The first movie in the Spider-Man Trilogy is an origin story, telling the tale of Peter Parker, a nerd who is bitten by a genetically-engineered spider and gets the powers of the arachnid - web shooting, high jumping, wall-adherability, enhanced strength/endurance and sensing vibrations in the air.At first he attempts to use these powers for profit, but when his actions accidentally lead to the death of his Uncle Ben, Peter decides to use his abilities to fight injustice, under the name Spider-Man. This comes in handy when the father of his best friend, Norman Osborn (Willem Dafoe), becomes the villainous Green Goblin after using a performance-enhancing chemical vapor that grants him super strength, but also makes him mentally unstable and dangerously psychotic.
Awesome, but Impractical: General Slocum clearly wants to sign a contract between the United States Army and Quest Aerospace for their obviously incredibly cumbersome flightsuit (which doesn't even look very practical or look like something that's going to catch on) over Oscorp Industries' much more practical Human Performance Enhancers, streamling aero flightsuits, and gliders. Norman, as the Goblin, destroys his rival's technology by blowing up the bunker during a testing session before it can be put to market.
Berserk Button: Green Goblin threatens to have a "hell of a time" with MJ. Spider-Man responds by dropping a brick wall on him, and after subsequently tackling him, he repeatedly punches the Goblin in the face and knocks him down only to be propped back up for another hit to the face.
The Big Damn Kiss: The famous upside down in the rain scene. They repeat it. It is reprised in the third movie, only with Gwen Stacy on the receiving end.
Blatant Lies: Most of Jameson's ideas for stories about Spider-Man. Because, "If he doesn't want to famous? Then I'll make him INfamous!"
Also when scamming Peter when he gets his pics of Spider-Man. When he is the only person that can get pics clearer than 50ft away, he dismisses them as garbage just so he can pay less to get them where any other publishing company would have paid 100 times as much.
The Cameo: Lucy Lawless as the redheaded woman in the "man on the street" segment, as a favor to Sam Raimi (who was the Executive Producer of Xena: Warrior Princess).
The couple at the World Unity Festival with their backs to the camera when Peter pulled them to safety by using his web? The man was reportedly Nicholas Hammond, Friedrich Von Trapp from The Sound Of Music and Spider-Man from the 70s TV show.
Celebrity Paradox: Aunt May briefly tells Peter "You're not Superman, you know!", and Peter half-jokingly yells out "Shazam!" and "Up, up, and away!" when he's trying to figure out how to fire his web. This seems to imply that DC Comics exists in the movie's universe—but it makes you wonder what it would look like in a world without Marvel Comics. Would they have a running rivalry with a different company? Would they change their superhero characters to accommodate changing tastes in the 60s? Did Stan Lee and Jack Kirby ever get into the comics business? If not, did DC ever publish New Gods?
CPR Clean Pretty Reliable: Dr. Stromm immediately begins administering CPR after Norman's heart stops. Of course, he's giving him sideways chest compressions from a standing position and it only takes TWO to restart Norman's heart again.
Uh, that's not what started his ticker back up. His cardiac arrest is heavily implied to be part of the performance serum's process.
Curse Cut Short: The "cut to another scene variation" happens during the first montage of Spider-Man in action.
Woman: (about Spider-man) He has those tights and that tight little—
Flat "What.": By Norman Osborn, upon being told by the board that Oscorp is going to be sold.
For the Evulz: The Green Goblin gives no clear motive in the movie other than messing with Spider-Man and generally acting like a homicidal maniac.
He does say he exists to fulfill Norman Osborn's dreams, but aside from killing the Oscorp board members, it is very unclear what he hopes to achieve afterwards.
The formula that gives Norman his strength is said (and shown) to make him insane, and it's only after Spider-Man interferes with his revenge/attempts to keep his company afloat that he starts gunning for Spider-Man, a thorn in his side. He tries to recruit him initially, and when that fails the rest of the plot is a result of him taking it very personally.
Genre Savvy: Arguably, the Green Goblin. His dialogue suggests that he's treating Spider-Man like someone who wants to play comic book superhero and is trying to prove to him that heroic actions are foolish and self-defeating.
Insane Troll Logic: the Goblin's attempt to persuade Peter that they shouldn't cause massive property destruction "over and over again in selfish battle" conveniently ignores that he causes that even without Spider-Man's intervention.
Ironic Echo: Peter has been conned by the wrestling event's promoter, who informs him, "I missed the part where that's my problem." After the robber steals the guy's money and Peter lets the guy get away, he says this back to the manager.
"Don't tell Harry." is also a line repeated throughout the movie.
When General Slocum visits the Oscorp factories, Dr. Stromm informs him that they need to take the entire product line "back to formula" due to the unstable nature of the performance enhancers. When Norman reawakes after being injected with the serum, the first thing he says as he prepares to throttle Dr. Stromm is, "Back to formula?"
"You're out, Norman." "Am I?" at the Oscorp board meeting when the directors tell Norman that he's going to be fired. At the World Unity Festival, as the Goblin prepares to throw pumpkin bombs at the board members, he says "Out, am I?!"
Idiot Ball: So Green Goblin has Spider-Man unconscious. Instead of taking his mask off and finding out it is Peter, he later finds out by pure accident.
There was no reason for the Goblin to take off his mask. Given that they were in New York, the odds that Spider-Man was someone that he could recognize just by seeing his face were incredibly small.
Furthermore, he was still trying to get Spidey on his side. He also could have easily killed him while he was unconscious, but chose not to.
Additionally, Norman is quite insane, and suffering from a fractured personality. The Goblin considers himself a different person from Norman (though born from him), and naturally considers Spider-Man the same way; until he realizes that it's Peter, the Goblin just doesn't care about the man under the mask, he wants to play with Spider-Man.
I Surrender, Suckers: When a police officer accosts the Goblin during his attack in Times Square, he says, "I surrender!" then knocks out the officer.
Mundane Made Awesome: Peter Parker designs his Superhero costume in a montage, complete with his notes ("Needs more color"), newspaper ads for the car of his dreams and the wrestling match, an image of a smiling Mary Jane, and Danny Elfman's themes; this scene segues into Peter's shooting his web in his room, with a bit more Elfman music.
Nonchalant Dodge: When Flash Thompson tries to pick a fight with Peter, Pete's new Super Reflexes are depicted by showing everything except him in slow motion. Which is so slow that he is abe to dodge the punch, look at Flash in surprise and confusion, then back to the fist, all in what appears to be less than a half-second of real time.
Odd Friendship: Harry and Peter who are best friends despite coming from complete polar-opposite backgrounds.
Subtext would indicate that they bonded over having lost parents and being respective outcasts among their peers, Harry being the Lonely Rich Kid and Peter being a Hollywood Nerd.
Harry also implies in the second film that Peter initially may have been his tutor, as he credits him with "single-handedly getting me through High School Science."
Also the look on Dr. Stromm's face when, after turning around, he finds a single hand clenched around his face and that that hand belongs to a very, very pissed off Norman Osborn, who until just recently was believed to have suffered a terminal heart attack. "Back to formula?" [kills Stromm]
Opening Monologue: "Who am I? You sure you want to know? The story of my life is not for the faint of heart..."
The Paragon: Spider-Man's efforts got ordinary citizens to help in the climax.
Pet the Dog: New Yorkers are generally giant jerks to Spider-Man until the scene where Green Goblin tries to kill a bunch of children, then stop Spider-Man from saving them. The assorted crowd on the bridge throw pipes and assorted debris at him. Similarly, J. Jonah Jameson is all Bad Boss around everybody until Green Goblin flies in through the window looking for Peter just after Peter's left the room. Jameson insists that Peter's never even gone to the Bugle office even as the Goblin is strangling him.
Pro Wrestling Is Real: The first film depicted wrestling as real as a direct adaptation of his origin story. In that world, Spider-Man beat a wrestler named Bonesaw McGraw, played by the late Randy "Macho-Man" Savage.
Real Life Writes the Plot: The film was delayed thanks to the need to remove an extended scene involving the World Trade Center judged inappropriate after the 9/11 attacks. The reaction to these was also responsible for adding the aforementioned scene in which New York citizens rally together to verbally attack the Goblin.
Rousseau Was Right: The moment when the citizens of New York prove the Green Goblin wrong once and for all by not turning against Spider-Man was the true dramatic climax of the film. After that point, the final fight with the Goblin was pretty much all a Foregone Conclusion.
Scare Chord: A scene with Norman talking to the Goblin's spirit features a chord that's rather jarring in its loudness.
Also when Harry finds his dad slumped over in the living room and is trying to help him figure out what had happened the night before (it being, of course, Norman as the Goblin killing General Slocum and others trying to drive him out of business). The chord in question is used as part of a Jump Scare, accompanied by a split-second shot of Norman seizing during the experiment that gave him his powers.
Norman: ...last night I was — [QUICK SHOT] Harry: ...what? Norman: ...I don't remember...
Split Personality Makeover: Norman Osborn and the Green Goblin. The difference between the two is huge, but it's done entirely with facial expression, vocal mannerisms, and body language!
Staring Kid: The kid gawking at falling debris that Spidey had to save during his fight with the Green Goblin.
What Happened To The Spider: After Peter gets bitten, he flicks it away and we see it crawl under some cabinets. While in the background, we hear Mary-Jane inform them that it's missing, we never do find out what happened, or if there is a random genetically altered Spider that can give people super-powers still at large in New York City?