SPIDER-MAN
It is quite possible that Spider-Man is the most Spiritual of all super heroes and this movie adaptation helps prove it, what is even clearer is that his Spirituality is rooted in Christianity.
Review by Mike Furches

SPIDER-MAN
Review by MIKE FURCHES


This page was created on February 10, 2002
This page was last updated on May 29, 2005

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Overview
Review by Melinda Ledman
Review by Benn Becker
Review by Mike Furches
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About this Film
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Synopsis and Review
Review by Mike Furches
Review by Annette Wierstra
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About this Film
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Review by
MIKE FURCHES

mike@furches.org

Web site
www.furches.org


Mike is the Senior Pastor at United at the Cross Community Church in Wichita Kansas. United at the Cross is a church made up of individuals not often accepted in other churches. The church consists of former gang members, drug addicts, prostitutes and others. Mike also speaks nationally on various topics and is a freelance writer. To learn more about Mike and his ministry link onto www.furches.org. In the arts Mike has worked with top music artists such as Steppenwolf, Marshall Tucker Band, Kansas and has an active interest in film. Mike is pictured with his music band "Route 66." His reviews include The Mummy Returns. Amistad, The Apostle, Armageddon, The Cell, Hurricane, Dr Dolittle 2, ELO -Zoom, Frequency, The Patriot, Me, Myself and Irene, Pearl Harbor, Rush Hour 2, Shrek, Extreme Days, The Last Castle, Serendipity, Ali, Reversal, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Jimmy Neutron, Mothman, Black Hawk Down, Scorpion King, Spider-Ma

Click to enlargeSpider-Man, Holy Jahosephat Batman, Spider-Man has a new movie. A new movie indeed, in what could very well be the newest, biggest baddest and best superhero movie ever. What is surprising however, is that not only is this an incredibly fun filled movie, it is also full of Spiritual references and significance. It is quite possible that Spider-Man is the most Spiritual of all super heroes and this movie adaptation helps prove it, what is even clearer is that his Spirituality is rooted in Christianity.

Click to enlargeDon't get me wrong; I'll readily admit that it is hard to be objective of this movie. I longed for its release after seeing the trailers more than a year ago; I even remember the original trailer that had Ol' Spidey slinging a web to catch a helicopter between the buildings of the World Trade Center. That ad was later pulled and no component of the Trade Centers is included in the official release. But am I opinionated? You bet, Spider-Man was and still is my favorite comic book and super hero and for a comic book collector that's a big deal. I was the first in the theater to grab a seat for the first showing on the first day of release. I even took my son with me, which meant him missing a half a day of school. I also sit here writing this review in my favorite Spider-Man T-shirt. So, you can see that this 40 something plus man still has a longing for the days of his youth.

While the true die hard fan, like myself, may be a little disappointed in some aspects of the movie, the over capacity crowd at the theater I was at wasn't applauding all through the movie for nothing. This is a movie that has substance, not only substance but also a fun couple of hours that you won't soon forget. As the old saying goes, this film has legs, 8 to be exact, after all it is Spider-Man, but this movie also has much more. There is a captivating love story, an evil villain played magnificently by Willem Dafoe, but it is also a story of a young man finding himself and the need to discover his own spiritual truth and purpose.

Click to enlargeWhile many movies hint at the spiritual search of its players, Spider-Man is wide open and clear about Peter Parker's search. He has a girl whom he has loved since the 1st grade, but despite his love he holds true to his moral upbringing. He also has an Aunt and Uncle who not only love him but also have had a tremendous impact on his upbringing and morality. This family makes it a point to pray before meals and Aunt May has a nightly prayer, bedside, on her knees. Click to enlargeWe even see her attacked by a demonic enemy who taunts her as she prays the Lord's Prayer with its petition to deliver her from evil. The surprising thing is that it later becomes clear that the God she is praying to does just that.

Spider-Man's Uncle Ben also has tremendous spiritual impact in helping raise Peter Parker. He reminds Peter that people who are given great power need to remember to use it for good and in a way that will bring purpose and meaning to those around them in life. While not directly mentioned, one can't help but wonder if Uncle Ben, played wonderfully by Cliff Robertson, is warning Peter of the power of the Holy Spirit that Jesus informed the disciples about. This concept is certainly one that is portrayed beautifully from the perspective that Christians who know Jesus and have the Holy Spirit should use the power appropriately not only to serve their fellow man but also to serve as living models by doing good deeds through their lives.

Click to enlargeThe web slinging (appropriate spidey terminology since Spider-Man doesn't technically fly,) is incredible. These have to be some of the best special effects ever filmed. There are several scenes in which you almost believe that someone is really slinging webs. This is especially true in the sequences where Spider-Man is learning to use his web slinging abilities. There is also a wonderful ensemble cast led surprisingly well by Tobey Maguire, who portrays Spider-Man and Peter Parker. I didn't know if he would be able to pull off this role when I first heard of the casting decision, but now I can't think of anyone who would have been better. Kirsten Dunst plays long-time friend and love interest of Peter Parker, Mary Jane. Dunst brings the innocence and beauty to this role that is needed to help drive home the need for purpose concerning Peter Parker finding his ultimate purpose and meaning to life.

I remember thinking as a boy that if I could be any superhero I would want to be Spider-Man. I didn't know it at the time but part of the reason for that was the humanity behind the character. This was a character who struggled with real life problems and yet was also someone who had to learn to adapt between his humanity and his potential. In that regard, this movie is no surprise.

Some readers may have already been critical from my first comment about taking my son out of school for a half a day to see the movie. All I know is that it was fantastic to share the wonderful dreams of a father and a son and to have felt the same way about the movie. His comments after the movie were, 'Wow, Papa, that movie was great. It's even better than Shrek. I now have a new favorite movie. I want to make sure I buy it the first day it comes out on DVD.' While those may not have been his exact words it is pretty close to the words of a 12-year-old boy. After having some barbecued ribs for lunch and doing an activity together at church, I asked him how his day was. He replied, 'Well, after seeing Spider-Man, on a scale of 1-10 I'd give it a 12, but after doing the other stuff at church (playing kickball and football to be exact), I'd give it an 11.' 'Nathan' I responded, 'this morning after seeing Spider-Man it was a 12, now it's a 11, what happened?' 'Well I had so much fun at the movies this morning that anything after that was going to be a let down.'

For my son and me, this day was worth it. While I enjoy a lot of aspects of movies, including the spiritual components of a film like this, I also like to sometimes see a movie just for the fun of it. When I can see valuable spiritual perspectives being portrayed plus still have fun at the movies it is an unexpected bonus. It is hard to improve on the expectations of someone like me had in regards to seeing a movie like Spider-Man Most of the time there is disappointment and let down. This movie didn't follow that example however, if anything it improved on my respect of the character.

One last note: I know that there are going to be a lot of comparisons this summer between the new Star Wars Episode 2 movie and Spider-Man. While I can't promise a surprise, I will say that I personally won't be surprised if in the long run Spider-Man out performs and outlasts Star Wars Episode 2. I do know that I haven't seen an audience react to a movie like this in a very, very long time. As a matter of fact, and this will be dating me, I don't recall the standing in lines nor the audience reaction regarding the applause that even compares since the original run of the first Walking Tall movie. For those old enough to remember, that is saying something

For the 8 legs that will carry Spider-Man through the summer and beyond and the love of a father and son I'll give the unusual and rare 10 for as close to a perfect movie as there may be released all summer. 10

God Bless,
Mike Furches
Luke 15 www.furches.org

Spider-Man Synopsis and Review -click here
Review by Mike Furches -click here
Review by Annette Wierstra -click here
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