This morning (yes, I am part of the crowd that includes retirees and families with small children who go to the theater before noon on Saturday) I am going to go watch Skyfall, the new James Bond movie. I am anticipating an energetic thriller of a movie that allows me to escape into a story for a couple of hours (though Josh Larsen’s review “Resurrection and revenge in James Bonds’ Skyfall” has me on the lookout for these themes). There will be violence, there will be sex, there will be a “hero” who functions as part of the myth we tell ourselves in the western world that no matter how often our way of life seems threatened we have the technology, the intelligence, and the force necessary to preserve ourselves.
On the other hand, last night I watched the new Amazing Spiderman (finally) and I quite enjoyed it. I think Andrew Garfield is a really good Spiderman and the supporting cast is better than the previous Spiderman series. I think Spiderman is my favorite superhero. At least he was when I was younger and it was OK to say, “…my favorite superhero.” Is it just me or does Spiderman never kill anyone? I can’t remember a time when Spiderman killed someone in the earlier series and I don’t think he killed anyone in the new film.
Is Spiderman a pacifist? It seems like he refuses to use redemptive violence. Rather, he disables and disarms enemies–sometimes reaching past what the monster they’ve become to try find and save a human inside. Unlike Bond he doesn’t fight “evil” as defined by his nationalistic identity or preservation of his cultural way of life over than of another, but it is more of a Good Samaritan, love your neighbor as yourself, and oh, look, I am a human with the skills of a spider!
Also, I should add, Spiderman seems overly cautious and caring about his female partner–and thought I’m not familiar with the comic book series these days he seems to be a one woman type of man. There is no guarantee that Bond is a one woman at this very moment type of man. It is interesting to me that both of these characters are the “good guy”, yet so different.
I won’t lie, I expect to enjoy Skyfall, but I think I like Spiderman more. If I could be a hero I’d want to be Spiderman. Did I confess that?