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.
This film provides examples of:
Adaptational Muscle: The spider bite gave Peter an instant buff-up, something that didn't happen in the comics.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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 pumpkin bombs the OsCorp board of executives.
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.
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.
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.
Captain Obvious: The socially-inept Peter to Betty Brantnote who, keep in mind, was his very first girlfriend in the comics at the Bugle:
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.
Peter: Spider-Man wasn't trying to attack the city, he was trying to save it. That's slander! JJ: 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.
JJ: Hoffman, call the patent office, copyright the name "Green Goblin." I want a quarter every time somebody says it!
Spidey got his after the NYWL ring announcer decided that "The Human Spider" was a terrible ring name. Peter wisely just went with it (after he won 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 Parker: The Human Spider. Announcer: The Human Spider? That's it? That's the best you've got? Peter: Yeah. 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*
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.
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 as 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.
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.
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.
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.
Peter still struggled with swinging when he was 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.
Insistent Terminology: When Peter Parker finds out J. Jonah Jameson is putting out a front-page story claiming Spider-Man attacked the city:
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! [beat] Jameson:Slander is spoken. In print, it's libel.
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?!"
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 no" before it happens.
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.
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.
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."
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]
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 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.
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.
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...
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.
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?
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.