is the first movie in the Spider-Man Trilogy
, released in 2002. An origin story, it tells 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.
Followed by Spider-Man 2
- Adorkable: Peter Parker. Considering he's raised by two elderly people, his whole "gee shucks" thing kind of makes sense.
- Alas, Poor Villain: Norman Osborn. "Peter... don't tell Harry."
- Alliterative Name: Peter Parker.
- Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: A rather dark example. Harry's dad, Norman storms out of Thanksgiving dinner with Peter, MJ, and Aunt May. Harry tries to stop him, and Norman tells Harry, rather loudly, that considering MJ's background, shes just interested in his money and to use her and dump her. And everyone else heard everything.
- Arc Words: "Don't tell Harry." Also "Thank God for you, Peter."
- The Atoner: Peter becomes a hero to atone for letting the robber go who wound up killing Uncle Ben.
- Atrocious Alias:
- Peter's original idea for his name.
Ring Announcer: "The Human Spider", that's it, that's the best you got?
Peter Parker: Yeah.
Ring Announcer: Oh, that sucks...
- "The Green Meanie"
- Attempted Rape: Spidey saves Mary Jane from an attempted gang rape.
- 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, streamlined 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.
- Badass Bystander: Averted; the man who earlier cheated Peter out of his prize money points out that Peter could have "taken that guy apart" but he instead let the robber pass. Peter replies, "I missed the part where that's my problem."
- The Bad Guy Wins: Half way through the movie the Green Goblin has accomplished all his goals, only a vague "just imagine what we could do if Spider-Man joined us" is given to sustain the film's main conflict.
- Bastard Boyfriend: Harry. Though not that extreme, but he was pretty controlling to Mary Jane. When he called to know if he's okay, he wants to give her flowers, she said he didn't have to, but he said he wants to in a kind of tone. During Thanksgiving, he tries to make her presentable for his dad. Later, after he leaves and quietly insults her to Harry, she heard what he said and calls him a "creep". Harry was angry at her for calling his dad that, and as she leaves, he tells her to watch what she says.
- Jump Scare: The first time we see Norman after he becomes the Green Goblin but before learning of his alternate personality, he has a brief second-long flash of the Goblin, leaving the Goblin loudly laughing and staring at the viewers up close before it cuts back to regular Norman.
- Large Ham:
- Both Willem Dafoe and J.K. Simmons.
- Randy Savage, arguably the greatest ham-slicer in wrestling history, wants you to know that BONESAWWWW IS RRRRREADYYYYYY!
- Laser-Guided Karma: Norman spends the entire movie being kind of a dick even when he's not Green Goblin. His last speech to Peter, appealing to Peter's emotions and hoping to play on his need for a father figure, fails completely and he gets killed by his own glider.
- Like a Weasel: Harry pulls this while trying to flirt with Mary Jane at the spider laboratory.
- The Man in the Mirror Talks Back: At least one Norman Osborn / Green Goblin dialogue/monologue is done via this.
- Mook Horror Show: Peter pulls this trope on the man who killed Uncle Ben.
- 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 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 able 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."
- Oh, Crap:
- Or in Osborn's case: "Oh."
- 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?"
- Peter when he hears May screaming about yellow eyes while at the hospital.
"He knows who I am."
- 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.
- Parting Words Regret: Part of the tragedy of Ben's death is that his and Peter's parting was less than amicable.
- 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 Mean 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. That last is pretty characteristic; news editors and journalists get pumped for their sources all the time. Still a fairly standout Pet the Dog moment, though.
- 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 "Macho Man" Randy Savage. Furthermore "The Disciplinarian" Kristen Davidson and "Jungle Grrl" Erica Porter played Bonesaw's managers, throwing him weapons to hit Spider-man with to try and keep him from lasting to the time limit. This is actually a(n unrealistic) depiction of "hooking", in which a wrestler would challenge local competitors to last a certain amount of time in the ring with him, beating them handily while making it look like they actually stood a chance of lasting to the time limit so more contestants would put up money to try. If the wrestler might actually be in danger of losing he would "cheat" (hence the managers). Hooking only worked because it happened in the age when people bought into kayfabe, which was long exposed by the time of this movies release (and steel cages were not involved).
- Real Life Writes the Plot: The reaction to the 9/11 terrorist attacks was responsibile for adding the scene in which New York citizens rally together to verbally attack the Goblin.
- Romantic Rain: Near the end of the movie, there is the famous upside-down kiss between Mary Jane and Peter Parker as Spiderman in the rain.
- Roof Hopping: The scene is so iconic, even Kick-Ass used the same set as a direct homage.
- 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.
- Sadistic Choice: Goblin. The Trope Namer. He offers Spider-Man the choice between saving the girl or the Bus Full of Innocents.
- Same Language Dub: Bruce Campbell voiced the injured wrestler that Peter walked by before going in the ring to fight Bonesaw.
- Save the Day, Turn Away: Ends on a really textbook example of one, with Peter not getting the girl.
- 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.
...last night I was —
...I don't remember...
- Secret Identity Apathy: Norman Osborn (a.k.a. the Green Goblin) honestly doesn't care that much about Spidey's secret identity. At first he just wants to work with him. He isn't even trying to find him when he accidentally learns his identity and then only goes after him because his son's feelings were hurt.
- Seriously Scruffy: Discussed; Aunt May remarks that Peter is so busy that he often leaves his room untidy.
- Sexy Soaked Shirt: The famous kiss scene in the rain, where Kirsten Dunst's shirt is fairly sheer, and very wet.
- Single-Target Sexuality: Peter only has eyes for MJ ever. He develops a crush on her before he's "even supposed to like girls" and never shows interest in anyone else. Even the one time he takes the sweet gorgeous super model from his physics class on a date is to make MJ jealous (and he was under the corrupting alien influence of Venom when he did that). Before that incident, he's so oblivious to that possibility that it never occurs to him that privately tutoring Gwen could make MJ upset or jealous.
- Smooch of Victory: Mary Jane gives Spider-Man a kiss after he saves her from a gang of would-be rapists.
- Spared by the Adaptation: Sort of. Mary Jane never died in the comics, but the girlfriend that got thrown off the bridge by the Green Goblin, which MJ takes on the role of, did.
- 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.
- Stripped to the Bone: Goblin's pumpkin bombs... sometimes. The effects of the bombs are inconsistent.
- Sword Limbo: With Green Goblin's flying blades.
- Take a Third Option: The bridge scene. The Goblin tells Spider-Man to make a choice — save Mary Jane, or passengers on the Roosevelt Island Tramway. He makes a move that saves both.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: After Peter gets bitten, he flicks the spider 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? Though in nearly every version of Spidey's origin, the spider dies after biting him. Even with the change from radioactive contamination to genetic engineering, it's reasonable to assume the spider never made it very far.
- White Gang-Bangers: The Attempted Rape scene.
- Would Hurt a Child: The Goblin uses a literal carload of them in a Sadistic Choice for Spidey that he hopes results in their death.
- Wrong Insult Offence: J. Jonah Jameson resents being accused of slander. In print, it's libel.