Monday, July 9, 2012

"The Amazing Spiderman:" Entertaining Lessons for Us All

It was a good thing for our 12-year-old son that he and I were the only ones in the audience at the 10 a.m. showing of "The Amazing Spider-Man"  this morning. That's because I cried twice while watching this movie, which tells Peter Parker's origin story and how he developed from an awkward high schooler into a superhero.

I didn't grow up reading comic books so I was taken by surprise  when Peter's kindhearted uncle, played by Martin Sheen, dies at the start of the movie. He and his wife, played by Sally Field, are raising Peter after his father and mother mysteriously disappear when he is a toddler.

The second time I cried was toward the film's turning point, when Spiderman essentially saves New York City from evil.

The actors in this movie do a great job; Andrew Garfield is entirely believable as he makes his transformation from a socially awkward high school boy to a young man ready and willing to risk his life to save others. I was surprised to discover later today that the actor is not, in fact, of high school age, but rather a 28-year-old man. His performance was so believable.

As the mother of two adolescent boys, I felt a special affection for the gangly high schooler, confused about what to do with his newfound gifts and just beginning to make his own way in the world.

The movie has all the subtlety of a Marvel comic book. The line between good and evil is obvious and moral choices are clearly outlined. The movie teaches its lessons in an entertaining way and its message is one I never tire of hearing: we have a responsibility to do what good we can. One of our jobs here on earth is to recognize and then figure out to best use the gifts we've been given. 

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