Idol Chatter

While I am not a big comic book superhero fan, I have always enjoyed the Spider-Man franchise for its unabashed mix of adventure and nerdishness with a touch of humor. And I can hardly argue with the recurring moral theme of the Spiderman saga–“With great power comes great responsibility.” Spidey fans will be happy to know that all of these key story elements remain in tact in “Spider-Man 3,” the latest installment of the successful movie franchise opening today.

But just as Peter Parker continues to find himself struggling to juggle school, work, superhero duties, and a personal life, Spider-Man 3 feels a little bit overloaded as the movie strives to make a riveting story with too many villains and too many subplots. Yet I have to say there is one truly inspirational movie moment late in the story that makes the movie more than worthwhile.

In this chapter of Peter Parker’s life, he has begun to embrace his fame as Spiderman and to enjoy the adoration of New York City’s citizens as their crime-fighting superstar. Mary Jane and Peter are still madly in love and MJ finally achieves her dream of debuting on Broadway. So of course, it doesn’t take long for things to go horribly wrong in all of these areas.

A new creature, The Sandman, appears to terrorize New York City, Peter is still in conflict with ex-best friend Harry, and his attempt to ask MJ to marry him backfires. All of these conflicts lead Peter to wrestle with the demonic side of his nature–thus the black Spider-Man costume shown in the movie posters and trailers. More importantly, Peter is faced with his recurring moral dilemma: What happens to your soul when revenge becomes your only motive for fighting evil?

The redemption of Peter Parker and the exorcism of Spider-Man’s vengeful ways takes place in a cathedral in a breathtaking sequence that will long be remembered. As one of the film’s villains is inside the church praying to God for Peter Parker’s destruction, Spider-Man is up in the bell tower in a prayerful pose, after which he struggles to tear the specially-coated black suit off of his body in an effort to rid himself of it’s evil. The events that transpire after this haunting moment lead to the destruction of some characters and the physical and moral rescue of others–but I won’t ruin the movie for readers by telling you more than that!

“Spiderman 3” is not the best of this trilogy, but for my money, it is still the most enjoyable, refreshing, and thought-provoking comic book franchise on the big screen. It’’s also a promising start to the summer movie season.

(And if you would like a free Bible study guide that does a great job of discussing the movie’s spiritual themes and symbols–but be warned it does contain spoilers–click here. )

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