I'm a fan of comic book hero movies. After watching Spider Man 3 I was overcome with the spiritual lessons this movie had to offer, intentional or not. I honestly got so many object lessons out of this picture I could totally see teaching it to upper elementary or higher aged kids.
First of all you have the anger issue. Being mad isn't wrong. Holding on to it to the point that it creates a new, bad you, well that's a problem. I loved how this came to light during the movie. Without giving away a lot Peter Parker receives information that in less than a second takes him from mad to vengeful. It's like an ultimate grudge. As soon as this happens, a piece of black sludge like material oozes through his apartment and onto his Spidey suit, creating a new Spiderman.
When I'm carrying a grudge I feel kind of new and good, free actually. I've been wronged in my mind and whatever choices I'm making, I have the right. That's me in my new black suit like Spidey. Spiderman felt more flexible, aggressive, bold even with this new suit. It didn't take long before the truth comes out. Spidey didn't own the black suit, the black suit owned him. The bitterness wasn't satisfied with just a part of Peter Parker or Spiderman, it wanted all of him. How I loved this because it's the truth. I find I can't be just a little bitter, and I bet you can't either. Resentment tends to grow and eat away at us. My thought life takes a nose dive, I have all these little scenarios in my head about how I'm going to say this, do that, even if I never do. All of a sudden my black suit doesn't feel so flexible anymore. It's suffocating me and I can't get it off by myself.
This also was absolutely memorizing to watch on the big screen. The symbolism, intentional or not, sent me to lip quivering tears through most of the movie but this part in general for sure. Again, without saying too much, Spiderman knows he has to be rid of the black suit. To do so, he goes to a church. Now the building will never save someone, I get that, but I still enjoyed the symbolism. As he yanks on the suit, it's not budging. He enters a stance of surrender both in posture and voice, and the suit moves on. In the same church below is someone also praying but their intent isn't so pure. I left the movie wondering how many people got their new black suit of bitterness through a prayer gone very wrong?
Pride was also an issue woven throughout the movie. The love of Spidey caught on throughout the city and Peter Parker was having difficulty staying humble. He bought into how cool he was as Spidey and he got carried away with consequences. Pridge goes before a fall? Shown eloquently in this movie.
The trials of friendship was another theme. Friendships, true ones, have ups and downs and can survive heartbreak, at least my deepest ones have. When the going got tough I watched friends come together as a cord of three strands that could not be broken. They were loyal enough to not want any one of them stuck in the pit they were in, whether it was insecurity, fear, grief, pride, or revenge. I'm sure I'm reaching on this but it moved me, it really did, to see this.
Lastly there were little moments that I enjoyed. Aunt Mae and her marital advice---can you as a husband put your wife ahead of yourself for the rest of your days? Well when you first get engaged you think of course you can. But trust me in time you want just a day that isn't always for that person, why do you always have to do the work? Why can't it be about me? And that day tends to become two and then next thing you have a married couple in the throes of battle against each other. It takes a mature person to say you know, I'm not sure I can do that right now. As a part of a marriage ministry I face each day with choosing isolation or oneness. Of course my goal is always unity but there are times when the struggle inside to be about me is so strong, it's a battle. Successful couples have to do what Aunt Mae was asking, every day.
Geeks really can get the girl. I probably like the Spiderman series on screen best of all because Peter Parker is a geek with issues. He isn't wealthy like Bruce Wayne, he isn't a respected journalist with job security, he has to fight for his paycheck as much as the next guy. He knows his math and Science probably as good as Bill Gates, and yet he gets the girl. I knew I was in love with my husband when he brought by accident a computer disk in his pocket on a camping trip the weekend he asked me to be his girlfriend. Oh he still gets teased about it and no, I'm no cute beauty like Mary Jane, but trust me, my guy got his girl just as Peter has Mary Jane's affections.
Lastly I really enjoyed the line that a stranger in a crowd had as both Peter Parker and this man were viewing something Spiderman related. The stranger turned to Peter and said, "It goes to show you, one man can really make a difference. Enough said." What a great line. How often to I retreat thinking I'm just one person, how can I change the world? Well I've been put to that test a few times and one person can change things for the better. Off the top of my head I think of the founder of MADD. She was one broken hearted mom who to this day makes a difference. Is there some calling or cause that you have a stirring about? Maybe, just maybe this summer is about you taking that chance. Because one person can make a difference. Enough said.
I know some are moved by Lord of the Rings, I know of a Bible Study out there that is all about lessons learned from the old Andy Griffith Show. Well me, I like the super heroes. And the way I felt overcome through the whole movie, I felt like I received a whole download from God on lessons I could learn from the man in the web.
*Sony Pictures/Marvel Comics
Julie Arduini, http://thesurrenderedscribe.blogspot.com/, is devoted to writing for Christ in ways that encourage and inspire. A graduate of the Christian Writer's Guild, her writing resume is on her blog's sidebar. Happily married to Tom, they have two children.
@2009 by Julie Arduini
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