Saturday, May 05, 2007

Spiderman 3 (Part 2)

As I fully expected, some Catholic reviews of Spiderman 3 have been posted before I had a chance to write anything. American Papist has his review here. I try to read all of his reviews and I can tell you that he has very good taste and has a knack for getting to the depths of a film's message. There isn't really anything I can add, but I will anyway.
If you haven't seen the movie yet, you may not want to read on since I may reveal some aspects of the plot.

Spiderman 3 was a movie about sin, the battle within all of us. This "sin" came in the form of a black ball of slime that came from an asteroid that landed near Peter Parker and MJ. Already a theological parallel can be made, that as the world was not created with sin, neither was Peter Parker's world created with this substance. This slime finds its way into Peter's apartment and attaches itself to Peter, who is immediately changed by it. Not only did his suit change from Red to Black, but he was no longer the humble soul he once was. Instead, Peter and his alter ego became self centered and violent. He kept saying that wearing the new suit, "felt good." At one point he even hit the love of his life, Mary Jane. Another event that featuring the black suited Peter was that he embarrassed a rival photographer, Eddie Brock (played by Topher Grace), by exposing some doctored images. Although I forget the specific course of events, it came to be that Peter began to experience a great deal of guilt.

In his guilt, Peter looks to ditch his black suit, and all the evil he'd caused with it.
So, he makes his way to the local Catholic Church (and yes, it was blatantly Catholic and it included a beautiful crucifix... so that was awesome). It was in the bell tower, and partly due to the sound of the bell, where the suit finally came off, but not without a consequence. Brock, who found his way into the Church to petition God to kill Peter Parker (actually sort of a humorous scene), became infected when some of the sin slime landed on him. It is here where Brock transformed into one of the Spider man villains, Venom. This was interesting, because it provided an image that sin is not merely personal, but infects those around us. It can be passed on, and it can spread.

Carrying on towards the end of the film, a showdown between the redeemed Spiderman and infected Venom provides a pretty good action sequence. Using some steel poles as a bell , Peter causes Venom's suit to freak out, and Brock is freed from it. Using one of the Green Goblin's bombs (the green goblin is a whole other story in this one) Spiderman blows up the suit. The only problem was that Brock wanted the suit so bad that he jumped back into the suit when the bomb exploded, killing him. Its interesting too, that although we may become "free of sin" after confession or baptism, our desire to sin (to put the suit back on) is not remedied. Again, another profound image (perhaps intended, perhaps not) that shows a profound reality.

That's my take on it. But there is one other thing I should mention. It was revealed in the movie that Peter's uncle, Ben Parker, was not killed by the man we thought in the first movie. Rather, he was killed by a man who became Sandman, another spiderman villain. At the end of the movie, we find out that he did not mean to murder Uncle Ben, and he confronted Peter to tell him. There is a lot I'm leaving out here, but Peter wound up saying, "I forgive you." This drew some laughter out of the audience, and the girl behind me said, "Oh my God, that's cheesy." Perhaps its true, but it was still an important part of the film's message, and I hope people don't write the concept of forgiveness off that easily.

A notorious serial killer from my home state, "The Green River Killer," was caught a few years ago. I'm a bit surprised there are a lot of people have never heard of him, since he killed almost 50 women, which is more than some of the more famous serial killers in recent memory. After pleading guilty to the murder each of his victim's to avoid the death penalty, the families of the deceased were allowed to address the court. One person in the courtroom did something that he admits wasn't easy, but was something that affected the killer. See for yourself:


Michael and Kristine said...

i need to go see that movie. hey, thanks for the comment on our blog...we'll take it as a compliment! and, yes, we'd love to see you! just say when...

kris said...

That You Tube clip made me cry - as did the movie. I didn't even consider that anyone would find Peter saying "I forgive you" funny. That kind of reaction baffles me. I thought this one (#3) was the best one yet. So did my hubby! Thanks for your insight into the movie. - Kris

travis said...

Not at all about your blog post...What systematic theology text are you guys using?

Seminarian said...

Hey travis, Welcome to my blog. I'll be adding a post to yours soon. I think you might be surprised at what I'm going to say.

We don't have one dominant text... we purchased a selection of readings at the beginning of the class which included all the greats... Augustine, Aquinas, with a few more modern sources thrown in. We study systematic theology as outlined by the Vatican 2 document on the formation of priests. We look at scripture, then the fathers, then Augustine, then Aquinas, then some more modern stuff.

Our systematics class this semester was Christian Anthropology, basically, a study of the human person in light of Jesus Christ... it has to do with sin, grace, salvation etc. We covered a lot of the controversies, and my prof critiqued the heck out of semi-pelagianism, which you probably like to hear.

Take care...

travis said...

seminarian (i wonder what your name is),

I possess many Roman source documents (such as the new catechism, collections of creeds and councils, condensed Aquinas, etc., but am looking for a representative systematic theology that matches the current strain of US RCC thought coming out of the seminaries. Do you guys use Ott or McBrian?

Have you read Yves Congar "I Believe in the Holy Spirit?" Great work by a Roman theologian. I really don't hate you guys, I just think you're wrong on a great deal of important stuff. -Travis