spider-Man. The result was that our favorite web-slinger became Captain Universe. Basically, he won the Superpower Lotteryagain, this time getting Flight, Energy Blasts, Nigh-Invulnerability, his Super Strength was at least doubled, his five (not counting Spider-Sense) senses went into overdrive, and he gained psionic control over his webbing, essentially making it into a literalGreen Lantern Ring. Anyhow, some time after that, Loki decided that he wanted to do some mischief, so he magically combined THREE prototype ultra-powerful Sentinels into one "Tri-Sentinel", which could apparently only be stopped by something as powerful as Captain Universe. Ultimately, Spider-Man burned himself out stopping the Tri-Sentinel and lost his newfound powers, but damn if it wasn't awesome.
In Amazing Spider-Man, after being beaten down by Green Goblin and trying to save Aunt May again, he saves a blown-up Daily Bugle by holding it on his back while everyone escapes. And to stop it from falling he uses all of his webbing to hold it in place.
Amazing Spider-Man #682: We get a few pages of Peter commenting on how the things he's created at Horizon as Peter Parker are helping people with things like organ transportation, to providing more chance of people avoiding head trauma thanks to more protective bicycle helmets, before lamenting that he's finally doing what Uncle Ben had wanted for Peter by using his intellect to help people. Which turns into an Ironic Echo and an Awesome Moment for Dr. Octopus as it's revealed in 686 that all of Peter's creations at Horizon were being used by the mad scientist against him.
Amazing Spider-Man #683. Spidey, donning his brand new Anti-Sinister Six Armor and flanked by Captain America and Thor, bursts into a room where various leaders are discussing whether or not to give into Dr. Octopus' final demands. When Al Gore tells Spidey that Octavius' work could help mankind, Spidey responds by punching him in the face, mostly because he knows that everyone would be insane to let a mad man like Doc Ock win. Of course It was the Chameleon... but it still manages to be an awesome moment for Spidey, since it show just how Crazy-Prepared he was for the Sinister Six when he created his new Spider Armour, as he had implemented something similar to Daredevil's Radar Sense in order to tell if someone was the Chameleon or not.
A very simple moment in this scene: when the UN question whose authority Spider-Man speaks on, Thor steps forward.
Thor: I am Thor Odinson, heir to the lord of Asgard. And this man is my most trusted counsel. Continue, Spider-Man.
Avengers Vs X Men: After spending years as a background character during Marvel's Crisis Crossovers, Spider-Man gets back into the limelight during Issue 9. To emphasize Cyclops, Emma Frost, Namor, Magik, and Colossus have gained the powers of the Phoenix and began reshaping the world to their own image. The Avengers oppose them, so the Phoenix X-Men capture some of them in a volcano. To save them, the Avengers infiltrate the volcano but Colossus and Magik find them. Spider-Man notes that Colossus and Magik have been having issues about their control over their powers, so he tricks them into knocking each other out. Taking into consideration that the Phoenix X-Men have been curbstomping the Avengers, their defeat at the hands of Spider-Man is impressive.
In Avengers: The Initiative #3, Komodo, the Distaff Counterpart of the Lizard, has Spidey at depowering-device-point. When Spidey hasn't stopped cracking jokes, she asks a simple question... that leads to her utter demolition.
Komodo: Always with the jokes, huh? Spider-Man: Fine. You want me to be serious? I can do serious. You've already lost. Komodo: No way. I've only got to prick you once, and— Spider-Man: Not gonna happen. You know why? Because I'm Spider-Man. And you're a dollar store version of the Lizard. See, I beat down guys like Doc Ock, Sandman and Venom all the time. And you're just not in their league. Oh, I'm going to win. And after you've crawled back home with your tail between your legs, you know what happens then? Then your buddies are going to stick one of those things into you! Komodo: What? No... Spider-Man: Ah — you blinked. (sends her flying with one punch) Game to Spidey.
We find later that the speech left her sobbing and begging to not be depowered when War Machine finds her later.
After a battle between Terminus & Alpha manages to knock all of the air craft in the surrounding area out of the air, Spider-Man gets himself onto a specific plane - The private jet of Jay Jameson, father of J. Jonah Jameson & Aunt May's new husband. After managing to get the engines working again (Twice), Jay points out to Spidey that the landing gear is damaged. Cue Spidey forcing the gear down & holding the jet on his back as it lands, and to top it all off, once emergency crews arrive, tell them to get the two passengers before helping him. Hell, J. Jonah Jameson even barges past the various emergency workers & genuinely thanks Spider-Man for saving his family.
Peter Parker: [Unmasking in front of Dr. Octopus] Yes, I'm Peter Parker.
Dr. Octopus: No... I'm Peter Parker
Peter Parker/Dr. Octopus: Not anymore, Spider-Man. From now on I'm Peter Parker. I have all of your memories. I know everything you knew. I have your life and everything that comes with it. And you are Otto Octavius. With what little time you have left... ...trapped in that broken body— brought about by years of your brutal beatings. And like a good magician, I shall not reveal my secrets. You will die, never knowing how I performed my last and greatest trick...
That's right, Dr. Octopus swaps bodies with Spider-Man and gets away with it. But not before Peter convinces him to become The Superior Spider-Man. How Peter does it is awesome too. Trapped in Doc Ock's broken dying body, he forces Ock to experience Peter's entire life in an instant. All of the pain, struggle, and sheer heroism in Peter's seven hundred issue long career as Spider-Man hurt the self-centered and petty Otto worse than the years of beatings that left Otto's body in such a terrible state.
Admit it, you thought the Green Goblin interrupting Aunt May's prayer by crashing into her house was awesome.
In the first movie, the scene where Peter catches Mary Jane's lunch is a Moment of Awesome...for Tobey Macguire. The scene was done without special effects or CGI; the only "doctoring" is that the lunch tray was attached to Tobey's hand, meaning that what we see are his reflexes and balance, not Spider-Man's.
The climax of the first movie is simultaneously a Moment of Awesome andHeartwarming Moment. The Goblin had previously stated that the people of New York would turn on Spider-Man eventually, and by this point of the movie, it appears to be true. However, as Spider-Man is dangling in the air, desperately trying to keep a cable car full of children from falling to their deaths while the Goblin attacks him, who should come to his rescue, but the ordinary people of the city. The fact alone that they are proving that Rousseau Was Right and the Goblin was wrong makes it a Moment of Awesome, but what they shout at the Goblin as they pelt him with garbage and debris is what really sells it:
Bystander 1: Leave Spider-Man alone! You gonna pick on a guy just trying to save a bunch of kids?
Bystander 2: Oh yeah, I've got something for your ass! You mess with Spidey, you mess with New York!
Bystander 1: You mess with one of us, you mess with all of us!
Incidentally, this scene was added after 9/11. It shows.
J. Jonah Jameson in the first movie lying to the Goblin to protect Parker. Just after Parker sells the photos the Goblin attacks and ask who takes the photos he says "I don't know who he is, his stuff comes in the mail!" The Goblin continues to strangle him and he yet AGAIN says "Honestly, I don't know who he is!" It's a definite Pet the Dog / Jerk with a Heart of Gold moment for Jameson as well. On top of that, Peter is staring at the scene through the glass. Jameson doesn't even hint that it's him.
Spidey and MJ's upside-down kiss in the rain. It takes a special kiss like that to become an instant cinematic legend.
Spidey's debut. There's no big dramatic speech or hammy entrance, just a montage of Spidey swinging in and handing criminals their asses on a silver platter, complete with the classic "Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man" note. This troper's still never seen anything quite like it.
The entire final fight, for the protagonist AND the antagonist.
Norman figuring out Peter's identity, if only for the fact that he was actually able to put two and two together on his own instead of having it spelled out for him as per the norm for these kinds of films.