"Remember, with great power comes great responsibility."Spider-Man is the first movie in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man Trilogy, released in 2002. An origin story, it tells the tale of Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire), 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. It has a Video Game Adaptation in the form of Spider-Man: The Movie.
— Ben Parker
Spider-Man provides examples of:
- Adaptational Villainy: Norman refers to Emily as having been a gold digger, a far cry from her comic incarnation.
- 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's demise can be compared to that of Macbeth. "Peter... don't tell Harry."
- All There in the Script: The novelization of the film states that the nerdy-looking girl that refuses to sit with Peter on the bus is Liz Allan note .
- Alliterative Name:
- Peter Parker, J. Jonah Jameson, and the other Bugle staff offenders.
- The novelization has JJJ defend the name "Green Goblin" on the grounds that alliteration is easy to remember. Peter Parker asks Robbie Robertson if he agrees, and then Betty Brant interrupts.
- 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, she's just interested in his money and to use her and dump her. And everyone else heard everything. Before Norman went nuts, he was still this to some degree — Harry is embarrassed that he would drive him to the school trip in the Rolls Royce.
- And Your Little Dog, Too!: In the final fight, the Goblin stops to indulge in this before finishing Peter, promising to slowly and painfully murder MJ just because Peter rejected his offer. He really shouldn't have rubbed it in its in by sneering "MJ and I... We're gonna have a HELL of a time" while waving a phallic weapon in Peter's face, because this naturally triggered Peter's Heroic Second Wind, allowing him to beat the Goblin into the ground.
- Arc Words: "Don't tell Harry." Also "Thank God for you, Peter." And "With great power comes great responsibility."
- Asshole Victim:
- The Oscorp Board of Directors. Being presented with a choice between Oscorp staying independent so they could let Osborne stay on board and agreeing to merge with a competitor without any say for Osborne, they let their love of money take advantage of them, and have to deal with the consequences.
- General Slocum. Dealing with a contracted corporation that doesn't meet your crazy expectations is one thing, but happily bragging about putting the corporation out of business after canceling your contract? No wonder Osborne went wacko.
- 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"
- Peter's original idea for his name.
- 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. This appears to be largely based on a personal dislike of Norman Osborn. Although considering that said Performance Enhancers end up driving Norman completely mad, it's hard to describe them at least as being "practical".
- Backstab Backfire: As in the source material, Norman is killed by his own attempt to (literally) stab Peter in the back.
- 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: Halfway 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 is pretty controlling to Mary Jane. When he calls to know if he's okay, he wants to give her flowers, she says he didn't have to, but he says he wants to in a kind off tone. During Thanksgiving, he tries to make her presentable for his dad. Later, after he leaves and insults her to Harry, she heard what he said and calls him a "creep". Harry angrily defends his dad, and as she leaves he tells her to watch what she says "about stuff [she doesn't] understand".
- Beta Outfit: Peter Parker starts off with essentially a modified hoodie and jeans, (still in his iconic colors) before making his Spider-Man suit.
- Big Bad: Norman Osborn/The Green Goblin of course!
- Big Brother Instinct: Meta example, but among the Bus Full of Innocents, his brother is one of them.
- 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.
- Bill... Bill... Junk... Bill...: J. Jonah Jameson's opinion of Peter's photos is: "Crap... Crap... Megacrap."
- 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.
- Uncle Ben of all people, pulls this. Looking for an excuse to get some time to talk to Peter, he offers to drive him to the library, and when Peter demurs, Uncle Ben says "I need the exercise."
- Board to Death: The Green Goblin disintegrates the entire OsCorp Board of Directors to a well-deserved death in revenge for trying to merge OsCorp with Quest Aerospace without him.
- Book Ends: "Who am I?"
- Bond Villain Stupidity: Green Goblin knocks out and captures Spider-Man, but neither kills him nor takes his mask off to see who he really is. Instead he asks Spider-Man to join him, and amazingly, he just leaves him alone to "think it over" after Spider-Man turns down the offer. Goblin/Norman both do want a son figure at that point in the movie, so it's somewhat justified; once that possibility is out, the Goblin just tries to straight up kill Spider-Man instead.
- Boring, but Practical: Peter defeats Bonesaw by simply kicking him a few times straight in the face (without any fancy moves) and ultimately kicking him in the bars of the cage. He also beats the crap out of the carjacker by simply slamming his head into some windows.
- Bridal Carry: The Green Goblin does this to Spider-Man while carrying him up to a roof after paralyzing him.
- Bullet Time: Peter's Spider-Sense is portrayed this way.
- Butt-Monkey: Peter. The opening sequence really rubs it in: he's such a dork that even the bus driver laughs at his misfortunes! About the only people who treat him with any respect are Mary Jane and Harry.
- Cable-Car Action Sequence: Played with during the climax of the film, in which Spider-Man has to save one of the Roosevelt Island trams from falling into the river below when the Green Goblin breaks its wiring.
- Calling Your Attacks: When Peter is trying to figure out how he shot web, he tries out various hand gestures and phrases, including "Up, up and away, web!" and "Shazam!"
- 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).
- Stan Lee makes an appearance as one of the terrified citizens at the World Unity Festival. The shot is shaky and quick during this cameo, but one with a quick eye may catch it.
- 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.
- Captain Obvious:
Peter: (while wearing a 35mm camera around his neck) I'm a photographer.
- The socially-inept Peter to Betty Brantnote at the Bugle:
Betty: (beat) Yeah... I can see that.
Henry: That's our glider!
- Oscorp Executive Henry Balkan upon seeing the Green Goblin flying around their glider:
- Card-Carrying Villain: Norman's Goblin personality is a totally unrepentant supervillain who feels that super-people like him and Spidey have the right to do whatever they want. Best demonstrated when he makes Aunt May finish the Lord's Prayer.Aunt May: Deliver us...
Green Goblin: [dramatic entrance] FINISH IT!!
Aunt May: From EEEVIL!
- Ceiling Cling: Peter does this twice to hide from attention at the Thanksgiving party.
- Celebrity Paradox: Aunt May briefly tells Peter "You're not Superman, you know!", and Peter half-jokingly yells out "Up, up, and away!" and "Shazam" 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?
- Cheap Costume: Peter's first costume that he wore to the wrestling match well... it looks like something a high-school student would make in his spare time. After it gets mocked he inexplicably makes his very, very nice-looking costume for the rest of the film.
- Children Are Innocent: There are endangered children in a cable car near the end. Green Goblin makes Spidey choose between them and Mary Jane.
- Cigar Chomper: J. Jonah Jameson is never seen without a cigar.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Inverted at the Thanksgiving scene; Norman wears red and blue (Spider-Man's colors) and Peter is wearing green (the Green Goblin's colors).
- Comes Great Responsibility: What did you expect?
- Comically Missing the Point: J. Jonah Jameson's response to Peter's complaints about the Daily Bugle's portrayal of Spider-Man:Peter: Spider-Man wasn't trying to attack the city, he was trying to save it. That's slander!
Jameson: It is not! I resent that. Slander is spoken. In print it's libel.
- Comic-Book Movies Don't Use Codenames:
- Averted with Spider-Man and the Green Goblin. Cleverly, it is J. Jonah Jameson who gives the Green Goblin his moniker, to sensationalize their battle and sell papers.Jameson: Hoffman, call the patent office, copyright the name "Green Goblin". I want a quarter every time somebody says it!
- Spidey gets his after the NYWL ring announcer decides that "The Human Spider" is a terrible ring name. Peter wisely just goes with it (after he wins the match).Ring Announcer: If he can withstand 3 minutes in the cage with Bonesaw McGraw, the sum of $3,000 will be paid to... [to Peter] What's your name, kid?
Peter: The Human Spider.
Announcer: The Human Spider? That's it? That's the best you've got?
Announcer: Aww, that sucks. [to crowd] The sum of $3,000 will be paid to... the terrifying, the deadly... THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN!!!
Peter: My name's "The Human Spider!"
Stagehand: I don't care, get out there.
Peter: No, he got my name wrong!
Stagehand: GET OUT THERE, YOU MORON! [shove]
- Averted with Spider-Man and the Green Goblin. Cleverly, it is J. Jonah Jameson who gives the Green Goblin his moniker, to sensationalize their battle and sell papers.
- 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. Then again, that's not what actually got Norman's heart fired up again.
- 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—
[hard cut to a man in a subway station playing the old TV series theme song on his guitar]
- Cut Himself Shaving: It was a bike messenger cutting Peter off, I swear!
- Damsel in Distress: Mary Jane. It's her primary role in the movie.
- Dark Reprise: The whole sequence where Peter furiously chases Dennis Carradine is a darker rendition of the earlier idealistic sequence where Peter first climbed walls, roof jumped and webslinged.
- Decoy Protagonist: The bus scene at the beginning shifts from Mary Jane to a guy eating a doughnut in front of her, but then the real protagonist Peter is shown trying to catch the school bus while running.Peter: [pointing to the man sitting in front of Mary Jane] Aw, heck, I'd even take him [cut to the real protagonist Peter Parker chasing the bus] That's me.
- Deer in the Headlights: The kid about to be crushed by the float is an extremely over-the-top example, to the point where Spidey himself chides him for not moving.
- Defiant Stone Throw: The people pelting Green Goblin on the Queensboro Bridge.
- Desperate Object Catch: An early demonstration of Peter's enhanced reflexes is when he catches a thrown lunch tray and its contents.
- Disney Villain Death: Dennis (the robber who killed Uncle Ben) is confronted by Peter, who breaks his wrist. Dennis in fear staggers backwards and trips on a pipe causing him to fall out the window to his death.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Osborn and Goblin in a nutshell. Slight him and insult him or irritate him and the Goblin will kill you, maim you and torture you. This applies to Mendell Stromm who told General Slocum that they need to go "back to formula", then Quest Aerospace and General Slocum, the Oscorp board of directors, and then Aunt May (simply because she tapped his hand because he wanted to eat Thanksgiving before saying grace) and from the way he begins slicing the knives, you can tell he's considering gutting her then and there.
- Dope Slap: Goblin gives Spidey a small one during their talk on the roof.
- Dull Surprise: Used brilliantly with The Green Goblin immediately before his impalement: "Oh."
- Early-Bird Cameo:
- In a sense: Curt Connors is name-dropped as one of Peter's professors. The second film, of course, builds on this, by actually showing him.
- Also, in a bizarre coincidence, Eddie Brock appears in the novelization, also written in 2002 and yet described much like Topher Grace would portray him five years later. Which is still rather funny. In an early scene, Robbie Robertson mentions how a photographer named "Eddie" has been "on it" — trying to get Spidey pics — all week. But in Spider-Man 3, Eddie is mentioned as the new guy.
- Entitled Bastard: The wrestling promoter who cheats Peter out of his prize money gets robbed, and yet he still expects Peter to intervene in the robbery.
- Even Nerds Have Standards: In the opening scene, Peter's so lame that even the incredibly dorky-looking girl on the bus doesn't want him to sit next to her.
- Everyone Can See It: Played rather darkly. Aunt May tells Peter that everyone else can see how much Peter cares about Mary Jane, which makes Peter realize, to his utter horror, that she's a likely target for the Green Goblin.
- Evil Is Hammy: Green Goblin is delightfully hamtastic.
- Evil Laugh: ... complete with an evil laugh.
- Failure Montage: Peter's How Do I Shot Web? moment.
- Family-Unfriendly Death: When Green Goblin throws one of his pumpkin bombs at the Oscorp board of directors, they get disintegrated into skeletons once it detonates.
- Famous Last Words: "Don't tell Harry."
- Flat "What.": By Norman Osborn, upon being told by the board that Oscorp is going to be sold.
- Foreshadowing: Harry, at the Thanksgiving party: "If I'm lucky, I'll become half of what [my father] is!"
- Foil: Thanks to softening Osborn's comics personality, the film version comes across as a older more successful version of Peter. A driven committed scientist who is so aloof and driven that he doesn't really have close friends (the board of directors who cut a deal without him), nor does he have a good relationship (he apparently married a trophy wife) and he's really aloof and distant with his son who he considers a disappointment. Likewise, Osborn despite being successful still acts like a picked-upon kid who the Goblin suit allows him to lash out similar to how Peter's attitude when he gets his Spider powers has him lash out and snub people who cross him the wrong way (the fight promoter, and also Flash briefly). Osborn also shares the unhealthy qualities of eccentric Loners Are Freaks, namely his raging misogyny.
- For the Evulz: Crossing over with Motive Decay, the Green Goblin's plans to "rule with Spider-Man" seem very... vague. At first, he's doing things that Osborn wants done (killing the executives and a rival project), but then it devolves into villainy for villainy's sake, which is in line with his comics! version who doesn't really have rational motives aside from being a sadistic Mad Bomber and torture-happy nutjob.
- Genre Savvy: 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.
- Groin Attack:
- Halfway through the movie, Mary Jane is attacked by a couple of thugs from within an alleyway and she's able to kick one of them in the family jewels before Spider-Man arrives to defeat them and save her.
- Also for the gorier scene, at the end of first film during Norman Osborn's death, it looks like his glider's blade impaled him right in that spot.
- Growing Muscles Sequence: The spider bite gave Peter an instant buff-up, something that didn't happen in the comics.
- Also, when Norman Osborn is exposed to the gas that turns him into the Goblin, the computer shows his muscle mass growing. Though, if this actually happens to Norman's physique, the effect is imperceptible.
- Hammy Herald: The deliciously hammy wrestling announcer, played by Bruce Campbell. Who gets cameos in the next two films.
- A Handful for an Eye: Spider-Man concludes his first encounter with the Green Goblin this way, blinding him with a web-shot to the face and distracting him long enough for Spidey to damage the glider badly enough that the Goblin has to retreat.
- Hate Sink: The wrestling manager who cheats Peter Parker out of his prize money for no reason other than to be a dick and for not following the rules. Nobody gives a damn about him when Peter Parker deliberately lets him get robbed by a burglar, some even cheer for the burglar when he did that.
- Heroic Bystander: Stan Lee's cameo. In both this and the second movie, he pulls people away from pieces of falling buildings.
- Heroic Second Wind: Peter gets one in the final fight.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Norman ends up impaling himself with his own goblin glider.
- How Do I Shot Web?: Arguably the Trope Namer, as we see in Peter's first roofhopping scene. Peter still struggles with swinging when he is chasing the carjacker.
- 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 with his pumpkin bombs, his glider-directed missiles and guns.
- Insistent Terminology:
- When Peter Parker finds out J. Jonah Jameson is putting out a front-page story claiming Spider-Man attacked the city:
- Peter isn't too pleased when the ring announcer decides to call him "Spider-Man" instead of "The Human Spider."
- 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 reawakens 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?!"
- Ironic Nursery Rhyme: The Itsy Bitsy Spider.
- 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. Spidey is Genre Savvy enough to see it coming and manages to get in an "Oh boy" before it happens.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: J. Jonah Jameson. Although he is shown to be incredibly rude to Peter and knowingly produces libel against Spider-Man, he lies to the Green Goblin about the identity of Spidey's photographer in order to protect Peter.
- 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.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: It's hard to feel sorry for the dishonest wrestling promoter who gets robbed.
- 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.
- Laugh of Love: Following the famous kiss-in-the-rain scene between Spider-Man and Mary-Jane, she giggles as Spider-Man swings off.
- Like a Weasel: Harry pulls this while trying to flirt with Mary Jane at the spider laboratory.
- Losing a Shoe in the Struggle: Mary-Jane's slippers fall off, while the Green Goblin is dangling her over the bridge.
- The Man in the Mirror Talks Back: At least one Norman Osborn / Green Goblin dialogue/monologue is done via this.
- Mass "Oh, Crap!": The attendees at the World Unity Festival especially the OsCorp Board of Directors when Green Goblin appears and attacks.
- 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 shooting his web in his room, with more Elfman music.
- Mythology Gag: The film took a large amount of scenes from Spider-Man: The Animated Series:
- Green Goblin being a split personality of Norman's developed from the Goblin formula and Norman talking to him.
- The plot point of the Green Goblin going after people who wronged Norman Osborn.
- Mary Jane serving the role as a replacement for Gwen as the person who the Green Goblin kidnaps and takes to the iconic bridge.
- Neck Lift:
- The Green Goblin barges into Jameson's office and grabs him by the neck while still on his glider, lifting him from the ground, while asking who is Spider-Man's photographer.
- Toward the climax, Green Goblin is holding Mary Jane by the neck from the top of the Queensboro Bridge.
- 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.
- No-Sell: Before his Heroic Second Wind, Peter tries all of his spider-powered fighting tricks in the final battle against Green Goblin, who bushes them all off with ease.
- 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!:
- 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.Peter: 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 get 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.
- Played with regarding Norman Osborn; he seems genuinely fond of Peter Parker and treats him with honest respect for much of the movie (when he's not Green Goblin and Parker's not Spidey, that is). Considering this respect often comes at the expense of his own son, however, it still manages to be something of a dick move.
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Green Goblin delivers one to the Oscorp board before using a pumpkin bomb to turn them into skeletons.Green Goblin: Out, am I?!
- Pro Wrestling Is Real: The film depicts wrestling as real as a direct adaptation of his origin story. In that world, Spider-Man beats a wrestler named Bonesaw McGraw, played by the late "Macho Man" Randy Savage. Furthermore "The Disciplinarian" Kristen Davidson and "Jungle Grrl" Erica Porter plays 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).
- Punch Catch: How Goblin demonstrates he's at least as strong as Spider-Man.Green Goblin: Impressive! [kicks Spidey across the square and into a lamppost]
- Real Life Writes the Plot: The reaction to the attacks at the World Trade Center in New York in the year 2001 was the reason for the the scene in which New York citizens rally together to verbally attack the Goblin.
- Reflective Eyes: When the Green Goblin lets go of both Mary Jane and the tramway car at the same time, we see them reflected on Spider-Man's eyepieces, one in each eye, to illustrate the Sadistic Choice.
- Refuse to Rescue the Disliked: Peter Parker lets a robber get away rather than chasing him down, after the robber stole money from the wrestling promoter who cheated Parker out of his take from surviving three minutes in the ring with Bonesaw. Later the same robber ends up killing Peter's Uncle Ben.
- Romantic Rain: Near the end of the movie, there is the famous upside-down kiss between Mary Jane and Peter Parker as Spider-Man 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 is the true dramatic climax of the film. After that point, the final fight with the Goblin is 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.Norman: ...last night I was —
Norman: ...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 doesn't even unmask Peter when he has him unconscious and gassed-out (which Comics!Goblin did the minute had the chance). Upon finding out Peter's identity, however, he goes after and terrorizes his Aunt May so as to better hurt Peter's resolve by going after his heart, and then after learning from Harry that he cares for MJ, he goes after her instead.
- 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.
- Shout-Out: Several in this line, when Peter's learning how to shoot web:
- 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.
- Small Role, Big Impact: Bruce Campbell as the wrestling ring announcer, who ends up being the one to come up with the "Spider-Man" name (as Peter originally intended to name his alter ego "The Human Spider").
- 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.
- Talking to Themself: Norman talks to his alternate personality in a mirror.
- Thematic Theme Tune: "Hero", written by Chad Kroeger and sung by him and Josey Scott.
- Too Dumb to Live: The kid at the Festival, who stands like a Deer in the Headlights as the large globe falls towards him. Even Peter shows irritation that he's not running.Peter: C'mon, move kid!
- Ungrateful Bastard: A while after Spider-Man hits the big time, people start calling for his arrest. Green Goblin predicted this would happen.Green Goblin: In spite of everything you've done for them, eventually they will hate you.
- Unstoppable Rage: 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.
- We Can Rule Together: "Join me!" says the Goblin. Spider-Man takes a pass.
- We Will Meet Again: Yelled by Goblin after his first brawl with Spider-Man, when the latter scrambles the former's glider.
- 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.
- Why Are You Not My Son?: Norman never says it outright, but is clearly more impressed by Peter than Harry.
- 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.
- You're Not My Father: When Norman Osborne, who has just revealed himself to be the Green Goblin to Peter/Spider-Man, pleads with Peter to spare him and be his son, Peter fires back his pleas with this line.Peter: I had a father. His name was Ben Parker.