Image Credit: Marvel Studios
After a mysterious spider bite gives him superpowers, high-schooler Peter Parker slowly masters the art of heroism, attempting to continue winning the attention of Iron Man and the Avengers. But that road does not come easy when everyone looks down on the young and inexperienced. When the web-slinger discovers criminal weaponry deals, tapping into forces that could threaten New York, Parker attempts to take matters in his own hands, but not without a price.
This new adaptation to the Marvel Universe is a breath of fresh air for any who loved the Sam Raimi films, though much different. This new flick reminds audiences why they originally fell in love with the young character. Most agree that the Marc Webb films, with Andrew Garfield, distracted from the heart of the story, which is not so here. Jon Watts has dabbled in some pictures here and there, but it is good seeing him get Tom Holland (Spider-Man), with an outstanding crew of writers to make the film charm the audience more than other Marvel films. One of the film's weaknesses, among a few others, is shallow background from our main characters (Keeton’s villain, and even Spider-Man himself). However, the dialogue, pacing, and message spin a web so fantastic, these are truly minor flaws.
The Heroism of Friendliness
It is hard to miss Holland’s spunk, Spider-Man’s trademark, even as he fights off bad-guys. Integrity overflows from Parker as he helps the elderly, waves to passers by, and does backflips on command. But don’t let that strike you as a weakness; a moment from the film may indicate that such kindness actually sets this kid apart from many other heroes. At one point in the film, a citizen thanks Spider-Man for offering himself to be shot at instead of him. He called Spider-Man “bold” (he actually used another word I’ll spare you from). There it is: kindness stood out to that citizen as bold, even though Peter is only 15. Sometimes, that’s how it is: love and kindness is the heart of true heroics.
At the end of the day, our hero is such a lovable character because he has something we all want in a protagonist, and it’s in his nickname. Tony Stark asks, "Can't you just be a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man?" My question: is that bad? Why does niceness come off as weakness? Is friendliness a deficiency? No. In fact, Spidey’s strength is not just webs and agility, but warmth and generosity. It takes real guts and boldness to lay down your life for someone else, or at least be willing to. Praise God for heroes, pastors, and Christians like that. And praise God for Christ who, if I may contend, is such a wonderful hero because of his pity and kindness. Jesus Christ is, of course, the friendliest neighborhood hero of all.