I went to the movies with some non-comic reading friends to see the new "Spider-man 2" film today. This entry is going to discuss some of the movie's themes, and will likely contain some spoilers (though I'll try to avoid being too specific) so be warned before you read on.
One of the first things my friends noticed, and it even hit me despite my being used to it by way of the nature of the comic. Was the sheer overwhelming message that Peter Parker is the ultimate loser. As what seemed like every personal problem he's ever had in comics was condensed to the first hour and a half.
I found myself not thinking "man I feel for you Peter" as I think I was supposed to do, but instead thought "no wonder you are so miserable, you're a loser who makes the wrong choices every time."
One of my friends even asked me after the movies, (paraphrasing from memory) "Is that how he is in comics? Do things go that wrong for him? Because it seems to be too much, and loses a lot of the fun that being Spider-man would bring."
One of the longest running themes in comics, and the slogan that is Spidey's catch phrase is that "with great power comes great responsibility."
Yet this movie sort of undermines that message, because it forgets what I perceive is a key element to people's lives. In that personal responsibility is just as important, because if you put everyone else ahead of yourself you eventually find yourself unable to help anyone.
Something else my friends and I discussed on the way out, was how a lot of time spent to the nature of heroism and the need for sacrifice. We got that message and could understand it, but it goes too far in the extreme showing to my mind a bad message to people in the long run.
Saying that to be truly good and heroic one must give up everything, even your dreams, just seems way too pessimistic of an attitude. The idea that a hero can't be happy in order to be there for others just seems rather off. A hero who is willing to sacrifice everything for anything doesn't come off as very heroic to me, because then the sacrifice itself means little if he could so easily do it.
There were other odd moments as well, but those were the basics for what seemed a rather depressingly themed movie. That was interesting but had lots of messages that I just couldn't find myself agreeing with.
Lots of stunning visuals though, which thrilled my friends despite their problems with the basic theme. And with the packed theater, I'm guessing Spider-Man 3 will soon be on its way.