Spiderman 3

What is it?

He has fought the Green Goblin, he stopped Doctor Octavios, he dealt with his own inner conflicts with self sacrifice – now he is back to deal with a handful of bad guys and some new inner demons in what may be the final installment of the series. Spiderman has finally been accepted as a hero and his life is going well. Unfortunately, his girl friend, MJ, is going through a personal crisis, but he can not see through all his new found appreciation, to be there for her. His romantic problems are paralleled by the rise of some more unusual villains, and what is that crawling out of the space rock?


How was it?

This is a comic book movie. There is no attempt to make it anything it’s not. Director Sam Raimi just plays it straight and has the most fun he can with the genre. The audience isn’t given anything much deeper or more mysterious than your standard Veggie Tales episode. After we have a long set up for each one of the characters, we jump into some fun plot, then some big action, finally Spiderman’s aunt explains the symbolism and moral to you… repeat. The action is cool. You can occasionally tell its computers, beyond just the fact that “that has to be a computer”. It’s the kind of action that you have to pay attention to in order to follow. It’s often like a rollercoaster, without the track. The best part is watching Spiderman jumping and scrambling over debris as he and parts of a building plummet. Overall, not the most amazing film, but it’s fun.


Was it good for kids?

This is a hard one. There are a lot of things to be leery of, but it’s all presented in such a way that may not scare kids. The violence is about action, however, there is some blood, but more often just ripped masks and shirts. There is some black stuff that crawls around and (spoiler) eventually creates the villain Venom, who is a monster version of Spiderman with a big mouth full of teeth. Still they do not show him very much. When he has a close up, the black stuff leaves his face and he is human with a mouth that is somewhere between a dog and a vampire. Beyond that, there are all types of family issues. Peter of course still blames himself for the murder of his uncle, who raised him because his parents died when he was young. Then there is a villain who is estranged from his wife and steals to pay for a medical treatment for his daughter, who we see sleeping with tubes in her nose. The situation may upset children but it’s also a very ambiguous evil. This makes the character more complex, but while it is handled well, may confuse children and make them think that you can do bad things for good reasons. Peter also takes the Lord’s name in vain (prays?) when he thinks he has killed his friend who attacked him.

You can see a break down of all the elements on the screen on screenit.com.


What about spiritual elements?

At first I thought the  first Spiderman seemed to hold up Spiderman as the fill-in for an impotent God.  After a closer look I believe God is orcastrating the events and coincidences that allow Peter to serve others. The second makes him out to be a Christ figure (the Freedom Bringer), and in this one he needs forgiveness and it seems to start by going to God. There are two major themes to this movie (that are both spelled out by Aunt May.) The first is that if you are planning on marrying a woman you have to be man enough to put her first, and the second is that revenge in your heart will turn you into something horrible and the solution is forgiveness! We find out that everything comes down to choices. Almost every person on every level, in this film, is paired up with someone else who is in almost the same situation. We get to see one person who chooses correctly and then one who chooses incorrectly. We also get to see the reward or punishment that coincides with their choice. Both line up perfectly with the Bible. In fact (Spoiler) while Peter Parker allows himself to be consumed by revenge, his response to a character’s plea for mercy is “If you want forgiveness, get religion.” which seems like a downer on Christianity, but soon after that Spiderman is at a church (the kind with a cross on top and a crucifix inside). He has come there to rid himself of “revenge” and “aggression” in an interesting “Re-Birth” scene. In that same scene, we see someone come to God, not for forgiveness, but to seek revenge. (Big Spoiler) Of course the one looking for revenge gets afflicted with all that Spiderman has shed. The consequence for harboring revenge turns out to be death. Peter Parker, on the other hand, forgives the man who shot is uncle. (He says “I forgive you” nothing cryptic.) This action leads to freedom for all characters involved.


What is your recommendation?

It’s a fun movie, with easy messages and someone to explain them to you along the way. So you can enjoy the action and get the point without a lot of heavy lifting. If your child will not be negatively affected by comic book violence and can handle the moral ambiguity until it’s tied up at the end, I would bring them along. When it’s all over you will have plenty to talk about as far as the problems of revenge and the need for forgiveness, starting with the forgiveness from God. Who know’s you might even be able to use the film to tell another Spiderman Fan about God’s forgiveness.


Spider-Man 3


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