3 Stars – Thought-Provoking
Spider-Man has been one of the most endearing of the Marvel superheroes. A teenager with all the normal insecurities and hormones we all share, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) adeptly represents us all if we were to suddenly become someone on whom the entire world’s survival depends. Woven wonderfully into this chapter of the mythical tale is his reiterated love for MJ (Zendaya), which as was shown in former films, plays with his fear of putting those he loves in danger should his identity be discovered. This fearful love provides a depth to the film that enhances it greatly.
As an afterward to Avengers: End Game where Tony Stark lays down his life for the whole world, this film begins with the bequest of Stark to Parker such that he has control over the Stark technology. A genius who walks in the same path as his hero, Parker feels inadequate to have that much power or responsibility. This is the primary theme and is also one with which all leaders can identify. Wanting to be both a carefree teenager who is seeking a relationship with MJ as well as a reliable superhero on whom the world can depend, Parker is torn.
The villains of the story are an unexpected alliance of disgruntled former employees of Stark and provide a clear moral choice: Do we seek revenge on someone at the expense of truth, reality, justice and innocence. Since the innocent suffer most in this world when evil paths are taken, the film explores one of the premier moral issues. The fact that this same evil can manipulate the opinions of the masses through the mass media is also clear.
The Marvel Universe is able to reboot these fictional characters in any ways their and our imaginations can envisage, so this version of the demise of some as well as the victories of others can always be modified. That is what makes this film entertaining as simply a possible tale of the likable young teen who is required to make the difficult choices that coming of age always requires of us. As such it is a gift to all of us but certainly will not be the last!
As is true of Marvel films there are two additional clips in the middle and at the very end of the credits that you will not want to miss. Stay to the very end.
The helpful counsel Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) gave Parker that Stark also second guessed himself is true of most leaders. Do you experience this uncertainty and how do you deal with it?
Revealing who he is to his best friend and girlfriend puts them in danger. How does revealing our true self to those we love both empower and endanger relationships?
The fact that mass media can easily be manipulated with new technology makes trust in senses vulnerable to deceit a difficult path. How do you protect yourself from the manipulation of your reality by those who use such methods?