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Movie Review: Spider-Man 3

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Author/Source: Eric Ward

Topic: Movie Review

A review of Spider-Man 3 including a description of the movie, areas of concern, teachable themes, discussion questions, and scriptures to use.

Movie Review: <i>Spider-Man 3</i>

Overview

A love triangle between Peter Parker, Mary Jane, and Harry Osborne, a villain triangle between the Goblin, the Sandman, and Venom, and, oh yeah, Spider-Man – that about sums it up.


WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!
Click to skip spoilers

The movie begins (and continues) rather slowly with lots of stuff about the relationship difficulties between Peter Parker and Mary Jane. As they stare lovingly at the stars on a giant web, Venom drops to earth on an entirely unnoticed meteor and hitches a ride on a Peter's motorcycle. It's patient, though, and doesn't do anything again until about halfway through the movie. Meanwhile, an escaped convict is running away from the police and slips into a scientific testing plant (with really bad security I might add) and stumbles into one of the test sites, thereby becoming the Sandman, a really powerful bad guy made of sand. Harry/Goblin gets into a huge fight with Spider-Man (One of three major fight scenes in the movie) and is subsequently knocked unconscious causing him to have amnesia for a while before remembering that he's really a demented bad guy.

At some point, after more relational difficulties, Venom takes over in the form a new black suit which causes Peter to turn very aggressive until he finally hits Mary Jane and realizes the error of his ways. He tears off the black suit which gets really angry with him and bonds with a competing photographer -- who eventually finds the Sandman and together they agree to fight Spider-Man. After having fought the Goblin over more love-triangle issues, Spidey returns to ask for his help in rescuing Mary Jane from Venom and Sandman. One more really big fight scene kills the Goblin and Venom, and Sandman leaves after he and Spider-Man talk about the moral of the story.

If it weren't Spider-Man, I don't think most kids would watch this movie long enough to get to the good parts. (By good parts I mean the violent, villain-involved, parts consisting mostly of the last 15 minutes of the movie. I didn't think the love triangle stuff was particularly well-written.) However, it is Spider-Man and every little boy I know will want to see it.

END OF SPOILERS


Concerns

No sex and very little bad language (I think I heard one instance of profanity) rank this movie better than most. Violence is to be expected from a superhero movie, though there is nothing in the violence category that is particularly gruesome. My only real concern here is the attitude toward asking Jesus for forgiveness that most children won't pick up on.

While Peter is busy being controlled by the black suit, he gets into an argument with a competing photographer who has forged a photo to get a job they both wanted. The other photographer begs Peter not to turn him in, to which Peter replies, "you want forgiveness, get religion." Later that photographer walks into a church, stares up at a crucifix and prays for God to kill Peter Parker. Immediately afterwards, the black suit attaches itself to him and he becomes Venom. At the end of the movie when Peter is alive and Venom is dead, Spider-Man and Sandman talk about forgiveness and the implication is that forgiveness comes from yourself and from other people, but not from Jesus. However, that theme is probably too subtle for most kids to pick up on and there are some good aspects of forgiveness that can be talked about from this movie.


Teachable Themes

  • Forgiveness
    The Spider-Man films are always good for a moralized lecture at the end of the movie and this one is no exception. The explicit message is given that a person has to take responsibility for his or her own actions and be willing to forgive others who have done them wrong.

  • Anger
    In the middle of the movie there is a segment (I'm guessing about 10 minutes long) where Peter has allowed the black suit to bond with him. He begins acting out towards everyone he is angry with and is shown to be getting his own way – at first. This all ends when he tries to make Mary Jane jealous by dancing with another woman, but ends up having the other woman leave him -- resutling in him accidentally hiting Mary Jane. After this incident he begins to realize the error of his ways.

  • Bitterness
    In the middle of the movie, Spider-Man thinks he has killed the Sandman (who was responsible for having murdered Peter's Uncle Ben). When he tells his Aunt May that Uncle Ben's murderer was killed by Spider-Man, she responds, "Spider-Man doesn't kill people." Peter says that he thought she would be happy to which she replies that Uncle Ben would not have wanted them to harbor bitterness in their hearts for even a second.

Biblical References

  • Concerning Forgiveness:
    • Proverbs 19:11 - "Sensible people control their temper; they earn respect by overlooking wrongs." (NLT)
    • Proverbs 24:17,29 - "Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when he stumbles, do not rejoice... Do not say, 'I'll do to him as he has done to me; I'll pay that man back for what he did.'" (NIV)

  • Concerning Anger:
    • Proverbs 16:32 - "Better a patient man that a warrior or superhero, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city or Spider-Man." (NIV, italics obviously added)
    • Ephesians 4:36 - "In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry." (NIV)

  • Concerning Bitterness:
      Ephesians 4:31 - "Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice." (NIV)
    • Hebrews 12:15 - "See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many." (NIV)

Discussion Questions

  1. The Sandman said that he was not a bad man, just an unlucky one. Is sin ever excusable? What about a case like his where he was stealing to try to save his daughter's life?
  2. Peter turned Eddie Brock (the other photographer) in for having forged a picture of Spider-Man. Was it wrong for him to have done so? How much does attitude have to do with our actions? Can an OK action be made wrong by the attitude we have while doing it?
  3. Peter accepted the new black suit without much question. How does sin compare to the black suit? Think about the way it caught him unexpectedly and how it seemed so good at first.
  4. In the end of the movie, Harry decided to help save Mary Jane. Do you think he really reformed? It is it possible for someone who is very bad to change?

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