By Way of Introduction….
Watching the mild mannered Peter Parker reminds me of a recent little incident. Yesterday, in the mall, I was not feeling so well. Sick actually, fever, pain, you-name-it. I wasn’t my usual mild-mannered self. The cashier at Payless, when shoes had finally been decided on, was all set to give me her little spiel about a card, and whats my phone number, and would I have some spray or polish or whatever, and I was done. I said, “I just want the shoes, thanks, nothing else. No numbers, cards, just shoes and I’ll be off.” Ha ha. It felt amazing and completely foreign to be such a jerk, and survive. Don’t worry it will not become a habit. And that lady had a thick skin, a real “ball-breaker” type – she could handle it.So on to the movie. Obvious to say, in Marvel Comic story lines the villains are the result of man’s dreams and hard work gone 'horribly awry'. What was meant for good, destroys. The mechanical arms on Dr. Octopus writhe like snakes, infecting his mind with thoughts of evil. They make small rattle-like noises, planting half-truths in his mind until he is completely altered. Where does evil come from in these movies? Are people either good or evil? Or is everyone a mixture of both? What, Stan Lee, what? The mind is going in circles, my good man. Help me out here.
I do like Kirsten Dunst, she is truly lovely and luminous and talented. The camera loves her bright eyes and cheekbones. But is it just me, or does she always look like she’s about to fall asleep…. Her hair toned it down a notch in this movie, and for that we are all thankful.
Kirsten D is a believable actress here in incredibly sensitive scenes. Such pain in her face when she is in the arms of her fiancé, while watching Spiderman sitting there alone! Love and pain, two twins separated at birth. I love you. I can't be with you. Timeless, I suppose, but who can say there is any way out of this for either of them? She leans on the man she's planning to marry, telling him she's thankful he is there for her. She takes in Peter Parker with starving eyes and soul, telling him her heart is on fire.
Tobey Maguire is super. Such a restrained, insightful performance! Plus he has the spider crouch thing down-pat. Which I'm sure he took very seriously and spent hours perfecting in front of mirrors in his hotel. But why the heck doesn’t he use his web to keep those brooms from falling out of the closet, and why oh why doesn’t he do something, anything, to that nasty gum-smacking diva that won’t pay for the pizzas?!? Really though, his nuances are subtle and perfect. Your eye follows him and then follows his on screen, taking in everything through the character's perspective.
The newspaper editor is a favorite. Can't recall his name - how tellingly unprofessional of me. He is a beautiful creation, like he stepped out of the comic itself or perhaps from the set of 12 Angry Men.
And the pizza guy. Joes Pizza, with the 29 minute guarantee. He is quite the piece of acting work. “GoOoOO!!”
James Franco I’m always a little bit in love with. I don’t think I would be in real life, however. In movies, I’m always in love with him, a little.
Short Inner Monologue
[Mm-K. What always irritates me about these wonderful movies is this: Who cleans up the carnage? Whole sky scrapers implode. Glasses of whiskey are tossed recklessly on tile floors. (Gasp!) Vehicles overturned, burned out buildings, and the hero (and pretty much everyone else) gets to leave and never deal with it. Somewhere, at any given moment, a hard-working janitor is sweeping up yet another smashed whiskey glass. Remember that, Oh Audience, and face this reality!! 'Nuf said. Or not nearly enough said.]
Themes, Glorious THEMES!!!!!
Over-responsibility.”I’m responsible for what happened to Uncle Ben”.
Peter has to be everywhere. He is exhausted, he’s doing too much. Over-responsibility leads to damaged expectations, and inability to do anything well. He loses his perfect vision, his webs don’t work. Nothing works with such a heavy burden weighing down. Believe me; this I know well. Leading a double life saps his strength; he can’t explain what is happening to him. He keeps climbing the walls and falling.
Feeling Trapped. “I have a choice??” He asks incredulously. He loses himself trying to be everything to everyone. Peter is trapped between impossible choices. Anytime he chooses, he has to drop something else. The Spiderman character feels very inspired by Hamlet, actually. It’s a very tightly woven story. This choosing is illustrated in Spidey #1 when Green Goblin makes him decide to save the cable car full of children or Mary Jane. In the second, he feels freer when he starts telling the truth.
Misunderstood. He loves her, he can’t say. He knows things, he can’t say. He tries to save, they say he harms. “Peter Parker! Brilliant, but lazy", smirks Dr. Octavius. Yeah right! Lazy my sweet nothing.! He's running circles around the entire city of New York. So just shut your big yapper!
Secrets. “If you keep something as complicated as love stored up inside, it’ll make you sick.” (Octavius) He can’t be honest in any of his relationships, or keep up with them even, which creates distance in all of them. The side presence of the play “The Importance of Being Earnest” is a brilliant parallel to the story. In case you haven’t seen it, mainly it is about people being who they are not. I saw it in Edinburgh, when I was a daft thing of 13, and I remember that.
Bottled feelings. Peter is feeling unbelievable stress at trying to keep how he feels at bay, about everything. Harry too, all bottled up with anger, ambition, and deep-rooted insecurity. MJ, Aunt May, trying to keep their own counsel and ponder these things in their hearts, but spilling over here and there like too-full drinks.
He 'just misses' all the time. The pizza order. The drinks and h’orderves at the high society party. The picture he needs for the paper. Stopping the thief who gets his uncle. And finally, MJ. He just decides he must be Spiderman and give her up, no matter the pain and loss, says he doesn’t love her at all…and she is taken anyway by Doc Oc. @_* AAhhhhh the frustration!! I can’t even spell! I had to redo every word in the last sentence about 8 times!!!!!!!!
It’s an unexpectedly funny movie. The Oriental woman busking, violin in hand, plunking out her Spiderman song. Also the man in the elevator who thinks Spidey is a guy dressed up in a suit. "That looks uncomfortable." “It rides up in the crotch a little too.” Aunt May kicks the banker by mistake, instead of Peter. She’s got on a swift pair of heels, smirk. He touches the car and sets off the alarm. Or at the end, when MJ sees him and he’s holding up the wall over her:
“This is really heavy”.
Best Lines. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
“T.S. Eliot is more complicated than advanced Science.”
“Your soul disappears. Nothing is as bad as uncertainty. Maybe you’re not supposed to be climbing those walls.”
“’Planning’ is not a major at this university” Dr. Connors
“Sometimes to do what’s right, we have to be steady and give up the thing we want the most. Even our dreams.” (Yeah. I’ve tried, I’ve tried to do that. It feels like a slow death, is all.)
Kindness saves him. The most beautiful moment is when the kids hand him back his mask on the train. Kindness is so beautiful. It has given me bits of hope so many times. Don't -- just -- you did. Huh. (tissue break)
More than anything, this movie just makes me want to try a New York hot dog. Yumm.