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Film / Spider-Man

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"Remember, with great power comes great responsibility."
Ben Parker

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 Licensed Game in the form of Spider-Man: The Movie.

Spider-Man provides examples of:

  • Actor Allusion:
    • The novelization features a part with Mary Jane and Harry discussing the book Interview with the Vampire, where MJ remarks that she "saw the movie. The little kid in it creeped me out." Kirsten Dunst, of course, was that little kid.
    • Another vampire-related one; two years prior to the release of this film, Willem Dafoe starred in Shadow of the Vampire, where he played a vampiric version of Max Shreck. When confronted by the film's director, he comments that "You and I, we're not so different", in almost the same tone as when the Goblin says it to Spider-Man. The line is, of course, mostly remembered from this film.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Well not "heroism", but the film is much more sympathetic towards Norman than the comics were, portraying him as a flawed but basically decent man ruined by the evil split personality forced on him by the madness-inducing goblin formula, while by this stage in his characterisation his comics incarnation was basically pure evil whether he was insane or not. It is closer to his original portrayal in the Lee-Romita run, where he was still a somewhat sympathetic character turned insane by a laboratory accident, before he threw someone off a bridge...
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  • Adaptational Intelligence: In the comics, Gwen Stacy died because Spider-Man tried to web her to safety without accounting for the whiplash, which led to her neck snapping. Here, whenever Mary Jane falls, Spider-Man makes sure to fall with her so as to prevent whiplash proactively and adjusts his web to reduce the speed slowly. This means that she only gets off with some trauma and adrenaline, as does a cable car full of children.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Norman refers to Emily as having been a gold digger, a far cry from her comic incarnation (although, given Norman's mental state at this stage, this should be taken with a grain of salt).
  • Adult Fear:
    • Peter is horrified that his last memory with Uncle Ben was having a fight with him, and that he indirectly set up the circumstances for Ben's death.
    • In the climactic bridge scene, a murderer takes a cable car of kids and their adult counselor hostage. All the adult counselor can do is try to keep his charges calm, while death could come at any time.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Norman Osborn's demise can be compared to that of Macbeth. "Peter... don't tell Harry."
  • All Part of the Show: The public initially cheers at the Green Goblin flying on his glider at the World Unity Festival, believing him to be part of the ceremonies. Until he starts throwing the Pumpkin Bombs.
  • 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 Allannote .
  • Alliterative Name:
  • 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 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."
  • Are These Wires Important?: Spidey's first round with the Goblin ends with him yanking some wires out of the Goblin's glider.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • The Oscorp Board of Directors. Being presented with a choice between Oscorp staying independent so Norman could stay on board or agreeing to merge with their rivals at Quest Aerospace and force Norman to resign within 30 days, they let their love of profit take advantage of them, and have to deal with the consequences.
    • General Slocum. Dealing with a contracted corporation that is having a hard time complying with your expectations is one thing, but happily bragging about putting the corporation out of business after canceling your contract? Retaliation from that company's CEO is kinda expected.
  • 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 is "The Human Spider".
      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" is the name Hoffman tries to give the Goblin before Jameson overrides him.
  • Attempted Rape: The iconic upside down rain kiss happens when Spidey saves Mary Jane from an attempted gang rape.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: General Slocum wants to sign a contract between the United States Army and Quest Aerospace for their obviously incredibly cumbersome exoskeleton flightsuit (which doesn't even look very practical nor have any obvious self-defense mechanisms, and very linear flight mechanics) over Oscorp Industries' more streamlined flightsuit and glider (equipped with missiles, bombs, agile flight, and can even be remote-controlled in case the rider is ejected from it) and their human performance enhancers. 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."
    • Played straight near the climax. Spidey is hanging from the bridge with one hand, and holding onto the train car with the other. Green Goblin is lining up his glider for the kill shot, when all of a sudden, something hits him in the head and knocks him away from Spidey. Cut to a crowd having formed in the bridge and they are ALL throwing stuff at Goblin, which allows Spidey to hold on long enough for a barge to come along for him to lower the train car onto.
      Bystander 1: Leave him alone, he’s trying to save a bunch of kids!
      Bystander 2: You mess with Spider-Man, you mess with NEW YORK!
      Bystander 3: Yeah, and you mess with ONE of us, you mess with ALL OF US!!!
  • 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 she's okay, he wants to give her flowers, she says he didn't have to, but he says he wants to in a kinda off tone. During Thanksgiving, he tries to make Mary Jane 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 (though 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.
  • Big "NO!": Spider-Man when the Green Goblin lets go of both Mary Jane and the tram full of kids.
  • Bill... Bill... Junk... Bill...: J. Jonah Jameson's opinion of Peter's photos is: "Crap... Crap... Megacrap."
  • Bittersweet Ending: Spider-Man manages to save Mary Jane and the kids at the bridge and defeat the Green Goblin, but Norman is accidentaly killed by his glider's blades, leaving Harry without a father and swearing revenge on Spider-Man, and Peter rejects Mary Jane's love to keep her out of danger.
  • Blatant Lies:
    • Most of Jameson's ideas for stories about Spider-Man involving painting him in as negative a light as possible. Because, "If he doesn't want to be famous? Then I'll make him INfamous!"
    • Also, Jameson scamming Peter when he gets his pics of Spider-Man. When Peter is the only person that can get pictures clearer than 50 feet away, Jameson dismisses them as garbage just so he can pay less to get them where any other publishing company would probably be paying Peter five figures to get their hands on these.
    • 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."
  • Blood from the Mouth: Originally, Spider-Man was going to be seen coughing blood from his mouth but was changed to spit in the final cut.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Book-Ends: "Who am I?"
  • 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 Mary Jane AND 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.
    • Macy Gray appears as herself, performing at the same Festival.
    • The couple at the World Unity Festival with their backs to the camera when Peter pulls 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  at the Bugle:
      Peter: (while wearing a 35mm camera around his neck) I'm a photographer.
      Betty: (beat) Yeah... I can see that.
    • 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 Norman 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 looks like something thrown together at short notice for a one-time wrestling engagement that he's trying to sneak in behind Uncle Ben's back. After Uncle Ben's death, and his vow to become a superhero, he makes a nice-looking costume intended for permanent use.
  • Chekhov's Classroom: All of the spider-powers described by the field trip guide (high jumping, spinning strong funnels of web, spider-sense) are the powers Spider-Man gets.
  • 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.
  • Colour-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!
    • Peter gets his after the New York Wrestling League's 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: [Glasses Pull] "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.
  • Cruel to Be Kind: The Green Goblin renders Spider-Man unconscious with toxic gas in order to befriend him.
  • 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.
  • Daylight Horror: The Green Goblin attacking the World Unity Festival, particularly the pumpkin bomb that immediately reduces the Oscorp Board members to crumbling bones.
  • Death by Secret Identity: The robber dies in a convenient accident seconds after Peter unmasks in front of him. Norman Osborn, the only other person in the movie to learn the truth, is also dead by the end of it.
  • Death Glare: Peter gives an epic one to the Goblin right before getting his Heroic Second Wind.
  • 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 Peter 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 Mary Jane slips, her lunch tray goes flying, and he catches her, the tray and its contents.
  • Didn't Think This Through: The Goblin's final attempt to kill Peter proves to be this, as he launches his own glider to attack Peter from behind.......without even stopping to realize he himself is also in its glide path when it misses Peter.
  • Disney Villain Death: Dennis (the robber involved with Uncle Ben's murder) 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 (because the US Army chose to go with them instead of Oscorp), the Oscorp board of directors (for deciding they'll force Norman out of his own company), and then Aunt May (simply because she tapped his hand because he wanted to eat Thanksgiving dinner 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.
  • Empathic Environment: It starts raining when Peter sees the two men start to follow Mary Jane at the start of the Attempted Rape scene. The rain is at its heaviest moments later when she realises two more men have appeared, and what their intentions are.
  • 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.
  • Exact Words: The wrestling promoter uses this as a piss poor excuse to cheat Peter out of the prize money for surviving his match with Bonesaw.
    Peter: [The promoter hands him a $100 bill from his huge cash pile] A hundred bucks? The ad said $3000!
    Promoter: Well, check it again, web head. It is $3000. $3000 for 3 minutes. You pinned him in 2 and for that, I give you $100 and you’re lucky you’re getting that much.
  • Expelled from Every Other School: The reason Harry Osborn attends the same public school as Peter despite coming from an incredibly wealthy family is because he was kicked out of every private school his father had him sent to.
  • Face-Revealing Turn: Or rather, Mask-Revealing Turn, in the case of the Goblin in the burning building.
  • 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."
  • Finale Title Drop: The closing narration ends with the film's title:
    Peter Parker: This is my gift. My curse. Who am I? I'm Spider Man."
  • Flat "What": By Norman Osborn, upon being told by the board that Oscorp is going to be sold despite him just finishing his speech about how great things are going. It also underscores just how out of the loop he is despite being the CEO, since not only did they go behind his back, they're throwing him out as well.
  • Foil: Thanks to softening Osborn's comics personality, the film version comes across as a older, more successful version of Peter. A 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 a good relationship (he apparently married a trophy wife) and is really aloof and distant with his son who he considers a disappointment. Likewise, despite his success, Osborn still acts like a picked-upon kid who uses the Goblin suit to lash out, like how Peter lashes out with his spider powers and snubs those who cross him (the fight promoter, and also Flash briefly).
  • 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 comic version who doesn't really have rational motives aside from being a sadistic Mad Bomber and torture-happy nutjob.
  • Foreshadowing: Harry, at the Thanksgiving party: "If I'm lucky, I'll become half of what [my father] is!"
  • Friend of Masked Self: Peter tells Mary Jane that he knows Spider-Man from his photography work, and recounts part of a conversation that he and Spider-Man supposedly had.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Osborn wanted to prove that the human performance enhancers would work by injecting himself with one of them. It worked too well.
  • 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 the 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 also 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.
  • "Hell, Yes!" Moment: Everyone cheers in the climax when Spider-Man safely gets the cable car and Mary Jane onto the barge that came to help him. At least, until the Green Goblin comes for Spider-Man as Mary Jane shouts a warning.
  • Heroic Bystander:
    • Stan Lee's cameo. In both this and the second movie, he pulls people away from pieces of falling buildings.
    • In the climax, a whole group of New Yorker civilians tosses rubbish at the Green Goblin as he tries to kill Spider-Man, Mary Jane, and a cable-car filled with children and their camp counselor. They shout at him to come up and fight them, because "You mess with Spidey, you mess with New York!" Meanwhile, two men on a barge surge forward to catch the cable car after Spider-Man safety lowers it, with Mary Jane in tow.
  • 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.
  • Hope Spot:
    • From Norman's perspective, his meeting with the Oscorp's board of directors is one of triumph. Despite the tragic if mysterious death of Dr. Stromm, Oscorp has surpassed their rival Quest Aerospace as the principle supplier to the U.S. military and the future is looking bright without the fear of the military cutting their funding, which was his major fear earlier. And then he's told point-blank that not only did the board go behind his back to sell the company to Quest Aerospace for a merger, as part of the deal he is to resign as the CEO.
    • After learning the Goblin knows his secret and is targeting his loved ones, Peter tries to call Mary Jane and warn her to be careful. While Peter leaves a message, the other end suddenly answers.
      Peter: Mary Jane?
      Green Goblin: Can Spider-Man come out to play?
  • 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.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: A group of police officers accosts the Goblin during his attack in Times Square. He says, "I surrender!" then knocks out the officers. Spidey sees it coming and manages to get in an "Oh boy" before it happens.
  • I Take Offense to That Last One!: JJJ only objects to Peter stating his Spider-Man stories are slander because that's the wrong word. In print it's libel.
  • 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. Then again, the Goblin really is insane.
  • 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) Slander is spoken. In print, it's libel.
    • Peter isn't too pleased when the ring announcer decides to call him "Spider-Man" instead of "The Human Spider."
  • Instant Sedation: The Goblin uses Knockout Gas on Spider-Man, who drops like a sack of bricks. It takes longer for the effects to wear off, however - when he wakes up, he can hold a conversation but is obviously groggy and unable to move.
  • 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 throws this right back in the man's face.
    • "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 Tune: The Itsy Bitsy Spider.
  • It Was with You All Along: During the climax, Peter discovered that what he really wanted was inside him all along, which is his real super strength.
  • It's Not You, It's My Enemies: This is why Spider-Man chooses not to move forward in his relationship with Mary Jane.
  • 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 refuses to give up the identity of Spidey's photographer to the Green Goblin, even though said photographer (Peter) is literally only a few feet away.
  • 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.
  • Knockout Gas: The Green Goblin uses this on Spider-Man and later, Mary Jane.
  • Large Ham:
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • Layers of it at the beginning of the movie. Peter works a wrestling match against Bonesaw McGraw and expects a payout. The slimy promoter stiffs him on money before immediately being robbed, which Peter blissfully declines to intervene on. Echoing the response he got from the promoter for calling him out, Peter tells him he "missed the part where that's [his] problem" when the promoter complains. Unfortunately letting the guy escape causes him to jack a car once he's outside and the driver is fatally shot, who happens to be Peter's Uncle Ben, thus turning the karma back on Peter himself. Though in all honesty, the robbery happened just moments after Peter was stiffed by the promoter and Peter was still angry with him when the robber came to Peter’s way, so Peter just wasn’t in the mood to help the guy who made him mad. That and the chances of the same robber being involved in the killing of Uncle Ben after Peter let the robber escape were completely unlikely, so in a way, Karma is a huge bitch to Peter here.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • Mickey Mousing: When Peter climbs his first wall, horns sound in the score every time he puts his hand on the wall.
  • Mook Horror Show: Peter pulls this trope on Dennis for being connected with the death of 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.
      • Aunt May being sent into hospital due to being attacked by the Green Goblin, with Mary Jane visiting May in hospital at the same time as Peter, also occurs in the animated series, but with the Hobgoblin instead of the Green Goblin
    • One to The Night Gwen Stacy Died: Mary Jane serves the role as a replacement for Gwen as the person who the Green Goblin kidnaps (the same thing also happened in the aforementioned 90s animated series) and takes to the iconic bridge. The Green Goblin is also Impaled with Extreme Prejudice with his own Goblin Glider after the fight on the bridge, the same way he "died" in the iconic storyline, but this time it sticks.
    • Spider-Man's webshooters being physically part of him rather than a device of his own invention due to being bitten by a genetically-engineered instead of radioactive spider in this version seems to be a bit of an homage to Spider-Man 2099 in which Miguel O'Hara, the futuristic Spider-Man, has a similar ability due to the differing origins of his own powers.
    • Spider-Man and the Green Goblin have a fight inside a Hollywood Fire, like in the first arc of Ultimate Spider-Man.
    • The novelization of the film references many other characters from the greater Marvel Universe that don't appear in the film series.
  • 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 holds Mary Jane up by the neck from the top of the Queensboro Bridge.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: The final battle between Spider-Man and the Green Goblin goes both ways: the Goblin easily gains the upper hand after nailing Spidey with a bomb and almost kills him, but when he threatens Mary-Jane, Spidey manages to fight back and proceeds to beat him down just as hard.
  • No-Sell: Before his Heroic Second Wind, Peter tries all of his spider-powered fighting tricks in the final battle against Green Goblin, who brushes them all off with ease.
  • 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.
  • Noodle Incident: "Let's not have a repeat of our trip to the planetarium."
  • Odd Friendship: Harry and Peter 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?"
    • Mary Jane when she's cornered by would-be rapists in the alleyway.
    • Peter when he hears May screaming about yellow eyes while at the hospital.
      Peter: He knows who I am.
    • Norman can only deliver a simple "Oh..." when he inadvertently sends his own glider, intended for Peter, straight at him instead.
  • Opening Monologue: "Who am I? You sure you want to know? The story of my life is not for the faint of heart..."
  • Opinion Flip-Flop: Harry pulls this while trying to flirt with Mary Jane at the spider laboratory.
  • 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.
  • Plot Hole: The wresting ring manager sees Peter Parker's face and knows he was the Spider-Man that beat up Bonesaw, but never bothers to put two and two together or even shows up later in the movie.
  • Post-Kiss Catatonia: After the famous upside down kiss between Mary Jane and Spider-Man (Peter Parker), both are surprised by the kiss to the point where they stay silent with their mouths open for a while before Spider-Man slings away while Mary Jane stands behind laughing happily. The same symptoms are displayed in the end when Mary Jane kisses Peter at Norman's funeral thinking it was their first kiss due to her obliviousness to Peter's identity.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Green Goblin says "Out, am I?!" to the Oscorp board before using a pumpkin bomb to turn them into skeletons.
  • 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 movie's release (and steel cages were not involved).
  • Psycho Serum: Oscorp's human performance enhancers are revealed to have the side effects of "violence, aggression and insanity" in one test on rodents. When Norman Osborn is forced to test the enhancer on himself, the same happens and he soon dawns the Green Goblin suit.
  • 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: 9/11 happened in the midst of production, and the fallout from it was the reason for the the scene in which pedestrians rally together to verbally pelt the Goblin with trash.
  • Reality Ensues: The final fight between Spider-Man and the Green Goblin shows exactly how devastating being beaten by a superhuman would be, made more effective by the lack of music and flashy special effects.
  • 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 being involved in the killing of 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: The Green 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's first act of violence after testing the performance-enhancer, where he killed Dr. Stromm). 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...
  • 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 he 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.
  • Self-Disposing Villain: The robber trips on a pipe and falls out a window to his death, while Osborn is skewered by his own underhanded attempt to kill Peter.
  • 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 Mary Jane's shirt is fairly sheer, and very wet.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Several in this line, when Peter's learning how to shoot web:
      Peter: Go web!!... Fly!... Up, up, and away web!... Shazam!... Go!... Go!... Go web go!...
    • Quest Aerospace, Oscorp's rival company, shares the name with a model plane manufacturer that was bought about by Toy Biz, a now-defunct subsidiary of Marvel Comics.
  • 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", which the announcer dismissed as uncreative).
  • 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:
  • 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.
  • Tag Line: Go for the ultimate spin.
  • 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.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Spider-Man has this reaction when he sees Green Goblin "surrender" to the police.
  • 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!
  • Tough Room: When Peter is forced to fight Flash Thompson in high school, and kicks his ass with ease with his new spider powers, the other students desert him as a freak. While viewers have noted that any kid suddenly capable of whupping a Jerk Jock so soundly would in reality really impress the other kids and make him popular company at school, it's actually justified by this being a Marvel universe whose muggle population usually hates and fears people with similarly amazing abilities. They may have concluded that Peter might be a mutant and shunned him as such.
  • 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.
  • Villain Ball: In the last fight, Spider-Man is battered and at risk of being killed, but the Green Goblin waits at a critical moment in order to gloat. Being a pure sadist, he says he's gonna hunt down Mary Jane and give her an excruciating death as revenge for all the trouble Spidey's give him. Cue Heroic Second Wind.
  • Watch Out for That Tree!: Once Peter finally figures out How Do I Shot Web?, he attempts a swing, and crashes into a building as if he was George of the Jungle.
  • We Can Rule Together: The Goblin tells Spider-Man they are Not So Different and asks Spider-Man to join him. 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.
    • Quest Aerospace was never brought up again, following Green Goblin killing off the board of directors before they could publicly announce selling Oscorp to Quest.
  • White Gangbangers: 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 Osborn, 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 by saying, "I had a father. His name was Ben Parker."


Video Example(s):


Spider-Man - Norman gets fired

Norman Osborn's reaction to the news that Oscorp's board of directors is selling the company to Quest Aerospace, and he has to resign from his position as CEO.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / SuddenlyShouting

Media sources:

Main / SuddenlyShouting