Spider-Man follows the story of Peter Parker (Toby Maguire), a nerdy, yet brilliant, high school student. After a spider bite on a school feild trip, Peter learns he has aquired the powers of a spider. After the death of his Uncle Ben (Cliff Robertson), Peter suits up in red and blue as Spider-Man to use his powers for good. Soon, however, he must face the evil Norman Osborn (Willem Defoe), who's flying around as the villainous Green Goblin, as well as facing the challenges of growing up along side his best friend, Harry Osborn (James Franco), and long time crush, Mary Jane-Watson (Kirsten Dunst).
Toby Maguire, in my opinion, is the best Peter Parker so far. While I think Andrew Garfield embraces Spider-Man better, Toby is pitch perfect as Peter. He's relatable and believably geeky. All the performances are great, though. Willem Dafoe is utterly brilliant as the evil genius Norman Osborn. He's chillingly creepy and a really, really good villian, and while the design of his costume is rather bad, Green Goblin is probably my favorite villain from all the films. I wish I could say that either the lead protagonist or the lead antagonist were the standouts of the film, but easily the best performance in this movie is J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson. He steals every scene he's in and he's extremely funny. It's probably the single best casting for a character in a comic book film.
This film also has a ton of heart. Whether it's heartbreaking or heartwarming, the film knows how to make me emotional each time I see it. The death of Uncle ben is earth shattering, and devastating for both Peter and the audience. Also, the film is quite charming, with many scenes making you smile and laugh. It truly feels like a journey and despite it being about a man with the powers of a spider, it feels human and real. I get goosebumps and emotional during the film's final scene probably every time I watch it.
I won't let the nostalgia get to me, "Spider-Man" has its issues. For one, as I already mentioned, the Green Goblin suit is just goofy. Maybe it would've passed in the 90's, but this film is 3 years after the 90's. Also, there's some scenes that are just odd, like when the Green Goblin throws a grenade that turns people into skeletons, or when Peter hides from Norman and Aunt May by sticking to the ceiling. Its a cute scene, but it just seems like they would obviously see him. Also, I know it was true to the comic, but Mary Jane is an awful character. She's a weak, cliché female role who is also a damsel in distress, which is a signature of her character, but doesn't quite work. Gwen Stacy in The Amazing Spider-Man fixed everything about Spider-Man's love interest.