Sitting down to show my kids the 2002-2007 Spiderman trilogy was a bigger deal than I thought. I thought I liked them… really, I thought they were great – in my memory. But I didn’t have the same joy this time around. My son fell in love. He knows Tom’s Spiderman and will likely remember
Sitting down to show my kids the 2002-2007 Spiderman trilogy was a bigger deal than I thought. I thought I liked them… really, I thought they were great – in my memory. But I didn’t have the same joy this time around.
My son fell in love. He knows Tom’s Spiderman and will likely remember to come back to his first love this December 17th when Spiderman: No Way Home opens on the big screen. But in the moment, he fell in love with Tobey.
But here’s the deal: Tobey‘s Spiderman is a psychopath. I had come to terms with his wonderful nature by the third feature, but throughout the first one, Tobey’s blank child stare creeped me out. And the kissing?! Such hard core kissing, it made me think there was a bigger problem…
Unearned tongue sessions, midriffs, boob-framing, and a very very white New York? Ah, yes, it was 2002 and… Sam Raimi. It’s not Tobey‘s fault that this Spiderman’s New York was a hardcore male-gaze event. You can feel a bit of MJ adjust and move into a fuller character over time, maybe she had an impact or maybe the creative team saw how women had been treated. You see her clothes begin to layer into a weather appropriate amount of skin coverage by the end of the trilogy.
I had to explain to my kid that much of ‘this’ Spiderman’s motivation was based on a girl, not on much else. He kept asking ‘why’ things were happening and I had to keep saying… because he loves MJ. But I ALSO explained that none of these are ways to show love. Cinema has come a LONG way since 2002 that my son hadn’t been so tripped up on this kind of superhero arc yet. I’m happy to say that this love/lust obsession wasn’t a huge part of his previous Spiderman education.
If you show this to your kids, be aware that you’ll have to explain how culture has shifted and the Spiderman narrative is less about stalking and a little more about choosing life or duty. It’s just such a wildly different narrative, I wasn’t prepared, so hopefully you’ll do better!
But there is a LOT of love for Raimi setting the tone of Spiderman’s cinematic experience:
But the best take away is that this trilogy gave us the amazing Alfred Molina.
And the trilogy closes out well, wrapping up loose ends and making it easy to feel like we can put it to bed for good. But, thank goodness, the meme culture revived the worse parts for us to laugh at instead of cry.