Saturday, July 21, 2012


The Red-heads and I haven’t seen a movie lately for “Family Fun Night.” So after reviewing the list of possibilities we found ourselves entering the AMC with one of Hannah’s friends at 7:30 last night for a showing of “The Amazing Spider-Man.”

I remember reading Spider-Man comics as a kid, but I haven’t kept up on its development. I didn’t see the 2002 film, so I came to the movie without a lot of history.

The “Amazing Spider-Man” starts out when a four-year old boy, Peter Parker, discovers someone had broken into his fathers’ study. His father had been working on a top-secret scientific experiment. Immediately after the break-in Peter’s parents take him to live with his uncle and aunt. Fast forward at least ten years when Peter discovers a secret file from this father. This leads him to sneak into Oscorp, a bio-engineering company. He meets the one-armed Dr. Connors, is bitten by a genetically modified spider, and attracts the interest of classmate Gwen Stacy.

On the subway ride home he discovers he has spider-like powers. He has super-human strength and can literally fly with the help of his web-inducing wrists. Over time he creates the familiar red and blue costume and becomes, “Spider-Man.” When his uncle is killed by a thief, he uses his new abilities to try to find the murderer. This draws the attention of Gwen’s father, Captain Stacy who is the chief of the New York City police unit who sees Spider-Man as a vigilante and a threat to public safety.

By this time Dr. Connors has produced a serum that can regenerate human organs using lizard DNA. His superior wanted to inject Veterans at a VA hospital with the serum. Dr. Connors gave himself the serum and grew into a giant lizard. The lizard went to stop his superior from using the serum on the veterans. He and Spider-Man encountered each other on the Williamsburg bridge and had their first fight.

Dr. Connors wanted to spray all of Manhattan with this serum. He believed that humans are ultimately weak and this serum could save them from their weakness.

The huge lizard tracked Peter down at his high school. Their brawl started there and ultimately continued on the high rise skyscrapers of Manhattan. Just as Dr. Connors had sprayed the serum on the City, Gwen developed an antidote. The question during the final fight scene was whether the antidote could be sprayed over Manhattan. With the help of Captain Stacy—who was eventually killed—the serum was sprayed, the lizard went back to being Dr. Connors, and Manhattan was saved.

The sequel was firmly established at the end. As he was dying Captain Stacy asked Peter to keep Gwen safe by staying away from his daughter. After her father’s funeral she confronted Peter about his absence at the funeral.

Much is going to happen in the next movie between the two. In a post-credit scene—which I missed and only read about on-line—a man in the shadows asked Dr. Connor if Peter has discovered what had happened to his Dad. He hadn’t.

The unresolved pieces of Peter’s story will undoubtedly be explored. What happened to his father? What happened to the murderer of his uncle? What will happen in his relationship with Gwen?

The theme of the movie was almost brazenly shared at the end when Peter attended his high school literature class. The teacher said that most people believe that no more than ten stories exist. She said that in reality only one story exited—the question, “Who Am I?” The question framed the movie and the two main characters.

I didn’t come to any new understandings of my own identity through watching the move, but I enjoyed the almost buoyant action. The action scenes became a bit long at times, but watching Peter scale and jump to and from the Manhattan skyscrapers was fun. The movie had some scary moments for my eleven-year old daughter, but I don’t regret taking her.

I’d like to fly like Spider-Man. The movie didn't help me soar, but it was a fun and cool diversion from a hot Minnesota summer.

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