Sunday, July 11, 2004

Answers to Your Questions About Spiderman (Rated PG-13)

Questions about Spiderman (brought to you by Sarahspace)

1. Are Spiderman’s superpowers a metaphor for his penis? Is it one of those ‘I am going to fight crime with my enormous cock’ type things?

Yes, of course. And, ironically, it is only when he surrenders his Spidey powers (the fact that he is losing his powers, his virility, is mental, not physical, just as many penile problems are mental, not physical) that he becomes more able to love Mary Jane. Just like it is for most men: when you stop thinking with your penis, you are a pretty decent human being. It is then, however, that we find you boring. (Kidding, I swear to you, I was kidding). However, in true comic book fashion, he can't actually have the girl without the superpowers (much like in Superman 2, regardless of that scene in the cave in which they consummated their loooove).

2. I completely believe that it is possible to bitten by a radioactive spider and get turned into a Spiderman, but this Dr. Oct thing seems completely improbable. Why were the arms needed? What do the 4 extra arms have to do with creating fusion? Am I the only person who is bothered by the implausibility of this? And isn’t there a flaw in your thinking about creating a new power source that needs electricity to maintain itself? Spiderman pulls the plug out of the wall and everything stops? I don’t understand science, so maybe this makes sense to someone who did not get a D in physics.

I think the Dr. Oct character is clearly a metaphor of some kind. Maybe not so clearly, but a metaphor nonetheless. I was an English major, so let's try it:

Marxist theory: in the scene in which the arms are lighting his hand-rolled cubans and waving the smoke away from the fire extinguisher, the arms are clearly the workers being exploited by the burgoise, to the point that they are even willing to make sure the burgoise does not get caught. The Dr. Oct character, therefore, clearly represents George W. Bush.

And the fact that there is electricity required to sustain the energy source? Well, that is clearly representative of the lies George W. propulgated about the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in order to receive funding for his war. See? See the beauty, the brilliance?

It's not about physics. It's about politics. Just like everything else.

3. It seems to be that a disproportionate number of persons who have a negative encounter with science and gain superhuman abilities turn evil? Is this only to make the heroes look better? Or is there some fundamental human propensity to choose evil over good?

Well. This could be tome in philosopy. However, the best answer, as a former literature instructor, that I can come up with at this hour is that it's all about plot. There has to be some kind of drama, some kind of suspense. Spiderman himself struggles with his responsibility and power and how to handle it. So, if we do a psychotherapeutic reading of Spiderman, then the Dr. Oct character suddenly becomes Spidey's alter ego, and plays out all of the fantasies (let us return to the cigar again-- the ultimate in a sinful pleasure) that Spidey can't. The best Spidey can do is fly around in the dark, which is kind of sick in a Peeping Tom kind of way. He can't turn off his conscience the way Dr. Oct can. However, at the end of Spiderman, the alter ego has a return to conscience after a strict conversation with his superego, and sacrifices himeself (as does Spidey) for the greater good.

And it is only after Spidey makes the ultimate sacrifice, by the way, that he can get the girl...

4. Was Spiderman 2 missing a bunch of scenes that would have allowed me to figure out what the fuck was happening?

Probably all over the editing floor. But isn't this much more fun?

5. Why would a beautiful girl who dates millionaires and astronauts fall in love with such a self-righteous prig like Peter Parker? “You are a stupid girl; I know what is best for you. Stay away from me, I am too dangerous.”

Okay, I can concede the self-righteous prig part. It is always dangerous when a man decides to protect a woman from something "for her own good" rather than allow/empower her to make her own decisions.

However, Peter Parker knew her when she was just the loser next door with the alcoholic father, so he provides the love of her true self that she requires, and which the shallow astronaut (is he really a millionaire? He is the son of the newspaper editor) cannot give her, only seeing her beauty.

Okay, that's bullshit. I just like Tobey Maguire, and if he had played the astronaut, I would have been able to give you a much better answer.

But I hope that clears everything up and makes your second viewing of Spiderman 2 all the more enjoyable.

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