Protagonist Peter Parker is an intellectually precocious but socially inept teenager, too shy to approach Mary Jane Watson (M.J.), the girl next-door with whom he is smitten. His only friend is Harry Osborn, and even their friendship is tainted with jealousy by the fact that Harry's successful industrialist]and scientist father, Norman Osborn, favors the brilliant Peter over Harry himself. The orphaned Parker lives in New York City, in the Forest Hills neighborhood of Queens with his loving and elderly Aunt May and Uncle Ben.
On a student tour of a college's genetics laboratory (with exterior scenes shot at New York City's Columbia University), Peter is bitten by an escaped experimental spider that has been bioengineered with various extraordinary and enhanced traits (i.e. jumping, webbing and reflexes). The spider's venom causes him to fall ill and he barely arrives home before collapsing into bed. After a difficult night's sleep while the venom alters his genetic makeup, he wakes up seemingly unharmed. However, he learns to his surprise that his body has changed dramatically and literally overnight. Over the course of that amazing first day, Peter learns that not only has he acquired perfect vision and muscle tone, but he has also gained greatly increased strength and agility, the ability to fire strands of strong webbing from his wrists, a "spider-sense" that gives him a psychic warning of danger, and the ability to extend a mass of minute barbs from his skin that allow him to adhere to surfaces. While he glories in these new abilities, which allow him to fend off bullies like Eugene "Flash" Thompson and jump from rooftop to rooftop with ease, Aunt May and Uncle Ben become concerned for their nephew's new strange and secretive behavior.
On a trip to the library, Uncle Ben confronts Peter about it and stresses to him that with maturity and power come great responsibility. Peter snaps at him and secretly heads off to his true destination, a sports arena that promises a $3000 prize to any man who can last three minutes in the ring with the wrestler Bonesaw McGraw (played by Randy Savage). Those earnings would allow him to buy a car and impress Mary Jane. With some difficulty, Peter defeats the wrestler and is cheered as the "amazing Spider-Man." However, Peter is cheated by the fight promoter and, in retaliation, does not stop a criminal who has stolen the gate money.
Walking to the library with some satisfaction, he finds that his uncle has been shot by a carjacker in the street. Old Ben dies in front of him. Enraged, Peter dons his spider costume to pursue the murderer using his webs for transportation for the first time. He confronts the killer in an abandoned warehouse only to learn to his horror that the killer is the same criminal he could have stopped earlier. The terrified murderer falls out of a window to his death. Peter is wracked with guilt and grief over the death of his uncle.
Months later, after graduation from high school, Peter decides to live up to his uncle's words, "with great power, comes great responsibility," by becoming a superhero fighting crime all over the city. He eventually learns a way to make it pay by supplying photographs of his alter-ego to the curmudgeonly Daily Bugle publisher J. Jonah Jameson, who has a continual need for Spider-Man photos though he vilifies the vigilante in his paper.
Norman Osborn experiences his own dramatic transformation. To save his company from losing a vital military contract, he subjects himself to a dangerous test of an experimental treatment. It increases his strength and intelligence, but also drives him insane, creating a new, malevolent personality that murders anyone standing in his way. Using his company's prototype armor — a personal flight device called a glider and a green facemask from his collection — Norman lashes out as a figure later dubbed "the Green Goblin".
Spider-Man and the Goblin eventually battle at the World Unity Festival held at Times Square, where the Goblin murders the company board of directors that were planning to fire Osborn. Spider-Man drives the Goblin off and saves Mary Jane as well.
While Peter mourns the fact that he seems to have lost M.J. to Harry, the Goblin tempts him, after abducting him as Spider-Man, to join with him against an ungrateful world that hates him. Spider-Man refuses and the insulted Goblin vows revenge. Norman deduces that Peter is Spider-Man and begins to strike at his loved ones — first attacking Aunt May, who ends up hospitalized, and Mary Jane. Later, Harry discovers that Mary Jane has fallen for Peter, and grows bitter.
In a climax on the Queensboro Bridge, the Goblin tells Spider-Man to choose whether to save the kidnapped M.J. or a tram car full of children. Spider-Man, with some help from New York City by-standers, manages to save both. The Goblin, enraged at being thwarted, brings Spider-Man to an abandoned building on Roosevelt Island, below the bridge.
The Goblin promises to torture and kill Mary Jane, and then duels with Spider-Man in hand to hand combat. Spider-Man defeats him, only to see the Norman personality regain control and beg Peter to stop his attack and help him control his mental problem. Yet the Goblin personality, manipulating Norman subconsciously, sets a sneak attack on Spider-Man, using the Goblin-glider's remote control. Peter barely avoids the charging glider hurtling in to spear him in the back. When he dodges, it fatally impales Norman, killing him quickly.
Honoring Norman's request not to tell Harry the truth, Spider-Man brings Norman's body home and Harry becomes convinced that Spider-Man murdered his father. At the funeral, Harry swears revenge on Spider-Man while reaffirming his friendship with Peter. Dismayed at the tragedy he seems to cause to all those close to him, he rejects Mary Jane's words of love to keep her from again becoming a potential target of his enemies. The film ends with Peter walking away from M.J., while trying to make the best of the situation with a victory lap as he swings around the city with ease.
|Tobey Maguire||Peter Parker / Spider-Man|
|Willem Dafoe||Norman Osborn / Green Goblin|
|Kirsten Dunst||Mary Jane Watson|
|James Franco||Harry Osborn|
|Cliff Robertson||Ben Parker|
|Rosemary Harris||May Parker|
|J.K. Simmons||J. Jonah Jameson|
|Joe Manganiello||Flash Thompson|
|Bill Nunn||Joseph "Robbie" Robertson|
|Ron Perkins||Dr. Mendel Stromm|
|Elizabeth Banks||Betty Brant|
|Bruce Campbell||Ring Announcer|
|Randy Savage||Bonesaw McGraw|
Spider-Man is a commercially successful superhero film released in 2002 and directed by Sam Raimi. The film stars Tobey Maguire, Willem Dafoe, and Kirsten Dunst. It is an adaptation of Spider-Man. Focusing on Spider-Man's fight against his first major enemy (the Green Goblin), the motion picture describes the superhero's origins.
Spider-Man holds the record for having the second highest opening weekend box office tally in United States history, earning more than US $114 million; falling behind Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (131 Million USD). The film was also the first movie to ever make more than US $100 million in one weekend. As of June 2006, there have been five other films that have made more than US $100 million in one weekend (Shrek 2 in 2004, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in 2005 and X-Men: The Last Stand in 2006) and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest in 2006 .
The general critical reaction was enthusiastic, with Maguire and Dafoe singled out for particular praise. There were complaints about the second half of the film being rather derivative and the CGI being overused towards the end. The relatively flat acting from most of the other lead actors, especially Kirsten Dunst and James Franco, also created some criticisms. Some also found the idea of putting an expressive actor like Willem Dafoe in a large costume with no expressiveness for most of the film was a large mistake.
Some vocal comic-book fans aired complaints about the change made in Spider-Man's webs. In the comic books, Peter Parker invented a mechanical web-shooting device, while in the movie he produced his webbing naturally. Sam Raimi has, however, explained this decision, saying that "the only thing I could not relate to with Peter was him being a genius".
The film was a hit, grossing US $403,706,375 in its theatrical run in North America, becoming the highest-grossing film of the year, and denying a Star Wars film (Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones) from being number one for the first time ever. It is the fifth highest grossing film of all time. Its $114,844,116 opening weekend set a record, and the movie became the first to earn over $100 million in a weekend. It had an equally successful home-video release. Maguire, previously known as a baby-faced character actor, became a major star.
According to court documents, Marvel Comics tried to use "Hollywood accounting" to deprive Stan Lee of due royalties from the films, claiming the film's "earnings" were not profits. Lee successfully sued in 2002. 
The most famous scene in the film and one which immediately entered popular culture is the 'upside down kiss' scene where Spider-Man, after saving Mary Jane from a gang of thugs, has a romantic kiss in the rain with her as he hangs upside down from the wall. This iconic image had been utilized in the comics for many years without generating the same kind of response.
MSN Movies ranked Spider-Man as the third best superhero movie to date, behind X-Men and Batman Returns.