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As an adult, I’ve become a big fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Something that is interesting in hindsight, since I was never a fan of American superheroes or comics growing up. Something about the way they tell the stories in the MCU and how they’re able to weave everything together is fascinating.
This leads me to today’s post. I got the chance to see the new Spiderman: No Way Home movie this week and I’m sure many others have (or are planning to) as well. If you are undecided, do it. It was such a great movie, and I’m not even usually that big of a fan of Spiderman.
What I’d like to talk about in particular is what I feel is the overarching lesson that exists within this movie. Without spoiling anything, I’d like to talk about the theme this movie presents which (if I’m not mistaken) is a theme that ties in very closely with Spiderman himself.
With Great Power, Comes Great Responsibility
I think this is a tagline that has existed with Spiderman for many years. It is also something we should all live by.
As adults, there’s almost always at least one person who looks up to us. That person is someone whose fate is (at least partially) in our hands. Maybe its a son or a daughter, a niece or a nephew, a student or an employee. There are many situations that can arise in life where someone would do something without hesitation if you told them to.
To be fair, none of us have the power to sling webs or stop evil the way the heroes in these movies do, but power can be abused on any scale. “Ruining someone’s life” is a power that all of us possess, superhero or not. Given that fact, it is important that we be careful what we say and do with the authority we are given. If it is abused, it can often achieve nothing except for leading to lifelong regret.
While this is the overarching idea the film has over its head (which it states a few times throughout the film), there’s a second piece of knowledge that I think we can pull from this movie.
Your Beliefs Don’t Make You Better if your Behavior Doesn’t Match
What I like about this movie is not the “great power, great responsibility” lesson by itself. It is the fact that this version of Spiderman already knows this fact:
“When you can do the things that I can, but you don’t, and then the bad things happen? They happen because of you.”
This is one of the first lines that MCU Spiderman says back in the first movie he appeared in (Captain America; Civil War, I think?). The fact that Peter Parker says this much earlier on means that this movie is less about learning the lesson at-hand, but more about acting on his words.
When something is simply about right versus wrong, people are generally pretty good at making the right decision. What trips everyone up, however, is when its a decision between what’s right and what’s easy or most desirable. This is where the majority of Spiderman’s inner turmoil stems from. There are several points throughout this movie where the decision to quit or act against his nature is the easiest decision to make. The movie is not designed to teach him anything he doesn’t already know, it’s to remind him that he has to follow through on those lessons even when that’s the last thing he wants to do.
This was a shorter post compared to some others, but I think it illustrates that we can pull life lessons out of anywhere if we simply keep an open mind. Most forms of art (books, paintings, videos, martial arts, etc.) are created as a means to pass on life lessons in a creative way. If we can properly understand those lessons, then we have a better chance of helping future generations understand them as well.