Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Spider Man 3 (not your neighborhood friendly movie review)

So how do I talk about Spider Man 3, which is in fact a movie, without calling it a movie review? I don´t know, but this is my attempt.

I am not a movie critic and I don´t intend to pretend to be one so I won´t even try. I want to talk about one particular scene in the movie.

The added wrinkle to my movie going experience was that I was watching this in Argentina. Normally this would have been no different than watching it back in Chicago if it weren´t for one little scene that caused a collective groan when it appeared on stage.

Yep, that huge, flapping in the virtual wind, digital reproduction of old glory as background for Spidey on his way to a good old fashioned street fight. What in the world was Sam Raimi thinking? Have I been away so long from the States that I have lost touch with my fellow countrymen?

There are several ways in which this is wrong:

Currently the USA is involved in a couple of wars. One of which no one can say anything about and pretty much expected. That´s the one in Afghanistan where the 9-11 attack originated from. The other one, well, what can I say other than it´s the third biggest mistake our country has recently made (first one, letting Bush get his way the first time around in the 2000 elections; second one, giving him the job that he managed to steal in the first place). All of these things together gives the USA a rather bad image abroad these days (not to mention that wall, some Americans call it a gate, that is being built and maintained along the Mexican border).

Slapping a big flag behind Spider Man looks so cheesy, so tacky, so tasteless. Are we so clueless that we fail to think what people would feel like watching a movie and seeing a commercial for the USA in a Spider Man film? What is the point? That Spider Man stands for America? Was this meant as "Let´s go USA and beat up some bad guys"? I don´t like the use of my flag for those purposes. I would rather see us waving it around on our way to the voting polls.

Actually, my first reaction to this scene was joining the rest of the movie goers in that communal groan. Then, I thought to myself; this can´t be. There has to be an explanation to this; it can´t just be a pointless blunder; it can´t be selfish boasting; it can´t be naive, nationalistic pride.

Now this is the good part. I started thinking possibilities: What if this was actually a dig towards Bush and his hawks? I mean the main message behind Spider Man has been that you are defined by your choices. You can choose to be good or choose to be bad. Your choices dictate that about who you are.
"With great power comes great responsibility." - Spider Man 1
The flag scene came after Spidey rejected his bad dark side and was going to go beat up the bad guys. Could it be that the message was aimed at the current administration and telling them that they did not represent our America. After the fighting subsides and Spidey is left standing he finally forgives the person that shot and killed his uncle. Was the director trying to say that this is more like what America should be like? Because this is not how America has been behaving in the eyes of most people over here. Quite the opposite actually. Most people would probably tell you that the black substance that created Venom is more like how Bush has been acting.

To be honest, I have no idea what the director was thinking. I choose to believe my theory regardless of the original intentions of the people that made the movie. My theory makes more sense. My theory may be a little more naive but I can´t think of any other good reason for putting the flag up there in a Spider Man movie of all places.

What do you think? What do you choose?
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