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{Tuesday, July 06, 2004  }


Let's see what other bloggers have to say about Spiderman 2

Monkey like Spiderman.

I haven't read Catholic blogs in a while, so I'm doing some catching up this morning. I have been dying to discuss this movie with someone ever since I saw it Friday night, but either no one had seen it, or ... no one would. :P Kevin Donlon denied me his astute commentary which is usually forthcoming when I go see a movie with the Donlon bunch. And so instead I turn to the blogosphere to see what they have written, and I shall comment rather like the medievals. So this post should probably be titled "On Spiderman 2". Don't ask me how to say that in Latin.

Fr. Shane Tharp has a very good post about the movie. [Spoilers in that post and in the rest of this one] Allow me to quote fromt the most meaty paragraph:

Now, this next part, well, I think that some would say that I am making too much of the movie. So, for what it is worth, there is something muscularly Christian about a hero like Spider-Man, and the movie made a concerted effort to point this out. First, much of the imagery is sacramental imagery. So a major subplot revolves around MJ's wedding to John Jameson. Peter forsakes his love for MJ because ultimately he knows it isn't safe for MJ to be Spidey's squeeze. Villains love exploiting family relationships. But what brings MJ back to Peter's arms, is not so silly emotional kiss that produces a feeling, but her realization of the quality of Peter's love. Another image appears when Dr. Octopus finally is brought back to his senses and tries to stop the havoc he is about to unleash, he arises from water, in a left-handed reference to Baptism. Second, many of the visual images recalled Christian types. One cannot help but notice that when the smart arms that are fused to Dr. Octopus started "talking" to him, they look like serpents, perhaps a throw away comment to the Garden of Eden. In another place, Peter says to MJ, "I always imagined you getting married on a mountain top," to which she replies, "I'm getting married in a church." (I think the scene is shot at St. John's Episcopal Cathedral in NYC.) Third, at the heart of Spider-Man's conflict with himself, is a vocation. Like it or not, Peter has these powers. Now, if he stands up and uses these powers, he becomes a hero. If he ignores these powers, then the world is far worse for it, and he has wasted this precious gift. Yes, to live up to the power's responsibility is poopy at times, but what is lost by neglect of these powers is worse. Now, substitute the word "vocation" where "powers" is used and I think you see my point. Living the Christian life well is HEROIC. It requires heroes to live this kind of life, and the movie makes a point of showing how Spider-Man's overt heroism inspires others to be heroic in proper degree. (And here is where people will start to snark at me...) Spider-Man's struggles are, to me, an excellent metaphor for the struggle to discern a call to priesthood/religious life. Being a hero means taking reality for what it is, working to better what one can with the capacity one possesses, and accepting the sacrifices that comes with it. Being a priest [OR husband/father; ~LB] and using well one's time in discernment requires the same analysis. Once someone is a priest [**OR** husband/father; ~LB], he still has to be a hero because he has received great power to which is attached great responsibility.

I think this may push it a bit, but I don't know. The first thing I noticed about the first movie was that the busdriver had holy cards above where he was sitting. Furthermore, the whole movie somehow strikes me as very Catholic, though I can't nail down precisely why. I don't think it would be because of the things mentioned above (though the "I'm getting married in a church" made me wonder, and the serpentine aspect of the mechanical arms did cross my mind).

And furthermore I would vehemently argue that vocations are not *only* to the priesthood, as 99.9% of the people I talk to seem to think. It absolutely works both ways!

One thing Kevin did hand me once we were out of the theatre was the cheesiness of Mary Jane's "respect me enough to let me make my own decisions" thing.... *I* didn't think it was cheesy. And like Fr. Tharp mentions, what's striking is the quality of her love and of Peter's love (though I will say the kiss was *not* the epitome of passion, but more sucking-face nastiness which instead of inspiring an "awww" inspired an "ew"). His love was really a sacrificial love, as he was willing to give up everything for her sake -- even Mary Jane herself.

Which is why I'm glad he didn't strip off his mask and be like "I'm Spiderman. Marry me, and I will hang from the cieling and kiss you upsidown forever". From the trailers, I knew at least Harry was going to know who Spiderman was (which probably meant everybody would know eventually), but I was surprised that Mary Jane found out. I half-expected, when Peter turned around, to see Mary Jane passed out or something so that she would never know. The mask-removing was entirely necessary to reach Dr. Otto Octavius beneath the AI of the mechanical limbs ... it was an accident that Mary Jane saw.

You know what ... something my mother just mentioned, it's MORE heroic to be a husband/father than a priest... a priest doesn't have screaming children to deal with. Furthermore, he doesn't have to answer directly for their *souls*. Also, being a husband/father is way more demanding and sacrificial. Priests can get away with things because nobody knows them that well, but when you're a dad and you're living with a wife and kids, they know you very very well, and know all your faults. You have to be more accountable.

Okay okay fine, my mother admonishes me ... it is equally heroic. And that's what annoys me is when people lift one over the other.

Anyway, sorry ... short rant. And, er, sorry for the Norman Bates-esque .... thing.

And furthermore, I can't find any very long posts about Spiderman in the Catholicblogosphere. Also, I was online too late last night and want to get off the computer, and rants make me angry. And when I get angry, Mr. Bigglesworth gets upset. And when Mr. Bigglesworth gets upset ... people DIE!
posted by Lauren, 9:29 AM

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