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All This Is About Getting Even?

3 Jul

It’s been said that superhero stories reflect the times in which they’re written.

In 2002, for example, Sam Raimi’s first Tobey Maguire–starring Spider-Man film clearly took place in the post-9/11 world, with lots of patriotism and New York rah-rah sentiment.

2008’s The Dark Knight undeniably made statements about the political climate and actions taken by George W. Bush’s Homeland Security team.

Now we have a reboot of the Spider-Man franchise, and it, too, feels timely.

The Amazing Spider-Man recasts Peter Parker as less of a nerd who gets strong and can defend his city, and more of a bullied loner who gets the chance to get even and show up those who have made him seem weak.

Instead of “With great power comes great responsibility,” now we get Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) telling his nephew, “If you have the ability to do good things for others, you have a moral responsibility to do those things. Not a choice; an obligation.”

So yes, this Spider-Man is about taking the (more heroic, sometimes lonelier) high road and standing up for the little guy who can’t help himself. It’s an anti-bullying message that feels appropriate for these times, and it’s a much more positive message than the Raimi series left us with in 2007, when Spider-Man 3 took a very dark (and not terribly satisfying) turn.

In fact, it’s not just the thematic nature of The Amazing Spider-Man that takes the high road. It’s the whole movie. Which makes it a welcome and pleasant surprise. Continue reading

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