When I used to buy comics...and I mean, damn, I used to buy comics...at least 20 bucks a week, Spider-Man was never really a favorite. I was, am, really, a fan-boy, so I used to like whatever was hot, which was usually about art and not really substance.
(In my defense, I also was very into some books which were all about substance, and not at all into art, Neil Gaiman's Sandman being the most noteworthy example.)
So while I wasn't really into Spider-Man, I would buy his stuff when it had the innovative and extremely influential art of Todd McFarlane, who later went on to create Spawn, and some of Erik Larsen's stuff, because his art was kinda cartoony and fun.

The character of Spider-Man however, never really appealed to me all that much. He was kinda lighthearted, and I dunno, it just never clicked with me.
Still, way back in the day when it was rumored that James Cameron was gonna do a Spidey film, I was stoked. I mean come on, Terminator 2: Judgement Day was an amazing movie, and the idea that the guy behind that would do a comic book movie was too good to be true. And eventually, yeah, it was too good to be true.
Alas, it never happened.
But lo, so many years later, another talented film maker, Sam Raimi is behind Spider-Man's big screen debut.
Was it worth the wait?

The answer is a big, fat, YES!

I recently said about BLADE II that it was one of the best comic book movies ever made, and I meant it. It was set up as a live action comic book, and worked beautifully.
Spider-Man takes it a step further, and right now I can't help but think it is the best comic book movie. Ever.

Not only did Sam Raimi and writer David Koepp lovingly recreate the saga of a comic book icon, but they were surprisingly faithful. Yes they changed some stuff here and there, but it actually makes sense when you watch the film. There's an obvious respect for the source material, and I really appreciated that.

Tobey Maguire, a great, low-key actor stars as Peter Parker, a nerdy guy who is bitten by a spider...blah, blah, blah, you know the rest. Maguire does a great job. I think he was a great choice!
Kirsten Dunst is Mary Jane Watson, the beautiful girl next door. She does a good job too, though I have to admit I was a little distracted by her, and surprisingly, I don't mean that in a good way. But she wasn't bad really, so I won't bitch or anything.
James Franco is Harry Osborn, best friend of Peter Parker, and sort of a lonely little rich boy. He did a great job with a character that I have to admit I know nothing about, but it is an interesting character just the same.
Harry's father, Norman Osborn, is played with a surprising amount of credibility by Willem Dafoe. I give nothing away here by saying that he is also the Green Goblin.
My biggest problem going in to Spider-Man was the Green Goblin. The movie version looks almost nothing like the comic book version. But I have to admit, with in the context of the film, it works. And Dafoe's performance is solid.

Obviously there are other roles in the film, but the only other one I'll mention is the character J. Jonah Jameson, as portrayed by J.K. Simmons. Way over the top, but that's OK, it was kinda fun that way.

Actually, I guess you can say this whole movie is over the top, but hey, it's a comic book movie! And damn it, it's good. No, it's not perfect, but it's good. And it gonna make a shitload of cash.
And there will be a sequel, probably a few.
And it's success will fuel Hollywood's already burning desire to produce more comic book movies.
(Daredevil starring Ben Affleck is already in production, as is Hulk, the teaser to which preceded Spider-Man, and I loved it!)
Past, present, and future comic book geeks rejoice!
Our time has come!

This is the first time I use a rating system. I figured I'd do the "star" thing, from zero stars for a really, really bad movie, and four for an amazing movie.
But I had to be me, which usually means being a little different, so instead of regular stars, I'll use these: