8 Moments From The Sam Raimi Spider-Man Movies That Hit Harder After No Way Home

Tobey Maguire in Spider-Man 2
(Image credit: Sony Pictures Releasing)

Nearly a decade-and-a-half after last donning his iconic webbed suit, Tobey Maguire made his return to the Marvel comics franchise with the release of Spider-Man: No Way Home, giving moviegoers one of the most insane MCU moments of 2021 in the process. A lot has been said about the movie’s use of fan service and how director Jon Watts found the perfect balance between pushing the series forward and honoring the past.

Ever since watching the movie, I can’t help but think back to some of the best moments from Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man and its two sequels, Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man 3, and how they hit so much harder now. In partnership with Plex, which has all three movies available, I think now is the perfect time to swing back to Sam Raimi’s franchise and look at eight of the hardest-hitting moments.

Thankfully, it's never been easier to revisit the movies. You can stream all three original Spider-Man movies on Plex right now for free. Go check them out. They're worth your time.

Cliff Robertson as Uncle Ben in Spider-Man

(Image credit: Sony)

Uncle Ben’s ‘With Great Power’ Speech - Spider-Man

At the beginning of Spider-Man, right before Peter Parker goes off to wrestle Bonesaw McGraw (Macho Man Randy Savage), Uncle Ben (Cliff Robertson) delivers perhaps the most iconic line in the history of comic book movies when he tells his nephew “With great power comes great responsibility.” This short yet incredibly heavy statement has always been the moral backbone of the Spider-Man cinematic universe, and this moment hits harder after Spider-Man: No Way Home’s spin on it.

When we see Tobey Maguire’s version of the character in the second half of the 2021 box office smash hit, he’s still holding onto his late uncle’s words and uses them to help Tom Holland’s Peter Parker make the right decision, no matter what it costs.

Willem Dafoe in Spider-Man

(Image credit: Sony Pictures)

Norman Osborn Having A Conversation With The Green Goblin - Spider-Man

With his reprisal of Norman Osborn/Green Goblin in Spider-Man: No Way Home, Willem Dafoe cemented his comic book legacy with a truly terrifying performance. And not only did Dafoe’s portrayal of the diabolical villain elevate the most recent Spider-Man movie, it also gave me a greater appreciation of the first time he played the character nearly 20 years earlier.

Knowing how much of a stranglehold the Green Goblin personality has on Norman Osborn’s fragile mental state now, it’s heartbreaking to go back to the beginning when they had their first conversation. As a viewer in the present day looking back, you know the dark road that is ahead for Norman and pretty much everyone in his life, giving the moment much more weight.

Willem Dafoe in Spider-Man

(Image credit: Sony Pictures Releasing)

Spider-Man Not Saving Norman Osborn - Spider-Man

Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker stopping Tom Holland’s version of the character from killing Green Goblin in Spider-Man: No Way Home makes for one of the best moments of the entire movie. But in addition to preventing the MCU Peter Parker from taking a dark path, the act also adds more weight to how things ended in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man.

In the original movie, Spider-Man doesn’t kill Norman Osborn but he doesn’t save him either when he jumps out of the way of Green Goblin’s glider. Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker knows that nothing good comes from that path now that he’s older and wiser, having learned from his previous mistakes.

Rosemary Harris in Spider-Man 2

(Image credit: Sony Pictures Releasing)

Peter Telling Aunt May The Truth About Uncle Ben’s Death - Spider-Man 2

Spider-Man: No Way Home gives us one of the most tragic Aunt May stories that ends with Peter Parker’s mother-figure being killed by Green Goblin. Following her death, I couldn’t help but think about all the moments the various versions of Aunt May and Peter Parker have shared over the years, and the one that hurts the most is when Peter finally tells his aunt the truth about Uncle Ben’s death in Spider-Man 2.

One of the most gut-wrenching moments in this emotional scene comes when Peter Parker said “Uncle Ben was killed that night for being the only one who did the right thing.” You could apply this same sentiment to the death of the MCU’s Aunt May who was just trying to help Norman Osborn before the Green Goblin personality took over and killed her.

Tobey Maguire and Alfred Molina in Spider-Man 2

(Image credit: Sony Pictures Releasing)

Peter And Doctor Otto Octavius Meeting For The First Time - Spider-Man 2

Peter Parker first meets Dr. Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina) before a failed experiment turns him into Doc Ock in Spider-Man 2, and upon that meeting, Peter says he’s “trying to do better” when his idol says he’s heard he’s brilliant but lazy. Upon meeting again 17 years later in Spider-Man: No Way Home, Otto asks Peter how he’s been, to which he replies “trying to do better” once again.

This brilliant callback is anything but lazy and really drives home a lot of the points the movie tries and succeeds at making. Plus, it also shows how much Otto Octavius means to Peter Parker if he carried that conversation with him for two decades.

Tobey Maguire in Spider-Man 2

(Image credit: Sony Pictures Releasing)

Peter Hurting His Back - Spider-Man 2

In Spider-Man 2, Peter Parker suffers an emotional breakdown due to the various stresses caused by trying to balance his personal life with his superhero responsibilities, leading to him losing his powers. When attempting to get his powers back after Doc Ock makes his debut, Peter jumps off a roof only to come crashing to the ground, injuring his back.

There’s a great callback to this moment (and injury) in Spider-Man: No Way Home when Andrew Garfield’s version of the character cracks Peter Parker’s back, relieving the discomfort from his long-ago injury. Not only is this a moment of bonding for the two, it also shows how much of a toll being Spider-Man has on the aging web-slinger.

Thomas Haden Church in Spider-Man 3

(Image credit: Sony Pictures Releasing)

Peter Forgiving Flint Marko For Killing Uncle Ben - Spider-Man 3

At the end of Spider-Man 3, Flint Marko/Sandman (Thomas Haden Church) tells Peter Parker the truth about the death of his uncle and explains that although it was an unfortunate accident, it’s something that continues to haunt him all those years later. And in one of the most spectacular moments of the entire movie, and one that shows the growth of his character, Peter forgives Flint and allows him to escape.

The two meet again in Spider-Man: No Way Home and Peter gives Flint closure by curing him of his mutation before sending him, along with the other villains, back to his universe. Giving the character an opportunity to return home and see his daughter again makes that conversation in 2007 so much more meaningful.

Kirsten Dunst and Tobey Maguire in Spider-Man 3

(Image credit: Sony Pictures Releasing)

Peter And Mary Jane Sharing A Dance - Spider-Man 3

Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy ends with Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) sharing a dance, making it seem like they will try to make things work after all. This is alluded to in Spider-Man: No Way Home when the various Peter Parkers are talking about their personal lives. At one point, Tobey Maguire’s Peter says it “took a while” but that he and MJ eventually made it work.

This brief conversation adds so much weight to the closing moments of Spider-Man 3 and seems to confirm that Peter eventually found a way to balance all of his responsibilities and shows that MJ is very much in his life, even if Kirsten Dunst wasn’t in the movie.

Of course, those aren't the only moments that hit harder now, and they aren't the only moments that were great at the time. The movies really hold up well and important precursors to the golden age of superheroes we're in now. If you want to revisit the movies yourself or see them for the first time, head on over to Plex and check them out. You can also check out the video the popular streaming service put together below...

Philip Sledge
Content Writer

Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop barking at the mailman, or yelling about professional wrestling to his wife. If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.