Why Holland’s Spider-Man is the Hero We Need

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With our current political crisis, it is no wonder why superhero movies have been performing exceptionally at the box office. We seek an escape that provides us with the feeling that justice will prevail. As that feeling only lasts approximately 1 and 1/2 hours, we wait until another film comes out to fill that void. But when a film hits so close to home that the feeling exceeds its typical shell life, you find yourself sitting in front of the computer writing about Spider-Man: Homecoming.

True to its name, Homecoming is the return of Spider-Man. Packaged in all his quirkiness, Holland’s Spider-Man is the hero that we never knew we needed:

  1. Homecoming does not dwell in Spider-Man’s overplayed origin story.  This Peter Parker already has his powers and it is not until about halfway in the film that Peter briefly discusses the spider bite. And let’s face it, in our current society, we seem more concerned with the questions Who are you going to be? and What can you do? rather than Where did you come from? We value the effect more than the cause. Just ask anyone fresh out of college – no employer cares about the degree, they want experience.giphy1
  2. This Spider-Man is very familiar with the above scenario. Unlike Maguire’s Peter Parker who constantly underwent an identity crisis, Holland’s Spider-Man knows who he is and what he wants to do – however, he just has to prove himself to those who came before him. It is almost as if he is part of a generation that is doubted on the sole basis that they are born during their generation . . . Anyway, Holland’s Spider-Man wants to work with the Avengers yet he is never given a chance to prove himself while simultaneously being expected to prove himself (almost like being expected to get a job to gain experience while simultaneously being asked to have experience before getting a job).
  3. There is a scene in the film in which Parker’s friend, Ned, reveals that he has a connection to Spider-Man to impress Liz, the girl that Parker has been crushing on since the beginning of the film. Intrigued by this information, Liz invites Ned and Parker to her party. The two arrive, and after being antagonized by Manuel, Parker’s school rival, Parker suits up and plans to enter the party as Spider-Man to woo the crowd. But he never does. He does not risk his identity to win over the girl. In fact, he does not even end up with the girl. Whereas previous Spider-Man films have been dominated by the romantic Mary Jane arc, Homecoming provides us with a hero who must make sacrifices.
  4. Yet Parker, nor the audience, are upset over the loss of Liz because she isn’t what he chases after the entire film. Parker gets what he wants at the end, a full-time superhero gig. Surprisingly, Parker turns down Tony Stark’s offer to become an Avenger. Parker chooses to remain a “small-town” hero. The underdog has now become the hero for the rest of the underdogs.giphy2
  5. Despite being a superhero movie, the fighting scenes were not intense or noteworthy. Even the villain, the Vulture, seems insignificant compared to other candidates such as Green Goblin, Scorpion, etc. – villains that would have allowed for full utilization of special effects. There were no larger than life moments in the film, but that is because Holland’s Spider-Man is not a larger than life character.

Holland’s Spider-Man provides us with a hero who deals with external factors rather than an internal crisis. One that truly resembles its viewers, someone trying to make a name for themselves, without the glitz and glamour that is typically found among superheroes.

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That’s All 90’s: The Why For Generation Y

Right now, I am sitting on the edge of my bed staring at my Powerline T-shirt slipping out of a Hot Topic bag. Even though I pride myself over this purchase, as The Goofy Movie is one of the most underrated Disney movies of all time, I cannot help but to feel a bit conflicted. Recently I have noticed a rise in all things 90’s. The 90’s are back but unfortunately they are not to stay. We have always been a nation that has revolved around nostalgia (we did spend 8 years wondering whatever happened to the milkman, the paperboy and evening tv) but now, perhaps more than ever, we are clutching onto something we cannot hold: time. From the new Tomagotchi models, a toy that taught us about the dangers of negligence early on, to reboots of 90’s sitcoms, I feel like wherever I go, I seem to find something from the 90’s attempting to climb out of a black hole and ground its feet on our present surface.

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A Letter to You Two

To the Girls at the Movie Theater,

After watching Get Out, my head was spinning because of all the potential posts that I could write. However, this moment was short-lived. When the credits appeared on screen and the lights began to brighten, I took a quick glance of the theater and realized that my boyfriend and I mirrored the dynamics of Rose and Chris. By dynamics, I do not mean that I am dating him because I want to lure him to my home so that my sadistic and racist family could exploit him – no, I simply mean that he is black and I am white. This should not qualify as a dynamic, but in reality this is an unfortunate “factor”of our relationship. There are moments when I do not think of this, but then there are moments when I am hyper aware – moments when strangers have stopped us while we are walking just to inform us that we are “a beautiful couple.” Yet the way that they say this phrase always suggests as if the speaker is applauding us for some noble act. As if our relationship is doing a service for the community. Lets face it, some individuals view interracial couples as the solution for racial tension. Interracial couples will lead to multiracial children, multiracial children will lead to a post-racial world. How can racism exist if we are all one race? Wrong. The answer to racism is not removing race and the prospect for a solution should certainly not be a burden bestowed upon a relationship. There is enough internal turmoil for a couple to face, they do not need added unnecessary, unrealistic, and fallacious external factors forced upon them.

The solution is awareness. We need to be aware of our racial differences and how these differences affect us. We need to expose our prejudices to prevent them from dictating our lives. Film has always been an excellent source of reflection, and that is why Get Out is extremely crucial during a time when racial tension has been drastically increasing. The audience of Get Out should experience a sense of horror, removed from the self, as they witness Chris’ encounters. Yet this horror should immediately become replaced with terror. Terror due to the political undertone of the film – terror that stems from the reality of the film.

My discomfort stemmed from the anticipation of leaving the theater and listening to someone make a snide remark. The remarks that I have seen circulating around social media since the film has been released. I tried to convince myself that no one would direct a comment towards me but you felt compelled to do otherwise. As we left, holding hands, you two began whispering, “Get Out” to my boyfriend while nudging your heads to his direction (as if you needed to clarify who you were speaking to). At first, I was slightly taken aback, but the more I thought about your remarks, the more bothered I became. I am troubled because I am worried that instead of using the film as a platform for open discussions concerning white privilege, racial tension, and much more, people will use this film to confirm some archetype of a white woman dating a black man. There is often hostility directed towards a black man for dating a white woman because the assumption is that he does not believe women of his own race are good enough while she is either experimenting or rebelling and using him to accomplish either. But I am here to tell you both this:

I am sorry that my relationship cannot be your fairy-tale and grant you a happily ever after – it cannot end racism.

I am sorry that my relationship cannot be your horror story and provide you with chills – there is no grander scheme to it.

Yet we can allow my relationship to be its own story by allowing it to flourish without pressuring it to succeed and certainly without praying for it to succeed.

Best,

The Girl that You Probably Did Not Mean to Hurt or Disregard.