As Stan Lee (blink and you'll miss his cameo) explains in the greatly misunderstood Mallrats
(Smith, 1995), the powers and weaknesses of comic book heroes were a way of expressing the troubles and dreams of youth. Sam Raimi has done an incredible job of allowing these themes to coalesce in the struggle between young Peter Parker and the dream father facade of Norman Osgood.
Returning the timeless hero to his original youth, the young Peter is allowed a wonderous exploration of his new powers in a first act "origin" story that in other comic book movies feels like a chore to sit through while we wait for the hero to get to the maturity we are all familiar with. Instead, Spider-Man's first forays into webslinging are a bird taking flight. I won't say the computer effects aren't obvious, but ultimately I found them effective as I am at a loss for how the filmmakers would have created the wonderful acrobatics.
Willem Dafoe and the "Green Goblin" outfit are rather silly, but I liked how the narrative used him. As the wealthy father of one of Peter's friends (Peter being fatherless) he is a green monster of jealously, tempting Peter (however skillessly) into turning to the dark side.
Kirsten Dunst is very good (again) as Mary Jane Watson. I particularly liked a scene when she an Peter meet on the street, she dreams of being an actress but can only find work as a waitress in "The Big City".
Overall, it is probably my favorite comic book movie since Superman II
and is probably a little better than either. A-